Craving a vacation? The food, exciting excursions, and Instagrammable photos can be tempting. But if you’re overwhelmed by lines, crowds, and buses of tourists, take the road less traveled.
Here are a few underrated travel destinations, for the off-the-beaten-path vacation you deserve.
While everyone’s off riding elephants in Thailand, sprawl on a pink beach in Lombok Island, completely uninterrupted by pesky tourists. Rent a motorbike to get up to Tanjung Aan beach or take a private hike up to a volcanic peak in Bali. You could even explore 14th-century Hindu temples of the Sacred Monkey Forest of Ubud or freak out over komodo dragons in Flores.
Fly to Jakarta or Bali from Singapore, then take local ferries or low-cost flights to the neighboring islands.
Visit this ancient cobblestones village of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Accursed Mountains of Albania (a Harry Potter mood) or the medieval castle of Bran in Romania. Soak in all the old-world charm and fairytale scenery of your favorite bedtime story while you avoid the masses in other European countries. Try the bus system to get around.
With the lush, green landscape of the Yangmingshan National Park to the north and the placid, serene waters of the tropical Fulong Beach to the south, the island of Taiwan has the best of both worlds. A tiny island east of China, Taiwan isn’t as visited by tourists as other destinations but packs just as strong a punch. The skyscraper-filled city of Taipei lends just the perfect amount of cosmopolitan elegance to Taiwan. Avoid traveling to Taiwan from June to August, since it’s typhoon season.
Explore the ancient ruins of the ‘Rose City’ of Petra and the temple ruins of Jerash. Float in the Dead Sea, ride on camels in Wadi Rum, a desert oasis and enjoy the tropical side of Jordan with the luxe seaside resorts of Aqaba, the port town, or snorkel in the crystal clear Red Sea. Visit Petra as early in the morning as you can, to avoid any crowd and the unforgivable afternoon sun.
Far away from the rowdy spring breakers of Cancun and Cabo, enjoy surfing on Starfish Beach in Bocas Del Toro, roam the cloud forests of Chiriquí and tour the local coffee farms and volcanoes. Avoid travel to Panama from April to December because of the long monsoon.