Bangkok's silent heartbeats
With royal temples and blue lagoons, Thailand is a cherished destination among lonely travellers. Whether you dream of high adventure in concealed inlets or wish to roam enchanting forests, the former Kingdom of Siam draws a secret passage from Chiang Mai to Hat Yai. Why not stopping in Bangkok for a wonderful stay in one of these Thai centres devoted to vipassana meditation. If the word is tricky to translate, this Buddhist practice consists in shaping the mind to fully realise how things truly are: it is a deep and meaningful vision of reality and attachment to life. This meditative technique taught by a monk pays methodical attention to the body's physical sensations. It also tends to dissolve negative thoughts and energies. Why not give it a try? As Buddha expressed it, “knowledge is of two elements: peaceful silence and inner character”.
Bike ride in the streets of Vancouver
From one ocean to another, Canada has built an enviable identity among its neighbours. In this green paradise, the country takes on the world's most beautiful colours with each passing season.
Along the Salish Sea, the Vancouverites' kindness and goodwill is an invitation to discover their lush urban lab.
Amid the steep mounts of the coastal chain, inhabitants and tourists alike peacefully ride through the narrow city streets. If you're yet to discover Vancouver, get a road map or choose a guided tour! From the famous Stanley Park, 400-hectare oasis filled with cedar trees and sea otters, you'll ride along the Pacific Ocean's golden beaches where bathers, trekkers, bike riders and divers all gather. Take it further, to False Creek Island, where the market of Granville district awaits you to start on the festivities: on the programme, fresh and homemade produce, the quality of which only equals your hunger!
Culture and architecture for Lisbon
Nicknamed “queen of Tage River”, Lisbon takes you on covered markets amid colourful markets, cafés' terraces concealed on century-old streets, as well as gardens and parks for a picnic on the grass. From Lisbon airport, ride along the historical centre where you'll find the biggest concentration of monuments and museums in the capital. On top of its highest hill, São Jorge Castle reveals a large part of the city's medieval history. Perched over the Alfama district, it still asserts its position at a time while the royal Moorish family has left the premises for centuries. The monument is surrounded with the São Roque Church and its Mannerist and costly Chapel of Saint John the Baptist, and, along the riverbanks, the Lisbon Cathedral and its two massive crenelated towers. A few more steps will take you to the São Vicente de Fora Monastery, built by Alfonso I, first king of Portugal, after the city was reclaimed from the Moors. And rest assured that you have a guardian angel, in the form of the Cristo Rei statue in Almada, extending its arms to the world.
Tokyo's fascinating thousand and one faces
As writer Marguerite Yourcenar said of the Japanese capital, “it is not a city, rather a cluster of cities”. From the Tokyo Bay, the avant-garde metropolis spreads over to the Okutama centre in the Nishitama district. From the top of a high-rise or amid a Shinto sanctuary, you'll gaze at the sun setting over the Japanese city, lit up by bright billboards and neon signs. Continually changing, Tokyo proudly presents varied districts, shaped by thousand-year-old traditions and futuristic innovations. Shinjuku, Asakusa, Shibuya and Ginza all tell the story of a city many times destroyed then built again, as a genuine laboratory of contemporary architecture. Follow an impetuous whirlwind of surprises and delectable contradictions into an underground restaurant or a lush cherry blossom garden. Tokyo is like the entire world, only on a smaller scale, a compendium of colours and earthly scents, mixed with astounding vitality.
Endless and worldly fervour in Santiago
At the foot of the Andes and its permanent snow, the Chilean capital unveils its charms to travellers of all kinds. Founded in 1541 by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago has been enjoying regular growth for several decades now. Consequently, it concentrates administrative, political, financial, industrial and cultural powers. Surrounded by Inca treasures in Peru and colourful Argentinean regions, the city is filled with bustling energy, food, architectural and natural resource. On top of the San Cristóbal or Santa Lucia hills, mountains paint the background of a striking scenery: the Plaza de Armas is the historical centre of the city, sublimated by the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago. Street artists and chess players bring life to the streets, embellished by the richness of various museums. Enjoy the lively nightlife, in the Bellavista neighbourhood for instance, where bars and nightclubs are set ablaze by the wild rhythms of Chilean dances.
Royal getaway in Edinburgh's wild region
Listed as UNESCO World Heritage for more than two decades now, Edinburgh expects to outclass its neighbours in the ranking of Europe's most beautiful cities. It is true the Scottish capital offers various historical and cultural assets. Overlooked by the Edinburgh Castle, the old town spreads around the famous Royal Mile that passersby slowly tread on, carefully observing architectural details on various churches and old houses. New Town's Neoclassical style is an elegant testimony of Georgian urban planning, housing many trendy shops, bars and restaurants. Enjoy a few local specialities and then put on your trekking boots! Starting off Edinburgh, follow some of the most famous Scottish trails. Instinctively marked out, they circumvent the famous tourist sites. Budding explorers and excursion fanatics gather around the Glenfinnan viaduct or the Holyroodhouse Palace, on the Fife coastal path and amid the Coire Gabhail and Ben Nevis mountain trails.