Would you like your next trip to be a little adventurous? Are you looking for an unusual yet fascinating place to visit? Here are the ten places I’ve visited in my life that I have enjoyed the most. Give them a chance, take your time, don’t pack too many sights in a single trip, and I’m certain you’ll have a fantastic experience!
1. Mentawai Islands in Indonesia
Probably the most remote and adventurous place I’ve ever been too. 120 kilometers off the coast of seldom visited Sumatra, right above the Sunda megathrust, a seismically very active zone. My two weeks spent trekking on Siberut Island, were unbelievably fascinating and rewarding. The Mentawai people still follow their ancestral traditions and have a deep respect for the nature that surrounds them.
2. Northern Sichuan-Tibet highway
Tibet absolutely fascinated me. The landscapes of the Himalaya mountains are the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen. The Tibetan culture is unbelievably present everywhere, despite all the hard efforts to make it disappear. The history is both extraordinary and enraging.
The specific route from Chengdu to Xining has the advantage to not be in the province of Tibet, so you won’t need all the special permits and expensive car and guide. But make no mistake, this is definitely Tibet. In fact I was told that the region has some of the most beautiful sceneries in Tibet. And the Chinese government hasn’t been as focused here as in the province of Tibet so there are relatively few Chinese compared to Tibetans.
Central Asia was a region I knew very little about before arriving, and now I definitely plan to come and visit again very soon. I really enjoyed Uzbekistan a lot, the place that to me embodies the silk road the best. Highlights are Samarkand and Bukhara with their beautiful turquoise mosques and mausoleums. Tashkent doesn’t look very appealing but is a good place to witness the soviet influence and will be great fun if you take some time to visit it’s surprisingly cool clubs and bars.
4. Georgia (the country)
Georgia is hard to describe because it isn’t really comparable to any other country. It has a very distinct and unique culture. Georgians even use their own, magnificient alphabet! It was the second country in the world to adopt christianity as it’s official religion. And you will certainly notice as there are some churches still standing dating as far back as the 4th century. Georgia is also home to the impressive caucasian mountain range, with 3 peaks above 5000 m (16 400 ft). Get lost in the Svaneti region and I can guarantee you will enjoy it.
The kingdom in the sky, one of the highest countries in the world. This is probably not Africa like you imagined it. Here, the locals ride on horses, are covered in blankets against the cold and wear beautiful hats for which the country is famous. A horse trek in the mountains of Lesotho is an unforgettable experience.
6. South Africa
When people ask me what the most beautiful country is I have ever been to, I always reply without much hesitation: South Africa! This literally is the world in one country: you will find amazing beaches, fascinating wildlife in some of the world’s most beautiful reserves, arid deserts and high mountains. You will need to step out of the tourist trail to discover some more authentic aspects of it’s personality though. Try a hike on the wild coast where you will cross turquoise huts from the Xhosa people and, if it is the right season, you will be lucky enough to witness the spectacular sardine run.
The island of Madagascar has been isolated from the other continents for 70 million years. As a result, the plants and animals have developed in different ways. 80% of them are endemic to Madagascar. And you will definitely notice some strange trees and creatures like the funny lemurs. It’s important to realize that Madagascar is a very poor country and the first place where I was really shocked by the destruction of the environment. 90% of the rainforest here has already disappeared due to human activity. That being said a trip there is still highly recommended and will help locals understand the value of their wonderful environmental heritage.
8. Trek in Nepal
A great way to discover the unforgettable beauty of the himalayas is to go trekking in the North of Nepal. The Annapurna circuit is amongst the most popular ones. Do it in anticlockwise direction. The himalayas can be very challenging and dangerous, but you won’t need a guide to do this three-week trekking. Crossing and sleeping in the traditional Tibetan villages is also a great opportunity to discover this intriguing culture.
Ok, ok! All this trekking and sightseeing is nice, but you’re more looking to chill out, get a tan, snorkel a little and get stuffed on seafood? Why not do it the adventurous way, far from the crowds of tourists in most popular resorts? Mozambique has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and a thriving marine wildlife. Visit the Bazaruto Archipelago, and ask a local sailer to take you through the islands on his sailing boat. As close to paradise as it gets!
10. What’s your favorite place?
What’s your favorite off the beaten track place you have visited? Let me know in the comments! I’m looking for some ideas for my next trip!