Alternative Travel Destination Ideas for Your Bucket List

Ha Giang Rice Fields, Vietnam

There are still secret corners – and beautiful! – to discover on our planet, even in places that you think you know by heart. Here are some alternative travel ideas in your favorite destinations, from Peru to Indonesia, via Canada, Corsica or Greece. So many unknown pearls, even hidden ones, which will make you discover new aspects of the countries which you already appreciate … and which will make you love them even more!

Thailand: Isan and the islands of Trang

Far from the clichés of the Andaman Sea or the buildings of Bangkok, the ‘ Isan (pronounced “I-saan”) is an uncrowded area, offering an authentic facial Country of Smiles. The Northeastern Thai guarantees an exotic trip with beautiful national parks like Khao Yai and Phu Kradung , and beautiful temples, with the road Khmer citadels from Phimai . A trip to Isan, bordered on the east by the Mekong, introduces a rural Thailand , especially in the green region of Loei where you can admire the crafts of the Thai Dam on the side of the pretty village of Chiang Khan .

Sea side, to succumb to the spells of the Andaman Sea, heading to the islands off Trang in the south of the country. Ko Ngai , Ko Kradan , Ko Libong … Crystal clear water, golden beaches, coconut palms, snorkelling, romantic sunsets and tranquility are on the agenda. Who says better ?

Vietnam: Ha Giang and the Wild North East

In northern Vietnam , there is Hanoi and Halong Bay , as well as Sapa for hikers. But we must push a little further north-east to discover a still unknown Vietnam, around Cao Bang and Lang Son . In this wild region, we still cross minorities who have retained their ancestral way of life. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful: small valleys occupied by rice fields, limestone mountains, sugar loaves covered with vegetation …

Special mention for Ha Giang province . Still isolated, it is undoubtedly the most intact region of Vietnam. At 350 km from Hanoi, Ha Giang is a Vietnamese end of the world, alternating mountains, deep valleys and slopes carved by rice fields and plots of corn.

Indonesia: Lombok

Lombok (which means “pepper” in Javanese), offers an alternative to those who find its neighbor Bali too touristy. Certainly, the seduction of Lombok seems less obvious at first sight. This island, whose population is predominantly Muslim, remains discreet and quiet, a thousand leagues away from the noisy seductions of South Bali. However, its beaches, especially in the south around Kuta , are absolutely beautiful, and its interior contains grandiose landscapes, starting with the silhouette of the Rinjani volcano., where you can make a memorable trek.

Lombok, it is also a culture to discover, that of the Sasaks, who faithfully preserve their traditions and represent nearly 80% of the population. An island that really wins to be known, so.

India: Tamil Nadu

This southeastern state of India is astonishing because of the richness of its culture and the variety of its landscapes. Less known than Rajasthan or neighboring Kerala , Tamil Nadu. First of all, it surprises you with the beauty of its Dravidian temples and shrines, one of the founding peoples of southern India. Tamil Nadu is also a long story: Tamil, the language spoken in it, is one of the oldest in the world. The landscapes are varied: mountains and plantations in the west, arid plains in the center, sandy beaches on the coast.

Among the highlights of the trip: the temple of Srirangam, the city of Tanjore, the sacred city of Rameswaram, second pilgrimage town after Varanasi, Pondicherry, the former French counter, the community of Auroville, the sublime Sri Meenakshi temple in Madurai, and Chennai the capital, whose hectic pace has nothing to envy to that of other Indian cities.

China: Sichuan, over the Yangzi

The Sichuan ( “4 rivers” in Chinese), in the heart of the Middle Kingdom and 2000 km west of Shanghai , is one of the major provinces of China, with considerable historical and economic importance . Nature is not left out: the region is home to the greatest biodiversity in China after Yunnan , as in these thick forests alpine which is the last refuge of the giant panda. Unesco-listed sites abound, such as the Leshan Great Buddha , the Dazu Rock Complex, the Emeishan Sacred Mountain, the Qingcheng Taoist Mountain, the Dujiangyan Irrigation Dam and the Jiuzhaigou Nature Parks. and Huanglong.

As for cooking, very spicy, it is divine. In Chongqingin the neighboring province, we can continue the trip by cruising the mythical Yangzi River, towards the Three Gorges Dam . Unforgettable !

Morocco: Ouarzazate and the Berber country

Ouarzazate is the gateway to southern Morocco , a Berber country and world of nomads with jagged rocks, stony plateaux and secret valleys. Change of scenery, however, along wadis Drâa, Dadès and Ziz, with orchards, fields, palm groves and gardens. To the south, wadi Drâa leads, through villages and ksour, toZagoraand the desert … To the east, Wadi Dadès amazes between palm groves, mountains andkasbahs,without forgetting, even more to the east, the vertiginous gorges of Todgha .

As for the dunes of Erg Chebbi, near Merzouga , they display a landscape as fascinating as photogenic. Southern Morocco is also worth a trip for its culture, history, craftsmanship and decorative arts, just as beautiful as its landscapes.

Mauritius: Rodrigues

We admit, we have a weakness for Maurice’s little sister! The third island in the Mascarene Archipelago, Rodrigues (130 km 2 ) lies some 650 km north-east of Mauritius. Nicknamed the “Cinderella of the Mascarene Islands”, this authentic piece of land has many assets: a vast lagoon, long beaches bordered with filao trees, a relief of volcanic origin and valleys conducive to hiking.

Quiet island, Rodrigues has also preserved its rustic charm and its customs, its traditional music, its dance and tasty cuisine. An island to live, more than to visit. Rodrigues, do you have a heart? Obviously, yes!

Canada: Nova Scotia

A real end of the world to the great preserved spaces, all in the east of Canada , where this immense country marries the waters of the Atlantic. The Nova Scotia , with its capital Halifax is still little frequented by French travelers. However, some of our French-speaking cousins, the Acadians, live there and the pioneers of New France built a fortress: Louisbourg. Nova Scotia, as big as Belgium, is almost a country in itself, with beautiful marine, lacustrine and forest landscapes, historic towns, and a vibrant culture with Gaelic and Acadian influences.

In the north of the province, Cape Breton Island is one of Canada’s top tourist attractions for the scenic Cabot Trail, whale watching trips, quaint fishing villages, forest walks and long sandy beaches.

United States: New England, sea side

Drive further than Boston and discover the New England coast. Not far from the capital of Massachusetts , Cape Cod is one of Boston’s favorite destinations. We understand them! This curious folded inland waterway, which stretches out into the ocean, offers visitors nearly 500 km of virgin coastline, from pretty traditional villages to gray shingle houses, to adorable fishing ports, the city of Provincetown , so Key West from the north, long sandy beaches lined with dunes and marshes populated by birds, cliffs and, at sea, whales. Off Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Islands, which are home to such famous residents as the Clinton, Obama or Spielberg, are small bucolic havens with harmonious architecture.

Finally, in Newport , capital of Rhode Island , the walker is seduced by mansions , these sumptuous residences of the good local society. We have taste, here …

Western US: New Mexico

Slightly populated, New Mexico is one of the states with the most pristine open spaces. Located between Arizona and Texas , it evokes a western setting, with its arid plateaus extending to infinity. Populated by 10.2% Indians and 47% Hispanics, it is also the closest American state to its pre-Columbian roots and Spanish colonial history. The ubiquitous architecture adobe testifies, as the kitchen, rich in spicy flavors.

At the heart of the canyons and desiccated valleys, we discover the culture and Indian pueblos scattered in northern New Mexico. Taos and the capital Santa Fe , which are among the oldest cities in the United States, also testify to this culture, through their urbanism, but also their many museums and galleries. A living American West, where the myth is probably closer to reality …

Cuba: Baracoa, the extreme Oriente

Located east of Cuba , the Oriente region is one of the least tourist of the island. Yet, marked by the history and memory of the Cuban Revolution, it has an assertive character, beautiful landscapes and an overwhelming authenticity. Do not miss its capital Santiago , a beautiful colonial city and Mecca of Caribbean culture, the majestic Sierra Maestra , mountainous balcony (2000 m) on the Caribbean where the Castro myth was forged, and Baracoa.

Located at the foot of the foothills of the Sierra Maestra, this lively village, with old wooden houses of Caribbean and colonial styles, is particularly endearing, especially during the Carnival. All around, beautiful hikes to do and beaches where you would like to anchor forever …

Brazil: Southern States (Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul)

The south of Brazil can be summed up for many at the famous Iguazu Falls . This region, the richest in Brazil, shows another facet of the South American giant, very different from Bahia or Rio. The southern region , which stretches between São Paulo and Argentina, comprises three states: Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, with its capital Porto Alegre and its Argentinian pampas. In addition to the great Iguaçu Falls , there are many sites to explore: the island of Florianópolis , the Serras da Graciosa and Morretes ,with their hiking trails in the rainforest, Paranaguá and Ilha do Mel , with dozens of heavenly beaches.

The coast of Paraná and Santa Catarina abounds with beautiful beaches against the backdrop of Serra do Mar , a 2,000m high mountain range. Classified at UNESCO, the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) local mixes tropical and subtropical species, sheltering an exceptional biodiversity.

Peru: the north, from the Cordillera Blanca to Kuelap

Exceptional mountains, beaches and archeological sites: Northern Peru is a beautiful alternative to the traditional Inca Valley. Let’s start with the magnificent Cordillera Blanca around Huaraz and Caraz : a very popular spot for hiking and trekking in the high mountains, especially in the Huascarán National Park (6 700 m), classified by Unesco. Further north, you will not miss Trujillo , with the archaeological sites of Chan Chan and the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna , vestiges of civilization ugly (2 th – 8 th s.).

And, from the beautiful colonial city of Cajamarca, we will go to the assault of Kuelap , citadel built on a ridge more than 3,000 m, the “Machu Picchu North”. And the beaches in all this? Go to Huanchaco or Puerto Pizzaro to enjoy the waves of the Pacific!

Do you know any other great alternative destinations? Share your experience in comments. Thank you.

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