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  • The best boat trips in the world

    Halong Bay, photo by Joseph Hunkins

    Plane travel has all but replaced other ways of getting around the world, like trains or boats – why spend days or weeks to cross the ocean when you can do it in less than a day? While flying sure is practical, in some parts of the world boats are the most convenient (and sometimes the only) way to get around a destination.

    The view from the water is often better than the view from the shore, so if you find yourself in a particularly nice place near water, taking a short boat trip can never hurt! Here are some of the best trips in the world, some shorter and some longer, but all of them with some great scenery to offer.

    Halong Bay, Vietnam

    Halong Bay, the Bay of Descending Dragons, is one of the most stunning places in northern Vietnam, and known far and wide for its unique limestone islands. The karst islands look very impressive from the shore, but nothing compares to coming close to them on a boat. There are almost 800 islands in the bay, practically a maze, but the skilled local navigators on their boats know their way around the beaches, islands, and their grottoes.

    Amazon River, Brazil

    Amazon, photo by Nick Jewell

    The Amazon, as one of the longest rivers on the planet, has the potential for some long and satisfying boat trips, but it is equally amenable for short boat journeys that take no more than a few hours.

    The Amazon’s frequently murky waters cross incredibly rich natural areas where you can often glimpse some wildlife, but the highlights of the trips are the small traditional villages on the banks of the river.

    Kerala, India

    Kerala’s backwaters are mazes of canals and villages, abundant vegetation, and a pretty heavy traffic of boats. In Kerala’s backwaters, boats are more often than not the only way to get from one location to another, across shallow lakes and narrow canals fringed by palm trees. You can rent a small wooden boat and explore the backwaters, or take one of the popular eight-hour cruises from Alleppey to Quilon.

    Greek Islands

    Kerala, photo by Hector Garcia

    With as many as 6000 islands and islets, there’s nothing easier than island-hopping in Greece. Only abut 230 of them are inhabited, but not even the uninhabited islands lack pretty scenery.

    The islands in the south are downright tropical in summer, while the northern islands are more temperate, so whatever your preferences concerning island climate and geography, it’s worth hopping between a few Greek islands.

    Venice, Italy

    Exploring Venice’s canals on a vaporetto is one of the essential Venetian travel experiences, and no matter what you might say about the smell or color of canal water, it is the best way to see the beauty of this old city in its full bloom. Palazzos with fancy facades, gracefully curving bridges and stops at various of the city’s landmarks.

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