By Derek Green
Years ago I discovered an infinitely suave singer songwriter named Dave Graney, and was enjoying his album ‘The Soft ’n’ Sexy Sound’ so much that I was prompted to investigate his back-ography, as you do, and noticed he had an album called ‘You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel.’
I never listened to the album, but as a travel writer, this quirky title stuck in my head for later use, and resurfaced recently as I started to think of a travel article idea for this edition which might be appropriate, given we can’t actually go anywhere. I recently bought a 360° camera for a project which has just sat on my filing cabinet at home gathering dust, but while we’re waiting for this all to blow over I did some research on how people have used these devices, hoping for a few tips. What I did uncover was the wonderful world of virtual tours – produced with 360° images, 3D models, and video – all possible to participate in without having to leave your bedroom. I’ve compiled my favourites here for you to explore and enjoy.
Mont St Michel
This fortified castle just off the coast of Normandy in France is a sight to behold. There are two options, a VR tour and an educational 3D model which explains some of the history of the island and it’s buildings.
Uttar Pradesh, India
Another place high on my “go to” list, explore both the interior and the grounds of this opulent palace.
New York City, USA
High Line Park
A decommissioned elevated railway which runs for 2.33 kms along the Chelsea neighbourhood, punctuated by art, gardens and views of the city and river.
No need to bust a lung hiking for four days at high altitude through the Andes. You can explore the Incan Empire’s greatest achievement with just one finger.
Spend 10 minutes soaking up this fabulous collection of villages, trails and ledges as you wander past vineyards, cafes and fishing boats.
The Lost City of Petra
This tour of the ‘The Ancient Rose City’ takes you into all the nooks an crannies, allowing you to pause the clip and look around before you move on from each scene. Switch to full screen for the full experience.
The Flåm Railway
Rated one of the world’s great train journeys, this 40 minute, 20km journey between Mydral and Flåm passes waterfalls and 500 year old churches as a 360° video trip of a lifetime. A lovely, flighty soundtrack accompanies the journey.
Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Kohunlich Mayan Ruins
A trip to Yucatán Peninsula typically involves sun, sand and surf, but a few hours either west or south can deliver you into the jungle, wandering around all that remains of the Mayan Empire. Kohunlich has a reputation as being the best, and now you can see it without the bumpy 5 hour drive from your poolside.
Swimming with Sharks
Ever wanted to come face to face with a school of sharks? Me either, but this interactive, 360° video makes it possible.
All the Disney rides in 360 video, including my favourite, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – queues and all!
London, United Kingdom
Skip from room to majestic room in a world that was for many years hidden from public view. Don’t trip over the corgis!
Get up close and personal with the armies of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The load time is worth the wait.
ORBIT AROUND EARTH
International Space Station
The only way any of us are ever going to get a space tour!