Expatriates around the world have a ton of fun and interesting touring options at their disposal. Unfortunately, our clients always tell us that although they now live in outstanding places with wonderful sites to see they just don’t have the disposable time to enjoy them. We like to encourage our clients to keep working hard in their jobs, but also try to take advantage of their surroundings.
Many expats only live in their current cities for a few years — some return back to their home countries while others ship out to other exciting places. It’s so important to find some “me time” and go explore. Whether it’s a famous art museum, a historical landmark or a natural wonder of the world, expats are only a stone’s throw from some of the most impressive tourism hotspots on the globe. We came up with a list of some of the best places to visit based on where some of our Expatriate Tax Returns clients are living (and some help from Yahoo Travel, Lonely Planet and Time Out. Do you like our list? What did we miss? Let us know your favorite place to visit (or take your friends and family when they come to visit you) and we’ll add it to our list for a future blog post.
Paris, France: Explore the Musee D’orsay – Housed under the soaring roof of one of Paris’s grand old Beaux Art railway stations, the recently renovated galleries of the Musée d’Orsay contain the world’s largest collection of Impressionist masterpieces by the likes of Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Degas, Gaugin, and many others. With two excellent cafés and a magnificent restaurant original to the train station, dining is a breeze and guided tours of the museum highlights in English are available every day (see the museum website for times and scheduling). There’s also a fabulous bookstore for stocking up on gifts.
Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona has long been famous for its art and architecture, with Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Gaudí all leaving their marks. But this is the first year that the Catalan city has broken into the World’s Best Cities top 10 list. Though diversions like wandering the Gaudí-designed Parc Güell have a timeless appeal, it’s new hot spots like Tickets, from mad-scientist brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià, that are creating the worldwide buzz.
Sydney, Australia: The Royal Botanic Gardens can’t be missed. The attitude is relaxed – signs say: ‘Please walk on the grass. We also invite you to smell the roses, hug the trees, talk to the birds and picnic on the lawns’. Go exploring, take a free guided walk, or jump on the trackless train if you’ve overdone things. Highlights include the rose garden, the South Pacific plant collection, the prickly arid garden, a rare Wollemi Pine (an ancient tree only discovered in 1994 in the Blue Mountains), and a colony of bats.Management periodically tries to oust the bats because they destroy vegetation, but they just keep hanging around… The Sydney Tropical Centre comprises the interconnecting Arc and Pyramid glasshouses – a great place to warm up on a wintry morning. The Arc has a rampant collection of climbers from the world’s rain forests; the Pyramid houses Australian species.
Cape Town, South Africa: Don’t miss Cape Point, the 7750-hectare section of Table Mountain National Park, includes awesome scenery, fantastic walks and often deserted beaches. Some 250 species of birds live here, including cormorants and a family of ostriches that hang out near the Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern most point of the continent. Many people visit on organised bus tours but, if you have the time, exploring the reserve on foot or by bicycle is much more rewarding. Bear in mind, though, that there is minimal shade and that the weather can change quickly. Bookings are required for the two-day Cape of Good Hope Trail , a spectacular 33.8km circular route with one night spent at the basic Protea and Restio huts. Contact the Buffelfontein Visitors Centre for further details. It’s not a hard walk uphill, but if you’re feeling lazy the Flying Dutchman Funicular runs up from beside the restaurant to the souvenir kiosk next to the old lighthouse, dating from 1860. A 1km trail runs from here to its successor. Ignore the signs: it takes less than 30 minutes to walk along a spectacular ridgeway path to look down on the new lighthouse and the sheer cliffs plunging into the pounding ocean.
Bangkok, Thailand: Try a gallery hop here. Photography gets exposure at Kathmandu, Phranakorn Bar, and the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (www.fccthai.com). The long-heralded Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC), while not without problems, now acts as a much-needed focus for exhibitions and festivals. More impressive still, the Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC) holds world-class exhibitions and events. The free map Art Connection (monthly) covers all art happenings.
No matter where you are currently living, we hope you’ll find the time to go explore — you don’t want to regret that you missed some fabulous opportunities. And when you begin to prepare your expatriate tax returns to file in the United States, do not hesitate calling us at Expatriate Tax Returns. We’ll take care of your tax filing so you can find some time to enjoy your surroundings. Call our support hotline today at Support Hotline: (877) ETAX-123 or (877) 382-9123.