Robert Frost once wrote that by taking the road less travelled, it made all the difference. Once you get your passports stamped at these off-the-beaten-path holiday paths, you’d belong to a different league of globetrotters, all right. Because with such poetic sights and sounds, you’re almost guaranteed a special chapter in your travel black book. That is, until the other tourists start streaming in in your wake.
We’re sure you’ve had quite enough of crowds here in Singapore. So beat it by booking your flights to these destinations now. But not before comparing travel insurance here on GoBear, of course.
Banff is the first Canadian national park that ever existed. Yet, it is a well-kept secret of Alberta and we don’t blame you if you’ve only just heard about it. Perhaps the best way to experience the Canadian Rockies is the Lake Minnewanka cruise, in which you’ll be taken on an hour-long boat ride to witness the sheer grandeur of the mountain ranges and crystal clear lakes.
You now have one more wonder to associate Canada with other than just the Niagara Falls.
Cuba is no longer the imprisoned state that it was when the U.S travel restrictions was lifted earlier this year. Be that as it may, prison life never looked more vibrant in art and history. Before the tourist boom explodes even more, go frolick in some of the other cities in the communist country that are just as steeped in cultural richness as Havana. Baracoa is one of them; isolated in the eastern-most part of Cuba, it is the oldest city where you’ll find yourself immersed in the purest form of Cuban culture. Think quaint parish churches, 19th century styled architecture and uninhibited beaches. While you’re there, another thing of purity that you must try for yourself are their chocolates (both as a snack and a drink).
There’s something about Bled that’ll make you fall in love. Maybe it’s the fact that Slovenia is the only country in the world with the word ‘love’ in its name, or maybe it’s the fairy-tale like castle that stands surrounded by majestic mountains and calming lakes. You’ll find other tourists taking leisure hikes up mountain trails or soaking in the tranquility of Lake Bled. But if you want to attempt something a little more heart-pumping, there’s activities like zip lining and stand-up paddling to complement all the sight-seeing.
If we had a gun put to our heads, there’s a good chance we’re picking Cyprus as the winner on this off-the-beaten-path list. A pin point balance of seclusion and beauty, Cyprus is divided between the Greek majority in the south and Turk minority in the north. The best way to get around is by renting a car; one moment you could be driving along impossibly white coastlines that would take your breath away, and the next you could be stumbling past the border into Turkish territory.
When in Cyprus, be sure to stop by the taverns for a meal of meze (an appetising tapas comes in either meat or fish). Apparently, it’s so a-meze-ing to the Cypriots some places serve only that.
Inle Lake, Myanmar
The temples and pagodas in Yangon are already drawing in tourists, so get out of the city and into Inle Lake instead. Not literally, of course. But you can travel around by boat which is rowed uniquely with a one-foot technique, something that has always intrigued visitors. Inle Lake is one of those watery sanctuaries to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, as you put up at stilted bungalows and sample tea-infused cuisines. Without a deluge of tourists squeezing the life out of the place, a zen time by the lake is all yours for the taking.
If there’s one thing Laotians love as much as being near bodies of water, it’s their beers. In Vang Vieng, you’ll integrate and get the best of both worlds. The favoured activity of ‘tubing’ downriver might be a little too crowded for your liking but fortunately, there are numerous restaurant-slash-bars to indulge in another kind of liquid. The landscape of Laos may be a haven for you to enjoy a pleasantly slow pace of life, but don’t simply while your time away for the sake of it. Spend some of it at Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can find remnants of the French colony. If not, check out the Wat Phu ruins for its beautiful dilapidation and splendid views of the Mekong river.
With Cristiano Ronaldo’s superstardom and killer six-pack backing his hometown of Madeira, we really won’t be surprised if it overtakes Lisbon in terms of popularity. Despite what you might think, there’s not much footballing going around. Rather, you’ll find that the tiny capital of Funchal is big on island life that’s both rustic and elegant. You can fit most of the major attractions in under a day, such as the Botanic Garden, Madeira cable car, wine lodges, cathedrals, museums and the famed toboggan ride.
When you’re done for the day, retire to your suite at Madeira’s brand new landmark: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Pestana CR7 hotel.
Mermaid Pools, Sydney West
There’s something inviting about the name already. Just not the rocky trek down to the basin, which can get pretty risky. One misstep and you could be tumbling to a certain tragedy instead of taking a dip on your own free will. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take away the fact that it is a beautiful hideout for a splashing good time.
If it’s not the bucket list worthy experience of floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan should be visited at least once for their city of Petra. Built into the desert cliffs, the sand-washed monastery, tombs and amphitheatre would make you feel like you’ve been flung back in time to an ancient Middle Eastern kingdom. By nightfall, a trail of candlelight would illuminate a path through the Siq, making Petra more surreal than it already is.
Phú Quốc, Vietnam
Pho a fabulous good time on the cheap, shortlist Phú Quốc if you see a beach getaway on the horizon. Back in 2012 when New International Airport was opened, visitors came in by the droves. Before it becomes another hackneyed tourist spot like Phuket, grab your snorkeling gears and head down to the likes of Sao Beach and Long Beach. Seafood lovers, arrange for fishing tours to catch your own dinner. Night squid fishing is one of the most popular activities on Phú Quốc and surely it’d taste better if you’ve worked for it.