Looking for the perfect travel destinations in 2016? Decisions are never easy especially because the ease of travel has made everywhere too accessible (for our own good)! We’ve handpicked eight destinations that surely won’t disappoint, and yes, including some that you may have never heard of before.
1. Palau, Micronesia
Yes, this is the Palau where they shot the tenth season of Survivor. Indeed, this island country in the western Pacific Ocean is the perfect destination for the adventurous, especially if you’re a kayaking/diving/snorkelling and/or wildlife-watching enthusiast.
Dubbed the ‘underwater Serengeti’, expect to see jaw-dropping wrecks and magical marine life as you dive through the blue waters. Want to kayak through a UNESCO World Heritage Site? You can, through the archipelago of the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, with nearly 400 species of coral and the world’s highest concentration of marine lakes. To top it off, there are many luxury resorts in Palau – take your pick!
Can’t wait to escape from the urban heat and crowd in Singapore? Greenland – located in the arctic, and is the world’s second biggest island – is about 80% ice-covered and has the world’s lowest population density – something just about right if you’re looking for a radical and refreshing destination. Want to see the midnight sun on glaciers, icebergs as big as the Empire State Building, and kayak through beautiful fjords? Greenland is the place to go to.
But don’t say you were not “warned”: between towns and settlements in Greenland, there are no roads (no, you did not misread this) – be prepared to travel by plane, boat, snowmobile, or sled if you’re going between town and settlements!
This country is becoming ever more dynamic especially after the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy came into power during the historic general election of November 2015. And this is why Myanmar is making its way into the checklist of every Singaporean travel enthusiast.
At just under a 3-hour flight away, it’s a perfect destination if you want to travel closer to home. Colonial-era buildings, holy religious sites, pristine beaches, bountiful rice fields, a hot-air balloon experience… you’ve got it all in one destination. Prepare to be awed.
Travel tip: Since sanctions were lifted in 2012, there has been a massive increase in visitors to Myanmar, hence its necessary to book ahead if you’re intending to visit major destinations like Yangon and Bagan during the peak season (November to March).
If you’re craving for a blend of impressive architecture and lush greenery for your upcoming holidays, Latvia is the way to go. Riga, the capital of Latvia, is known as “the pearl of architecture”; wooden architecture, medieval buildings, Art Nouveau architecture… you’ve got it all in a place. Its hardly surprising that Riga is a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
For lovers of “green tourism”, Latvia has lots to offer as one of the world’s greenest countries. A fan of sauna? You’re going to enjoy the pirts in Latvia; you can even experience an authentic sauna ritual the way the ancients had them.
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Located on the French Riveria, Monaco may be the second smallest country in the world (at only 2 square km), but size is no measure of beauty. It is rated high for luxury travelling; just look at the luxurious yachts and cars at Port de Monaco and the famous Monte Carlo casino! It is often called the “favourite playground of the rich and famous” that “mere mortals” can also visit, and it is no wonder why.
But Monaco isn’t just all about glitz and glamour. One of its more exciting attractions include Jardin Exotique de Monaco (French for “exotic garden of Monaco”). This botanical garden promises not only hundreds of cacti and Mediterranean plants; located on a cliff side, you can expect a panoramic view of Monaco, and you can even catch a glimpse of Italy on a good day.
Antique car lovers can also look forward to seeing an exhibition of Prince Rainier III’s Private Collection of Antique Cars – there are more than a hundred different cars on display, from stunning sports cars to the LEXUS used for the royal wedding in 2011!
One of the most underrated travel destinations in Europe, Poland has much to offer from architecture to culture to nature, and most importantly, history. Visit the Auschwitz concentration camp, a network of German Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps during WWII.
Witness the modernisation of Warsaw, which experienced much destruction during the war as well; the Polish capital is now a comfortable blend of Soviet and contemporary architecture.
Visit picturesque Krakaw, one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, for its wonderfully preserved architectures of Gothic and Renaissance styles. You may even visit an underground salt mine!
7. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
A getaway to the middle of nowhere? Bora Bora, a small island of just 30 square km, is wonderfully secluded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The luxurious resorts (featuring many over-water bungalows on stilts) in Bora Bora are considered the best this planet has to offer.
A favourite honeymoon destination among A-listers and wealthy travellers, most resorts at Bora Bora have special offerings for couples, like spa treatments and private romantic beach dinners.
Just last year, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux had their £32,000-a-week honeymoon in a three-bedroom villa in Four Seasons Bora Bora! Also, enjoy water activities like kayaking, windsurfing, scuba-diving, snorkelling, and jet-skiing, or simply immerse yourself in the beauty of this island.
8. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
While Dubai lies directly within the Arabian desert, your experience will not just be about camel riding (though it is certainly one of the popular activities there).
A city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is nothing short of a modern marvel; it is known to serve all of one’s luxury holiday needs, featuring world-class shopping, seven-star resorts, Michelin-rated restaurants, and topping the world’s chart for __ (fill in the blanks yourself because there are simply too many things they are top for). There’s nothing more you can ask for in a luxurious travel destination.