The Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives all over the globe, including ours and millions of people wishing to travel and visit iconic travel locations and wonderful destinations.
While the pandemic definitely had the most devastating impact on informal economies (particularly “no work, no pay” jobs and hand-to-mouth income brackets), the global aviation and tourism industry has also taken the economic brunt.
To get us through our collective travel deprivation despair, here’s some iconic travel locations (some quite obvious and some less known) you might want to add to your post-pandemic “revenge travel” bucket list (or even “religious places to visit”, as it turns out) once we take to the skies as borders reopen and the world is safe again.
The most iconic monument of Hyderabad in Andra Pradesh (south India), Charminar is said to have been built between 1589 to 1592 BC (dates are not still debatable). It was supposed to be a monument to commemorate the founding of a new capital and the end of a plague. Charminar was commissioned by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th ruler of the Golconda Sultanate. Learn more about Chaminar at Wikipedia.
Exploring Hyderabad: Charminar and Mecca Masjid
Beside Charminar is the Mecca Masjid (Makkah Masjid), one of the oldest mosques in India. It is called Mecca Masjid as Qutb Shah ordered the soil from Mecca to be made into bricks that were used in building the Masjid. Learn more about Mecca Masjid at Wikipedia.
Reminder: Women going inside the Charminar are not permitted alone, for some reasons I did not understand, nor explained. My CouchSurfing host Bhavesh for my Hyderabad/Secunderabad trip also was not able to explain. However, a dark secret was shared while we were on top: it’s a suicidal area, much like the famous bridges where people jump! Scary! This is also why visitors were limited to only the “first landing” area of the Charminar, which by the way is about six-floors high! So get ready! (I wasn’t as I was still carrying my weekender pack with additional sarees I just bought!)
Charminar: View from the top
The view from the top of Charminar lets you see the other major landmarks of Hyderabad like the High Court and Patel Market (garments and pearls) on one side, Laad Bazaar (bangles market) on another, then the Makkah Masjid area, and a former palace turned into a college and hospital. Hyderabad, actually, is called the City of Palaces, among its other monikers!
Day 4: Bandar Seri Begawan walkabout and Kampong Ayer actual exploration (Part 1) Warning: You are about to have a Masjid overload
I had a great night with Zaza and her friends Narissa and Amal. There’s so many things I wish to share with you for my couchsurfing experience but that would have to wait a little while longer. Now, I wish to take you on a walking tour of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Negara Brunei Darussalam. The day began by Zaza, after checking her young ones’ class attendance, taking me around the city center and showing me the places where I might want to visit. We agreed to meet after my walkabout, at around 2pm in Coffee Bean. I won’t have a way to contact her directly since I did not get a Bruneian SIM card. So, with that settled and her dropping me off at the SOAS Mosque, my six-hour walkabout began.
On the way back from Sapi Island, Zuldee has already called me to say that his meeting is finished and that he’ll wait for me by the entrance of Jesselton Point. He has generously offered to take me around Kota Kinabalu City to see the sights that I wanted to see.