A new year has begun, and with it, a whole new year of wanderlust! If you’re anything like us, your travel bucket list is less a “list” than an “everywhere” – but if you’re actually in the process of choosing where you might spend those precious vacation days exploring this year, it’s probably a good idea to narrow it down a bit.
And if there’s any region in the world that’s guaranteed to pack as much excitement and adventure into a single journey as possible, that region is most certainly Asia. But just beyond those “greatest hits” destinations are a few that are certain to make your 2015 travels a bit different – and a whole lot more worthwhile – than simply hitting the top spots alone. Here’s the 5 up-and-coming destinations we at Buffalo Tours think are worthy of dedicating some serious travel time to in 2015.
If there’s one destination that seems to be on the tips of travellers’ tongues everywhere, that place is most certainly Myanmar. We aren’t sure if it was a dreamy photo of Bagan’s temples or stories of golden stupas in Mandalay that did it, but at some point last year Myanmar took centre stage as one of the hottest bucket list travel spots in 2014.
Thankfully, Myanmar seems to be one of those rare places that lives up to all the hype. Now that infrastructure has caught up with the nation’s new-found popularity with travellers, there’s no better time to experience Myanmar than 2015. And if Myanmar is on your travel to-do list this year, put Bagan as number 1. After all, if there’s one thing you certainly cannot miss in this magical and mysterious country, it’s the acres of ancient temples that have become synonymous with the up-and-coming country.
Bagan is just part of the experience. See all of magnificent Myanmar with our epic Highlights tour!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Move over, Bangkok – Chiang Mai is the newest “it” city in the sunny Kingdom of Thailand. With a hefty helping of culture, fascinating history and one of the liveliest nightlife scenes in the country, this northern capital is quickly entering its very own Golden Age as Thailand’s hottest urban destination. And since competing with Thailand’s idyllic southern islands and bustling capital city is no easy task, Chiang Mai had better have something really special up its sleeve. And of course, it does.
What Chiang Mai might lack in frenetic energy and powdery beaches it more than makes up for in food, culture and laid-back charm. With all of the amenities of Bangkok (but without the traffic jams) and plenty of surrounding countryside for adventure-seekers to enjoy a stone’s throw from city centre, Chiang Mai is a bit of a one-size-fits-all travel destination that’s got something for everyone to like. And for anyone who’s ever had a bad case of wanderlust sparked by a photo of the city’s iconic Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai is one destination that had better be on a Southeast Asia itinerary.
Chiang Mai on your travel to-do list? Experience this northern gem (and plenty of others) this year with Buffalo Tours!
Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan, China
China is, in a word (or three) – really, really big. The sheer size of the country makes it a prime destination for adventurous travellers on the search for culture and history all wrapped into one. But while the country’s breadth makes it a perfect place to find a little something to match any traveller’s palette, it also makes choosing where you’ll head a little… ahem, more complicated. While big cities like Beijing and Shanghai are certainly urban must-sees, China is too vast not to be hiding a whole lot of natural beauty, too. The best place to see it at its best? Jiuzhaigou National Park.
About two seconds on Google image search is enough to convince nearly any outdoorsy traveller that Jiuzhaigou is a destination well-worth the trek. Equal parts fairytale-like scenery and idyllic culture, between magnificent waterfalls and multi-coloured “ribbon” lakes are the area’s 9 Tibetan villages after which it’s named (seven of them are still populated today). Plus, the area is protected by national and provincial laws that have saved it from over-development. It all comes together to make this little corner of China one of the best places to put on your travel to-do list for 2015.
Explore one of the world’s oldest civilizations with Buffalo Tours’ Highlights!
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that would put Bali into the up-and-coming category, but this famously beautiful corner of Southeast Asia is also one of the least understood by plenty of holiday-goers who are more focused on sand and sun than culture. But only 20 kilometres outside of famously bustling Kuta is one of Indonesia’s most culturally and historically significant destinations – and it’s one that’s well worth a day’s journey (and swapping the beach towel for a pair of good walking shoes).
Boasting plenty of tiered rice paddy fields nestled within lush, sloping hills, Ubud is home to not just beautiful scenery but plenty of culture, too. Prepare for plenty of temples, ancient architecture and monasteries that have enough history etched into their walls to fill dozens of days’ worth of discovery. If you’re looking at finally checking Bali off of your travel bucket list this year – but would rather avoid the beachside partying scene – finding yourself in Ubud is an absolute must this year. Don’t forget to pick up a few of the arts and crafts souvenirs that the area is famous for while you’re there.
Discover Indonesia with us, as you island hop and jungle trek to your heart’s content!
Chau Doc, Vietnam
Vietnam’s agricultural hub has long been a favourite destination for travellers to the country, but unlike many of the country’s top destinations, the Mekong isn’t exactly a specific place we could pinpoint on a map. In fact, the Mekong Delta region is vast and diverse, with one Delta village a completely distinct experience from one only a few kilometres away. But one location in the heart of the Mekong Delta has a little bit of everything – from classic scenery to ethnic minority culture – and is one of our very favourite places to visit at Buffalo Tours: Chau Doc.
If sailing on a small rowboat through a magical mangrove forest while spotting birds seems like your idea of amazing travel, Chau Doc is the place to do it. Between bird spotting, you’d easily find yourself wandering through a floating market that the region is famous for before cooking dinner with a family of friendly ethnic minority locals. Chau Doc is simply one of those destinations that embodies all that is beautiful about Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, and it’s certainly worthy of a place on your 2015 travel list.
Explore Chau Doc by boat, foot and ferry with us today!
Make the very most of your 2015 year of travel – go with us! Create a customised itinerary and experience each and every one of these destinations this year by clicking here.