Top 10 Destinations you should explore in 2017
As tourism is becoming one of the biggest sources of income in many countries, it’s best to plan vacations now to countries that haven’t completely given in to the tourism machine and has still most of its authentic vibe (and lesser crowds). On the other hand, it may just be time to visit that one country you’ve always wanted to go to.
This West Scandinavian country offers visa-free visits to numerous countries outside the EU so it’s now more accessible than ever for many citizens of the world. Once inside, though, getting around has been known to be a chore; but today, Norway has drastically improved its transportation options.
Tourists can go around in rented cars, following national tourist routes at a leisurely pace, or they can opt for a bus tour package, or take the train operated by the Norwegian State Railways which stretches to almost all of Norway. There are also boat options for the sea-loving adventurer. Sporty types can take a shot at Norway’s many cycling routes and, depending on the weather, head to their favorite sporting occasions.
The winters in Norway last from December to January, and these are the months which are most packed with sports activities like downhill skiing, ski jumping, and even cross-country skiing. However, the weather can only hold back so much of the skiing spirits of Norwegians as summer only means skiing at high altitudes where snow still caps the mountains. Skating is also the ever delightful option that is on offer all year round.
You can also get to experience the long summer days in Norway which peak in mid-June with bonfires and gatherings to celebrate Midsummer. Whether you’re a morning person or a night person, sea-farer or land-crawler, sporty-type or chilled out; Norway has plenty to offer to the holidaying soul.
To start off with a fun and fresh fact, this island nation had just discovered 534 new islands last February 2016. This goes to show that the Philippines holds many surprises that may tingle the senses of any curious visitor. Now, as a country of over 7,600 islands, the Philippines has a lot of tropical adventures on offer: clean white beaches, secret caves, hidden rivers and waterfalls, and all the sun and sand you need. But it doesn’t just stop there…
As one of the booming trading and business hubs of the East, the Philippines has a lot of quality items that come from around the world and which sell at bargain prices. A local friend or guide can accompany daring tourists into the chaotic Manila markets such as Divisoria and Quiapo – all in the name of a good bargain.
Lastly, there is the spiritual benefit to visiting these islands. Visitors will find that the mosaic of islands reflect the mosaic of cultures which come together in the cities. You’ll find the oldest Chinatown in Manila called Binondo. You’ll find quaint Muslim communities in Quiapo. And if you’re willing to go that far, you may just get rare glimpses of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines.
All of this, against scenic backdrops of tropical trees and rainforests, or seas, or even Chocolate Hills.
This quaint little country sandwiched between Bangladesh and Thailand is formerly known as Burma and is still called so by many. This double identity may just be the perfect representation of modern and ‘old Myanmar’.
Today’s Myanmar is fast developing as it makes use of its abundant natural resources. A more recent source of national income would be the booming tourism of Myanmar. Tourists have been coming to Myanmar in recent years to have a taste of the country’s many historic and natural attractions. Burma boasts golden Buddhist temples and beautiful natural landscapes. However, as mentioned, with Myanmar now becoming a tourist machine it may not be long until the experience of authenticity deteriorates proportionally with the influx of visitors.
Despite this, 2017 still presents a Burma that flaunts its authenticity since tourism hasn’t marred the atmosphere very much yet. The best months to visit the country are December – February since the rains are least frequent, and the temperature is cooler. As such weather would call for more tourists, you may opt to go during off-peak months like March – August and October – November; be warned though, it’s going to be quite difficult to get around due to the rains.
You may still be able to find Burma in Myanmar before it loses its golden shimmer to tourism.
Another country that’s close to being processed by the tourism machine is the little Caribbean island of Cuba. A year-round haven for many, Cuba’s tourist revenue can be broken down into two main streams: culture and health.
Getting right into the more unusual of the two: Cuba’s many medical establishments offer a lot of sophisticated procedures at a relatively lower cost compared to other countries. Hence, tourists fly in from Europe and other far off regions to get treatments for complex diseases like Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis. Other than a lower price, there’s the option to baste in the cultural offerings of Cuba within its historical, religious, and culinary delights. Despite the welcoming climate, it does tend to get bombarded by hurricanes from June to November; but even then, visitors find the rains and dark storms alluring and exciting.
Cuba is quickly becoming acclimated to its booming tourism sector by modernizing its features through renovations to make it look “more authentic”. The year 2017 may still be able to hold off some of these false authenticities so that you may experience a true Havana.
So a cruise isn’t a country, but it might just be the best option for the undecided or insatiable mind. In a cruise you get to visit multiple countries and roam the seas for weeks to even months at a time. It’s the ultimate getaway where the scenes are constantly changing and you’re within comfortable reach of your temporary mobile home.
Cruises vary in a lot more aspects than just duration and destination. Cruises offer on-board experiences that range from that of being family-friendly, to romantic, to being fitness-centered or even food-focused; and there are also cruise lines that offer educational or self-empowering talks on-board.
Cruises are generally pricey but they can also be quite budget-friendly depending on which cruise line you opt for. All it’s going to take is a little research as to which cruises pass by your region frequently and booking for it accordingly. One must consider the time when booking a cruise and peak times usually mean more activities and more cruise line options, as well as more budget-friendly offers.
Changed by the way tourism was affecting it’s economy, Vietnam had turned to being a service economy from an agrarian one sometime in the recent past; so you know there’s bound to be a lot on offer in the home of Pho.
Pho, by the way, is one of Vietnam’s most famous dishes. Travelers come from around the world to get a taste of the local delicacies which exude a sense of sophistication in their clear soups, transparent wrappers, and wild salads. Couple the culinary escapade with an adventure through Vietnam’s rich eco-tourism offerings and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable experience indeed. With over 30 national parks, 8 world heritage sites, 8 biosphere reserves, countless beaches, and various cultural experiences; Vietnam’s bound to fill up any backpacker’s schedule – a guaranteed treat for the mind and soul of any foodie and adventurer.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
This is the country which houses that city that has the biggest and tallest of everything – Dubai. As the name of the country suggests, UAE is a combination of 7 emirates (or ‘states’, if you will); with its capital being Abu Dhabi. Each emirate has something unique to offer visitors. Dubai is more on the extreme high-end and posh side of these offers with shopping crazes and world-famous tourist hotspots like the Burj Al-Arab, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Aquarium – just to name a few. Expats are abundant in Dubai so any first time visitors should have no problem getting about and socializing. The capital, Abu Dhabi, has a lot of history and sights to offer visitors and it’s just an hour’s ride away from Dubai. Sharjah is a more conservative emirate where pork and alcohol are not allowed, while its liberal neighbor, Dubai, is just 30 minutes away. Despite this, Sharjah does have an interesting cultural experience to offer tourists. Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain are mountainous regions that have a lot of quasi-natural experiences to offer like Desert Safaris, and hiking. If you didn’t know, Desert Safaris are like desert rollercoasters, only you’ll be riding a 4×4 at high speed snaking through the dunes instead of a real rollercoaster.
Despite its prominence as one of the biggest tourist hotspots in the world, Dubai isn’t overrated. It’s done a lot of work to have so much on offer as it heavily relies on tourism for its income. So it’s got to be worth it to find out for yourself what the biggest fuss in the world is all about.
The Japanese way of life has created a timeless world. A world where the past and the future coexist. It’s difficult to avoid getting too thoughtful when visiting a country as beautiful as this.
Each of Japan’s wonderful cities have something unique to offer – be it in a cultural, natural, ambient, or a tasteful sense. Speaking of taste, Japan is easily in the top tier of the international food scene. The Japanese have a dedication to their craft. Traditions and techniques are usually passed down for decades in most Japanese restaurants as many are family owned. This is where the past subtly hides in Japan – in the hands of the old master sushi chefs, ramen cooks, bartenders, and almost every sort of professional you find. There is always a sense of wisdom that is exuded from these personas. Every passing moment with the Japanese is awe-inspiring.
The Japanese are some of the longest living people on the planet. This may just be due to the peace of mind that may people find there.
Probably the only place that is in one of Schrodinger’s boxes labeled “Country and not a country”. Put simply, Taiwan is known to be a part of China, but this has not been a popular opinion among the Taiwanese, who have their own system of democratic government. So for the sake of this article, and more importantly, the unique identity that Taiwan has developed over the years, we’ll consider Taiwan to be a country by itself.
On a map, Taiwan may seem unimpressively small against its mainland neighbor China, but it’s the island’s many natural gifts and interesting local developments that make this country seem bigger on the inside. The cities boom with life and they hold all the urban comforts one is used to, while the villages are pickled in rustic bliss and it can all be easily accessed through many modes of transport. Bullet trains, busses, bikes and cars can get you anywhere in Taiwan and even the people are eagerly helpful towards adventurers who encounter map-trouble.
Over 200 peaks to hike over, a muti-cultural cuisine, surrounding seas rich in biodiversity and so much more – Taiwan may just be Asia’s best kept secret.
Under these Peruvian skies, travelers with a strong inclination towards Incan-history (or just history in general) may find their absolute fill of information about the once-glorious empire of the Incas. Despite the time that has passed since the fall of the Inca to the Spanish in the late 1500l’s, evidence of their strong presence and influence have still exist, and are kept in tip-top shape by the government of Peru.
Marvel at Incan architecture which persevere along Peruvian hillsides as ancient villages. You may even come to realize that these ancient peoples were ahead of their time when you look into Moray, a terraced field cratered into the ground which was meant to study the development of crops at different temperatures and conditions.
As if the Incan experience wasn’t enough to keep you preoccupied, the Spanish influence apparent in its more recent buildings will leave you in awe of how rich Peru is, historically. And if, in your view, Spanish architecture is easily beaten by Incan monuments, then wait till you get a taste of the Spanish-influence in Peruvian cuisine. Some of the world’s best dishes can be found in Peru.
Peru is heavily reliant on Ecotourism, which means that their services in the sector will only develop over time – along with the influx of visitors.
The home of the love, faith, and pasta. You can’t go wrong when choosing to go to such a ‘mainstream’ option as this. Submerge yourself in absolute bliss as you gaze at art created at the pinnacle of aristocratic times and done by some of the most influential historical minds.
Discover Italian cuisine like you never have before with new twists to known dishes at every turn and even more new tastes in every city. Familiar names which lie dormant in your mind as foods or flavors like Naples, and Bologna may just explode into a whole new other-worldly dimension of meaning with its art, food and history. If you’re a bit of a bit of a wine-snob, Italy may just turn you into another wine connoisseur as it has some of the best wines in the world.
If you love visiting a few countries at once, you’ll be glad to know that Vatican City is a country by itself – it’s a country within a country. Despite the subtlety, you can still check “Vacation to more than one country” off of your bucket list.
Bottom line is, even if you’re not good at timing your pasta cooking correctly, Italy is guaranteed to be al dente.