Is the new year calling you to somewhere exotic, somewhere a little of the beaten track? Well now is the time to begin planning your 2020 adventures abroad. We have dug deep to find a few locations that you might not have heard of but are sure worth your attention.
Bhutan, the home of happy Buddhists and perhaps one of the last frontiers of the pristine Himalayan kingdom. This little parcel of land is home to a culture who pride themselves on their philosophy of Gross National Happiness rather than a GNP. Where the government are guided by the quality of life of its residents rather than just a quantitative economic measure. These same principles flow through into how tourism is conducted, making it one of the most sustainable models of tourism worldwide. Tourists are required to pay an all-inclusive fee of US $250 fee per day for accommodation, food, transport and an official guide. This fee curbs many of the budget-conscious backpackers but it is the key to the value to volume tourism policy in Bhutan.
Tourists to Bhutan are rewarded with outstanding picture book landscapes, densely wooded forests, majestic monasteries, local dance festivals, handcrafted textiles, and an opportunity to look inside one of the worlds happiest nations. This adventure is sure to stir some deeper meaning in your own life and maybe you too might look to embrace modern developments in a different light, just as the Bhutanese have done.
In the far northeast region of Indonesia’s West Papua province, you will find over 1500 islands which make up the famed Raja Ampat. Translating to ‘Four Kings’ which represents the four main island groups, containing the richest marine biodiversity anywhere on earth. It is one of only a handful of places where biodiversity is improving rather than declining.
Misool Eco Resort is an exclusive dive resort and the conservation centre for the southern Raja Ampat region. Not only do they offer luxury travel packages making it the easiest way to travel to this remote and uninhabited tropical hideaway, but they are also on the forefront for conversation projects and leading research expeditions. It is the best places to rub shoulders with some of the world’s leading marine biologists whilst having a David Attenborough experience all of your own.
In the far northern reaches of Europe sitting on the edge of the Baltic Sea, you will find Estonia. A place brimming with a colourful history and much of its medieval past still celebrated today with local Viking traditions and so much of its ancient architecture still intact. Together with its idyllic countryside, an abundance of Nordic food and a booming spa industry there is something here for everyone.
Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, is the countries cultural hub and its walled, cobblestoned Old Town. Filled with exquisite artefacts from a far-gone era and quaint cafes and bars. In the neighbouring district of Kalamaja, you will be surprised to find the recently updated industrial fishing district which now oozes a rich bohemian vibe filled with house museums, art galleries, cafes, restaurants and bars. And for those wanting a little traditional R&R, why not indulge in one of the many premium day spas, just as the northern European families have done for hundreds of years in this region.
A complete contrast from the crisp air of northern Europe is Zanzibar. Perhaps this jewel on the African coastline with its idyllic beaches, balmy weather and warm tropical waters might spark you interest for your 2020 holidays?
Following a short ferry ride from the mainland of Tanzania, you will find Stone Town, the islands main settlement, and its historical heart and soul. A town with architecture that still holds the stories of sultans, Arabian princesses, spice wars and the harrowing slave trade.
Similar to its famous neighbour of Madagascar, Zanzibar is also home to a variety of unique monkey species too. Within the Jozani-Chwaka National park, you will have the opportunity to encounter the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey, duikers, bushbabies and over 40 exotic bird species. And the wildlife doesn’t end there, with world-class dive sites scattered along the coastline. You will find flourishing coral reefs around abandon shipwrecks, with excellent visibility and water temperatures averaging around 27C, the ideal place to escape the winter season at home.