If you’re sick of the same old sun, sea and sand holidays, it may be worth ditching the all-inclusive deals and heading off the beaten track for a real holiday to remember. After all, an adventure in a country your mates have never even heard of makes for a much more interesting photo album than some fuzzy snaps from a heavy night in Ibiza. We’ve rounded up some of the world’s least visited destinations and countries you never realised were safe to visit. Just be sure to keep a look out for any travel warnings and make sure you’re well-informed about your destination before you travel.
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is one of the most recent countries to have opened its borders to the western world. Though it’s famous for its years of isolation under a brutal dictatorship, there are very few violent crimes against tourists and the cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan are no more dangerous than other big cities in the world. Democracy is still a long way away for the residents of Myanmar, so do travel with an educated mind, visit family-run guesthouses and restaurants, and shop as locally as possible to avoid supporting the corrupt government.
If you’ve read any newspaper recently, you’ll be no stranger to some of the country’s many troubles. Of course, visitors should always exercise a high level of caution when visiting Pakistan and avoid certain areas, particularly the country’s northern regions, but providing you’re well informed and respect local customs, there’s no reason you shouldn’t visit. Pakistan is a colourful and diverse country full of unique culture and stunning natural beauty. Just be sure to read up on all the information you need to know about travel before you go.
Once famous for its drug cartels and brutal gang violence, Colombia has earned a somewhat unsavoury reputation over the years, so it might come as something of a surprise to travellers to learn that it’s actually one of the safest countries to visit in South America. It’s slowly managing to shed the stigma, which is why now is the perfect time to visit – before the crowds of tourists descend. Of course, there are areas to be avoided and you should take all the necessary safety precautions, but as long as you follow advice from guidebooks, locals and other travellers, you shouldn’t come up against too many challenges.
Though its human rights record is pretty abysmal, China is actually a very safe country to travel to and has really been pushing its tourism scene since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As well as some unmissable sights such as the Great Wall and Terracotta Army, one of the country’s major draws is its friendly population who will greet visitors with intrigue and a smile. They may also invite you round to their houses for food!
Guatemala is often shunned in favour of neighbouring Mexico, but it’s a real hidden gem and is a lot safer than its reputation and high poverty statistics would have you believe. Though organised tours are available, the country’s public transport system is very reliable and places such as Tikal come highly recommended. It’s sure to be a trip to remember!