Go Away With … Dominic Monaghan

WildThingswithDominicMonaghan_DominicMonaghan Courtesy of Travel Channel x 640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
January 26, 2016

Actor Dominic Monaghan, 39, has had starring roles in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the ABC hit series, “Lost.” The British actor’s latest project is hosting his own Travel Channel series, “Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan,” where, he says, he gets to enjoy searching the world for unique and amazing wildlife.

“I generally travel with field guides, so I tend to know what animals I may see,” says the Los Angeles resident. “But I’ll always research the main or capital cities I’m going to. I seek out the best night markets, because that’s a great way to learn about a country’s people.”

To interact with the star, fans may follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I like New Zealand, India, Thailand, Palau and Spain for culture, food, people, diving and friends and family.

Q. What are a few things you would recommend that tourists do there?

A. For New Zealand, head to Wellington, but then head for a trip around the South Island. You can’t beat its green rugged wilderness. In India, I like Goa. It’s a vegetarian food paradise and has great beaches. Head to the islands in Thailand, like Ko Samui or Ko Tao. Krabi is worth seeing and, if you want to splurge, Pimalai Resort and Spa. Palau is a scuba-diving mecca. Go enjoy the amazing wreck diving. Spain is rich in old European culture. Seville, Tarifa and Madrid are worth seeing, but I like Barcelona for the amazing buildings and tapas.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Vejer de la Frontera is a gorgeous town on the southern tip of Spain that’s well worth seeing. The Greek islands deserve our love and have such a lovely pace of life and superb food. The quiet side of Crete and Kos are both nice. Laos and its capital, Vientiane, are untapped areas of Southeast Asia with friendly people, great food and superb opportunities to find animals.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. Every year we traveled to Italy when I was a kid. I loved the food, the weather and swimming in the sea. I fell in love with snorkeling and it has never stopped.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. Everyone wants the same thing — happiness and health for themselves and their families, some fun and some food. Everyone wants to play. I can make most people laugh.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Palm Desert is pretty special. Sleep when it’s hot. Find rattlesnakes in the late afternoon. Camp, stars, sky. Joshua Tree is also fantastic just to get into nature. I like Big Sur, too. Amazing trees and unspoiled coastlines. Chance to see some big marine mammals!

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?

A. Hard to beat Paris in winter. Scarves, hats, gloves, tiny French brasseries on corner streets. Snow if you are lucky. The Seine. The Tower. Montmartre.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. Any boutique hotels around the world. Less than 30 rooms. Unique rooms and service. Anything unique, or even strange.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Berlin. Wellington. Bangkok. New York. Sydney.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?

A. Galway in Ireland really reminds me of home. I feel very at home in New South Wales, Australia. I have had some of my favorite days ever in Sydney.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. So many places! Christmas Island, Easter Island, the Cook Islands, Tasmania, Jordan, Antarctica, Iceland, China, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Svalbard, Hong Kong, Tonga, Tavarua…

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Camera, iPod, headphones, books, thin hoodies, board shorts, flashlight, sunglasses and, hopefully, a lady!

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. I’ve yet to do Nepal, and everyone I know falls in love with it. I’d like to escape there for a month and write, read and escape.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. My tablet filled with movies and episodes of “Survivor” and protein bars and sachets of peanut butter in my suitcase.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. Best holiday memory? I was starving and had spent all day traveling to Goa from Bengaluru. I arrived at a beach and a gentleman asked me if I was hungry. I told him I was. He told me to go swim in the ocean and when I got back, he would have food. I watched him from the sea build a fire and make some bread. By the time I’d returned, he had made me a fantastic spicy chicken tikka and fresh naan bread. It was the best meal I’ve ever had and it cost me about $2. I worked in the Ukraine once. Awful from start to finish. Everyone seemed to be trying to take my money. The food was awful. The Champions League Final was on, but I couldn’t watch it anywhere. We finished work at 7 p.m. All of the hotel’s amenities shut at 6 p.m. Awful. Just awful.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I like small plates, so tapas works well. I used to love Street restaurant in Los Angeles, but it closed. Banana Leaf Cafe is so yummy. Malaysian food, oh my! Sushi is my all-time favorite food. I have about five favorite secret spots in L.A.! Omakase every time!

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I generally travel with field guides, so I tend to know what animals I may see. I’ll always research the main or capital cities I’m going to. I will also seek out the best night markets because it’s a great way to learn about a country’s people.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (1)

  1. Bea Adams says:

    When it’s safe, go alone. I find you discover more of a city/country and its people when you are without travel companions. It requires you to connect with locals and stretches you beyond your comfort zone. Plus, you can do whatever you want!

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