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Tales by Light documentary
Photograph: Tales by Light documentary still courtesy Untitled Film Works

The best travel shows to watch online right now

Get inspired for your post-pandemic travels

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Can’t wait to hop back on a plane and take a trip across the globe? We hear you! Well, now that the vaccine has begun to roll out, the possibility of going on holiday or travelling doesn't seem too far-fetched anymore. And since it’s never too early to start planning, we’ve compiled some of the best travel shows to inspire your next journey, plus it may also help to keep you sane while staying home. So, buckle up and enjoy our flight of remedies for your quarantine blues. – Elaine Wong

RECOMMENDED: For more immersive experiences, check out these live webcams of tourist hotspots and relaxing online streams of aquariums and museums to satisfy your wanderlust for now.

The best travel shows to watch online right now

Magical Andes

Capturing the stunning natural beauty of the Andes mountain range, Magical Andes (2019-21) is a five-episode documentary series that will take your breath away. Let your mind escape the concrete jungle of Hong Kong by taking in South America’s warm Caribbean waters, vast deserts, towering mountains, and sparkling glaciers that stretch across the continent. From Argentina to Colombia, the journey through the Andes will lead you to people that live in and around the region, and you’ll get to listen to the unique stories of how different communities connect to the mountains too.

Where to watch: Magical Andes is exclusively available on Netflix.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Possibly one of the most influential chefs of his time, the late Anthony Bourdain was more than a culinary connoisseur. His people-centric approach to food, travel and the cultures within has inspired many, even today. Bourdain’s final work, Parts Unknown (2013-18), takes us with him as he travels to nearly 100 cities around the world over the 12 seasons of the show, starting from Myanmar to metropolises like Las Vegas, London, and Shanghai, as well as lesser-seen regions such as Libya, Senegal, Bhutan, and more. If you’re a keen explorer of the human condition, as well as international cuisine and culture, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown will be the perfect series for you to binge on.

Where to watch: Programme highlights are available on Parts Unknown’s official website. You can also toggle your VPN to purchase the full series on YouTube TV, iTunes or Amazon Prime Video.

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Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure

Join one of Britain’s best-loved actresses, Joanna Lumley, as she sets out on a journey of 6,400 miles aboard the Trans-Siberian Express, the longest railway line in the world. Her trip begins in Hong Kong, where she had spent a few years as a child, before she heads north to Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China and stops by Mongolia to meet Mongolian nomads and visit the Genghis Khan monument. In the final episode, Lumley treks through Siberia, dropping by one of the world’s deepest lakes, Lake Baikal, and concludes her journey in Moscow.

Where to watch: Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure (2015), as well as her journeys to Japan (2016) and the Silk Road (2018), are all available on Netflix.

Twogether

Korean and Taiwanese heartthrobs Lee Seung-gi and Jasper Liu give us a bromance we can't stop watching. Although they don’t speak each other’s language, the duo has excellent chemistry (not to mention the eye candy!) as they travel to six cities in Indonesia, Thailand, and Nepal to meet their fans. During the journey, they complete missions together while bonding with locals and experiencing different cultures.

Where to watch: Twogether (2020) is exclusively available on Netflix.

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Street Food

This is another one for the foodies. But be warned, you shouldn't watch this on an empty stomach! The two seasons of Street Food (2019-20) first feature Asia, followed by Latin America. While Hong Kong has its own fair share of street food, sidewalk delicacies are no exclusive affair, as you’ll see in this series. Whether it’s Michelin-star worthy omelettes from Thailand or soy-marinated crabs from Korea; hearty feijoadas from Brazil, or buñuelos from Bolivia, this programme showcases some of the best street food from the two continents and delves into the stories of its creators.

Where to watch: You can stream both Street Food: Asia and Street Food: Latin America on Netflix.

Tales by Light

Featuring professional photographers and filmmakers who travel the world with the goal of creating powerful images of the Earth, Tales by Light (2015-18) presents more than just beautiful visuals of stunning scenery. It also explores culture, heritage, and the animal kingdom from these scenes while providing insights into our planet. From festivals and extreme sports to volcanoes and wildlife, prepare to be wowed by vibrant scenes of our planet’s ecosystem and its inhabitants around the globe.

Where to watch: All three seasons of Tales by Light are available on Netflix.

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Long Way Up

After the success of Long Way Round (2004) and Long Way Down (2007), actor Ewan McGregor and TV presenter Charley Boorman are back with more banter in Long Way Up (2020), as they make their way up from South America to the East Coast of the US on custom Harley-Davidson motorcycles. If you’re a fan of adventure and motorcycling, this series is not to be missed.

Where to watch: Long Way Up and its prequels are exclusively available on Apple TV+.

Big Big World

Hong Kong-produced Big Big World (2013-15) is a series produced and presented by reporters and anchors from TVB’s news division. Over the three seasons, the team visits places like Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Gibraltar, Catalonia, and beyond. Apart from sightseeing and connecting with the locals, the show also examines the social problems of each country, encouraging the audience to reflect on Hong Kong’s issues with a broader mindset. Unlike typical travel shows which feature actors and celebrities, Big Big World’s use of news presenters presents a different perspective that is more enlightening for many viewers, especially due to the main host Anthony Fong’s witty humour and lively narration. The show is in Cantonese, so those who understand, or would like to improve their language skills, will definitely benefit from Fong’s eloquent script and jokes.

Where to watch: Seasons two and three of Big Big World are available on TVB USA’s official YouTube channel. You can also rewatch all three seasons with a MyTV Super membership.

For more things to watch, check out the below.

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