It might be the allure of panning shots, the blissful score accompanying whimsical landscapes or the powerful storytelling. The locations of some movies play the biggest role in our travel itineraries.
When George Clooney stops being the centre of attention in The Descendants, the sun-soaked mountains of Hawaii are responsible for putting you in a dreamy haze. Although the movie attempts to reverse the stereotype that Hawaii is all rainbows and sunshine, this destination is hard to beat if you’re looking for a relaxing visit.
As the drama unfolds in the storyline, the setting becomes that much more beautiful. Beyond the waves and sand lie some stark volcanic islands (with black sand), making a trip to the stand-alone state worthwhile. As much as it is a honeymoon destination, Hawaii is all things friendly and ideal for the surf seeker, kids and solo travellers.
Being resort heavy, Hawaii can be expensive, especially in the state capital of Honolulu. If you venture to Big Island, you can have a bargain break. The food strays from the mass-produced familiarity of American cuisine you’d find in areas like Waikiki.
Swimmers and surfers should head to the eastern beaches.
It’s the twinkling lights that do it. There’s something about the relentless energy of Japan’s capital that makes you feel the blood running through your veins. In Lost in Translation, the theme of loneliness becomes very powerful against the backdrop of cacophony and colour.
Tokyo is a bizarre city. Everything operates at lightning pace and the technology is light years ahead of everywhere else. Its technological powerhouse status is the main draw for visitors seeking to uncover the next trend to make our lives easier and to feel somewhat ‘in the future’. The fashion is insane, but it somehow fits within the city’s overall madness.
Bear in mind Tokyo is a notoriously expensive city. It is not short of food outlets tucked away between the grids of streets. Although they may seem questionable at face value, these eateries are Michelin-style in taste and are chirpy cheap. The elaborate pastries are sinfully good — even if you can’t quite work out what’s in them. Street crossings are an exercise in lifesaving skills, but don’t let that deter you because the scramble of the roads is just a part of the organic experience of the Japanese culture.
GLENORCHY, NEW ZEALAND
If there is one place in this world which stirs an ethereal longing in you, it’s New Zealand. While The Lord of the Rings trilogy has spiked tourism levels with tours tailored to the movies, it’s worth side-stepping the crowds and going at it independently.
When you reach a summit or a point on a rolling hill and just stand there, taking it all in, it is paradise realised. Glenorchy is a low-key village, with oodles of atmosphere and rustic charm.
You wouldn’t want to spend the whole time there. Exploring its vicinity is a must in order to experience the muddy fields, glacial hills and expansive Lake Rere. If you’re into walking for miles and not brushing shoulders with another soul for hours on end, New Zealand is nirvana.
If you need a break from concrete and sound, other than nature’s murmurs, the tingling wilderness will be quite the life changer. Don’t forget that New Zealand is more than just hobbits — so be sure to absorb the nature.