Book Review: Amazing Places – Sunday Times Travel Magazine

The image on the cover immediately grabbed my attention. Exotic, mysterious, adventurous – it hinted at all the things travel could be, and I couldn’t resist.

Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Amazing Places sets out to highlight 200 of the world’s most extraordinary destinations – not an easy feat, I would imagine. How do you pick just 200?

They did an admirable job. The book is filled with gorgeous photos that set my itchy travel feet to aching. Granted, I didn’t learn anything new, since almost everything mentioned in this book has featured on similar lists many times before. But let’s face it: the best places will always head up the top of any list of this sort anyway.

Photography is the main focus of this book and it would make a great addition to any armchair traveller’s coffee table collection. Although most of the images are gorgeous, and I could see that the editors tried to pick unusual shots of all these well-known places, I did think that there were a few pictures that didn’t do their destinations justice. The image they chose for Cape Town, for example, was not the one I would have picked and there are a number of island destinations that could have been anywhere in the world, as long as it had blue ocean and white sandy beaches.

Something that really annoyed me, however, was the book’s clear focus on a British reader. Their tips often tends towards pointing out that it is summer on the other side of the world “in our winter”, or that a destination is just a quick 3-hour flight “from home”. As someone who is based in South Africa, that got annoying real fast and I have to wonder why they didn’t keep a global audience in mind.

In this time of Covid-19 when we’re all locked into our homes, books like these keep the wanderlust at bay. It sparks my imagination and gives me something to plan and look forward to when some semblance of normal has returned. But for now, I will live vicariously through the pictures on these pages.

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