2020 – the year travel was brought to a standstill.

But tapping on the power of technology, the (virtual) world is our oyster. Here’s the hitchhikers’ guide to the (virtual) planet. Travel across time zones and borders, cyber-surf through different ethnic flavours, and zoom in on art in museums, all without leaving your home. Re-ignite your impulse to travel with some inspiration here for every traveller type – the foodie, the adventurer, the cultured.

1. Get your dose of culture: brew a cuppa tea and hop on these virtual museum tours

Singapore: Take a virtual stroll through the National Museum

National Museum of Singapore’s ‘An Old New World: Digital Edition’

Go on an interactive 360-degree journey with the National Museum of Singapore’s digital exhibition

This exhibition features lesser known stories of Singapore’s history before its founding years. Virtually stroll through the personal collections from the families of Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar, and treasures from other international museums including the Royal Collection Trust in London.

Choose from two modes – Self-Exploration, where you can explore the halls and galleries at your own pace; or Guided, if you prefer to immerse yourself in a curated exploration accompanied by the narration of stories to the themes of Knowledge & Power and Seeing the Indigenous.

Embark on your virtual exploration of An Old New World.

Time needed: 1 to 2 hours
Best experienced on: Desktop
Cost: Free

Australia: Tour the Sydney Opera House without having to leave yours

Virtual tour of the Sydney Opera House

Go on a backstage tour or a 360-degree immersive experience of the Sydney Opera House from the comfort of your home.

The Sydney Opera House has opened its (back)doors to homes all around the world! Go on a digital backstage tour led by captivating guide Declan, all from the comfort of your home. Watch stories of the iconic building come to life through history, architecture, and anecdotes. Start your journey beneath the Opera House’s famous sails here.

Want to level up your virtual-tour game? Explore this performing arts centre through this immersive 360-degree video tour accompanied by a breath-taking performance by soprano Nicole Car and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, filmed against different views around the location.

Join the backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House, or choose to enjoy the Sydney Opera House in 360° with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Time required: Less than 30 mins
Best experienced on: All devices!
Cost: Free

France: Have the Palace of Versailles all to yourself!

Virtual tour of The Palace of Versailles

Wander through the rich collections of The Palace of Versailles, covering more than 22,000 pieces of art.

Thanks to The Palace of Versailles’s partnership with Google Arts & Culture, you can saunter into this UNESCO World Heritage Site as a solo explorer, with no crowd in sight. Access to the virtual exhibitions is free! Look into all 357 mirrors in The Hall of Mirrors. Take a seat at the royal dining table. Discover more than 22,000 pieces of art while wandering through the impressive galleries of the palace, with each piece detailed thoroughly for your indulgence. Explore The Gardens without having to take a step, and marvel at its fountains and water pathways, all in 360°. Own a Virtual Reality headset? Enhance your tour experience with the immersive StreamVR experience, also free!

Wander through The Palace of Versailles here

Time required: 1 to 2 hours
Best experienced on: All devices, and compatible with VR headsets
Cost: Free

2. Seek out adventures with these out-of-this world virtual experiences

Cambodia: Zoom in on the hidden gems at the Angkor Wat

Virtual Angkor Wat

Go back in time to the lost kingdoms of the Khmer empire on the Virtual Angkor.

Meaning “Temple City” in the Khmer language, the Angkor Wat is home to thousand-year old Cambodian temples.

With Virtual Angkor, embark on a historical tour virtually through the history of the sprawling Cambodian metropolis of Angkor and go back in time to the height of the Khmer Empire’s power in the twelfth century. Originally built for the classroom, this project also provides eager travellers with insight into religious monuments, classical Khmer architecture and lotus bud-like towers of the Angkor Wat. The visual architecture of the Virtual Angkor can be viewed in 360 panoramas, allowing you to view the city from a vantage point of your choice. Although it can also be viewed and navigated on desktop, this experience is yet another bonus for Virtual Reality headset owners!

If you prefer to view the thousand-year old temples in their current natural states, trek through this street tour of the temples of Angkor by Google Maps and uncover the lost kingdoms in their rustic and authentic forms.

Go back in time to explore the Angkor Wat in the twelfth century on Virtual Angkor, and continue your journey into the temple ruins of modern-day Angkor Wat with Google Maps’ Street View.

Time required: 1 to 2 hours
Best experienced on: All devices, and compatible with VR headsets
Cost: Free

China: Strut down the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in a virtual skywalk

Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in China

Experience the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in 360°.

Spanning more than 180 metres above the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon in Hunan province, this glass bottom bridge is the world’s highest and longest when it was completed four years ago in 2016, and is formed by glass panels that are less than 2.5 centimetres in thickness. Such a vertigo-inducing activity is usually only for the bravest of hearts. But thanks to AirPano, a virtual reality photography company, this glass bottom bridge can now be accessed virtually, making this experience suitable for the timid or even those who may have a fear of heights, while staying snuggly seated in the safety of their own homes.

Navigate over and around this 300- metre long bridge and the majestic canyon that surrounds it here.

Time required: Less than 30 mins
Best experienced on: All devices, and compatible with VR headsets
Cost: Free

Bonus: Get pumped up to Wild Ideas Worth Living

Prefer to build your own adventure? Tune in to Wild Ideas Worth Living’s Podcasts. Anchored on the notion of having a wild idea and acting on it, this podcast series may leave you itching to get out into the world. Each episode feature interviews with various excellent legends, like pro-climbers, ultra-marathoners, authors and photographers.

Time required: Less than 1 hour for each episode
Best experienced on: All devices (only audio required)
Cost: Free

3. Calling all Foodies: Get your tummies royal rumblin’ with these virtual feasts!

Singapore Food Festival’s food tours have gone virtual!

Singapore Food Festival Food Tours

Explore the culinary streets of Singapore with Singapore Food Festival’s interactive Virtual Food Tours. Photo credit: Visit Singapore

The annual Singapore Food Festival, Singapore’s only event that is dedicated to local cuisine, went virtual for the first time this year – which also means that the food tours can now be accessed digitally, on-demand!

Explore the culinary streets of Singapore with local entertainer Chua En-Lai through these interactive Virtual Food Tours, where you get to make choices and influence the way your excursion unfolds! Learn about the stories behind the heritage food gems in the historical Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown precincts, as well as the popular food joints that make up the colourful and vivacious culture of Katong and Joo Chiat districts.

Start your gastronomical journey here.

Time required: 1 to 2 hours
Best viewed on: All devices
Cost: Free

Become a street-smart with this series of street food tours

Chopstick Travel Youtube series

Join Chopstick Travel’s gastronomical adventures around street food and traditional cuisines. Photo Credit: Chopstick Travel's Youtube

Live vivaciously through Chopstick Travel’s YouTube Series! Join Luke and Sabrina on their gastronomical adventures as they delve into customs and culture around street food and traditional cuisines. Discover culinary gems in neighbouring Asian countries like Jakarta, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, and unearth savoury delights from the ruins of Athens and the centuries-old traditions of Turkey, all in the comfort of your comfy couch.

Hop from country to country with this series, one street at a time.

Time required: Approximately 20 to 30 mins per episode
Best experienced on: All devices
Cost: Free

Bonus: Stay hungry with A Moveable Feast

A Moveable Feast Book

The Moveable Feast is all about life-changing food adventures across the globe.

If you’re serious about your food, ignite your imagination and tastebuds by digesting the pages of A Moveable Feast by Lonely Planet. A collection of life-changing food adventures around the world, this book includes stories from household names like Anthony Bourdain and David Lebovitz

Available on Amazon and bookdepository.

Time required: A day, or two.
Cost: Approx S$18

4. Never too early to start planning your next vacation

Now that your desire for travel has been re-ignited, are you hungry for more? Here are a few additional travel ideas and tips to keep you inspired as we all look towards the day we can plan for our next vacation and safely travel:

For the Foodie

For the Adventurer

For the Cultured

 

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