100 must-have travel experiences: 70-61

An epic journey, far and wide, to assemble (in no particular order) the very best that the planet has to offer

Venture on a KL street-food adventure

An extended stay in Malaysia shows around the waistline: there’s an abundance of fantastically affordable street-cuisine, and 24 hours in which to feast. So much to savour: the national dish of Nasi Lemak (‘fat rice’ in coconut milk, served on a banana leaf), Char Key Teow (stir-fried flat-noodles with juicy prawns), Mamak menu staples such as Roti Canai (flatbread) or Nasi Goreng Kampung, washed down with a frothy cup of Teh Tarik, and more. There’s something about the noise of a metal cooking pan being thwacked and the bustling sound of the Jalan (street) that just makes it all taste better.

Savour a slice (or more) of pizza in Chicago

You might think that Italy, or maybe even New York, are the best places on earth to get a slice of pizza – but you’d be wrong. The spiritual home of the pizza pie is Chicago, where you’ll find a special ‘deep dish’ version that’s far more dense (and more filling) than normal. The style was invented at Pizzeria Uno in 1943, and the restaurant still does a brisk trade today. Once suitably fuelled, the Windy City is home to terrific museums, parks and first-rate hotels, all easily reached via the city’s elevated ‘L Train’ that takes you above street level and right through the city’s main attractions.

Sleep amidst the sand dunes (in style

It’s easy to forget sometimes, when scurrying amidst Dubai’s gleaming skyscrapers and towering superstructures, that the city’s most alluring quality remains the mesmeric desert. To experience its mystical charms to the fullest, spend a long weekend at one of Dubai’s desert resorts. The brilliant Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is just a 40-minute drive from Dubai, yet feels a world away from the core of the city; the same applies to Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, where each suite offers up dune vistas and a private pool. Sloping dunes and a burnt orange landscape… a staycation beckons.

Stay in a Parisian palace hotel

Doing Paris on the chic means booking a suite at one of its palatial hotels – the epitome of French finesse. The grand dame of grand dame hotels is, of course, the recently refurbished, rebooted and reopened Ritz Paris; one addition to the hotel of old is a tunnel that allows you to arrive without courting the attention of the paparazzi, should feel all diva on arrival into Charles De Galle. Others in this set include Four Seasons George V, and the impeccable Le Bristol. Here for the appeal of  Louis Vuitton? For an LV show, artist Daniel Buren built an installation, which you can now dine within.

Ride horses in the wilderness

Remaining a distinct mystery to the outside world, Mongolia is an adventure. The essence of the Mongols’ nomadic lifestyle and their devotion to horses is most apparent in the Darhat Valley. Saddle-up at a tented camp near the shores of Lake Khovsgol, a 160km-long, glacially-curved alpine lake in northeastern Mongolia, then tackle the gradual ascent of Jigleg Pass before descending into the Valley, where hundreds of horses seek prime pasture. Enjoy the warm hospitality of the Mongol people, drink down a big cup of airag (a fermented horse milk beverage), and wonder at the rituals and vigorous way of life of these nomadic folk.

Explore quintessential English countryside

There’s nothing like rural England. The Cotswolds, for example, oozes charm – an idyllic land of chocolate-box villages, rolling hills and fields, manor houses, stone barns and quaint English pubs for a spot of Ploughman’s lunch. The Lake District is another prospect entirely but equally pretty – rugged mountain ranges suited for hiking, and ribbon lakes to sit beside with a flask of hot coffee; pure escapism, with the hush of nature punctuated by babbling streams and a whistling breeze. This is the least boastful addition to our ‘100’, but bed-down in a homely B&B and relish a peaceful reward.

Keswick, Lake District

Traverse ancient rainforests
East Malaysia

There are many wonders on this list, but few date back 130 million years. The tropical-climate island of Borneo (twice the size of Germany) is home to lush greenery, spectacular wildlife, 15,000 types of rare plants, and of course its indigenous tribes; a trek through the undisturbed virgin jungles of Sabah is a journey to a lost world. Deforestation has led to the displacement of one of the forest’s most famous residents – the orangutan – and if you’re looking for a holiday where you make a difference, the Matang Wildlife Centre affords visitors the chance to nurture the orphaned or injured members of this indigenous species.

Hire your own private island

You can stay at a private island resort in the likes of the Maldives, Malaysia or even  Bahrain, but what’s the point of being on an island if you have to share it with other guests? Solitude reigns supreme at Thanda Island, situated within southern Tanzania’s Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve, where guests hire the whole beautiful beach residence – big enough for ten guests – on a sole-use basis. Depending on the season, however, you may have to share your stretch of cotton wool-soft sand with nesting turtles – a wonderful sight – although a 1km-wide exclusive-use zone means you have a coral reef.

Scoot along the Amalfi Coast on a Vespa

When Audrey Hepburn hopped onto a Vespa in Roman Holiday, the humble Italian get-around became an overnight sensation. What could beat the romance of scooting through Italy’s sensational cities and countryside on two wheels? 60 years later, it’s still the most thrilling way to get about, and by far the best way to see the mountainous Amalfi coast. There’s new adventure around every hairpin bend, be it picnicking on clifftops, exploring handsome white-washed towns, or stopping to refuel with coffee and zesty Amalfi lemon tart. Every pit stop comes with shimmering sea views: the kind of road trip you’ll love.

Ride the bullet train past Mount Fuji

Japan’s reputation for technological brilliance is best exemplified by its high-speed bullet trains, known as Shinkansen. Capable of speeds up to 320km/h, they’re able to turn the backdrop into a blur – although you’ll still be able to enjoy incredible panoramic views of the imposing Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain peak. Only listed as a World Heritage Site in 2013, Fuji contains 25 UNESCO sites of cultural interest including peaceful lodging houses, the spectacular Shiraito Falls, eight separate hot springs and the Miho no Matsubara pine tree grove.