A beach holiday will take you to Bali. A spring holiday will take you to Japan. A business trip may take you to Hong Kong.
But what about a getaway to a destination where not many have traversed, information is rare and the adventure quotient is high?
These countries in Asia are known to have the least tourist traffic due to remoteness, visa regulations or lack of adequate information. Yet, they might prove to be unique in their own right and could possibly lead to your next big travel discovery.
Scroll left to pick your offbeat travel destination.
Tucked away in the Himalayas, the idyllic country of Bhutan is slowly inching its way on the bucket list of many curious travellers. Known to rank high on gross national happiness, this last standing Buddhist Kingdom is often mimicked to be the Switzerland of Asia. With the picturesque valleys of Paro and Punakha, beautiful monasteries and the misty backdrop of Mount Everest, we wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to visit this abode of natural luxury.
Travel Tip: The Bhutan government doesn’t allow foreign tourists to travel independently. You need to enlist the services of a registered tourist guide before beginning your adventures in Bhutan.
Most people know Brunei to be a tiny country in Southeast Asia with the largest oil fields. However, this island country also boasts of rich Islamic architecture and lush tropical rainforests. Take a river safari through the Ulu Temburong National Park and pay a visit to the splendid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, the Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque with 29 golden domes and the Istana Nurul Iman, which is home to the current Sultanate, and you will be pleasantly surprised at what Brunei has to offer.
Travel Tip: Brunei is predominantly an Islamic country and citizens abide by the state regulations. Get well-versed with the culture and society rules to avoid an unnecessary run-in with the law.
For the first-time tourist, Bangladesh may come across as densely populated, noisy and unkempt; especially its capital city Dhaka. But for the traveller, a visit to Bangladesh means a first-hand experience at exploring the Sundarbans, tracking the Royal Bengal tiger, boat rides on the many rivers that flow through its land, sipping freshly brewed tea at lush plantations and discovering a whole new cuisine, culture, and community.
Travel Tip: Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings to avoid falling into false tourist traps.
East Timor became an independent country only in 2002 after gaining independence from Indonesia and has a tourism industry that is still at its inception. That being said, the country is full of ruggedly gorgeous landscapes, scenic beaches, untampered coral reefs and ancient traditions waiting to be discovered.
Travel Tip: Instances of political instability are not unheard of in East Timor. Make sure to check the current situation before you travel. Travellers must also ensure to take vaccinations for malaria and dengue and carry precautionary medicines due to common occurrences of these diseases.
The mysterious country of Turkmenistan continues to spark intrigue about what lies within its borders. But the lucky few who have explored this secret kingdom come back raving about the stark landscapes of the Karakum desert and the glistening Caspian Sea. Once an important destination on the Old Silk Road, Turkmenistan is also home to the ancient ruins of Merv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the famous Darvaza Gas Crater also called as the door to hell!
Travel Tip: Visa regulations for Turkmenistan are rigid as compared to other Asian countries. It might take considerable time before you get entry into this secluded desert nation.
Need some more travel inspiration? Here are some UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit in Southeast Asia.