Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Draped across the Indian Ocean like a chain of white gold, the Maldives is a series of 1192 islands — 200 of which are occupied by residents, over-water resorts and boutique hotels. The Maldives boasts easily accessible coral reefs, and the islands host thousands of fish, swimming amid 250 types of brightly hued undersea corals.
As the newly vaccinated start to contemplate a world without (as many) restrictions, travel inevitably springs to mind. Here are some destinations to consider for exploration. With each, borders are welcoming visitors, public transportation is operational, and tourist attractions are open (as of publication). And it’s easy to fly out of SEA Airport.
Qatar Airways now flies out of SEA Airport. Wherever you choose to fly, our onboard experience maintains the highest standards of hospitality and hygiene while ensuring your safety and comfort.
Consider upgrading to a seat area with more space and in-flight safety, such as Qatar Airways' Qsuite, which has recline-flat beds inside a private roomette. All flights will require a stopover in Doha. Both the airline and airport have received the COVID-19 Safety 5-star rating from Skytrax. This rating measures cleaning and disinfection.
Those looking for an aquatic-centric vacation or a honeymoon beneath blue skies.
The archipelago is the destination vacation of a lifetime for water-lovers, with opportunities ranging from mellow canoe paddles to kite sailing and Jet Skis. Ensure your smartphone has plenty of space for photos before arriving — inter-island seaplanes and speedboats offer beautiful views en route.
Divers and snorkelers may be rewarded with views of the ocean's superstars — manta rays and whale sharks — attracted by the nutrients flowing through the Maldives' indigo waters.
Johnson recommends visiting the Blue Mosque at sunrise and catching Istanbul's sunset from a rooftop bar. Find one with views of the Bosporus, the narrow strait dividing the European and Asian continents, and the Bosporus bridge, to make the most of this intercontinental city.
Explore the city's art galleries and take shopping to a whole new level. There are 4,000 shops in the Grand Bazaar, which Johnson recommends as "one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world." A wide variety of museums dot the city as well, including those dedicated to both the expected (art, archaeology, photography) and less-expected (toys, kites, carpets).
What to do:
Visitors who love historical and religious sites, along with spa time and shopping. Oh, and foodies, too. "Meze platters and Turkish breakfast are healthy, fresh and delicious," Johnson says. "You also have to stop by a baklava store and try dozens of different kinds of baklava."
As the capital of the Eastern Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Istanbul is packed full of UNESCO heritage sites, museums, palaces, sacred mosques and churches.
"I've traveled the globe, and Istanbul still stands as my favorite city in the world," says Seattle-area travel photographer Kelsey Johnson, who visited the city in September 2019 and stayed near Taksim Square, a popular shopping district on Istanbul's European side.
Cairo's street marketplaces are like no other. Bustling bazaars such as Khan el-Khalili are just the place to pick up a cartouche hand-engraved with your name in ancient Egyptian.
Explore the iconic pyramids just outside the city limits, and head to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities to appreciate ancient tablets, awe-inspiring statues and fascinating everyday items. Foodies will want to sample street food, both well-known (falafel) and less-well-known (koshari, a savory mix of lentils, pasta and rice). At sunset, set sail on a Nile River cruise on a yacht or felucca, a traditional wooden sailboat.
Anyone enchanted by history and mystery.
The capital of Egypt, this timeless destination is a cultural and historical treasure and home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World — the Great Pyramid of Giza — as well as the graceful Nile River.
Ethiopia offers eight UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites, including medieval cave churches and ancient fortified towns.
Shop at one of Africa's largest open-air markets, Addis Mercato, and meet one of the world's earliest hominids, Lucy, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. Seek out the city's best bean amid a bustling coffee scene with sleek cafes and cozy parlors. If you're lucky, you'll happen upon an opportunity to participate in a long, luscious Ethiopian coffee ceremony. In the evening, enjoy delicious Ethiopian injera bread and stews alongside a cultural performance.
What to do:
The city and environs offer an excellent destination for avid travelers ready to expand their horizons.
Seattle takes its coffee seriously — so there's nowhere better for a java-lover to go than Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This grand city offers historic cathedrals, lively markets, and a museum with a VIP resident.
Take a tour at your speed — whether by bicycle, ATV, boat, zip line or river raft — of Krabi's wild side.
Visitors fly in from around the world for the region's stunning diversity of active adventures. Scale rugged limestone formations overlooking pale beaches with rock climbing classes and trips. Snorkel or scuba dive to explore the area’s underwater treasures (such as tropical fish and bioluminescent plankton). Or just spend time on one of Krabi’s palm tree-dotted beaches, surrounded by warm water. That's OK, too.
Those seeking a vacation in the sun, with plenty of activities to choose from.
On Thailand's west coast, the resort town of Krabi dwells almost 500 miles south of crowded Bangkok. The city acts as a springboard for the surrounding province, offering lush greenery of national parklands, bright turquoise waters, stunning limestone formations, 150 islands, and therapeutic hot-spring waterfalls.
See the Pyramids at night.
Review the U.S. Department of State's most recent travel pages to find specifics about your destination, including documents, insurance, re-entry requirements and travel advisories. Also, ensure you understand any local travel restrictions, which could change rapidly.
Awe-inspiring historical monuments.
Fascinating cultural experiences.
What to consider when choosing a destination
A coffee ceremony is a ritualized form of making and drinking coffee. The coffee ceremony was first practiced by the southwestern Ethiopian people.
What is an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony?
See Thailand from above.
"I've traveled the globe, and Istanbul still stands as my favorite city in the world," says Seattle-area travel photographer Kelsey Johnson, who visited the city in September 2019, and stayed near Taksim Square, a popular shopping district on Istanbul's European side.