Summer may have drawn to a close, but the beginning of autumn is when some destinations are at their peak. Read on for inspiration on where to spend a September vacation.
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South Korea is an ultramodern but deeply traditional corner of Asia and an absolute joy to explore.
Seoul, South Korea’s bustling capital, is forward-thinking but also deeply traditional where cutting edge design and K-pop music exist alongside UNESCO world heritage sites and traditional markets. From Changdeokgung Palace to Bukchon Hanok Village, from Myeongdong shopping district to Bukhansan National Park, you will be enthralled by all Seoul has to offer.
No trip to Seoul is complete without sampling its local delicacies. For all manner of Korean snacks head to Gwangjang Market, one of Seoul’s oldest and largest traditional markets, most famous for its street food. Foodies descend here for the bindaetteok (mung-bean pancakes), Korean dumplings and boribap (mixed rice and barley topped with vegetables). The city’s plethora of top eating spots will enable you to enjoy a host of irresistible flavours. From noodles to rice dishes to barbecues, there is something for every palette.
As much as Seoul will captivate you, there is so much to see and do beyond the dynamic capital. A major attraction for the curious amongst us is the 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile long Demilitarized Zone established as a buffer zone between the warring communist north and capitalist south in the 1950s, separating North and South Korea.
For photographers and nature lovers, mountainous Gangwon-do provides spectacular natural parks and scenic landscapes. Seoraksan National Park is one of the country’s most beautiful national parks with dense forest full of plunging waterfalls, ancient temples and an abundance of wildlife.
Moving south from Gangwon-do is Gyeongju, capital of the Silla dynasty for almost a thousand years. The Gyeongju historic areas contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art and the remains of temples and palaces.
Jirisan National Park to the west is South Korea’s largest national park offering some of Korea’s best hiking opportunities. If Jirisan has left you seeking more outdoor adventures, the island of Jeju will hit the spot. Here you can hike the volcanic cone of Hallasan, walk through the lava tubes of Manjanggul and cycle around the perimeter of this beautiful and unique island.
If the buzz of city life is calling once again, Busan, Korea’s second city, should not be overlooked. Known for its fantastic seafood, majestic mountains and miles of beaches, Seoul’s laid-back little sibling is full of surprises.
If the above doesn’t convince you that South Korea should be on your travel bucket list, we don’t know what will!
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Great time to visit (weather): September to November, when temperates are mild and rainfall is generally low.
Epic sand dunes, extraordinary desert-adapted wildlife and a rugged coastline littered with rusting shipwrecks. Namibia, where the ocean and desert collide, is a destination like no other. From canyon trekking to cheetah tracking, dune-climbing to star-gazing, it’s a playground for adventurers.
Start your adventure in the most iconic landscapes of the Namib Desert, a photographer’s paradise. The towering sand dunes at Sossusvlei are an awe inspiring sight. Close to Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, is a white clay pan dotted by dark, dead camel thorn trees. The black trees, the bleached-white pans, the rusty-red dunes and the blue sky make for postcard worthy images.
To the south of Sossusvlei is the startlingly beautiful Fish River Canyon, one of the world’s largest canyons. For those up for a challenge, the multi-day hike will be an unforgettable experience. Strange geological formations, reed-fringed pools, spiky quiver trees and incredible sunsets will delight those who trek this incredible, but intense, trail.
For a predominately arid country, Namibia boasts one of the greatest wildlife populations in the world. In Etosha National Park springbok, gemsbok, zebras, blue wildebeest, lions, cheetahs and leopards congregate at waterholes. The breath-taking mountainous region of Damaraland is home to an assortment of desert-adapted wildlife such as elephant, rhino, zebra and lion. In the south of Damaraland, the rocky outcrops of Twyfelfontein feature an extraordinary collection of hunter-gatherer engravings, considered to be some of the best-preserved etchings on the continent.
Swakopmund is a centre for adrenaline-pumping activities, from sand boarding down the huge dunes just outside of town to quad biking in the desert or sky diving. South of Swakopmund is the lagoon at Walvis Bay where pelicans sweep over the dunes to the sea and hundreds of rose-pink flamingos gather in the Walvis Bay lagoon.
On the west coast of Namibia, where the Atlantic Ocean clashes with the dune and desert landscape the wild and remote Skeleton Coast represents a completely different side of the country. Here the Atlantic Ocean clashes with the dune and desert landscape. This strip of coastline earned its named from the treacherous fogs and strong currents that forced many ships onto its uncharted sands. The golden beaches are littered with whale bones and the rusted hulls of stranded ships.
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Great time to visit (weather): May to September (the dry season).
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Editor's note: There are still some restrictions on travel due to COVID-19. Please check the latest guidance before booking and departing and always follow local health guidance.