54% of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050 this will raise to nearly 70%. The top travel destination cities received nearly half a billion visitors each year and terms as urban tourism and over-tourisms have become increasingly popular to describe a symptom of modern consumer-based society.

While it is fun to walk down a jam-packed Fifth Avenue and negotiate traffic in a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, there is a whole set of hidden gems and lesser known places in the world’s metropolis: we like to call then Urban Oasis. Some of them are natural other manmade but all of them have a unique quality: they are vital to the balance of a city. They replenish and clean natural resources, ones that we take often for granted, such as air and water and they are essential for the health and wellbeing of city dwellers. They are also the custodians of local customs and traditions, from chess playing and tea drinking to running, cycling and swimming, you name it!

Looking for an oasis on earth?

Paradoxically all of these Urban Oasis bring us closer to nature: be it a park, a forest, a river, a lake or a seashore.  They provide a natural and cultural environment for people to be active, relax, play and meet. In addition, they create a sense of space and tranquillity in an otherwise crammed urban environment.

Here is our selection of Urban Oasis for the mindful and conscious traveler to explore. Each one of them had its unique character and identity.

Sydney, Australia
There is something special about the sea in winder. It is nostalgic and yet again envigorating with its fresh cold wind and the roar of the waves. A true Urban Oasis and an idea hideaway from the business of the city.

Geneva, Switzerland
An Urban Oasis in the middle of a lake, which in turn is in the middle of an eclectic city. It is probably the best kept secret of Geneva. It has been there for more than a century and has grown to be part of the city’s landscape, just like the iconic Water Jet. The view of the city is spectacular from this angle.

Cannes, France
Some of the best Urban Oases are by a sea, a lake or a river. It is as if the water creates a natural buffer between the crowds and the noise of the city.

Vienna, Austria
This is a real Urban Oasis not only for locals and visitor, but also for the horses who get a chance to roam freely and graze on the loan, just in front of the glasshouse . This is an environmentally friendly way to keep the loan tidy and feed the horses. Guests of the Palmhouse Bistro could think they are in the country rather than in a busy city.

Hanoi, Vietnam
An Urban Oasis or a jungle? Sometimes the jungle grows into a city and provide the perfect retreat from its busy streets.
Have you ever takes a bike ride alone the Red River and the historic Cầu Long Biên bridge linking two districts of Hanoi? It really feels like being in the middle of the jungle.

New York, USA
This Urban Oases is a  hidden and celebrated one.
It  provide shelter and a natural habitat to urban wildlife and its inhabitants. Running, cycling or just lazing on the green loans.Take your pick.

Kyoto, Japan
Standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is an Urban Oasis that fills one with humility and serenity.

But did you know that the grove is considered an essential soundscape? You may ask what is a soundscape? Pretty much like a landscape, but this one is perceive by one’s ear rather than eyes. It is the listener’s perception of sounds heard as part of their surrounding environment. The disruption of these acoustic environments results in noise pollution.

We can’t speak about Urban Oasis without mentioning Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.

They are built entirely on reclaimed land and are completely self-sufficient. Could this be the future?

Belfast; Ireland
An Urban Oasis that looks like the setting of a Jane Austin book.

The Belfast Botanical Garden is recognised as the best open space in the UK?! and has won the Green Flag Award, a standard aiming to promote parks and green spaces.

It is amazing to see such a vast green patch in an otherwise industrial setting.

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