You’d be forgiven if you wanted to press the mute button at the mention of what was once an endearing phrase – ‘there’s no place like home.’ Being confined at home is a demoralising feeling best articulated by classical music critic Mark Swed, who remarked: “Safe at home this spring has not necessarily meant sane at home.”
Many of us are still watching the festive seasons and big occasions pass us by from our couches. For those of us who are still in major FOMO mode, virtual travel seems like a natural progression to help us inch closer to near-civilisation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many establishments have made an effort to make their space accessible for the armchair globetrotters that many of us have become.
Don’t beat yourself up for missing out on your plans just because you have to stay home. The internet is the perfect spot for those trapped at home to trot the globe virtually without having to leave the house. Here are some ideas on escaping, just for you.
Up close and personal with art in Paris
The Louvre in Paris used to be the most visited museum in the world. Now, you can take your time to appreciate the entire collection of over 480,000 artworks for free on their website. Yes, you can finally view the famous Mona Lisa painting up close and personal! The sculptures are a sight to behold, especially the Winged Victory of Samothrace, which is the marble sculpture of Greek Goddess Nike, as well as Venus de Milo – all of which you may have seen some point in your life on the internet. On top of that, you get to see other incredible jewellery, furniture, textiles, and other historical objects. Get ready to be mesmerised by some of these most iconic figures.
Take a tour of the Louvre here.
Visiting heritage sites in Vietnam
Fly virtually to one of Southeast Asia’s most scenic countries of Vietnam. There are six UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore the incredible spots in the country. Listen to the sounds of birdsong as you stroll through the bustling and colourful city of Hoi An, to exploring the natural wonders at Phong Nha that has more than 300 caves, which you can enter virtually for a high-quality experience like no other. This is the perfect time to relish your future travel plans and be inspired by Vietnam’s breathtaking destinations. Order yourself a delicious bowl of pho and explore the 360-degree tours, and be transported to this beautiful country from the comfort of your home.
Hop on the Vietnam virtual tour here.
Wildlife sightings in South Africa
The live safari streams on explore.org are a unique way to get close to the wildlife in South Africa. Viewers can see real-time footage from places like the Wild Rhino Sanctuary, Tembe Elephant Park, Olifants River, and so much more. Private Zoom sessions are also available for viewers to ask questions and share experiences to raise funds for the conservation. When you book a virtual safari session on the website, your donation goes to the African Foundation towards habitat maintenance, sustainability efforts, and conservation initiatives within eco-tourism. Take in the majesty of the African wilderness like never before on the ‘Africams’!
Explore a virtual safari in South Africa here.
Walk through the Great Wall of China
Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World without leaving your home. The Great Wall of China is surreal even through virtual travel and is an essential destination for any traveller heading to China. This famous attraction boasts a history of over 2,000 years, and it stretches over 3,000 miles across various provinces in northern China. Check out 14 different scenes from this impressive structure – if you don’t mind coughing up extra, you can also enjoy the entire private tour in higher resolution. Isn’t this the perfect way to experience The Great Wall of China without getting sunburnt?
Discover the iconic attraction here.
Dreamy scenic experiences in Austria
Austria is filled with the most scenic attractions, and you can’t help but be astounded by each spot. From the residence of Mozart at Salzburg to the Ice Caves of Werfen, this virtual tour is sublime with historical significance. It offers interactive hikes in Saalfelden Leogang and a peaceful experience over the Lichtenberg Castle too. The cultural sites in Austria are endless with their awe-inspiring landscape, with plenty of interactive videos that you can choose from.
Check out beautiful Austria here.
Leisurely fun in Florida
If you are looking for fun, then Orlando, Florida, is the place to be for music, entertainment, and food (virtually, for now at least). Save the plane ticket and get on these interactive virtual tours it has to offer. Go from famous theme parks to classy restaurants – all it takes to travel from one spot to another is a click of your mouse. Yes, even the incredible Walt Disney World Resort and its fantastic destinations are available too! If you have a VR set, you can experience a whole lot more, from zip-lining at Gatorland to fun rides at LEGO Kingdoms and more. Florida is one trip you don’t want to miss during your stay at home.
Explore the virtual tours in Florida here.
Travel to Mars
Yes, you can even travel to Mars virtually now, thanks to NASA and Google. If Earth gets boring, then escape to Mars using virtual reality. In November 2011, NASA sent the car-sized Curiosity rover to Mars, which touched down on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity has been broadcasting images back to Earth to learn more about the planet on its mission to find out if it ever supported microbial life. The footage is then packaged in collaboration with Google into a virtual tour, much like the Google Earth feature. You will also get pop-up information about what you see; meanwhile a voiceover of Katy, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is there to assist you in understanding more. Pretty cool, huh?
Fly to Mars here.
Cover Image: Patrick Langwallner/Unsplash
Writer | CK Yeoh
CK is a writer from Malaysia who is in a serious relationship with music and YouTube. He is also casually dating Kindle and having a fling with podcasts.