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Cherry blossoms
Photograph: Yu Kato/Unsplash

The best virtual travel experiences from home

Until it's safe to travel again, satiate your wanderlust with these virtual travel experiences

Dewi Nurjuwita
Cheryl Sekkappan
Written by
Dewi Nurjuwita
&
Cheryl Sekkappan
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We're counting down the days to when our lives can have some semblance of normality again. However, for those itching to travel, the future seems uncertain. Lucky for us, tourism boards from all over the world are offering a host of curated experiences online to bring the beauty of their country to you. From learning about aboriginal culture in Australia to scouting the pyramids of Egypt, here are the best virtual travel experiences you should check out. 

RECOMMENDED: Where the Time Out team wants to go once it's safe to travel again

See Japan's sakuras in full bloom
Photograph: Yu Kato/Unsplash

See Japan's sakuras in full bloom

Haven't had a chance to view pretty pink sakura flowers in Japan yet? While you wait for the day you can see the real thing, your next best bet is a 360 degrees virtual tour. Japanese Weather News site has a beautiful series of videos, which will transport you to some of the best cherry blossom viewing sites in Japan while the flowers are in full bloom. You'll feel as if you're right there at Ueno Onshi Park, Osaka Castle Park, Arashimaya and more locations. 

Stream it here

Swim with wild dolphins
Photograph: Courtnie Tosana/Unsplash

Swim with wild dolphins

From research organisation The Dolphin Swim Club comes a truly calming 360 degree video of 80 wild spinner and bottlenose dolphins in Egypt's red sea. This video took almost a year of preparation and research to capture, and was created as a cruelty-free alternative to assisted therapies with captive dolphins. Whether you're a diver who misses the ocean, or someone who'd never set foot in the sea, the beauty and grace of these sea creatures in crystalline blue waters is sure to brighten your day. 

Stream it here

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Travel across Austria
Photograph: Austria Official Travel Portal

Travel across Austria

Experience the beauty of Austria from your sofa on the country's official travel portal. With its collection of immersive 360 degree videos, trek through the Alpine meadows, mountain forests and glaciers of the Großglockner High Alpine Road; visit the Christmas markets of Inssbruck and zip down thrilling ski slopes on Nordkette Mountain; explore Mozart's very own home in Salzburg; and go behind the scenes at Vienna State Opera. All you need is a desktop or mobile, though a VR headset will give you the best experience. 

Stream it here

Hike Yosemite National park
Photograph: Aniket Deole on Unsplash

Hike Yosemite National park

Get some hiking in without leaving home. You can now explore the majestic Yosemite National Park online. Hike through the park's most stunning natural wonders such as Diving Board, Tuolumne Meadows, the Swinging Bridge, Hetch Hetchy, and Nevada Fall – and find out interesting facts about the park's iconic spots. 

Stream it here

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Gaze at the Northern Lights
Photo: David Becker/Unsplash

Gaze at the Northern Lights

When all seems hopeless, pick yourself up and marvel at the magic of nature's beauty. Explore.org and Polar Bears International are live-streaming the Northern Lights right from your couch. The live cam is planted directly underneath the aurora oval in Churchill, Manitoba, one of the best places on earth to watch the aurora borealis in its full glory.

While it's not as satisfying as seeing the magical phenomenon first hand, at least this gives you some travel inspiration for your next trip – whether it's Iceland, Canada, Sweden, Greenland or New Zealand. And while you're at it, you can also virtually explore Sydney, marvel at Yosemite Falls, or get lost in the controlled chaos of the Shibuya Crossing. And if you're looking for somewhere closer to home, bring the wildlife of Sungei Buloh into your homes through its animal webcams.

Stream it here

Go on an African safari drive
Photograph: andBeyond

Go on an African safari drive

Now, you can explore an African safari game drive, brought to you by luxury travel company andBeyond and wildlife broadcasting experts WildEarth. The two companies have come together to stream twice daily, personalised game drives that you can view from the comfort of your home. Join two live safaris a day, each of which will last approximately three hours. These will be streamed in real-time from two renowned South African game reserves, andBeyond Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve. Take in the sights and sounds of the African wilderness as they unfold.

Stream it here.  

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Experience true love at Taj Mahal
Photograph: EST1897

Experience true love at Taj Mahal

This one's for lovebirds spending a romantic date night at home. Experience the magic of Taj Mahal in the city of Agra through this video tour, all whilst taking in the sights of its iconic white marble and landscaped grounds. The tour starts at the three majestic entrance gates of the complex, and takes you through facts you need to know about the mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the World – including its iconic history. 

Stream it here

Learn about Aboriginal culture down under
Photograph: Ondrej Machart on Unsplash

Learn about Aboriginal culture down under

Educate yourself on Australia's aboriginal culture through Bundyi Cultural Tours, based in the Riverina. Through cultural awareness training sessions via Zoom, you'll learn about the oldest people of the known universe, see native Australian animals, and trace the ancient footsteps of the Wiradjuri people. Check out the team's YouTube channel for informative videos as well. 

Book a session here

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Camp out in Bali
Photograph: Maybritt Devriese on Unsplash

Camp out in Bali

Join camp guru Budi from Capella Hotels as he shares the beautiful story behind the name 'Ubud' and how it captures the place's unique healing nature. Additionally, Capella Ubud also shares their special Jamu recipe, which stems from ancient knowledge that has been passed down through generations. 

Stream it here

 

Unravel hidden secrets in Egypt
Photograph: The Giza Project at Harvard University

Unravel hidden secrets in Egypt

The Egyptian Tourism Board is inviting travellers to delve deep into the 5,000-year-old tomb of Queen Meresankh III. Discover the hidden secrets of the tomb, learn new facts about its architecture. You can even "follow" Queen Meresankh III herself as she gives you a tour of her tomb. 

Stream it here

Keep yourself entertained at home

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