Farflung is all about being somewhere without seeing other outsiders. For example, Katra, India is a place we’ve been where honestly every person there was Indian. Many of them were India tourists, but for this list it would count (not that I’d recommend it really).
I guess this is a compliment to the 7 most “unique” destinations, I did over a year and a half ago. But these are the destinations we’ve been to that were farflung and had less tourists- that we’d actually recommend.
1) Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a less traveled version of southern India. Our two weeks traveling around the country is still some of the best travel experiences we’ve had.
It started with a protest that shut down the roads.
We went along the south coast until we got to do a safari.
Then we went up to Trincomalee.
There they had an all night festival where we happened to be the only tourists. It was incredible, people were smashing firey coconuts and receiving blessings from the altar that was paraded through every street. People were super friendly, and the food was amazing.
It might have to do with the spots we chose to visit, but we rarely saw other tourists.
2) Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Trebinje has some tour buses that stop in the center of town, but otherwise it’s a pretty authentic experience.
But it’s not just this one town, it’s the road up to Montenegro. You’ll pass interesting villages, buildings sunk underwater, and the mountains on up to the border. Even into Montenegro, on the way to Podgorica, you’ll find incredible but empty sites.
While the city itself is relatively small, there are so many things around that are unique only to this area. The aftermath of the war still evident.
As I mentioned earlier, we recently went to visit our NGO friends and got to stay with them and see daily life there. We got to see the milk man walk down the street yelling “milk!”, or the same with the person collecting trash.
It was a fantastic experience, and one of the rare experiences where I felt like I went back in time. I feel as if the next time I visit though, Yangon will have progressed a lot. I highly recommend getting there now and experiencing their way of life!
4) Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Bulgaria is such an interesting country. Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe (the oldest?), and Bulgaria has the mountains and the beaches.
I was interested in seeing Veliko Tarnovo because of it’s uniqueness. An ancient wall and old town on a cliff that is divided by a winding river. It’s really impossible to get a shot of the entire town because the river snakes around the town so much.
It is definitely an odd small Bulgarian town. It has more tourists than I’d expect, but it’s still a small number of small hotels. If you’re looking to go there, don’t count on finding something on points.
You may recall that we did a road trip across Namibia with other bloggers this fall. And while the places we did stop had tourists, the number of tourists in each site was tiny. In fact, the number of people we saw was tiny.
Namibia is mostly desert, but suprisingly it’s ever changing scenery.
If you’re looking to go somewhere where not a lot of other people have been, Namibia could be on that list.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Ukraine, we spent a month this year helping with Carrie’s sisters adoption. So, I’m kind of biased now, but Ukraine is cool, and it’s different.
But even being in the popular cities like Kiev and Odessa, it is truly a local experience.
Kiev in particular is a fabulous place to be in the summer. There are tons of parks, and all the parks are hopping. Lot’s of sites, and things to do. We went to the Ukraine Cup and got to sit in row 20 for $3 – which was crazy enough to involve fans throwing fire/fireworks on the field.
But the best part of Kiev is the liveliness in the summers (otherwise grim and grey in the winters).
Colombia, like much of Eastern Europe or Myanmar, was a country that had enough conflict in it’s history to scare off many tourists. But now tourism is growing super quickly, year over year.
Colombia is a happening culture, where we saw Salsa dancing groups on the streets. I’m not saying the vibrant culture will die off as the tourism grows, but I enjoy cultures when there is less tourism rather than more.
8) Amritsar, India
Amritsar’s Golden Temple is the main religious site for Sikhs, and it is one of the most unique places we’ve been. It is a main site where you’ll see some other tourists, but nothing like you’d expect for something so spectacular.
Even staying at night, floods of people making their pilgrimage to the temple while inside, there is a band playing traditional Indian styled songs. There’s something majestic about it.
And right outside the temple is the “free kitchen” where they feed people by the thousands… for free. We joined and sat on the rug and enjoyed the dahl and curry.
Probably the places with the least Americans are places I wouldn’t recommend for tourism. By far, Jingzhou, China would win. But a number of places ranging from Katra, India to Belgorod, Ukraine, have been totally without outside tourists.
Also, there are many many places I’d love to go but haven’t made it to yet.
Places I still want to go:
- Sumatra, Indonesia
- West Papua, Indonesia
- Borneo, Malaysia
- China – so many places!
- Chengdu, Kunming, Huashan, etc…
- Albania and Macedonia
That list can go on forever, but those are some particularly interesting locations for me.
The two I’d love to go back to most would be Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Extremely unique and only a certain few spots overrun with tourists.