Free Press Journal

Welcome 2018: 10 exotic locales for that ultimate travel experience


If Fiji is done to death and the Northern Lights are so 2017 then head out to these 10 exotic locales recommended by Nikita Chawla for the ultimate travel experience!

2018 is here and along with your New Year resolutions it’s time to set New Travel Goals! If you have already trekked to Machu Picchu, admired the Northern Lights in Iceland or perhaps done the Great Ocean Road and bored of the Louvre in Paris, then this list is for you! If Fiji is so last year and if you have something exotic on your mind, here are 10 lesser explored entrants for those who have travel on their plate!

French Polynesia

Bora Bora, Tahiiti and Papeete islands are some of the better known poster boys of the French Polynesia but don’t stop there! There are 120 odd scattered islands around the region with pristine white beaches and thatched roofs of overwater bungalows that adorn this Pacific Paradise.  For that exclusive less touristy vacation, put Rangiroa on your list and visit the infinite lagoon’ in one of the world’s largest atolls. Don’t miss out on Moorea, Taha’s and Rurutu which are quickly gaining popularity for their unspoiled raw beauty and coral snorkelling experiences.

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Plan your trip to the dramatic Lofoten islands and enjoy the Alpine delight of Nordland and   breathe in the Arctic without actually setting foot on the polar circle! The sudden shooting of light bolts in an array of colours against a backdrop of natural land and steep peaks makes the Lofoten archipelago high on our wish list! Yes we are talking about the dazzling lightshow of the Northern Lights but from a less touristy perspective.

Stay in the Rorbuer (Old fisherman cabins) and soak in the midnight sun, the legendary Fjords, Northern lights and a magenta sunset all in one place! If Kayaking, Glamping, Skiing and Sport fishing don’t appeal then a Norwegian cruise is another greater way to explore these staggering islands.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Loved Leh and Ladakh? Then a visit to one of the driest places in the world- The Atacama Desert, will be unforgettable! No trees, no cities but no pollution either! Stay in a luxurious camp amidst sand dunes and admire the star spangled sky in an otherwise harsh environment. Every few years his region is blessed with a rainy season and if you’re lucky you can see iridescent pink flowers that bloom in green fields.

South Luangwa valley and Victoria Falls Zambia

 The Zambezi river casacades from a staggering 304 feet into a stunning sight that is often cited as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. With attractions such as the Boling Pot and Devil’s Pool “Mosi oa-Tunya” (or the smoke that thunders) is one awe-inspiring waterfall. Need more reasons to visit? Take a wildlife safari in the South of Luangwa Valley National Park to experience remote Africa at its best. This honeypot of Zambia has lush vegetation, an impressive population of hippos and crocodiles and the Big ‘Game’ that comprises Leopards, Lions, elephants etc.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

 The ‘Cloud Island’ of Scotland will enchant you with its indented coastline, narrow lochs and rich history amply depicted in the brooding castles and prehistoric sites. The highlands are scattered towns and villages where you can enjoy the local food in charming pubs and bars. Emerald waters, picturesque mountains and stunning land spaces are hallmarks of this beautiful region. Lean back and enjoy the quiet.

 Moab, Utah

The Grand Canyon is over 6 million years old and will capture your heart and imagination with its vast expanse, gorges and rock formations hanging at precarious angles. Take the Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge or the Grand view to Horseshoe Mesa for an intense but rewarding trip!

 Great blue hole, Belize (Also Placencia)

Placencia is a palm lined beach resort off the Caribbean coast making for an ideal second honeymoon destination. Formed somewhere during the ice ages, the Great Blue Hole in Belize is the largest circular sea hole in the world Every diver worth his salt has this on his bucket list! Don’t miss it if you don’t dive! Just take a chartered helicopter and view this nature’s miracle from atop.

Patagonia, Chile

Wind swept vast expanses of land with barren seascapes this place is out of a eerie movie set. The Chilean Patagonia is home to a labyrinth of scenic cobalt fjords, jagged granite towers, icebergs, teal lagoons and old growth forests. Stay in one of the refugios or campsites and immerse yourself in this end of the world scenario! Torres de Paine National Park with its well-marked trails and scenic routes is another must visit in this beautiful region! This place is a hiker’s paradise. If adventure is not your scene then take a boat tour and enjoy the unusual marine life and colossal icebergs from a safe distance.Cappadocia, Turkey

The surrealistic landscape is a geological oddity in the Central Anatolian region of Turkey. Cave houses, Fairy Chimneys and underground cities set against a remarkable historical timeline will remind you off the Flintstones.  Sleep in a 21st century cave hotel and take a hot air balloon ride in the wee hours of the morning to make the most of your Cappadocian vacay.

Forest of Knives, Madagascar

The Tsingy limestone formations shelter bio diverse wildlife and endemic species and it’s incredible how the sharp and unforgiving ‘knives’ coexist so beautifully with greenery that clings on for dear life. The bio fortress is impenetrable unless you know the inlays and that’s where a certified guide comes in! This razor sharp forest filled with limestone spires is a UNESCO World heritage site and is often referred to as the 8th continent.


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