With the world now getting increasingly connected and remote locations more accessible, the phrase ‘exotic destinations’ has reached new heights. Intrepid travellers have an insatiable appetite for exploring the faraway or the forgotten, and the globe has plenty of options for them. Ahead, we list six destinations to watch out for in 2019.
The North African country dropped off the traveller’s radar due to its tumultuous political situation in the past decade. But with the security infrastructure of the country now massively ramped up, the Egypt is bouncing back.
Naturally, its biggest draw is its pharaonic heritage – pyramids, burial complexes, and megalithic temple ruins for the history buff. The Grand Egyptian Museum, slated to open in 2020, will be the world’s largest archaeological museum that will host 120,000 artefacts cataloguing the country’s rich history, including 5,400 objects from the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
History aside, the country also offers unique dive sites below the Red Sea’s surface, littered with shipwrecks and dotted with coral reefs. Alternatively, take a cruise down the famed River Nile with picturesque oasis surrounded by date palm plantations, or take in the beautiful sight of the deserts with white chalk mountains on arid sand. Luxury travel operators Scott Dunn curates a variety of luxurious experiences for the well-heeled explorer, such as sophisticated cruises, and exclusive early entry to the museum.
Rising from the ashes is Rwanda, a once ravaged by war and tinged by genocide and tragedy. Today, the Switzerland of Africa is fast becoming a destination for high net worth travellers. New luxury properties have cemented their presence. Go glamping in the wilderness at luxury eco-lodge Magashi Camp, observe wildlife within an ancient rainforest at Nyungwe House, and discover the habitat of critically endangered mountain gorillas at One & Only’s Gorilla’s Nest which is nestled in Africa’s oldest national park.
Today, the country is one of the safest in the continent, and offers vibrant itineraries which includes volcano hiking, and visits to war memorials for an insight into its bloody past.
Forget Macchu Picchu. The hordes of tourists at the ancient site have adventurers looking elsewhere — this time, it’s Chachapoyas, the next Peruvian star attraction. Widely regarded as one of the most adventurous places in the region, it is tucked into the cloud forests of the Amazonas, and boasts one of the highest waterfalls in the world.
Kuelap is its Macchu Picchu equivalent, except it was built 500 years earlier. Once home to mysterious “cloud warriors”, experts are undecided if the archeological site was a sixth century mountaintop citadel or fortress.
Kuelap aside, Chachapoyas is also home to 2.5m-tall sarcophagi at Karajia, mausoleums of Ravesh atop limestone rocks, and museums which house Inca mummies.
The saying “where the sky touches the sea” best describes Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world: The otherworldly sight is often described as the world’s largest mirror, when covered with a thin layer of water.
But more than salt flat, the country has plenty to offer the curious traveller, including the fabled Lake Titicaca, Inca palaces and ruins, Madidi National Park (that’s home to indigenous tribes), cultural festivals, a witch’s market and a site with preserved dinosaur tracks.
The quieter Middle Eastern cousin of Morocco needs to be on everyone’s radar. Like its Moroccan counterparts, the souks are bustling, spice-scented labyrinths boasting endless alleys of traditional wares, ranging from pottery and jewellery to crafts and carpets.
Oman also boasts a historical and cultural prowess, with archaeological museums, resplendent mosques and opera houses conceived in the grand style of an Omani palace. It’s also second to none when it comes to natural landscapes, as it is home to deserts, mountains and caves. Despite its reputation as a desert country, it’s also replete with wildlife on land and sea; its islands are famed for dive sites inhabited by tropical fish and coral reefs.
Slovenia doesn’t exactly come to mind if one is after a Nordic adventure, but the central European country is an earthly paradise of natural wonders – its terrain is largely hilly and mountainous. On land, you’ll find underground caves, vineyards, untouched and lush pine forests and sun-drenched coastlines.
Wild and beautiful, it’s also architecturally grand. The architecture in Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana for instance, combines Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. Your stay in Slovenia is best spent hiking the hills or alps surrounding the picturesque Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, soaking in the sunshine and salty sea breeze of the Piran peninsula, exploring the underground Škocjanske Caves and visiting the hilly vineyards of Goriška Brda.