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Best travel documentaries worth your while: Street Food Asia, Joanna Lumley Japan, Tales By Light and more

Best travel documentaries worth your while: Street Food Asia, Joanna Lumley Japan, Tales By Light and more

Via the screen

Text: Azrin Tan


At this point, bringing up COVID-19 almost feels like that's so 2020, but like it or not, the pandemic does seem to be sticking around for longer than we'd all like. By now, most of us are starting to feel the itch to get out of town, marvel at our favourite sights of the world again, and just...travel. But vaccine or no vaccine, it does seem like we'll have to hold off on the plane tickets for at least another half a year or so. So in the meantime? Fill the inescapable void with some of these travel documentaries that are a surefire way to keep the wanderlust at bay. Binge on them all, below.

If you miss discovering historical sights...

Joanna Lumley Japan

Lovers of Nihon, this one's for you too. Joanna Lumley sets the standard of what anyone might expect a travel documentary to be. She takes you through her travels whilst sharing facts about the different spots and places in the countries she visits, without holding back on the realities of #thetravellife aka waking up at 4am in the morning to catch fabulous sights. And of course, the sights that she brings you through are guaranteed to be the ones less travelled to — with a focus on the histories of unique personalities and processes of things that are uniquely Japan. Think: the fermentation of sake. Oooooh.

If you miss your annual dose of luxe accommodations...

Amazing Hotels Life Beyond The Lobby

This is for the ones that prioritise where they stay above all else — yes, even on a holiday. After all, some people might really just want the ultimate place to rest, relax and fully unwind. No matter the location, this 2-season documentary goes through various hotels around the world — from our very own Marina Bay Sands to the isolated Fogo Island Inn on a faraway island on the east coast of Canada. Each episode goes through each hotel or resort place, with a focus on the space that is usually thought of as mere accommodation. But with help from the hosts, you'll find yourself indulging in the luxe spaces, willingly adding them to your bucket list for future travels.

If you miss...the food...

Street Food Asia

Need we say more? For the foodies in Singapore, it's not much of a surprise that our overseas travels are inspired by the destination's top food offerings as well. And of course, there is really nowhere better than Asia to be looking this way. The food — specifically the street food — in the various cities of Asia are definitely delish and absolutely gratifying. Just thinking about them makes our mouths water. So as you're missing the street food of Bangkok or South Korea, this docu takes you one step closer to the entire experience. Discover not just the gleaning food served hot on the side step, but the people behind the makeshift booths as well. Prepare to get real hungry for this one.

If you miss the beautiful panorama...

Tales by Light

The Internet raves about how you can't leave this out of any travel show list. And rightfully so. After all, the first thing that comes to mind when most of us think of faraway travels are the breathtaking bird-eye views of snow-covered mountains and endless pastures of greenery. Whilst we may not actually end up going to these places, there is an inevitable association with such sights as we often see beautiful shots taken by photographers and filmmakers alike. And this documentary? It's like a compilation of all that panorama to gawk at.

If you miss travel vlogs...

Pedal The World

For the backpackers out there. This documentary follows one Felix Starck as he documents his entire 18,000 kilometre bicycle journey across 22 different countries around the world in the span of a year. It's got the clumsy vibes of a travel vlog at times, and is definitely akin to the route less travelled — say by a backpacker. Many of us dream of going on a solo backpacking trip one day but not all of us have the guts or the tenacity to do so. But Starck did it all: just him and his trusty bike. Expect some emotional moments and trying times, but for the most part? The endless beauty of the world.

If you miss that X-factor thrill...

Don't Crack Under Pressure

This one is exactly as it sets out to be — a 90-minute coverage on some of the bravest and wildest athletes or extreme sports fanatics out there. Whilst less of a 'travel' documentary per se, it's definitely a show to capture some of the most insane experiences that exist around the world. From motorbiking the top of mountains to riding the biggest waves of the deep sea, these are the features of those who well, didn't crack under pressure (for if they did, they might have not lived to tell their tales). And of course, for the brave at heart, you could add some of these to your bucket list. We'll...just watch from behind our screens though.