This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 19 °C Sunday 25 August, 2019

Off the beaten track: 12 emerging holiday destinations to visit in 2016

The highlights include vast rolling mountains, labyrinth markets and cultural treasure troves.

2016 IS ALL about emerging destinations – wildlife, culture and escape.

Leaving no stone unturned, here are 12 emerging destinations adventurous travellers will love in 2016:

12. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

shutterstock_36271600 Source: Shutterstock/Artifan

Alaska’s Glacier Bay boasts breathtaking glaciers, mountains and surreptitious bays, with very few visitors.

Explore the area by small ship or cruise taking you into the heart of these frozen frontiers.

The World Heritage Site covers 3.3 million acres, making it one of the world’s largest internationally protected regions.

11. Japan

shutterstock_266770658 Source: Shutterstock/Norikazu

This is a beautiful and fascinating country having its day. Tourism to Japan is booming, yet many of the country’s best sights are off the tourist maps.

The island of Shikoku – home to the 88 Temple route, Japan’s most famous pilgrimage, and the stunning Iya Valley – is a region of vast beauty with gorgeous free-flowing rivers and mountain ranges.

The remote and picturesque Hokkaido Island in the north will take the spotlight in 2016 with the debut of the high-speed bullet train, Hokkaido Shikansen, linking the area to Tokyo.

Southern Fukuoka island will also be more accessible as new flight routes launch from Europe.

10. Gabon

shutterstock_307010684 Source: Shutterstock/Michal Jirous

Wedged between Cameroon and DR Congo, this former French colony nestles wild western lowland gorillas and forest elephants amid dense mist-shrouded jungle.

Progressive leadership has already protected huge swathes of coastal waters and land in Loango National Park, dubbed “Africa’s last Eden” by one ecologist.

9. Guyana

shutterstock_165858815 Source: Shutterstock/Anton_Ivanov

Dripping in rainforests, Guyana’s untouched pristine interior is sparsely populated, home only to few Amerindian villages.

Wildlife far outnumbers the people, with jaguars, pumas and sloths the real locals.

The majority of people inhabit the northeastern narrow Atlantic Ocean coastline of blonde castaway beaches backed by dense forest, home to endangered sea turtles.

Kaieteur Falls, one of the grandest falls you’ve never heard of, is the world’s widest single-drop waterfall, peaking at 76 million and encased in virgin ancient jungle.

8. Uganda

shutterstock_120182392 Source: Shutterstock/Pal Teravagimov

Half the world’s wild mountain gorillas inhabit Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and trekking to see them is a wildlife experience of a lifetime.

The country’s national parks attract much wildlife, and the Murchison Falls, between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert, is a magnificent sight to behold.

Head to Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary, an island in Lake Victoria, crossing the equator on the boat to meet orphaned and rescued chimps living in a pristine island paradise.

7. Iran

shutterstock_279451577 Source: Shutterstock/NICOLA MESSANA PHOTOS

Evocative and ancient, trendy and timeless, Iran is a cultural treasure chest with the most hospitable culture in the world.

Filled with 19 Unesco World Heritage Sites, the country is a confluence of culture, history and natural beauty.

Go skiing or hit the beach, explore exquisite mosques, markets and madrassas, hear classic Persian poetry and eat spiced cuisine to the scent of waterpipe in romantic cities Shiraz and Esfehan.

Yazd is a spiritual city of sun-baked mud houses and winding alleyways, home to Zoroastrianism and hidden caravanserais.

6. Taiwan

shutterstock_274774646 Source: Shutterstock/NH

With a dazzling display of spring cherry blossoms, the best food in Asia and lush mountainous island settings, Taiwan is Asia’s best-kept secret.

The northeastern nation 180km off the southeastern coast of China is a clean, green and peaceful haven where different cultures co-exist in harmony.

The island nation may neighbour China, but it feels worlds apart. Sun Moon Lake’s architecturally-intricate temples, Jiufen’s hilltop teahouses and Taipei’s foodie night markets are all very much worth visiting.

5. Madagascar

shutterstock_286133840 Source: Shutterstock/Dennis van de Water

The island that time forgot languishes in the sun-drenched Indian Ocean, 125km off the coast of east Africa.

Lemurs patrol the vast and varied landscapes, from the tropical rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia to spiny-dry forest and semi-arid desert canyons at Isalo National Park.

Hikes and treks are permeated by a culture steeped in ancient ritualistic belief and heritage.  The “Famadihana” turning of the bones ceremony is a deeply spiritual highlight.

The main island and offshore islands feature some of the most spectacular isolated white-sand beaches in the world at Nosy Be and the Nosy Mitsio archipelago.

4. The Arctic: Iceland, Greenland and Norway

shutterstock_120605692 Source: Shutterstock/Strahil Dimitrov

The entire Arctic is a natural phenomenon with gigantic glistening glaciers, brilliant blue icebergs and constant hazy daylight or deep perpetual polar darkness.

Seen in winter, the aurora borealis is a dizzying and dazzling celestial spectacle of piercing greens.

Small ship explorations involve hikes on land on Norway’s Spitsbergen island and Zodiac outings, drifting through bergs, watching blubbery walrus, bearded seals and polar bears.

Dogsledding, snowmobiling and skiing are all legitimate modes of transport here.

3. Mongolia

shutterstock_84040771 Source: Shutterstock/Pichugin Dmitry

Solitude and solace come in great measure in outer Mongolia, where vast rugged wilderness and endless green steppe personify land punctuated by yaks and warm, friendly nomads.

The magical Gobi desert, the largest in Asia, is mesmerising with steep ochre cliffs rising like flames from the sand.

Nights can be spent wild camping under a star-spangled sky and deep darkness, listening to the primal beat of one of the most sparsely populated countries.

The country’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, in contrast, is a boisterous modern metropolis.

2. Papua New Guinea

shutterstock_173418725 Source: Shutterstock/Amy Nichole Harris

With rainforests, beaches and misty mountains, Papua New Guinea has it all.

One of the last wilderness frontiers, this is a collection of islands and one large mainland island, lolling in the South Pacific.

The islands have some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, home to sharks and migrating whales as well as sloping forested walls and undersea steps of coral.

Home to indigenous tribes, many of whom are newly unearthed, annual tribal festivals are an enchanting and riotous time to visit.

1. Kyrgyzstan

shutterstock_95024800 Source: Shutterstock/Petrov Andrey

Of the five “stans” in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is a must-see destination for 2016.

The country’s capital, Bishkek, in the foothills of the Tian Shan “celestial” mountains, is unconventional and eccentric, with well-dressed locals converging over sausages, honey and yogurt at the bazaar.

Beyond, the allure lies in high-altitude greenery, so-called “jailoos” dotted with yurts.

Hike, cycle, or horse ride for days in search of the quirky Marco Polo sheep, the huge subspecies donning spiralling horns.

- Anisha Shah

Read: These are the bargain destinations for hotel stays in Europe right now

Read: The 10 cushiest first-class airplane cabins in the world

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

Read next: