Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FORGET PARIS & BANGKOK. THESE ARE THE 17 ALTERNATIVE PLACES YOU SHOULD BE VISITING

Your ideal holiday destination may vary from beach vacations to mountain adventures to following a historical trail. Whatever helps you settle in best and find your comfort spot the fastest, we bet these places will do the trick!
1. C̆ESKÝ KRUMLOV, CZECH
image courtesy: worldfortravel

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Things to do: Castle exploration, Trip down the river
C̆eský Krumlov is like Prague, just on a smaller and quainter scale. This is a town that has preserved much of the Renaissance period; the narrow lanes of the place are lined with heritage buildings and cozy restaurants.
The town also has a castle, an embodiment of architectural style and cultural traditions and is an important historical site here.
C̆eský Krumlov also has a rich theatrical culture that dates back to the 15th century and today this has spilled over into the street with performers on every corner.
The old-world charm of C̆eský Krumlov is best enjoyed with a trip down the Vltana River allowing you to enjoy a languid day of seeing the sights.


2. YANGSHUO, CHINA
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Bamboo raft-ride, Light show, Tai chi
Yangshou, though slowly turning into a tourist hub, is one of the most spectacularly beautiful towns of China.
Any of the landscapes here will bring to life the picture of a Chinese village as depicted on any of their famous silk paintings.
The breathtaking sceneries bring to life village life practically unchanged from centuries past and an ideal way of exploring the town is either on a bicycle or by taking a bamboo raft-ride.
Light shows and night shows are popular here besides which calligraphy as an art form and Chinese medicine are also ancient traditions that are still widely practiced. Tai chi too is a rather commonly practiced mental and physical activity.


3. ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Skiing, Hiking
Imagine a town where there are no cars. This in itself will make Zermatt a special and unique destination.
Add to this cobbled streets, horse-drawn sleighs and the silence brought by a lack of horns and engines. It’s more than enough to put you in a positive frame of mind. 
Zermatt is located at the base of possibly the most popular mountain for skiing, the Matterhorn, and walking down the streets you’re likely to catch a glimpse of the mountain, looming between the chalets and barns.
The diversified cultures of Germany, France and Italy find a home in this small Swiss town with a lot of folklore, traditional music and art finding a place in the everyday lives of the people here.

4. CEMORO LAWANG, INDONESIA
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Trekking to volcano, Traditional folklore performances 
This little hamlet of a town is located near Mount Bromo, Indonesia. Mount Bromo itself is an active volcano that is constantly smoking lazily.
The town is inhabited by the Tengger tribe, a friendly and approachable people. You can enjoy listening to some interesting folklore from the locals, and perhaps a narration of stories from the Hindu epic Mahabharatha in the Javanese tradition.

5. CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY
IMAGE COURTESY: REDDIT
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Things to do: Hot-air ballooning, Biking, Horseback riding
Resembling a creation from a land of whimsy, Cappadocia is a city of the underground. With conical structures dotting the landscape, the people there have created a world within the rocky formations.
There are dwellings, shopping complexes and places of worship in the subterranean regions of the formations.
Cappadocia also has a rich Sufi culture, a long-standing history of pottery-making and beautiful Byzantine paintings from days well past.


6. BLED, SLOVENIA
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Castle exploration, Rowing, Spa treatments
The single island belonging to the country of Slovenia, Bled is an important destination for anyone seeking anything from adventurous experiences to the best spa treatments.
Bled had a tradition of health spas dating back to before it became popular the world-across. It also has some fantastically ancient monuments and galleries where you can appease your artistic side.

7. VANG VIENG, LAOS
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Tubing, Blue Lagoon exploration, Zip-lining
For decades, Vang Vieng had been enjoyed by hippies and backpackers as an idyllic lagoon on the Nam Song River. But the 2000s brought about a change; and Vang Vieng gained a reputation as the craziest party spot in Asia.
But this trend of reckless partying changed by 2012 with the introduction of strict government regulations. Vang Vieng today can be enjoyed for its natural beauty which is rife with potential for adventure eco-tourists.
Activities like mountain biking, hiking and kayaking are highly popular along with which one can get a taste of Laos culture and traditions as well.


8. TENBY, WALES
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Heritage tours, Beach hopping, National Park visits
Tenby is a dainty harbour town surrounded by an imposing medieval wall. This picturesque town has an abundance of beaches and cobbled streets lined with pubs and cafes alike.
This serene and attractive location is also steeped in history and a visit to any of the many monuments is proof of the fact.
Caldey Island, the National Park Centre, and the Tudor Merchant’s House are some of the must-see sights of the town.


9. SHIRAKAWA-GO, JAPAN
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Museum visits, Silkworm cultivation
A typical mountain village in Japan, Shirakawa-go is famous for the gassho-style houses. Brightly coloured during springs and blanketed in snow during winters, Shirakawa-go is the picture-perfect fairytale village.
Some of the houses here are over 300 years old and a visit to Wada House and Nagase House lets you learn about how the people lived here in times past.
They are also famed for the ability to raise silkworms even when the winters are harsh. The system the locals employ to build their houses is also a unique one based on cooperation and everyone working together.


10. BO-KAAP, SOUTH AFRICA
IMAGE COURTESY: TRAVELLINGINSTYLE
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Things to do:  Craft Market visit, Cuisine experimentation, Biking
Bo-Kaap started out as a settlement for slaves and is today a flourishing town of beautifully colourful houses and cuisine that can tingle your taste buds.
The town is located at the foot of Signal Hill and is now a hub for artisans. The multi-faceted heritage of the people who have settled in Bo-Kaap is seen in the variety of music and dance that is a popular practice in the town.


11. SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA, ITALY
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Spa treatments, Vineyard tours, Heritage visits
Located in the south of Tuscany, San Quirico d’Orcia is an often overlooked travel destination.
Expansive, sweeping landscapes are typical to this town and have been the inspiration for many an artist. For centuries the people here have been living in close harmony with nature and across the countryside you will find hamlets, vineyards and olive groves distributed.
The selection of natural thermal water springs that crop up around the town has led to the development of ancient baths famed for their healing properties.


12. QAQORTOQ, GREENLAND
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Fishing, Hiking, Kayaking
A town connected through a system of fjords, Qaqortoq would have been an ideal coastal holiday destination if not for the lack of sunny beaches and palm trees. What you have here instead are whales frolicking in the sea amidst the icebergs.
Despite being the largest town in South Greenland, it can be explored on foot with ease. Pretty much all the colourful houses enjoy the luxury of views that people living in crowded cities would be envious of.
The Inuit culture dates back centuries and hunting and fishing are common practices. Qaqortoq is also rich in Norse history and culture and visitors should indulge in exploring the town by hiking and kayaking around the fjords.


13. MOLYVOS, GREECE
IMAGE COURTESY: EXPLOSION
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Things to do: Historical tours, Sailing, Biking
Formerly known as Mithymna, Molyvos is a small town built of stone houses and shops. This is the kind of town where stories from Greek mythology was likely played out.
In fact, the Castle of Mithymna featured in the Trojan War. Needless to say, historical ruins are aplenty. The ruins of Troy are also located close to the town.
Today, as you walk down the stone pathways along the centre of town, one of the best treats that can be enjoyed is stopping at any of the hanging verandas for a cup of coffee.  
The vista of blue seas ahead of you is an enchanting sight and a perfect accompaniment to taking in the Aegean Sea is to indulge in some local cuisine.


14. COLMAR, FRANCE
IMAGE COURTESY: ELENSTRAVELGRAM

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Things to do: Architecture exploration, Gondola riding, Biking
This is the capital of the Alsace wine country and also looks like it’s been plucked out of a folktale. Every corner turned in Colmar is an opportunity for your camera to get to work and for you to gush in admiration of the place.
This quaint little French town has narrow lanes and canals interspersed with bridges and exploring the town is best done on foot or on a bicycle.
They have magnificent churches and museums, and architecture that is charming with bright colours and lovely flowers everywhere.


15. HOI AN, VIETNAM
IMAGE COURTESY: VIETNAMTOURISM
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Things to do: Countryside biking, Photo tours, Culture & cuisine exploration
What was once an ancient trading port, Hoi An is today a well-preserved town boasting of beautiful architecture.
Even in the face of development, Hoi An has preserved its Old Town and a visit to the merchant houses, temples and tea warehouses remain almost as they were in previous times is proof of this.
The influences from Japanese and Chinese cultures is also evident here, especially so in the surviving wooden structures.
Hoi An looks like a town that has more lanterns than people and the warm hospitality of the people will make you feel very welcome indeed.


16. CHEFCHAOUEN, MOROCCO
IMAGE COURTESY: DARIJADICTIONARY
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Things to do: Old Town exploration, Spa treatments, Cuisine experimentation
Chefchaouen is unique for the powder-blue palate of its buildings and homes. Just to walk down the narrow lanes and observe the charming blue of the town is a pleasure.
Historically, Chefchaouen became a land of refuge for people being made to feel unwelcome in other countries and now have interwoven the adopted cultures and traditions with their own.
This town is also a wonderful starting point for many kinds of treks leading out and into the adjoining mountains, passing through green forests and providing with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Chefchaouen is also a haven for foodies as their cuisine is varied and rich in sweets and spices.


17. BIBURY, ENGLAND

IMAGE COURTESY: THOUSANDWONDERS
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Things to do: Heritage tours, Biking
Bibury has earned the title of “the most beautiful village in England”, mainly owing thanks to the quaint stone cottages dating back to the 17th century.
The River Coln flows through the village, separating the town from the marshes. You can explore the woods, or go on a heritage tour, or even take it slow and cycle around the town taking in the sights at your leisure.
 http://www.explara.com/blog/17-alternative-places-to-visit/

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