Love travelling but hate going where everyone else goes? Want to find an different option to yet another trip to Bali this year? Well get packing; we have the best ten alternatives to some of Australia’s most frequented travel destinations below.[related_articles]34658,43065[/related_articles] [listicle]
For people who love: Mexico
Love Mexico but want a version without the spring breakers and at times inflated prices? Jamaica’s your place. Think laid back locals, cheap tasty food, and stunning water – minus the influx of college-age party animals. Plus, they have a bar in the middle of the sea. And you can eat jerk chicken all day, everyday. What’s not to love?
Photo: The Caves
For people who love: Croatia
Stunning water lapping against age-old architecture and stone walls – what’s not to love about the rich heritage of Montenegro? Bordering Croatia, this tiny country, barely the size of Northern Ireland, is our hot tip for an alternative destination when Croatia is filled to the brim with super yachts.
Photo: Trish Hartmann/Flickr
For people who love: Phuket
Phuket is done and dusted as far as any traveller who wants to avoid thousands upon thousands of other tourists negotiating the island. Krabi, on the other hand, is a lot more chilled out. The bustling little beach town is cheap and beautiful – which is everything you want out of a tropical trip to Thailand. If you’re looking for luxury try the Centara Grand Krabi, and make sure you book a ‘seven islands’ day trip – which stops in at a number of nearby islands – for a taste of this.
Seoul, South Korea
For people who love: Tokyo
While South Korea and Japan have very different cultures, there are some parallels between the two countries for the world traveller. Great food culture? Check. Super modern city of the future? Check. Awesome super-pop groups that support a multi-million dollar local music industry? Check. You may just fall in love with Kimchi yet – especially when it’s accompanied by a mountain-load of juicy, spicy fried chicken.
For people who love: Cambodia
Although the famous river in Vang Vieng – where you could float your day away drinking on an inflatable tube – has been largely shut down due to one too many fools, there’s more to Laos than hundreds of Euros partying on a beach to techno. Head to Luang Prabang, get up at dawn, and join the locals who offer food to a procession of monks, then reflect on exactly how far that quiet experience is from elbowing other tourists out of the way to get a selfie in front of Angkor Wat.
Granada and Cordoba
For people who love: Barcelona
One of the most gorgeous road trips in the world (and lesser known to Aussies) is between the secondary Spanish cities of Granada and Cordoba. The former is the site of the stunning Alhambra – a sprawling palace complex surrounded by lush gardens – and the latter houses the famous Great Mosque of Cordoba, also known as the Mezquita – a mosque that contains an entire cathedral in its belly. In this day and age, it’s cause for pause to see two great religions straddling the same building.
Gili Islands, Lombok
For people who love: Bali
The site of the famous sea swings, this trio of islands north of Bali is just a short plane ride from Denpasar. Once you fly into Lombok, take a car to the coast and hop a boat over. You can also get a boat from Bali, but it’s long and not for the faint-hearted – it’ll seem like a big pain in the butt… until you get there. Gili is pure, chilled-out heaven – from the stunning water to the horse-and-carts negotiating the main island, to the amazing snorkelling surrounding Meno Wall.
After the sensory overload of five weeks in India, arriving in Nepal was like a dream with its mountainous peaks and laid back multicultural capital Kathmandu. But what if you could combine the colourful energy of India with the open space of Nepal? Well, then you’d have Sri Lanka. Still relatively free of tourists (a young woman running a hotel in Colombo seemed puzzled as to why I’d come all the way from Australia “just to see it”), Sri Lanka is green with tea plantations and national parks, including the jaw dropping World’s End, where the world literally falls away below you from the dizzying peak.
Photo: Malcolm Browne/Flickr
For people who love: Trekking
Three words: Bako National Park. It’s a nightmare to get to, there are hundreds of animals there that could kill you (from huge crocs to flying snakes and poisonous caterpillars that’ll have you dead in an hour), but it absolutely has to be on your bucket list if you’re a trekker. Because when you stand on this beach, devoid of any people, and see a fish climb out of the water literally proving the theory of evolution, you know you’re about as far away from city life as you can possibly ever get. Just don’t touch one of those caterpillars…
For people who love: Prague
Hungary is its the way up as a travel destination – and although Prague may be called the fairytale city, Budapest is also charmingly beautiful. Want to talk fairytales? Head up to Buda Castle, and live out your European royalty dream before heading back down the hill and tucking into delicious Hungarian food with the friendly locals. As someone once said to me: you go to Prague for the photos, but you go to Budapest for the vibes. And if there’s something an Aussie understands, it’s the vibe, man.[/listicle]
(Lead image: The Caves Jamaica)