Top Ten Places to Visit in 2014

Tripoto’s list of the top places to visit in 2014 includes destinations that range from the most flamboyant to the most reticent. These destinations will pique even the most discerning travelers’ interest and have them packing their bags in a rush. Read the entire list here to find what your travel calendar should be like in 2014.

1. Ethiopia

Suri Tribe, Omo Valley, Southern EthiopiaI  Image by Piper Mackay / Stone / Getty Images

Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world and the only African nation that has never been colonized. Famous for its coffee among other things, the country is an amalgamation of diverse cultural and religious influences. The nation is believed to be the beginning of mankind by many historians! History is scattered around the country in the form of ancient tombs and ruins. It is a challenge wading through a country like Ethiopia, but it’s easy to push on when you have sites like the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest places on Earth) and the Lower Omo Valley to look forward to.

2. Arbil, Iraq

Sculptures leading to Choli Minaret, Arbil, Iraq Image by Jane Sweeney / Stockbyte / Getty Images

A vibrant mosaic painted with traces of the many dynasties that have ruled the region, Arbil gives visitors a chance to peek into an Iraq seldom shown in the media. The capital of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, Arbil is said to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and was a major trading center on the route between Baghdad and Mosul. Centered around the Citadel of Arbil, a tell topped by the Ottoman Fort, the city is home to vibrant bazaars, parks and a museum.

3. Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Tad Lo Waterfalls, Bolaven Plateau, Laos Image by PONS Sylvian / Flickr / Getty Images

Located in an ancient volcano, the Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province gets its name from the Laven ethnic group that has historically dominated the area. The region spans 50 km in Southern Laos and is home to a number of waterfalls and villages of ethnic minorities like the Laven, Alak, Katu, and Suay. Famous for its agriculture techniques borrowed during the French colonization, the plateau’s climate is optimum for coffee plantations and thus it produces almost all of Laos’ coffee. The region is increasingly catching the eye of travelers because of its waterfalls, coffee and the ethnic minorities.

4. Ghana

Playing the Kalabasse during the Dipo Ceremony of the Krobo girls, Ghana Image by Anthony Pappone / Flickr / Getty Images

“While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man’s humanity to a man,” commented Maya Angelou during her time as a journalist in this northwestern African nation. One of the friendliest countries to visit, Ghana is a perfect spot to start your love affair with travel, especially if you are a first-time traveler. The British called it The Gold Coast during the colonization period because of the abundance of gold reserves in the country. Ghana gained independence from colonization, the first African country to do so, in 1957.

The country offers an intriguing blend of pre and post-colonization history through its ethnic groups and architecture. The european colonizers left several castles strewn across the region that give a glimpse into life during the colonization and the ensuing slave trade. Start your trip in Accra, the capital, moving on to the coastal areas of Cape Coast and the beaches at Kokrobite before heading north towards Kumasi and the region around the mammoth Lake Volta.

5. Brazil

Capoeira at the Beach, Brazil Image by Ben Battersby / Vetta / Getty Images

This is for the ones who love big, crazy crowds. And football. Hosting the FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil is going to be the hub of activity on the continent this year, drawing visitors from all over. We recommend extending your trip once the football frenzy is over and exploring this superlative continent. Join the bacchanalian crowds at the infamous beaches and regale in the carnivalesque vibes before heading on to the Iguazu Falls, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and explore the colorful street markets in Colombia.

6. Antarctica

Grytviken, Antarctica Image by Liam Quinn via Wikimedia Commons

On the bucket list of almost every traveler, Antarctica, the coldest and driest continent on Earth, is actually a desert with almost no rain and snowfall. We recommend taking a commercial sea voyager from Ushuaia, Argentine Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost city in the world and now a major tourist town. The voyagers usually make their way to Deception Island as a first stop before heading to Stromness Harbor in the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. Prepare and pack diligently and be ready to experience the elements and some amazing scenery.

7. Shanghai, China

Lujiazui, Shanghai Image by chinaface / Vetta / Getty Images

The city with a serious love affair with all things fast, flashy and vertical, Shanghai is emerging as Asia’s city-to-be-in this year. Much is said about the relentless construction of gargantuan skyscrapers in Lujiazui (which, we certainly don’t mind!), but the city reclaims itself from all the modern machinations by retaining a dreamy, sober side, experienced in its old neighborhoods and street markets. The people are fabulous, as is the food. With some of the biggest art museums in Asia up and running, restaurants dishing out the best of local and world cuisine, and one of the longest and most modern metro networks in the world, Shanghai is nudging at the big boys to make room for itself as the flamboyant megacity it is transforming into. In a bid to boost tourist footfall, the Chinese government has started issuing 3-day transit visas at airports to citizens of 45 nations.

8. Sintra, Portugal

Adraga Beach, Sintra Image by Pedro Damasio / Flickr / Getty Images

Sintra, in the Estoril Coast region of Portugal, boasts of moorish castles, dense forests, bespoke gardens, and rippling mountains all sewn together to form an intricately textured experience like no other. The town is home to the Unesco World Heritage-listed Sintra Vila. Popular as a day-trip from Lisbon, it deserves a longer stay to explore the architecture, wander in the hills and relax at the beaches.

9. Derawan Islands, Indonesia

Derawan Island, Indonesia Image by M Reza Faisal / Flickr / Getty Images

This bucolic island in East Kilamantan, Indonesia is the place to be for beach lovers, diving aficionados and lazy bummers. The locals are an interesting and welcoming lot reveling in the easy pace of life and a vague sense of time. This is a perfect destination for country-hoppers to slow down and recharge. The beaches and lagoons offer an excellent opportunity to witness the rich marine life.

10. Sikkim, India

                   Monks in Sikkim Image by Beyondmylens@Harsh / Photography / Flickr / Getty Images

Touted as India’s cleanest state, Sikkim fills the gap between Nepal and Bhutan on the Himalayan range. The state government has taken serious measures to boost tourism in the region and aims at bringing in around 2,000,000 tourists in the following years. One of India’s smallest and most picturesque states, Sikkim is a predominantly buddhist region. Visit for the monasteries scattered all across the region, the scenic hiking and biking opportunities in Yumthang valley and wildlife spotting in the Kanchenjunga National Park.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick one of the destination from list of places to visit in 2014 and go on.