Fall Travel

Five ‘cool’ places for an October Vacay

October is the month to flee to those trending vacay spots to take in autumn colors and harvest festivals in Italy and New England, or head for warmer shores within the Indian Ocean and South America. Summer is nearly officially over and plenty of folks are noticing the nippiness within the air and restlessness that always comes with the changing seasons. For those that look wistfully upon summer’s end, coming up with a fall trip will certainly beat back the blues.

Quang Ninh, Vietnam

Pull on your hiking boots as the beginning of dry season makes for ideal trekking conditions and picture-perfect scenery in Vietnam’s mountainous north in Quang Ninh.

After the obligatory junk ship cruise around dramatic Halong Bay, head an hour upcountry to Yen Tu, the country’s Buddhist capital. This serene pilgrimage site has somehow remained little-known to international guests for hundreds of years.

That could before long change, though, since a “base camp” of hostels, cultural centers and restaurants recently opened, as well as the area’s 1st five-star hotel, the Legacy Yen Tu – MGallery, designed by visionary architect Bill Bensley to genuinely resemble a 13th-century temple using handcrafted native materials. Hurry to explore its shrines and forest trails before Yen Tu becomes the new Hoi An.

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New Hampshire, USA

New Hampshire is a great place to go leaf-peeping. With crisp air, ripe apples, and flaming leaves, New England is beaming in October. Depart on the leaf-peeping road trip of a lifetime on the Kancamagus Highway, or “the Kanc” for short in local lingo. Or drive the flatter Lake Winnipesaukee Loop that skirts the Granite State’s largest body of water.

To get another perspective of the autumn colors, you can swoop over the White Mountain woodland on Alpine Adventures’ Zip Line, that includes an 80-foot “white knuckle drop” but more sedate sorts can ride the Loon Mountain gondola instead.

Pumpkin carving and apple bobbing are among New Hampshire’s wholesome pastimes at this time of year, whereas White Mountain Oktoberfest brings a raucous Bavarian’s knees up. Just think stein-hoisting, keg tossing and oompah bands all within a scenery of crimson-leafed maple trees. Just remember that all those cozy and charming inns, like the rustic-chic Chesterfield Inn, set in wonderful farmland close to the Vermont border, fill-up quick therefore book rooms well beforehand.

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Escape to the white shores of Mauritius this time of year where Spring has just sprung on this Indian Ocean island, and guests can scuba dive in waters that are at their clearest and calmest, and laze on white sands below immaculate skies.

However, faraway from being a fly-and-flop-only spot, Mauritius has lots of faster-paced attractions as well that are worth prizing yourself off the sun lounger for, like hiking to Black River Peak Viewpoint, the highest point on the island, quad biking through sugar estate turned eco-playground Domaine de L’Etoile or exploring the Unesco-listed caves at Le Morne Brabant, built as hideouts by runaway slaves.

Are you looking for a cool alternative to same ole’ beach resorts? Glamping recently arrived in Mauritius in the style of the Bubble Lodge, a group of cozy, semi-transparent eco-domes on the island’s oldest tea plantation. Globetrotting author Mark Twain was clearly onto something when he declared that “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven was copied after Mauritius.”

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Umbria, Italy

Umbria is Tuscany’s underrated neighbor with lots to see and do in October. Harvest brings a mouthwatering spate of foodie festivals to Tuscany’s underrated neighbor. Umbria has equally beautiful olive groves and medieval cities, only a bit less tourist-packed.

Both Gubbio and Citta di Castello pay respect to precious, delicious white truffles at the end of the month, and even the humble chestnut gets a series of parties, like at the Montone’s Festa del Bosco, or “Festival of the Woods”, where street vendors sell paper cones of roasted chestnuts and restaurants set up tables piled high with the nutty treats in the streets.

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Perugia hosts the largest chocolate celebration in Europe in October and also the Feast of St Francis of Assisi which sees the saint’s namesake city adorned with banners for a traditional parade. Even the Pope popped in for the festivities some years ago. After wining and dining, roll yourself back to Tenuta di Murlo, where six villas and three rooms are scattered across the scenic estate.

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Galapagos Islands

Seals adorn the Galapagos Islands, the archipelago which was the source of Darwin’s groundbreaking research. It’s precisely a hundred and sixty years since Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species”. However, the allure of Galapagos Islands, where the scientist carried out a number of his most groundbreaking research, is as magnetic as ever.

The mode of transport and amenities, however, have changed thankfully since the days in the 1800’s of the HMS Beagle. Hop aboard a brand new solar-powered small boat, Solaris, to reach Finch Bay Hotel, a beachfront sanctuary located on the south side of Santa Cruz.

The concentration of wildlife is sensational and particularly active at this time of year, from pelicans and penguins to manta rays and marine iguanas, and the most famed residents, the big tortoises. A ready-made tour from eco-conscious operator Original Travel tends to be the best way to reach remote areas like the volcanic rock fields of Fernandina or Genovesa, otherwise known as “Bird Island”, which is among its customized tours and offers a nine-day island hopping template itinerary.

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