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World Tourism Day 2021

Top 5 Alternative International Tourist Destinations 

As the pace of vaccinations steadily picks up and countries slowly but surely open up borders, there is going to be a massive surge in the tourism industry. Avid travellers who have been cooped up in their homes for more than a year now would want to go on a travel binge (aptly called ‘revenge tourism’) to make up for the lost time.

This World Tourism Day, let us take a look at five alternative international travel destinations for the perfect post-pandemic vacation. These places are as beautiful as their more popular counterparts and come with the added benefits of fewer crowds and affordable rates!

  1. Cyprus — Greece minus the exorbitant rates!
Nissi Beach, Cyprus

White sandy shores that stretch for miles, crystal blue waters glistening in the sun, endless historic ruins, a unique confluence of Roman and Arabic cultures and cuisines — Cyprus is the perfect Mediterranean holiday destination if you are trying to avoid throngs of tourists and overpriced moussakas.

While you don’t have 6000 islands to hop or the diverse culture and luxury that Greece offers, Cyprus has its own rustic charm. Whether you are on a solo travel trip or with family and friends, explore the hidden sand dunes of Limassol, chase flamingos in Larnaca, take a dip in the Adonis Baths or a hike through the Avakas Gorge.

Be sure not to skip Nissi Beach, arguably the most beautiful beach in Europe.

2. Canary Islands — Ibiza at a discount!

Ibiza Coast

While Ibiza is definitely the unofficial party capital of the world, you might find yourself hungover from all the sangrias, insanely huge disco clubs and the constant bumping into celebrities and influencers.

The Canary Islands are perfecto when it comes to balancing high-octane revelry and chilling on the shores with a glass of granizado. Embark on an adventure through the volcanic mountains of Tenerife, ride the ridges of Fuerteventura in a quad bike, build a castle out of black sand on the beaches of Gran Canaria or take a walk through the charming old towns of Las Palmas.

And while you’re here, be sure not to miss a serving of paella or a skewer or croquetas.

3. Lombok, Indonesia — Pocket-friendly Bali

Seashore in Bali

The Island of Gods, Bali offers irresistible vistas, azure seas, golden beaches, temples, caves, waterfalls, museums, markets and the list just goes on. One can even argue that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. However, Lombok offers everything Bali does, albeit in a more laid back and authentic way.

Lombok is a pure and pristine vacation destination with idyllic coastlines untouched by humans, perfect for newlywed couples looking for a romantic escapade. Private villas and fine dining come at affordable prices and with little to no traffic, beach hopping is fun. The twin rainbow waterfalls are breathtaking, dipping your toes in the Segara Anak Lake after scaling the majestic Mount Rinjani is an unforgettable experience and playing in the pink sands of Tangsi beach is Instagram-worthy.

While a plate of nasi goreng is a must, a royal rijsttafel meal will blow away your taste buds!

4. Kyrgyzstan — Switzerland on a budget

Snow-capped mountains in Kyrgyzstan

The name of this former Soviet republic is definitely a tongue-twister but the country beckons you with its virgin beauty. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Switzerland of Central Asia’, this landlocked country is every mountaineer’s dream. Snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys sprawl across the horizon and one has endless options to traverse the white wilderness — trekking, biking, mountaineering or horse-riding.

Take a city break in Bishkek, dive into the Issyk-Kul lake or backpack across the country on a historical tour (be sure to carry a lot of water and a few energy bars in your travel bag). You might even find an unexplored Mongol or Soviet monument and unofficially name it after yourself!

Try beshbarmak or kuurdak when you’re off the grid or go in for a big bowl of dimlama or oromo if you don’t eat meat.

5. Macau — Las Vegas of the East

Casinos in Macau

Asia’s own Sin City is one destination that you can’t get enough of — probably because you will run out of money! But there is more to Macau than casinos and parties. With a rich Portuguese heritage, a subtropical climate and water all around, there are plenty of things to do provided you don’t gamble all your money away in the Cotai strip.

Macau features the world’s highest bungee jump at over 750 feet, the world’s largest water-based theatre show called The House of Dancing Water, thousands of elegant Chinese temples, museums, ancient monuments and souvenir shops. Take a stroll through the historical Taipa village and Senado Square or sit back and relax at the Hac Sa beach.

The food in Macau deserves its own blog. The blend of Chinese and Portuguese cuisines creates a paradise for foodies. Portuguese egg tarts or seafood rice, pork chop bun, shrimp roe noodles and if you are vegetarian, well, mashed potatoes are a must-try.

That rounds up our wanderlust list of the top 5 alternative travel post-pandemic destinations. Did your favourite vacation spot make it to this list? Do you think we missed any cities that deserved an honourable mention? Let us know in the comments below.

Kushal S

A writer who loves literature, cinema, martial arts and pineapple on pizza. His creativity knows no bounds, especially after four shots of coffee.


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