07Modern transport has certainly made it easier to globetrot these days. Here’s an idea: instead of focusing on just one city and one country, you can double the fun by visiting two cities, and two countries on the same trip.
It’s perfectly doable especially when you’re visiting bordering nations.
All one has to do is hop on a train, take the bus or short flight in order to be able to explore two cities for the price of one (well almost, if you take into consideration long-haul airfare). We look at great cities you can club together on your next adventure.
London, Britain + Paris, France
As one of the world’s most visited capitals, London is steeped in both modernity and history.
The city’s striking architectural grandeur – from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace – is impossible to resist.
Then there’s a string of lovely museums and galleries to explore and many pie and mash shops to visit too.
Although it can be hard to tear away from all that English charm, the wonders of Paris will beckon, and the underwater train ride is pretty hassle-free. The Eurostar train connects travellers from city to city in just 2.5 hours.
The City of Light is, of course, famous for its Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre-Dame Cathedral.
But for foodies, perhaps the thought of savouring croissants, macarons and eclairs in a quaint Parisian cafe would be enough to compel the journey across the English Channel? Mettre du piment dans sa vie we say!
Berlin, Germany + Warsaw, Poland
History is literally tangible in Berlin. Formerly split in two, the capital of Germany today is home to historic sights such as the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Charlottenburg Palace and of course, the Berlin Wall. The city also hosts a great party scene at its many basement clubs and beer gardens.
After spending a few days exploring Berlin, take a train to Poland’s capital. The journey will set you back six hours, so you might want to consider flying home from Warsaw. Alternatively, a flight between the cities takes about 1.5 hours.
Like Berlin, Warsaw also bears a turbulent past. Despite being heavily bombarded during World War II, it has been carefully reconstructed to reflect its former glory.
Top sights include the Royal Castle, Wilanów Palace, Warsaw Rising Museum and Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Vienna, Austria + Budapest, Hungary
It takes less than three hours to travel between Vienna and Budapest by train. On top of that, trains leave regularly throughout the day – making the commute between destinations extremely easy.
A trip to the capital of Austria can be regarded as a pilgrimage of sorts for classical music lovers, for it is home to Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Brahms.
Today, the city is still peppered with many performance halls. Meanwhile, museums and palaces galore imbue plenty of culture.
As for Budapest, the city has an abundance of architectural splendours and thermal spas. Some iconic sights include the Great Synagogue, St Stephen Basilica and Buda Castle. Don’t forget your German phrasebook to get by in both countries.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam + Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Brace yourself for a cacophony of sights and sounds in Vietnam’s capital.
A sense of vitality runs through the street stalls and markets that abound in this city. The famed Notre Dame Cathedral and nearby Reunification Palace breathe of history. Elsewhere, pagodas provide respite from the city’s high energy.
Once you’re done exploring here, travel to Phnom Penh by bus, a journey that lasts about six hours. Alternatively, you can catch a flight, or more leisurely cruise.
Although often overshadowed by Siem Reap, Phnom Penh holds its own with attractions such as the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – a horrific, sombre reminder of the atrocities that once plagued the land.
For the shopaholics, the markets in Phnom Penh are not to be missed.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates + Muscat, Oman
Luxurious shopping and a skyscraper-filled skyline are synonymous with Dubai.
Here’s where you can gawk at the cityscape from on top the Burj Khalifa, tour the Al Fahidi Historic District and shop at Madinat Jumeirah.
After dark, the city beckons with its shisha lounges and live music venues. It’s about a five-hour drive from Dubai to Muscat. But for upmarket travellers, taking a flight is the best option.
In contrast to the ultramodern vibe of the UAE capital, Muscat veers toward an elegant whimsy. There are many buildings here which incorporate more traditional elements.
Top sights include the Grand Mosque, Mutrah Souq and Sultan’s Palace. What currency? Dirhams (AED) are widely accepted in Oman, but just to be sure, take some US dollars with you too!