When we want to relax on vacation, many of us often just choose the most popular places where everyone already goes without much forethought. For some reason, we think to ourselves: “The more tourists, the better the place must be.” But this is not always true. Out there around the world, there are large number of places akin to a real paradise on Earth, but which strangely have not yet become very popular among travellers.
We chose 15 utterly magical places where you will be able to get away from the fuss and bustle of the crowds and really soak up the tranquillity.
Jose Ignacio, Uruguay:José Ignacio, a small village on the southern coast of Uruguay, has evolved into arguably the chicest spot in Latin America, favored by jet-setters from around the world. Just 300 people live in Jose Ignacio, but in winter (that is, during the South American summer), this city is clogged up with Latin American superstars, such as Shakira. That’s why you can find such things as luxury hotels and fashionable restaurants there. Jose Ignacio is the perfect place for people who have the means to enjoy a bit of luxury but can’t find the privacy they crave.
Koh Rong, Cambodia: Koh Rong is an island in the Sihanoukville Province of Cambodia. It’s known for its sandy coves and coral reefs, like those around Koh Rong Pier. Inland, the dense jungle terrain is dotted with coconut palms and waterfalls. If you want a break from civilization, then you definitely need to visit the island of Koh Rong. No skyscrapers, noise or cars here. There’s only silence, some peaceful fishing villages, and unspoiled nature. Koh Rong is sometimes described as “What Thailand was like 20 years ago.”
Bangladesh: Bangladesh, to the east of India on the Bay of Bengal, is a South Asian country marked by lush greenery and many waterways.Bangladesh is a strikingly beautiful land with a diverse culture and a rich history. Tourism is not a particularly well-developed sector of the economy here, although there are many places of interest: Maharaj mansions, the world’s largest mangrove coast, and the planet’s longest beach.
Sofia, Bulgaria: Bulgaria — In Europe’s most affordable capital, a night in a four-star hotel goes for less than $100. The dinner tab for two with a bottle of house wine runs about $40. And cab fare costs less than $1 a mile.Sofia is one of the cheapest tourist cities out there, at least compared with other European capitals. The primary city of Bulgaria has a rich store of breathtaking historic architecture that is guaranteed to astound you. According to some experts, Sofia will not stay in the background of the tourist industry for much longer — very soon it’s going to be discovered by more and more people, and will get inundated with tourists.
Ambergris Caye, Belize:Ambergris Caye is the name of Belize’s largest island. The history of the island goes back to the days of the Maya, European Pirates, and Mexican Refugees who fled during the Caste War. The descendants from Mexico make up most of the island’s population today. The economy of the island was once dependent on the coconut industry, followed by the fishing industry, but it is now dependent on tourism.The island of Ambergris Caye has a rich history. At various times, Indian Mayans, whale hunters and buccaneers have all lived there. Ambergris Caye today attracts divers from all around the world — it’s located near the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second longest reef in the world.
Myanmar: Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a small country in Southeast Asia. The word “Myanmar“ means ”fast”, and there’s a good reason for this: Only around 300,000 people visited the country in 2010, but three years later, that number had ballooned to over 2 million tourists. Tourism in the country is developing rapidly, but there is still time to go ride a boat on the isolated Inle Lake and catch the sunset reflecting off the Shwedagon Paya.
Roatan, Honduras: Roatan is the largest and most populated of the Bay Islands off the coast of mainland Honduras. The Bay Islands are part of the second largest reef system on the planet (behind the Great Barrier Reef, I believe). The reef runs from Mexico down to Belize and around Honduras. The reef passes very close to the Bay Islands, very close to the shore. At many points, you can snorkel out from shore and see the reef.Cruise liners started to visit the coast of Roatan only in 2005. Truth be told, this is probably because Honduras is not one of the safest places in the world. Roatan began to gain popularity with the appearance of divers, who come to the island to see the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. On the island itself, you have the chance to go fishing, and you can also explore the Cayos Cochinos archipelago.
Apulia, Italy: Also known as “Le Puglie” in the plural form, this region contains, in fact, many souls. The “heel of Italy’s boot,” Apulia is a charming region that can be visited all year round and is suspended among nature, history, tradition, tastes and spirituality. A vacation in Apulia will certainly be memorable: the azure sea, the red earth, golden sunsets, and most importantly, very hospitable locals. Besides lying on the beach, there are many places of interest which you can visit: Bari castle, the Santa Croce basilica, and the archaeological museum of Rignano Garganico.
Zambia and Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls is the largest sheet of falling water in the world! That alone makes the falls worth visiting, but seeing this thundering waterfall is just one of the many highlights of a Victoria Falls holiday. Get so close to the falls that you’re soaked by its spray, then take your pick from all the activities on offer: scenic flights, horse-back safaris, peaceful river cruises on the upper Zambezi or thrilling white-water rafting running the rapids below the falls.Yes, we know — this stunningly beautiful place similar to Victoria Falls is already known to all. But it’s located close to Hwange National Park, which hardly anyone knows about. The park is enormous — 14,600 sq. km. It boasts lakes, rare plants and wild African animals and birds. Hwange is proud of its elephants (there are more than 30,000 of them there).
Busan, South Korea: South Korea’s second-largest city is known for its colossal fish market. The top shore excursions include visits to the Busan Tower, Taeshin Park and the crowded beaches at Haeundae. Tourists will also want to experience the extraordinary views from the mountaintop Kumjongsansong Fortress or listen to the chanting of the monks at the Tongdosa Temple. While the hordes of tourists still head for Seoul, you’d better visit the second biggest South Korean city, Busan. It often gets called “the summer capital of Korea” because of its many beaches. Moreover, Busan is famous for its art museum, open bird sanctuary and a fish market.
Manila, Philippines:Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is one of the most crowded cities on Earth. An estimated 200,000 people live in a single square mile in some neighborhoods — nearly three times the density of Manhattan.Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines. It boasts utterly delicious and cheap food. A three-course dinner in Manila will cost you only $18, whereas in pretty much any other big city you’ll get the same thing for $95. The city also has many attractions: old churches, beautiful palaces, monasteries and museums.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam:This peaceful tropical paradise, floats in the warm turquoise waters in the Gulf of Thailand, 50kms from the Vietnamese mainland and a 50 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).Open year round with a peak season from November to March, Phu Quoc is becoming well known for stunning beaches, untouched natural environment, the easy going and relaxed atmosphere, friendly locals, and fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling.Phu Quoc is quite simply paradise. The island is surrounded by snow-white sand beaches, water as pure as crystal, and emerald green jungles. Here you can go diving, canoeing and visiting the various farms. A vacation on Phu Quoc offers the chance to experience a tremendous feeling of unity with nature.
York, Great Britain: The ancient capital of Yorkshire is York, one of the great cities of the medieval world. Still encircled by its ancient walls, the city is dominated by the soaring pinnacles of York Minster, the finest Gothic church in northern Europe.York is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in England. It has everything that there should be in an English town — pubs, tea houses, coffee shops, churches, old buildings, and so on. One of the main attractions of York is the truly magnificent cathedral (it is already more than 500 years old). The chances are that more and more tourists will be rushing to York in the next few years, so hurry up and enjoy it in peace!
Kep, Cambodia:Once the playground of Cambodia’s elites, whose crumbling mansions now provide a forlorn record of the country’s cultural zenith in the 1960s, Kep these days is a sleepy seaside town renowned for its seafood and those spooky remains of that decadent past. It takes some imagination to conjure this heyday from the weekday peace and laidback ambiance, but the revival of a white-sand beach and a throng of holidaying Khmers at weekends hark back to Kep’s popular past.Beginning 1908, Kep was the favourite destination of the French elite living in Cambodia. It was famous for its fantastic restaurants and expensive villas. But after years of civil war, the colonial Riviera was left in ruins. Despite this, nowadays Kep is a great place to relax.
Salinas Grandes, Argentina: The city of Salta has a lively convergence of Northeastern-Argentine culture, food and nightlife, but the wilderness just outside of Salta is what truly makes this Argentine province spectacular.The land here transforms from sweeping, dry deserts spotted with cactus and herds of roaming alpacas, to bleak, searing-white salt flats draped by cobalt- blue skies, to ancient hills streaked with a rainbow of colorful sediment, all surrounded by the mighty presence of the Andes Mountain Range.This salt desert is in fact a large salt marsh, 250 km long and 100 km wide. When it rains, it turns into a giant mirror. Although many railways and roads run through Salinas Grandes, it is still considered inaccessible and therefore not so popular among tourists.