Our travel plans might currently be on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still dream of exotic destinations, start thinking of the next trip we’ll take once we can all gather again, or just indulge in some serious armchair travel. 

Amid the new coronavirus outbreak, a number of institutions, museums, public places, parks and landmarks have in fact “opened their doors” online, be it through live-streaming, soundscapes or virtual experiences, allowing viewers to be whisked away from the comfort of their sofas. 

Here are five of the best opportunities to explore the world in the time of coronavirus. 

Machu Picchu

Climb Machu Picchu

Always wanted to see the ancient Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru? Well, now you can, by simply taking a virtual tour of it. 

Go on a South African safari

From Sabi Sands to Kruger National Park, Balule Nature Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park, a number of  wildlife reserves in South Africa are currently streaming live footage of their sites, which you can catch on  Africam and Explore.org. Feel like a sunrise or sunset safari (South African time)? Try safariLive.

The Louvre

Take a tour of the Louvre 

One of the world’s most visited museums, the Louvre is currently offering virtual tours of some of its rooms and galleries, including those hosting its striking collection of  its Egyptian antiquities.

History buffs looking for a daily dose of top-notch culture might also want to check out Google Arts & Culture, which teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring us onto virtual tours and through online exhibits. Among the participating organisations are the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Guggenheim in New York City. 

Northern Lights

Catch the Northern Lights 

Formally known as aurora borealis, the Northern Lights are one of those out-of-this-world natural events that should be on everyone’s bucket list.  A live stream camera in Utsjoki, Finland, where the majestic phenomenon is visible 200 nights a year on clear nights, is now making it possible for anyone and everyone to partake in it.

Explore.org and Polar Bears International also offer a continued live stream of the aurora borealis through cameras located at the Churchill Northern Studies Center in Manitoba, Canada. If you’re in need of some truly amazing meditative content, it doesn’t get better than this. 

Opera performance

Watch an opera performance 

Need a break from Netflix? The Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall has made all of its concerts and films available for free. In the UK, The National Theater at Home is uploading full-length productions on its YouTube channel every Thursday, while the Royal Opera House YouTube channel has an excellent selection of operas and ballets to choose from.

The Met is putting on nightly opera streams, which are only available until 3.30 pm the next day, making it somewhat of a serious appointment viewing — and all the more real because of that. Lastly, you can stream Broadway shows through Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and other streaming services, or check out BroadwayHD, a special streaming service that brings you some of the greatest hits of all times. It’s USD8.99/month, but the first trial month is free. 

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