Travel correspondent Lee Siew Hua's top travelogue picks for 2016

Hotel Las Torres Patagonia, set in the Torres del Paine National Park, is a scenic base from which visitors can explore the region, including the Grey Glacier and Lake Toro.
Hotel Las Torres Patagonia, set in the Torres del Paine National Park, is a scenic base from which visitors can explore the region, including the Grey Glacier and Lake Toro. PHOTO: HOTEL LAS TORRES PATAGONIA

Here's an array of exquisite journeys highlighted in The Straits Times in 2016, to inspire globe-trotters planning a new year of excursions far and near.

Discover the world afresh, whether it’s a train trip in the Arctic Circle, a homestay in Mongolia, or playing in the timeless toytown of Legoland in Denmark. 

Travel writer Lee Siew Hua highlights 15 of the year’s top travelogues from Life's archives. 

Here's wishing everyone happy trails and rewarding journeys in the coming new year. 

1. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

With windswept pinnacles and glaciers clustered in the far south of Latin America, wild Patagonia is a hyper-real journey to the rim of the world.

Read more.

2. Zambia


A microlight flight over Victoria Falls affords a 360-degree view of the landscape from 250m in the sky. PHOTO: BATOKA SKY

The wildest dreams come alive in Zambia, whether it’s riding a microlight through the mist of Victoria Falls or taking a cheetah for a walk.

Read more.

3. Iran


The grand Naqsh-e Jahan Square (above) in Isfahan, a Unesco-listed site with mosques, a palace and bazaar. PHOTO: CALVIN CHEUNG

Iran is safe and super-friendly, and rewards the wanderer with hidden gardens, echoes of great civilisations past and a stylish lifestyle. With Iran fast opening up, this is the best time to visit.

Read more here and here.

4. Fiji


Kama Beach in Fiji. PHOTO: INTERCONTINENTAL FIJI GOLF RESORT & SPA

In the heart of the less-explored South Pacific, frangipani-scented Fiji is a paradise for sea-lovers.

Read more.

5. Northern Hokkaido, Japan


Sunset off Rishiri Island. PHOTO: RISHIRIFUJI TOWN TOURISM BUREAU

At the northernmost tip of Japan, travellers revel in the uni-rich shores and still sense the intrigue of the Cold War.

Read more.

6. Irrawaddy river cruise, Myanmar


One of Bagan's more than 2,000 temples and pagodas. PHOTO: LEE JIAN XUAN

Cruise luxuriously down the mighty Irrawaddy River to experience Myanmar’s storied past and its panoramic world.

Read more.

7. Mongolia


Gers set up on a plain in Mongolia. PHOTO: LESLIE KOH

Staying in a round, warm tent amid nomads is a wonderful way to relish life in the middle of nowhere.

Read more.

8. Legoland, Denmark


A Lego sculpture of a dragon, complete with sound effects, in the lobby of Hotel Legoland in Billund. PHOTO: CLARA CHOW

Whoosh, whoosh! Battle baddies at the new Ninjago World in Legoland - and take a breather in Lego's tranquil hometown of Billund.

Read more.

9. Amritsar, India


Amritsar's Golden Temple, a central religious place for Sikhs. PHOTO: CLARA LOCK

In northern India, step into the shimmering Golden Temple and dance at the India-Pakistan border.

Read more.

10. Hoi An, Vietnam


Hoi An Ancient Town - a Unesco World Heritage site - epitomises the old Vietnam. PHOTO: DENISE LIM

The piquant dish of cao lau rice noodles embodies the many cultural layers of Hoi An, an old-world Vietnamese town.

Read more.

11. Arctic Circle, Norway & Sweden


The magnificent view from high above the Trollfjord. PHOTO: EDWARD J. TAYLOR

A journey by train and ship deep into the Arctic Circle, a world of ice and isolated towns, laced with dazzling Northern Lights. 

Read more.

12. Darien Gap, Colombia 


Capurgana in Colombia has an edgy charm with brightly painted bars for adventurous tourists. PHOTO: MARTIN FLETCHER

The wilderness of the Darien Gap, an isolated isthmus between Colombia and Panama, is newly open to travellers. Marxist guerillas have signed a peace pact and are leaving this stronghold.

Read more.

13. Washington, DC, United States


The National Mall in Washington, DC. PHOTO: ROB SCHENK

Washington may be a highly political city but it’s also a high-energy haven for kids. Let them turn into little astronauts or tepee-dwellers in museums, run free among monuments, or be treated like tiny royals in hotels.

Read more.

14. Sri Lanka


The shores of Lake Koggala in Sri Lanka. PHOTO: LEE SIEW HUA

Savour the imagined lifestyle of colonial British tea-planters in the hill country, watch whales in the Indian Ocean, or linger at a hidden lake at three luxe resorts in Sri Lanka.

Read more.

15. Bordeaux, France


Chateau La Lagune in Haut-Medoc, a winery and third-growth Grand Cru Classe producer. PHOTO: CHATEAU LA LAGUNE

Enjoy the plush chateau life in Bordeaux, which has been making wine since Roman times.

Read more.