Under the radar. Top travel destinations that are often overlooked. Part 1

Slowly but very surely, international travel is becoming an actual possibility again. Yes, there’ll be a ton of red tape for everyone, but for now let’s focus on the good stuff.

Where to go and what to do?

We’ll look past the most popular and therefore most touristy places. Besides, in the current climate the fewer people the better.

Apologies to the likes of Paris, New York, London and Thailand. You’ll always get visitors.

Here are some excellent places to check out, for a variety of reasons. Many an overseas traveler overlooks these spots, but that’s their loss.

Tanzania

A trip to Tanzania in East Africa ticks a lot of boxes. In fact, it’s almost greedy. You’ll be able to marvel at Mount Kilimanjaro, take part in a Serengeti safari and laze about in the beautiful Zanzibar beaches, ideally not in the same day.

Yes, Tanzania packs quite the sightseeing punch. Even if you’re not into mountains, Kilimanjaro is well worth a look.

Plus, people will think you’re strange if you don’t see it. Like going to Sydney and refusing to see the Opera House.

For starters at just under 6,000 meters, “Mount K” is the world’s highest free-standing mountain – meaning it’s not part of a range. Majestic it certainly is.

You could (and should) include it with a safari. Tanzania has a terrific reputation as a country that offers excellent safari experiences.

Professional and safe, just the words you want to hear before camping out to see lions, zebras and the like in their natural habitat.

Wash the dust off at a beach of choice in the Zanzibar islands, just off the Tanzania coast.

Zanzibar’s how you probably imagine it. Brilliant blue water, white sand and clear skies.

One of the reasons we love to travel – to escape.

Seoul

The country that gave us Samsung and Hyundai also gave us Squid Game, a K-pop explosion and er…Gangnam Style. The certainly don’t sit around all day, the South Koreans.

Seoul is enjoyable by day and great fun at night. While not overly blessed in the natural beauty department, the South Korean capital more than compensates when the sun goes down.

The city of just under 10 million knows how to let its hair down and offers a huge range of choices for anyone, anytime.

South Korea’s economy is one of the world’s most developed and people’s work ethic is strong. So is the getting drunk and going wild ethic. And for a country that’s still in a state of war with its northern neighbor, that’s fair enough.

So if you want to travel overseas, and Korea has got your curious, here we go.

Start off at a local bar-type restaurant to get you going. Wherever you go will invariably be busy and noisy, which instantly puts you in the mood for a big night.

You can work your way through however many small plates of food you feel like. There’s everything from spicy vegetables to fried pork and beef with rice, noodles and seafood.

Wash it down with beer or the much-loved Soju. Soju is a spirt made from rice or potatoes, not unlike vodka. Koreans drink it straight, with ice or mixed, as long as they get it down them somehow.

When your stomach’s lined, it’s time to let loose. Seoul has it all – huge, pumping clubs, themed bars and pubs, rooftop bars and beer gardens. There simply has to be something there for you.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s an abundance of lively night markets, or Bamdokkaebi. The markets are full of food trucks, clothing stalls and drink stands and can be found throughout the thriving city. Eat and drink yourself silly, then buy a $300 antique sword that you didn’t even know you wanted.

The night markets go until dawn, at which point you head home, eager to do it all again.

Croatia

These days Croatia is hardly flying under the radar and is becoming a badly kept secret amongst traveling types.

That said, many people traveling overseas to Europe still opt for the time-honored destinations such as France, Germany and Italy. In doing so, they overlook Croatia and its neighbors.

Their loss.

Croatia has an amazing blend of natural beauty, incredible architecture and lively cities. The people are warm hosts and eager to share their country’s secrets with the growing number of visitors.

Croatia has a healthy number of national parks and forests. The most spectacular are surely the Plitvice Lakes, which are an awesome interconnecting series of waterfalls and lakes set in limestone caves. The lakes are formed into different levels and are best appreciated on the numerous walkways.

Unless you grew up next to the Sistine Chapel, it’ll be hard not to be impressed by the Gothic and Renaissance architecture throughout Croatia. Some of the Roman cathedrals and castles date back thousands of years.

This is particularly evident in the country’s second biggest city, Split. Split has a rich history that traces back to the 2nd century BC and combines it with a modern-day bustling energy, all located on the Adriatic Sea.

Both Split and Dubrovnik boast seaside views, island hopping tours, consistently great weather and as always – first-rate eats and drinks.

Dubrovnik is actually crowned the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, possibly by the mayor, but nobody is disputing it.

Peru

The home of Machu Picchu is one of South America’s most developed and safest countries to explore.

A week probably doesn’t do it justice, so longer if you can. If not, try to mix in some amazing historical sites with the energy of the capital city Lima.

Machu Picchu is a given. The Inca citadel sits on top of a mountain and is a series of temples, palaces and channels all built with stone. You could wonder aloud, “How’d they do it without cranes?” and it wouldn’t be an entirely stupid question.

It’s not far from Lima either. An hour by plane or around 2 by bus or train.

It would be silly to come all the way to Peru and not see the Amazon, so book yourself on a tour. Luxurious or basic, it’s up to you.

No matter how you do it, you’re guaranteed to see some unique wildlife such as caiman (crocs’ cousins), sloths, toucans, jaguars and howler monkeys (because they howl).

Start off or wind things up with some fun on the Pacific coast. Peru is highly regarded in the surfing world for some top-notch waves and beaches. If you’re into surfing, this is especially good news.

If not, never mind, who doesn’t enjoy a day at the beach? If not in Lima then head north or south, Peru is littered with stunning beaches.

Lima is a vibrant city with plenty of sights to choose from. Jump on a bike or walk around the Plaza Mayor, Lima’s historical center.

Hit the beach, the street markets or walk along the coastal roads. Stop off somewhere and eat like a Peruvian. Ceviche is the national dish. A mix of fresh seafood, sweet potato, lime, corn and whatever else.

If it’s after midday (well, it is somewhere) you may as well glug down a Pisco Sour. It’s a cocktail made from pisco, which is a Peruvian brandy with lemon and lime.

Inca ruins, Amazon tours and Pacific Ocean surf beaches.

Sorry Peru, but you’re spoiled.

These are just a tiny sample of some top spots to head to. Obviously there are more – far, far more.

If there’s one good thing to come from a pandemic it’s the realization that it’s best to squeeze in as much travel as you can, when you can.

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