Off the Beaten Path: 10 Places to Tick Off
Seeing new places is always amazing, but sometimes you just want to get off the beaten path and leave the tourist trails behind. Whether you’re looking for less heard of adventures, remote locations, or natural wonders, you’ll be covered with this list of ten well kept travel secrets.
1. Caño Cristales
Caño Cristales, also known as the liquid rainbow, is often coined the most beautiful river in the world. This rainbow river is home to a unique plant that changes to every colour of the spectrum at a particular time of the year, leaving the river to explode in a dazzling array of colour. Located deep in the Colombian jungle, you’ll need a plane, a donkey, and some good walking shoes to get to this stunning and remote river.
2. Carnevale di Viareggio
Brazil’s not the only place with Carnival celebrations worth mentioning. Head to Italy and check out Viareggio during Carnival for some of the most amazing floats, parades, and celebrations you’ve ever seen. The giant paper-mâché floats are complex, animated, and usually themed around Italian and world current events. The crowds will be in costume, and the good times will continue on into the night. If you’re looking for a feast for the eyes and a night of fun, this is the place to be.
3. The White Temple
📍Chiang Rai, Thailand
Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple, is a temple in Northern Thailand unlike any you’ve seen before. This white and silver-gilded temple is a must-see if you are looking for the perfect mix of history and pop-culture. Wander the grounds as you look at the stunning white and silver-gilded buildings, then head inside to look at the truly unique murals. You’ll have to make it past the lake of hands and a few silver skulls first. Once inside, extra points if you can find Spider Man, Hello Kitty, and Kung-Fu Panda. Part Buddhist temple, part modern art, Wat Rong Khun is sure to amaze.
Located in the Xinjiang province of China, Kashgar is off the beaten path, and well worth the trip to get there. A true melting pot of cultures, this city was part of the old Silk Road across the Asian continent. Wander the alleys until you find a market selling dates, freshly made bagels, and the most delicious walnut ice cream you’ve ever tasted. If you’re there on a Sunday, head to the outskirts of town to see the largest and oldest livestock market in the world as everyone floods into town to sell their cows, sheep, and sometimes a camel or two.
5. Giants Causeway
📍County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Head to the coast of Northern Ireland to see this mysterious rock formation. Made of some 40,000 interlocking columns, Giants Causeway will make your jaw drop, but be sure to watch your footing as you scramble around. Watch the waves crash and listen to the wind howl as you take in all the natural beauty of this little known and mythical destination.
6. Jellyfish Lake
📍Eil Malk, Palau
This off- the-beaten-path location is your opportunity to go for a swim with thousands of jellyfish. Don’t worry, their stingers are too small to be felt. These beautiful golden jellyfish migrate across the lake each day, making for an interesting swim. You’ll have to buy a pass from the tourism board, but it will be well worth it when you’re snorkelling with thousands of jellyfish in this remote and beautiful lake.
If you’re looking to get as far off the beaten track as possible, why not head to Timbuktu. Yes, it’s a real place, and it’s on the outskirts of the Sahara Desert in Mali. Not for the faint of heart, you’ll need to boat, fly, or drive in. With a long history and a reputation that borders on myth, this destination is sure to be a once in a lifetime trip that will awaken the adventurer within.
8. Český Krumlov
Head to this little town in the Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic and discover a land that time forgot. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can wander the cobbled streets, explore the castle, and take a look at the gardens. When you’re ready for a rest, rent an inner tube and float down the idyllic river that runs through town. Try to visit in June and you’ll get to see the Five-Petalled Rose Festival, where you can dress in medieval clothes, drink mead, dance, and watch fireworks. No matter when you come, this well-kept secret is sure to charm.
9. Door to Hell
Turkmenistan might not be on everyone’s must see list, but the Door to Hell is definitely worth a trip. After a natural gas field collapsed in 1971, it was set on fire, and has been burning ever since. This giant crater of flames makes for an intimidating sight both day and night, and the area around it is popular for desert camping. No matter when or how you get there, odds are good that when you talk about it, you’ll be the only one who’s been there.
10. World Nomad Games
📍Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia
If you feel like the Olympics were lacking something, like, say, flaming men on horseback, then you’re in luck. Book your tickets for the World Nomad Games and see a sports competition unlike anything else in the world.
With sports like falconry, upside-down women shooting bows and arrows with their feet, and a sport called Kok Boru, which is like a combination of horse polo and basketball, but played with a goat carcass instead of a ball. Full of culture, costumes, and sports that will blow your mind; this is a sporting event that will be well worth the trek.
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