Top 5 emerging travel destinations

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Everybody wants to travel, and the only thing that trumps that is cheap travel. Holidaying in emerging destinations offers not only cheap prices, but the unique opportunity to experience the authenticity of a place before it is overrun by tourists. Yes, there are trade-offs: lack of transportation infrastructure, below par hotel service, and sometimes political instability. But, with an adventurous attitude, the benefits of exploring new places usually outweigh the struggles involved. Ready to lay claim to the next holiday destination?

Malawi - Eric TornerMalawi

Malawi is not just Madonna’s on-again off-again philanthropy project – it’s a progressively steady presence on the African continent with a liberal President (who is also the second female chief of state in sub-Saharan Africa). The landlocked Rift Valley nation boasts Africa’s third largest (and most beautiful) lake, a varied landscape of misty peaks and rolling plains, and all the big game you came to know and love in The Lion King. Experienced travellers have long known the charms of Malawi, but if it continues down the current path, the rest of the world is sure to catch on.

Sri LankaSri Lanka

With the civil war over, Sri Lanka is on the cusp of a major tourism boom. A mixture of idyllic seaside resorts, world heritage site rainforests, white water rafting and beauty of the highlands, Sri Lanka is sure to be an unforgettable experience. The diversity and cultural heritage make it a truly special place, and If you want to see Sri Lanka as it is now (think pre-broom India meets pre-1990s Thailand), you’d best be on your way.

Mongolia

Mongolia, one of the most sparsely populated countries on earth, is a land of undeveloped beauty. However with tourist numbers tripling in the last decade, Hilton hotels and Shangri-La Resorts have announced plans for new hotels in the capital Ulan Bator. The capital is the gateway to Mongolia and a great base for those wishing to discover the country’s grasslands, national parks and Gobi Desert.

Laos

Loas - Florian KnornYes, it was The New York Times’ Number 1 destination in the world for 2008. And yes, it’s been Wanderlust Travel Awards’ winner for top country the past three years.  But nobody seems to be listening – and that’s a great thing. Luang Prabang, Laos, the former royal capital of the ancient kingdom of Lane Xang, ‘the Land of a Million Elephants,’ it has long been a backpacker favorite, but has recently transformed into a world-class destination with boutique hotels, riverside restaurants and Buddhist serenity.

Latvia

Not exactly topping any university student’s list of must-see destinations, Latvia has emerged a nation with vibrancy unmatched in Eastern Europe. It may be known as a stately city of Gothic red-brick buildings, art-nouveau apartment blocks and cobbled lanes, but as soon as darkness falls, the city lives up to its wild reputation. Offering both history and culture (occupied by both Soviets and Nazis) and boasting incredible medieval architecture, it promises to be a fantastic experience.

Photo credits: Wiki Commons

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