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The rise of Slow Travel: The best destinations for meaningful travel experiences around the world

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For anyone looking for a slower pace of travel, specialist adventure travel provider Rainforest Cruises has highlighted some of the best destinations around the world to immerse yourself in.

After years of chasing our favourite destinations, flitting from country to country and trying to tick off as many countries as possible, the pandemic stopped us in our tracks and forced us to reassess.

Enter the rise of ‘slow living’ - an approach to everyday life that encourages more mindfulness and intentionality in contrast to the frantic pace of modern life. This movement has impacted many different areas of life including one of the key travel trends predicted for 2022.

"Slow travel" is defined as experiences that have an emphasis on connecting a traveller with the places they visit and the people they meet. A vacation that offers an emotional and cultural impact, but also has a minimal impact on the planet.

So, for anyone looking for a slower pace of travel, specialist adventure travel provider Rainforest Cruises has highlighted some of the best destinations around the world to immerse yourself in.

Laos
Found in the centre of Southeast Asia, Laos is an often-overlooked destination that is ideal for travellers seeking to visit somewhere new and experience a totally unique blend of culture and landscapes. The country’s political history means that it has been kept in the past somewhat, creating a ‘slow living’ atmosphere that is ideal for those who want to make meaningful memories and build connections with the people they meet.

For a truly unique experience of Laos, visitors can charter a traditional ‘Gypsy Boat’ to sail down the Mekong River on a three-day tour. Excursions can be personalised depending on your interests, with options to visit local villages, explore rural landscapes by bike, trek through the jungle, or see the karst formations and Buddha effigies of the Pak Ou caves.

Indonesia
The Republic of Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands and is a very popular slow travel destination because of the huge range of cultures and experiences on offer depending on where you visit. As well as the classic tourist hotspots like Bali, Lombok and Padang Padang, there are also hundreds of towns and villages around the country that allow you a glimpse into authentic Indonesian life and provide plenty of opportunities for meaningful connection and education.

If you want your mode of transport to reflect the authentic Indonesian experience, a ‘Katharina Yacht’ tour of the islands is a fantastic choice. The traditional two-mast sailing ship begins its journey in Bali, then takes passengers to Gili, Kawana, Satonda and Siaba Island to name a few, with activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the scenery and get close to local wildlife, all with an emphasis on relaxation.

Chile
As the southernmost country in the world, Chile already has a unique quality that makes it an ideal destination for travellers looking for alternative and meaningful experiences when they visit somewhere new. Many of the places in the country are so remote that slow travel methods are the only way to explore them, and with an otherworldly range of scenery and a range of local cultures, it’s the perfect place for a more mindful trip away.

Rainforest Cruises offer two different options for visiting this South American country, the first of which is based at the sustainably designed Tierra Atacama hotel in the remote Atacama desert. Created to immerse its guests in nature, it’s the ideal place to stay on a slow travel break that involves exploration of the region’s lagoons, desert plains and salt flats, and truly puts our place on this earth into perspective with astronomy excursions in one of the world’s foremost stargazing hotspots.

Chilean Patagonia is one of the most famous areas of the country, and the second experience bases you at the Explora Salto Chico hotel on the banks of Lake Pehoé, which is another building designed to complement its surroundings to maximize your interaction with the landscape. There are regular excursions to the surrounding mountains, lakes and waterfalls, along with the chance to experience a unique part of the country’s culture, riding horses with Chilean cowboys.

Amazon
The Amazon is one of the most popular places in the world for slow travel experiences; a truly unique ecosystem with acres of barely explored landscape and plenty of fascinating local history and culture to discover. The rainforest stands on the brink of irreversible destruction from pollution and deforestation, and a sustainable visit can help to support the fight against the potential end of the world’s largest forest.

The huge size of the Amazon means that slow travel experiences take time, and the ‘Amazon Odyssey’ boat tour is designed with exactly that in mind. A private houseboat takes passengers along the river from Manaus and offers a range of excursions depending on your preferences, from encounters with native communities to dolphin-spotting trips and expert-led treks through the rainforest.

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