Heading out into the world as a wheelchair user on your travels can be quite a scary process and leave you with many unanswered questions, such as; “how will I book an accessible hotel room?” and “how can I know for sure if the country I’m heading to is wheelchair accessible?”.
So to help you along your way and give you some much needed advice, here are a run-down of five accessible places around the world that you might like to visit! The choices are all based upon my own personal experiences as a disabled traveller, seeing the world from the comfort of my manual wheelchair. Everybody is different, and the idea of accessibility can often be quite subjective, so the overbearing common theme is that everyone should do their own level of research before visiting somewhere new. Knowledge can power you forward and leave you feeling more equipped.
Despite having to sometimes ride on the roadside due to pavements being inaccessible, overall I found Taipei to be great. With many modern buildings and accessible attractions, including Taipei 101 and the Maokong Gondola, I was never short of something to do. The Taipei MRT system is also superb, with fantastic facilities for disabled passengers.
Wellington, New Zealand
Kiwi’s take the topic of access-for-all very seriously, and this can be seen extensively within Wellington. There may be an insane amount of hills in the area, but good quality public transport ensures that this is no daunting task (whether you’re disabled or not). Visiting the Te Papa National Museum is an absolute must – the museum is New Zealand’s most popular tourist attraction and was recently awarded a gold star during an extensive accessibility audit.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I wasn’t sure what to expect when visiting KL for the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised with this up-and-coming vibrant city. The Metro system makes KL a very easy city to get around in and the locals are extremely friendly and helpful, too! KL is also famous for it’s plush shopping malls which are easy to get around and perfect for ducking out of the midday scorching temperatures.
The Metro system in Barcelona was first built over a century ago, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most accessible train lines in Europe. Over 90% of Barcelona’s Metro service is completely accessible, compared to only 25% for the London Underground. There’s also a whole host of accessible museums and tourist attractions right throughout the Catalonian capital, including a number of easy to access beaches – perfect for relaxing with a couple of Sangria’s!
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
I like to describe Hong Kong as being an eclectic mix of London, New York and Shanghai, all rolled into one. During my time in Hong Kong I never once experienced any difficulties with my wheelchair – even the regions many ferries were adequately manageable. Perhaps though, what made Hong Kong such an accessible haven for me was their extensive use of Skywalks, meaning that tackling the hustle and bustle down on street level was not always necessary.
If you’d like to find out more information about accessible travel, and indeed items such as; “3 Interesting Places that make Visiting Easy” – feel free to check out Invacare’s passionate people blog website, to see all our latest articles.