The Best Slow Travel Journeys

Top picks for the world’s best journeys — for those not in a hurry.
 

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TRAMP THE MILFORD TRACK, NEW ZEALAND

The 53.5km Milford Track on New Zealand’s mountainous South Island is regarded as one of the finest walking trails in the world. It’s a four-day adventure that leads from Lake Te Anau up through forests to Mackinnon Pass; beyond you can make a side-trip to the country’s highest waterfall, Sutherland Falls, then follow a wilderness river north to the edge of the spectacular fjord called Milford Sound. The number of daily walkers allowed on this magnificent trail is limited from late October to April, so book well ahead if you’re visiting the Land of the Rings at this time.

CAMEL INTO THE SAHARA, MOROCCO

Camel jockeys head to the village of Merzouga in Morocco for an opportunity to ride one of the ill-tempered beasts of burden into a part of the Sahara that’s drifted over from Algeria. The excursion involves a sure-footed plod across the Erg Chebbi — erg is an Arabic term for one of the massive sand dunes that the Sahara specialises in.

Camel rides are normally arranged around dawn and dusk so that you can appreciate the changing colours of this immense sandscape. But you can also take longer treks that include camping.

DOG SLED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

What could be more relaxing than having six Siberian huskies pull you on a sled along back-country trails through a soft blanket of snow? Nothing, according to the numerous outfits that organise dog-sledding excursions in the wilds of British Columbia, although the huskies may disagree. Not only do you avoid the whine of a snowmobile or the effort required to point those pesky skis in the right direction, but you also get to learn interesting aspects of this peaceful activity, such as how to mush a team of hard-working canines.

MOPED ALONG THE RIVIERA, FRANCE

The Riviera is a gorgeous section of the Côte d’Azur coastline, stretching from Toulon in the south of France almost all the way to the Italian border. Starting in the principality of Monaco, hire yourself a moped or scooter, rev up that powerful 50cc engine, then meander your way along the coast to glamour-conscious Nice and Cannes, noting how many beautiful people you pass along the way. Then motor west away from the Riviera towards Marseilles’ rough charm and Nîmes’ Roman amphitheatre.

SLOW BOAT DOWN THE MEKONG, LAOS

The Mekong doglegs through Laos on its way south into Cambodia and Vietnam. You can catch basic river ferries at a number of places along its twisting length and drift casually down this mighty watercourse. A favourite stretch for locals and travellers is the super-busy section between the trading town of Huay Xai and the French colonial grandeur of Luang Prabang. You could cut the time spent on the river from two days to as little as six hours by catching one of the héua wái (speedboats), but the point of this trip is to slow down, not speed up.
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