In Travel

The Best Hidden Oases In The World’s Largest Cities

If you’re after some respite from the bustle, head to one of these soothing oases.

Touring the world’s major cities can be simply exhausting, what with the heaving traffic, millions upon millions of people, and the challenges involved with navigating new territory. If you’re after some respite from the bustle, head to one of these soothing oases.


The Japanese Garden, Los Angeles

Dr. Koichi Kawana designed the tranquil Japanese garden (actually three gardens in one) with 18th century traditional strolling gardens in mind. The calming Zen meditation garden is a great spot for some mental reprieve, while the wet-stroll garden – filled with waterfalls, lakes, streams, greenery and hand-carved stone lanterns – could easily be plucked straight from Tokyo. You can also stop by an authentic tea house complete with adjoining tea garden.

The view from inside the tea room. Photo: Howard Cheng/Flickr CC


St Katharine Docks, London

Just down from Whitechapel and along the Thames from the Tower of London, St. Katharine Docks is a quiet inlet filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. The still of the water is pretty remedying, and the closed-in nature of the Docks means you’re away from the thick of London’s hectic vibe.

Photo: St Katherine Docks/Facebook


Gordon’s Bay, Sydney

Sydney’s home to some of the best beaches in the world, but their fame has caught up with them, with crowds regularly taking up every patch of available sand. Gordon’s Bay is one of Sydney’s more secluded seaside spots, located south of Clovelly and north of Coogee. The water is perfectly still and a brilliant shade of blue, making you feel as if you’re in some hidden island oasis.

Photo: Jayphen/Flickr CC


Hatta Rock Pools, Dubai

Who’d have thought that outside the bustling and burly metropolis of Dubai you’d find calm lagoons amongst fascinating rock formations? The pools are technically in Oman, but only a drive away from Dubai, and they’re well worth the journey. Deep in the crevices between the rocks, you’ll see waterfalls, shallow and deep pools, and crystal clear waters showing off an abundance of fish.


Atrium At The Ford Foundation, New York City

If you like your oases a little more indoors, make sure to check out the colossal atrium inside the Ford Foundation’s headquarters. Filled with vibrant and abundant greenery, this giant glasshouse is a great spot to take a break from the business of the Big Apple. As far as tower foyers go, this is one of the best, and worth a look if even for the architecture alone.


La Petite Ceinture, Paris

For a side of history with your relaxing pit stop, head to Chemin de ver de Petite Ceinture. It’s an old abandoned railway that once circled Paris. It’s open year-round, and is accessible from all parts of the city centre. It’s a great way to see a very rare biodiversity of wild flowers and animals: there are over 200 species of the former and more than 70 of the latter.

Photo: Chemin de ver de Petite Ceinture/Facebook


Bang Krachao, Bangkok

Also known as ‘The Green Lung’, this sprawling tree-filled island feels miles away from Bangkok’s intense hustle. It’s government-protected, so is free of cars and the mammoth developments the Thai capital is known for. Take a ferry to the island and once you’re there, hop on a bike to experience the fresh, clean air and lush landscape. There are a few food stalls dotted around, as well as the odd coffee bar.

Photo: James Antrobus/Flickr CC

Published 23 June, 2017