Beautiful Offbeat Destinations You Have To Visit In 2016


A new year deserves new travel inspiration. And frankly as much as I am fond of the dynamic London, the high-on-culture Italy and the party islands of Thailand, I can't help but think that they can't just be it. The world is ginormous and there is so much to discover. This 2016, I want to go to destinations that haven't found their way on to the tourism map yet. After all, we're travellers not tourists. Right?

Who's with me?

Here's my wishlist for the new year.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Photo of Rotorua, New Zealand by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Geee Kay

If you are looking for an out-of-world experience, then Rotorua is the perfect destination for you. Why? Because this city is home to some very unusual geothermal activity. Walking around on any regular day will bring you face to face with erupting geysers, boiling mud pools and natural hot springs. Combine this with the many adventure activities and natural spa services that the city offers and you can look forward to the trip of a lifetime.

Fun fact: Keep your eyes peeled, because the Pohutu geyser here erupts many times every day.

Best time to visit: Anytime from March to October

Patagonia, Argentina

Photo of Patagonia, Argentina by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Chris Ford
Photo of Beautiful Offbeat Destinations You Have To Visit In 2016 by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Douglas Scortegagna

Travel writer Bruce Chatwin once wrote, "Patagonia is the farthest place to which man walked from his place of origin." And because it's still majorly untouched by humans, this place is a visual feast for the eyes. It has extensive steppes, beautiful mountain peaks, vast icefields and six national parks. You just can't miss it.

Fun fact: Patagonia is one of the best places in the world for whale watching!

Best time to visit: November to early March

Meteora, Greece

Photo of Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Kalabaka, Trikala, Greece by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Marina & Enrique

Meteora in Greek means 'in the middle of the sky'. And this is exactly where this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site is located – at least very close to it. The area comprises monasteries built on top of six natural sandstone pillars and has been the setting for many movies and books.

Fun fact: Till the 17th century, the only way of conveying goods and people from these monasteries was by the use of baskets and ropes.

Best time to visit: July to October

Photo of Kyoto, Japan by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Moyan Brenn

While most of Japan has moved on to a more modern pace of life, Kyoto still holds on to its traditional roots tightly. This city has it all – mountains on three sides, serene and colourful shrines, quaint specialty shops, beautiful temples, big blossoming gardens and an extraordinarily excellent range of eateries.

Fun fact: Kyoto is the only city in Japan where you can still spot a geisha. The ideal geisha-spotting time is between four and six o’ clock.

Best time to visit: March to May, September to November

Prague, Czech Republic

Photo of Prague, Czech Republic by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Moyan Brenn
Photo of Beautiful Offbeat Destinations You Have To Visit In 2016 by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Miroslav Petrasko

When in Europe, choose Prague. Because there is no other city that matches the beauty of Paris, is relaxed and quirky (some men's urinals have cushions on the wall so men can lean against them while peeing!) and has the best beer in the world.

Fun fact: A wall opposite the French Embassy is always full of John Lennon graffiti despite it being whitewashed repeatedly. People consider the wall to be a symbol of free speech.

Best time to visit: March to November

Photo of Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Himani Khatreja
Photo of Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Diu Tourism

Even though it is just 40 kms in area, Diu is mostly untouched. Plan a trip to this peaceful town for its rich Portugese history, intriguing architecture, clean beaches and delicious food. But let me warn you, you probably won't want to go back.

Fun fact: Restaurants in this small town have their own brand of ice-creams and soda. Enjoy!

Best time to visit: October to May

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Photo of Tashkent, Uzbekistan by Himani Khatreja
Credit: stefan_fotos
Photo of Beautiful Offbeat Destinations You Have To Visit In 2016 by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Giorgio Minguzzi

You might be surprised to find the capital of Uzbekistan on this list, but this city is well on its way to becoming a popular destination for offbeat travellers. On offer is some great architecture, busy bazaars, delectable food and an adventurous escape through rafting, skiing and hiking.

Fun fact: Staying true to its royal style, Tashkent’s metro stations are decorated with chandeliers, marble pillars and engraved metal.

Best time to visit: March to May and September to November

Photo of Sarawak Malaysia by Himani Khatreja

Photo of Beautiful Offbeat Destinations You Have To Visit In 2016 by Himani Khatreja
Credits: Sarawak Tourism

You'll find Malaysian friendliness and warmth at its highest in this area. Take a trip to Sarawak for a 'flying coffin' riverboat up the 'Amazon of Borneo', spot exotic animals in the rainforest or just relax with a drink by the waterfront.

Fun fact: The Gunung Mulu National Park has some of the most interesting cave formations in the world.

Best time to visit: April to September

Kiribati, Island Nation in Central Pacific

Photo of Kiribati by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Nick Hobgood
Photo of Beautiful Offbeat Destinations You Have To Visit In 2016 by Himani Khatreja
Credit: All World Towns

Okay, so this one is a little out of the way, but it's worth all the effort and money. Located in the Pacific Ocean, this island's 33 atolls cover a massive 3.5 million square km. Beautiful tropical lagoons surrounded by the ocean on all sides – what's not to like.

Fun fact: If you measure it just by land, the size of Kiribati will be just over 810 sq km.

Best time to visit: March to October

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Francisco Martins

With a rich history, some interesting museums and great architecture, Jerusalem has a lot to offer its visitors. But I think the best thing about this place is it's food. With options like the sweet knafeh, spoonfuls of malabi, perfect falafals, juicy shawarmas and the heavenly sabich, you might find it difficult to get time for sightseeing.

Fun fact: The Old City has over a whopping 2,000 archaeological sites.

Best time to visit: April to May and October to November

I know this a tall order. But realistically, even if you manage to cover five destinations on this list, you'll have had a pretty great year. Which ones will they be? Which places are you definitely going to travel to in 2016?

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