Mandalapa's Excursions

Travel experiences, itineraries, tips, rants and more!

Currently in: New York | Miles traveled: 450,000 miles | Countries Visited: 27

8 places to see in 2013


With spring only a month away, If you’ve been still thinking about where you might want to spend your vacation this year, don’t make any plans until you’ve read this list. Here is a list of 8 places to see in 2013.


Head to Alaska during early spring and catch the dazzling northern lights also called the Aurora Borealis. These are spectacular light effects caused by the charged particles from the sun hitting our atmosphere and exciting the nitrogen and oxygen atoms and causing it to emit a green light. It is just like neon light.


Northern Lights Alaska - Credit Joshua Strang

Northern Lights Alaska – Credit Joshua Strang

If you are adventurous, you can always try the Iditarod Trail. It is a 1,150 mile trail from north of Seward to Iditarod and then to Nome. Did I say, it’s a dog sled trail and starts in March? So hurry up to watch it at least!

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland – elevation around 900 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet).

Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Climbers take an average of week to reach the summit and back to their bases. If you are not a hiker you can always take the safari and check out some amazing wildlife.

Kilimanjaro Mountain, Tanzania, Africa

Kilimanjaro Mountain, Tanzania, Africa


Ever since I watched the episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond rent mopeds and ride from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, I fell in love with the country. The rainforest, beautiful beaches, halong bay are more than enough reasons to go there.

Vietnam has two World Natural Heritage Sites – Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – and six biosphere reserves, including Can Gio Mangrove Forest, Cat Tien, Cat Ba, Kien Giang, the Red River Delta, and Western Nghe An.

Vietnam Bangioc Park -

Vietnam Bangioc Park –


Peru is just an amazing country with different ecosystems from mountains, desert, Amazon rain forest to wetlands. It has so much history and historical sites. Machu Picchu is just one of the historical sites. Nazca lines are overrated and avoid if possible. Ballestas Islands are probably one of the best places I have seen and it’s a mini Galapagos Islands. When you are there, don’t forget to sample some Ceviche and a glass of Pisco sour.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru


Slovakia has galvanised to form one of the continent’s fastest-growing economies, joined the EU and ranks right up there in Google searches for bargain ski packages and stag weekends. Now the tourism industry is keen to distance the nation from being all cheap pistes and piss-ups. The image overhaul has been overdue but it’s here, and in time for the inevitable party in 2013.


Beautiful Never Ending Fields Zilina Region Slovakia

Milford Sound, New Zealand

There are few places in the world that is straight from imagination land and this is one such place. Rudyard Kipling called this place the ‘eight wonder of the world’. It is a fusion of amazing natural features with picturesque scenery. This sound was carved during the ice ages by glaciers. The fiord’s cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards, some as high as 1000 meters.

With 182 days of rain every year, Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in New Zealand however the rain creates stunning treats for visitors with dozens of temporary waterfalls created both at Milford Sound and along the Milford Road.

Mitre Peak Reflection, Milford Sound

Mitre Peak Reflection, Milford Sound

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is quickly gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s must-see destinations, with its small town charm, trendy bars and restaurants, fabulous food, great nightlife, fantastic shopping, numerous museums, and other attractions including the diverse and interesting exhibitions and festivals organized there every year.

Brussels is also becoming known as a mecca of style, art, and design. While attracting more and more big names in international fashion to its growing shopping districts, home-grown Belgian designers are rapidly gaining global notoriety. The streets of Brussels feature art and architecture created from an unmistakably Belgian point of view that cannot be replicated. This beautiful city is a center for fashion, art, and Belgian culture.

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium - Credit:wallpaperwiki

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium – Credit:wallpaperwiki


Recently, I have been hearing a lot of good things about Bhutan. This tiny country in the Himalayas has become a model for sustainable travel. Visitors famously have to pay a minimum of US$200 per day, making it one of the world’s most expensive countries to visit, but this fee is all-inclusive, you don’t have to travel in a group and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won’t find in Bhutan is backpacker-style independent travel.

Tigers Nest Monestery, Bhutan - credit:

Tigers Nest Monestery, Bhutan – credit:

These are just a sample of places to see in 2013. There are so many places to see in this planet and so little time and money. If you have any more to add to this list, please let me know or leave a comment below!

If you liked this post, check out 15 places to see before you die.


    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      Eduardo, Australia is awesome. I was torn over australia or NZ and I had to go with NZ. Australia is definitely the 9th place to see in 2013.

  1. Harris G

    I would like to add Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Rio, Cape Town, Moscow, Adelide in the list. These are some amazing cities.

    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      Thanks Harris!, That is a great list. But would like to point out that most of them are just big cities.

    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      I have been to Alaska, Peru and Belgium. Just booked tickets to climb kilimanjaro soon!

  2. Anon

    Yay! Thumbs up for Brussels,Belgium!
    I didn’t know Brussels had such a good reputation :o
    Your blogs are really interesting!
    -greetings from Belgium, Antwerp (also a wonderful city!)

    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      Thank you!. Brussels is amazing. One of the best european cities I have visited.

  3. Brian

    I know you still love #BBN!!! You should make a trip back down to enjoy the Keeneland and some moonshine

    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      Brian! how are you man? Good to see you back in the blogosphere. Keep updating uksportsinfo man.

    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      Peru is one of my favorite south american destination. It has everything from rainforest, desert, mountains, oceans…it’s a continent in itself.


So, what do you think ?