Secret Destinations To Visit Before The Crowds Descend

Written by Radha Vyas

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“I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

 

Caution!
This post is not about secret destinations worth a visit before the crowds descend; it is a virtual time travel machine designed to awaken the wild adventurer within!

When you travel for long enough, you realise that nothing is ever exactly as advertised in the glossy brochures, especially when it comes to “popular places”.

The Coliseum, Disney World and the Eiffel Tower may be amazing experiences in their own right, but why is it that the more people you have to share the experience with, the less magic you can expect? If you have ever had the opportunity to meet someone famous face to face, you will already be familiar with this most deflating of ironies.

For some, the ultimate holiday is working the boutiques of Milan or strolling down the star-studded boulevards of Hollywood. For others, taking that road to unfamiliar places is not a luxury, or even a choice; it’s the only way to stay sane!

There’s something profoundly exhilarating and life-changing about embarking on a journey into the unfamiliar and ending up in a surreal spot that few travellers ever venture to.

Join us now as we embark on a whirlwind virtual journey to the top adventure destinations to visit before the crowds descend!

 

#9 Antarctica

Photo Credit: IAATO

Photo Credit: IAATO

 

Conquering the South Pole Desert, and meeting with king penguins, whales, seals and skyscraper icebergs is not for the faint of heart and will require some planning, not to mention a complete wardrobe makeover. Just getting to the world’s highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent where 98% of everything is frozen solid is an adventure in itself.

Except for a few die-hard researchers, brave enough to take on temperatures of -89.2° C (-128.6° F), Antarctica has no permanent inhabitants. With territorial claims submitted by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the UK, it’s perhaps a good idea to visit before the mega resorts and luxury hotels start popping up…

 

#8 Tahiti

Special Places - 10 Secret Destinations To Visit Before The Crowds Descend Tahiti

 

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia and located in the central Southern Pacific Ocean. Hailed as the king of tropical Island getaways, this hot and humid Eden with its emerald mountains and turquoise waters, enjoys temperatures between 24°C–28°C (75°F–82°F) year-round.

From the captivating lagoons of Bora Bora and monster waves of Teahupo’o, to safari expeditions through sprawling vanilla plantations and abundance of marine life, Tahiti should be on every self-respecting wanderer’s bucket list!

Related: Bucket List Travel: 9 Epic Experiences for Travellers over 30

#7 Nicaragua

Special Places - 10 Secret Destinations To Visit Before The Crowds Descend Nicaragua

 

Once home to the Ancient Maya, this majestic land of silver lakes and smoking volcanoes is today contra guerrilla-free and one of the most politically secure countries in the Americas. Situated between Honduras and Costa Rica with the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east, it marks the point where the cool Rio Blanco meets the hot waters of Rio Perdido.

Between the colonial cities of Granada, Leon and Matagalpa, there is so much to do and see that most travellers find it challenging to choose just one epic adventure. From volcanic lakes and mountains (of shade-grown organic coffee) to powder-white beaches and vibrant nightlife, Nicaragua has something special for everyone. If you’re keen to hang ten with some heavies, rumour has it that the barrels at San Juan del Sur are Toe Tilly Ill, bro!

 

#6 Bhutan

Photo Credit: Tourism Council of Bhutan

Photo Credit: Tourism Council of Bhutan

 

Welcome to the harmonious kingdom of the Thunder Dragon conveniently located on the roof of the world. Nestled amidst the literally breath-taking Himalayan Mountains, you will find a tiny nation of 600,000 people who have not heard of Nicki Minaj. Lucky them! Here success is not measured by wealth, property, or even GDP, but via the Gross National Happiness of the citizens. Even though the tourism floodgates were flung wide open over 30 years ago, this fiercely independent country has not only thrived in isolation, it still remains untouched by outsiders to this day.

Do not expect to find cheap Chinese trinkets, sprawling malls or knock-off neon take-away joints. Instead look forward to truly organic home-grown food, authentic handicrafts, and sights of utter wonder! Here hospitality comes from the heart and the environment is treated like a member of the family. No matter if you’re into hiking, cycling, photography, spiritual development, or hoping to spot a Yetti, Bhutan will touch you in places you didn’t even know you had and leave you in radiant awe!

 Related: The Flash Pack Travel Photo Competition Winner Announced!

#5 Ethiopia

Special Places - 10 Secret Destinations To Visit Before The Crowds Descend Ethiopia

 

Ethiopia has finally emerged from the shadows cast by political instability, economic strife, and decades of famine. Far from the steady diet of arid landscapes and hungry poster children we westerners were so used to, the Ethiopia of today is steadily making its way back to its former glory.

From untouched tombs, monolithic churches, and freaky disc-lipped locals, rusty Russian tanks, and a surprisingly thriving underground Jazz scene, Ethiopia is built on a rich heritage stretching further back than even Christian legend can recall. Now, forget history and imagine exploring the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, trekking across the Simien Mountains and interacting with animals and birds seen nowhere else on earth!

 

#4 Madagascar

Special Places - 10 Secret Destinations To Visit Before The Crowds Descend Madagascar

 

You watched the movie, now come meet the famed Lemur King Julian face to face and experience his wild kingdom for real! Located 400km off the eastern coast of Africa, the “eighth continent”, is not only the world’s 4th largest island for adventure group tour but also a prime example of what 165 million years of isolated fauna and flora looks like.

From deserts, rain forests and picture-perfect beaches to exotic creatures in every colour and shape imaginable, Madagascar is a flash-packing-nature-loving-culture-vulture’s wildest dream come true!

 

#3 Uganda

Adventure travel in Uganda

 

Uganda is a vibrant country of alluring landscapes, eclectic cultures and Africa’s best-kept secret, but not for long! Forget the civil instability and social unrest of yesteryear and prepare for uncharted horizons, sweeping savannahs, great lakes, snow-capped mountains and wild jungles. Let’s not forget the burgeoning wildlife and chatty locals.

Best of all, Uganda is already one of our flagship destinations, so trade your cramped office space for the open plains of daring adventure and join The Flash Pack on a fantastic 10-day guided adventure featuring everything from white water rafting, and horseback safaris around the great lakes and mist covered mountains, to exploring volcanoes and spending quality time with endangered Gorillas in their natural habitat! Click here to see the full itinerary.

 

#2 Arctic

Special Places - 10 Secret Destinations To Visit Before The Crowds Descend Arctic

 

The Arctic is the home of the of the midnight sun and the polar night and claims vast areas of Canada, Russia, USA (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden. This freezing, ice-covered ocean may look like its surrounded by nothing but permafrost and wandering polar bears, but dare to set foot upon her icy shore and prepare to be blown away.

By the sheer beauty, not the wicked wind, of course. From glacier hiking, skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing, to lazing in volcanic hot springs and chasing the Northern Lights on a snowmobile, the Arctic is nothing short of a winter wonderland come alive.

Related trip: Finland group tour for solo travellers in their 30s & 40s

Hey, wait a minute! That’s only 8 destinations!

No matter how jaw-droppingly spectacular a place, your own personal experience while there is what makes it truly unforgettable. We saved the #1 spot for YOU, dear fellow intrepid flashpacker! Make your voice heard globally and tell us about a special place you found before it’s too late for the rest of us!

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

– Yogi Berra

Don’t forget that if you’re loving what you’re seeing we can tailor-make you a trip to any of these incredible countries. But hurry, make sure you get there before the crowds!


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