We visited half a dozen countries (not including India) and about a dozen locales within India in 2016.
Here’s my top 5.
5.) Old Goa: Goa is usually a beachy destination, but when one goes before the rainy season is over, one spends a lot of time touring old churches. And Old Goa (Velha Goa) has some impressive and historic churches.
4.) Amritsar: First of all, there’s the food. Punjabi cuisine is legendary–as is Sikh hospitality. However, there’s also some beautiful sights and a unique feel to the place.
3.) Bai Tu Long: Most of our trip to Vietnam took place in 2015, but we rang in the New Year on a junk boat on Ha Long Bay’s next door neighbor.
2.) Chaminuka Game Reserve, Zambia: Our first trip to Africa was far too short, but we did get a taste of the continent.
1.) Naranag to Sonamarg Trek: This may seem like an odd choice–particularly for the number one slot–given that Kashmir was under curfew when we visited. I think that may have made the trek all the more enjoyable. Not only is rural Kashmir gorgeous, but it was mostly normal–excepting the daily military checkpoints to remind us that Pakistan and /or China could invade at any moment. We certainly had our share of travails before and after the trek (e.g. only being able to drive through the middle of the night and all shops being closed on occasion) but the trek itself was outstanding. Besides, troubled travels make for good stories.
On our Great Lakes of Kashmir trek this past summer, one night our campsite was across the creek from a maximum security sheep prison. I kid you not. At all hours of the night, beams of light would cut through our tent as roving guards made their rounds. And there was the occasional shrill whistle when the inmates would get out of line.
This isn’t the wildlife I expected to see on our Kashmiri Great Lakes Trek, but I’ll take what I can get.