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3 places to visit before you turn 30

You’ll need buckets of energy to keep up with Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Thailand.

The urge to travel and see all of the world before age catches up, is high on the priority list for many travellers around the world. This urge keeps serious travellers on their toes – for them, a normal working life is just a means to gathering money for the next adventure.

So ye hardy traveller has probably been to more places and experienced the more obscure parts of the world before most other people already have, so some countries will hardly be a surprise. And yet, there are three international destinations that still keep even the toughest visitors coming back again. If you’re going to these places, make sure you are high on energy and enthusiasm – you’re going to need it in:

1 Las Vegas. The land of casinos, gambling and beautiful people promises a high octane adventure from the get go. You’ll need to keep up with the pace of this exciting city, and not just at the casinos. When you’re not trying to double your money, you can head out and explore Las Vegas. Not only can you find really great digs, you can eat world cuisines, visit parks and zoos, go to art galleries, catch up on a new play, see the performance halls and nightclubs, apart from so much more. Plus, the weather is sunny all around the year and there are umpteen transportation facilities.

2 Amsterdam. The phrase ‘Naughty, naughty, you’ll get caughty’ should be taken seriously in Amsterdam, especially if you try to break a local law. If it’s Amsterdam, we’re sure you’re going to explore its famous red light district – but stick to the limits, please. If you take photographs of the red light area, both you and your camera will be marched to the police station. But otherwise, Amsterdam is a really cool place to hang out in. Steeped in art and culture, you can find many artists and poets milling about in cafes (word to the wise: many coffee shops here sell marijuana and let you smoke your own joint in peace). You can also explore the city on bicycles, which every person here seems to do.

3 Thailand. Sure, Thailand has one of the world’s best party places, Bangkok, but it offers so much that makes it completely irresistible to travellers. If you like Thai food but haven’t been to Thailand, you will LOVE Thai food when you’re in Thailand. Just make sure to sample a bit of everything instead of wading into the first thing you find, so that you have enough room for more. Plus, you’re sure to find exotic and friendly company wherever you go, so you’re not likely to be bored if you’re alone. You will also like Thailand’s beaches – strap on your running shoes and go burn some calories, or simply laze around with a good book and a drink. You can also shop for some lovely clothes and curios for home. But the best part about Thailand is, it’s so darn cheap!

Witness first-hand the cultural diversity of South India

South India is a visitors’ paradise, with each of the four Southern states being quite distinct from each other, but unified in many aspects.

A trip all over South India serves to remind the passing tourist about art and culture and how many aspects of our tradition can be perfectly preserved even with the rush of time. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that South Indians really know how to rock tradition and stay rooted, no matter how many Western influences wash over them. This is seen not just in the pride they take in worship and the observance of festivals, but in the way that most South Indians think of cleanliness being next to Godliness and that culture is an important hallmark of civilisation.

There is much to surprise and delight the visitor about South India, and though everything seems the same at first, there are many differences that become obvious over time. But overall, there are many similarities too.

1 Food heaven. Even a simple plate of hot idlis and sambhar-chutney can take you to gastronomic heaven. South India abounds with the most delicious food in this part of the country – from pickles to mains, and from appams to stews, their food has every taste and palate covered. Plus, whatever’s made of rice flour (and there’s lots of it) is easily digestible, so there’s always room for more. Be sure to try beef curry in Kerala, rava dosai in Tamil Nadu and Hyderabadi biryani in Andhra Pradesh.

2 Language. To a person hailing from the rest of India, the South Indian languages – Kannada/Tulu, Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil – may sound almost the same. But there are huge differences between them, right from script to diction to accent. Of them, Tamil has probably all the phonetics and alphabets that the human tongue is capable of pronouncing.

3 Dress. There is not much to distinguish the dress for men and women in South India, because everybody seemingly dresses up the same. There are a few subtle differences as regards length and drape of saris, but that’s about it.

4 Dance and music. The true cultural identity of South India is marked by the four major classical dances practiced here – Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam, Kathakali and Kuchipudi. Many South Indians learn at least one form of classical dance in early life, while also taking music and singing lessons. The distinctive music styles are further emphasised by their use of the violin, mridangam, veena and gottuvadayam.

Be sure to check these out and more – and do tell us what you love about South India and its people.