It’s just too easy to walk well-trodden paths and keep visiting global must-sees, year after year. But once you stray from the main path, an amazing world of hidden gems awaits you, the world of places that attract a different kind of traveler. The aim of this unexpected bucket list is to broaden your horizons and introduce you to spectacular places that often pass under the standard TripAdvisor radar, places like Asia and Australia where summer comes a bit later and are great for visiting in September.
Kyrgyzstan: Vacation Putin-Style
In Soviet Russia… Hold on, wrong article.
If your travel style is nomadic and unpredictable, you will feel at home in this fantastic ex-Soviet republic where nomadic lifestyle is deeply rooted in its culture. There are exactly 88 mountain ranges in Kyrgyzstan, making up roughly 70% of the country. If you’re an adept climber, keep in mind that the highest peak, Ibn Sina, is one of the easiest 7000m+ peaks to climb in the world, with hundreds of people doing it every year. An outdoorsy country through and through, the unspoiled countryside of Kyrgyzstan is great for hiking, horseback riding, skydiving, and even skiing and snowboarding. After a binge of extreme sports, the only thing you need is soaking in one of the hot springs near Issyk-Kul Lake. Its capital Bishkek is a unique melting pot of ex-Soviet and Islamic influences, with unrealistically clean streets, and manicured greenery. Actually, Bishkek is one of the greenest cities in the former USSR, and probably in the world.
Oman: Land of Frankincens
Unjustly shadowed by its fabulous oil-rich neighbors, Oman is getting more and more buzz from travelers who like to follow their own way. This hidden gem on the very end of Arabian Peninsula doesn’t boast too many ‘firsts’ or ‘biggests’ in a region known for its record-breaking achievements. It does boast, however, its rich heritage, embracing and highly educated society and ancient past. Oman is also home to some amazing desert beaches that you have to see to believe. Also, Oman has been known as ‘birdwatchers’ best-kept secret’ as migratory birds from all the old-world continents can be seen here. And of course, you can’t speak of Oman without mentioning its wadis – surreal desert canyons that fill with crystalline water in the rainy season –perfect for an invigorating swim after a desert hike.
Pacific Coast Road, Australia
For many people, the destination is a journey, so instead of camping in one spot, they like to connect the dots by road tripping. The Pacific coast of Australia is so beautiful in September that it would be hard to pinpoint a single place along one of the country’s most iconic road trip routes from Brisbane to Sydney. Feeding pelicans at The Entrance is an experience that you’ll remember long after you shut down your Instagram account. Explore the historic city of Newcastle, or melt into the cinematic views of Port Macquarie. If you can’t imagine a holiday without snorkeling with sea turtles, stop in Byron Bay, and if there’s an old surfboard strapped on the roof of your car, you can’t miss Surfers paradise. The road ends in Sydney, so if you decide to dedicate a page or two of your journal to this pearl of the Pacific, there’s no better way to start the tour by checking out the menu at one of the amazing outdoor restaurants in Sydney, many of which boast spectacular panoramic harbor views.
Buenos Aires: Paris of South America
With cold oceanic winter easing off in September, there’s hardly a better time of year to visit the city that tangoes to its own beat. The freedom of body and spirit that you experience while strolling the tree-lined streets, past rainbow-hued street art and bohemian coffee shops, quirky galleries and fashion boutiques make it easy to understand the struggle for independence that San Martin El Libertador and his companion generals put up against the conservative Spanish two centuries ago. After life-changing steaks and chic cocktail bars at every corner, there is Uptown BA – a speakeasy that recreates an NYC subway station. Luckily, with many low-fare, long hauls flights to Buenos Aires, there should be plenty of pesos left in your pocket to bribe the bouncer.
The world is not what it used to be, and for better or worse, it’s important to keep traveling and writing the pages of your own personal atlas, mapping new cultures and crossing new borders. Which offbeat destinations would you add?