The new year is already here and if you’re busy putting together your travel plans for 2017 I’m sure you’re trying to figure out where to go and some new places to explore – I know I am!
And you all know that if I was to give you a list of places for your 2017 travel bucket list it would pretty much just involve beaches, surfing and island life!
So to give you some broader inspiration I couldn’t think of anyone better to ask than my fellow travel bloggers – after all they’ve travelled the world, experienced it first hand and love to recommend new, exciting and unusual places for people to visit!
The result is a pretty big mash up of 17 destinations to add to your 2017 bucket list – so lets see what they came up with!
There might not be a more mystical place in the world than Easter Island, a small island in the middle of the Pacific. This Polynesian island, which officially belongs to Chile, is the most remote habited place on our planet. The biggest mysteries of the island are the Moais, which are monolithic figures carved by the native inhabitants of the island.
The best way to get the most out of your stay on Easter Island is to rent a motorbike and explore the island on your own. All the civilization is located in the harbor town of Hanga Roa, hence, in the rest of the island you will see huge open green spaces, untouched coastlines and wild horses.
The major attractions are the spectacular Rano Kau volcano with a crater lake in it, the Rano Raraku site where you will find the largest concentration of Moai statues and the fantastic site of Ahu Tongariki with 12 moai statues on the shore, a perfect spot to watch the sunrise. If you want to relax, the sandy Anakena Beach is a great option. The best you can do is getting lost on the small roads of the island, and trying to find all the moai statues yourself.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
Thousands of kilometers away from the mainland, India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands are perhaps the most remote spots on the planet. Out of the 600ish islands in the group of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, only 9 are open for international travelers after they obtain a permit. Out of those nine, Havelock and Neil are the most visited ones.
I have visited many islands but nothing compares to the beauty of Andaman’s snow white sand beaches, clear blue water and colorful marine life. Needless to day, these islands are very popular amongst scuba divers. The best time to visit the Andaman Island group is between November to March.
Indonesian Borneo, Indonesia
Spend anywhere from a day to a week exploring the jungle by boat with your own private guide and crew.
Delicious home cooked meals are served on the boat while you cruise and look for wild orangutans, different species of monkeys including the bizarre looking proboscis, birds like the hornbill, and crocodiles native to Borneo.
You’ll sleep under the stars and wake up to the sounds of nature as the jungle comes alive with a hot cup of coffee or tea as you watch the hornbills fly by your boat.
One of the highlights, besides seeing wild animals, would be visiting the orangutan feeding stations where you can witness these beautiful endangered creatures up close. The most significant would be Camp Leakey, where the most important studies on orangutans to date have taken place.
Camping on a boat for a week while watching for wild animals is one of the best and unique adventures for any outdoor or wildlife enthusiast.
About 2-hour bus ride South of Lima, there is a small town that the backpackers are often skipping and not paying attention to. Paracas is a peaceful and quiet town where the sea and the desert meet.
It is home to the famous Paracas Natural Reserve and also the Islas Ballestas which is often referred to as the super mini Galapagos in Peru. Beach living is amazing and a lot of kitesurfers traveling South America for the sport flock Paracas as the wind speed and direction are just right for riding.
I’d been in Taipei all of 20 minutes when I decided that someday I would move there. Taiwan is my all-time favorite country, and it often gets overlooked by its big East and Southeast Asian neighbors. While there are plenty of incredible places in Taiwan to explore, you can’t leave the island without a few days in Taipei.
A bustling city, full of some of the most incredible night markets I’ve ever seen, Taipei has everything: incredible food, affordable $1 sulfur hot springs, beaches, mountains, pristine temples, friendly people and the best bubble tea I’ve ever tasted… you really can’t go wrong.
Highlands, Paupa New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is an exotic gem of the Pacific, remaining mostly untouched by travelers, rich in cultural, eco and bio diversity. The country is home to over 700 tribes (each with their own language and culture) and an estimated 200,000 species of plants and animals, most still unknown. It has a reputation for being dangerous, but in three weeks exploring as a solo female, I never felt anything but looked after.
They still have a lot of developing to do, but the The highlands of PNG offer the best opportunity to dive into the culture and ecosystem. The best known tribes are the Asaro Mudmen and the Chimbu Skeleton tribe, but there are literally hundreds.
If you time your visit well, you’ll catch the Goroka Show in September – a festival bringing together over 100 tribes to show off their unique cultures. There are daily flights, but the long bus ride with locals is an enjoyable experience. The highlands are a perfect place to connect with locals, chew some betel nut and learn their stories.
Jyrgalan Region, Kyrgyzstan
In a nation that is already off the beaten path, the Jyrgalan region in eastern Kyrgyzstan takes intrepidity to the next level! Home to some of the best trekking in Kyrgyzstan, this area only just opened up to tourists in 2016.
Towering peaks, glacial rivers, alpine lakes and pine forests make this area immensely picturesque. It is not uncommon to come across nomadic herders in the valleys, adding a touch of culture to the adventure. Accommodation in the mountains is non-existent, so camping is required for anyone hoping to spend the night in the mountains. And with winter sports taking off this season, there really is something for everyone who makes the long, bumpy journey to Jyrgalan!
Cuba should be on everyones bucket list for 2017! Head to Trinidad Cuba for not only the gorgeous cobblestone streets lined with colorful homes and old cars driving the streets but some amazing outdoor activities.
Fifteen minutes way from Trinidad is Playa Ancon a gorgeous beach on the Caribbean Sea and just outside of town is Topes de Collantes a massive nature preserve. There is some epic hiking and waterfalls to be found in Topes de Collates and very few tourists hit the hiking paths. If you are up for some late night drinks head to Disco Ayala (not until after midnight) it’s a club literally inside of a cave. Trinidad is the perfect place to spend a few nights or even a week!
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An is by far my favorite city in Vietnam. The city has a stunning old town unlike any other town in Southeast Asia. All throughout the city are curvy canals, tasty resteruants, and lively bars. However, Hoi An’s claim to fame is the dozens of tailored clothes stores where you can get made for a fraction of the price.
I got a tailored three piece suit from under $150. All these things add up to make Hoi An a must visit city in 2017.
Port Barton, The Philippines
The small town of Port Barton on the island of Palawan in the Philippines is a must visit for 2017. There are at least two big reasons for this. One, because it’s stunningly beautiful and two because it’s still relatively undiscovered…for now.
It’s not easy to get to this little piece of paradise as the road there is unpaved and pretty rough, but it is more than worth the effort. Sadly when we visited earlier this year they were working on improving the road.
I say sadly because the rough ride is probably the only reason Port Barton remains the quiet, unspoiled natural beauty it is. Here you will find simple but charming accommodations and restaurants on an untouched, undeveloped, pristine beach where you can relax, play and practice yoga all without the noise and distraction of hundreds of tourists and vendors. If an escape to peace and natural, perfect beauty is what you’re looking for Port Barton is where you’ll find it.
Georgia is an up and coming destination that needs to be on your radar for 2017. Amazing countryside, vast and fascinating history (did you know that Georgia is considered the birthplace of wine?) and the food is unique and out of this world. Katchapuri (cheesy bread), Khinkali (soup dumplings) and if you love BBQ then you’ll be in heaven.
But never fear vegans of the world Georgia also has come incredible dishes for you too. Try the Lobio (stewed beans baked in a clay pot) or baked mushrooms even try the khinkali stuffed with mushrooms or potato, it’ll rock your world!
Siem Reap, Cambodia
If there is a place I recommend to visit in 2017, that is Siem Reap in Cambodia. Not only Siem Reap is a cool city to hang out, with a friendly atmosphere, happy vibe and super-budget friendly. It is also the main port of access to the spectacular archeological site of Angkor Wat, which well deserves to be explored.
Siquijor, The Philippines
The Philippines are all amazing, but Siquijor is one of the islands I loved best. It’s still kind of low key, not as busy as places like Boracay or Bohol, and it also offers wonderful beaches, great diving… and sunsets! There are also many things to do in Siquijor away from the beaches, as the island offers springs, waterfalls, colonial churches and many local legends about spirits and sorcerers.
100 years ago no more than a handful of people had journeyed to Antarctica, however today around 30,000 travelers visit Antarctica every year. You will experience spectacular glacial lagoons, dramatic icebergs, and incredible wildlife like breaching whales, penguin colonies, and deep-diving seals.
Tip: Make sure you book a cruise which includes land based excursions. International regulations limit the number of people allowed on land at any one time, so large cruise ships with 500 passengers generally offer a “look but not touch” experience. Booking with a cruise company who limits their passengers to around the 110 mark (we booked with Chimu Adventures) means the opportunity to step out off the boat for hikes through ice fields, kayaking adventures, and camping overnight on the most remote continent in the world!
Thulusdhoo, The Maldives
By ME – Chris from Backpacker Banter!
Out of all the incredible places I visited in 2016 (and over the last few years!) my pick has to be the stunning Thulusdhoo in the Maldives!
Despite what you might think the Maldives is actually quite affordable and you can grab a double room in the Maldives on Air B n B from around $50! (Hit this link to get $32 in travel credit for free too!)
The island boasts the stunning beaches you’d expect from the Maldives, but without the crazy price tag and the locals are pretty friendly too.
And of course there’s some absolutely pumping surf on Thlushdhoo, so if you’re after waves Cokes Surf Spot will be right on your doorstep!
So kick back on island time, tick the Maldives off your bucket list and enjoy paradise!
Where are you heading in 2017?
Any awesome or unusual destinations you’d add to the list?