“Off the tourist trail” is one of the most overused phrases in travel writing. One might call off the tourist trail destinations under-discovered or emerging. But they are simply fascinating places that tourists are either completely unaware of or sometimes actively avoid from a travel perspective due to certain fears or stereotypes. Off the tourist trail countries are not always the first pick for a holiday. However, if you want to think outside the box, you will find that the following countries offer some of the most unique travel experiences.
Laos is a landlocked country that is popular for many travel destinations, e.g. Vang Vien, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane. Apart from these, there is no shortage of off the tourist trail destinations here. There are several places that are often overlooked in favor of the better-known cities in the north. But for those who do venture further south, there are some amazing destinations to discover, such as Pakse, Nong Khiaw, and Ban Nayang.
Tonga is a backpacker’s paradise. Although more luxurious resorts are being built here and its infrastructure is constantly improving, Tonga is still unspoiled. But this is exactly what makes it an ideal destination for tourists looking for some off the tourist trail travel experience. Tourists can get to enjoy Tonga’s ancient Polynesian monuments, white sand beaches, and top-notch diving free from crowds.
The stark remoteness and untamed beauty of Mongolia has captured the imagination of adventurers for centuries. Much of the country is composed of wilderness, most well-known for steppes and vast grassland plains featuring huge salt lakes. Mongolia is also one of the few countries where nomadism remains the way of life for many. So, if you want to be immersed in the way of life and culture completely different from most, the picturesque land of Mongolia is a recommended choice.
Bhutan is a small landlocked country that continues to protect its pristine natural world and ancient traditions. The country’s breathtaking scenery is preserved in several national parks, subtropical plains, lush rainforest, covering icy peaks, and is roamed by water buffalo, snow leopards, and elephants. Because of its location and restrictions around tourism, Bhutan remains unspoiled. This is excellent news for those looking for a spectacular and unconventional travel destination.
Sandwiched between the popular countries of Switzerland and Austria, it is no wonder that Liechtenstein is one of the off the tourist trail countries in Europe. But its fantasy-like landscape is something that really deserves attention. It is a small space that feature a dramatic terrain of green hills, craggy mountain peaks and forested slopes, studded with atmospheric old castles in meadows overlooking the charming capital of the country. Liechtenstein is also known for its vineyards.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is another must-visit off the tourist trail country. It is an ideal spot for curious explorers who love learning about other cultures and immersing themselves in fascinating and completely new environments. There are hundreds of native cultures and languages spoken here, and much of the country has yet to be fully explored by travelers.
Whether its pristine nature, cultural encounter, or complete solitude you seek, the above list of off the tourist trail countries has something for you. Each of these countries is more than worthy of your consideration as an alternative travel destination.
Photos by: Mircea, Ken Shono, Pema Gyamtsho, Vincent Ma Janssen, Pinterest