With so many amazing destinations to choose from when planning your 2016 gap year, how do you make a decision on where to go? The Bemused Backpacker 2016 destination guide is here to help you and let you know where all the upcoming destinations are for this year, including a few that might just surprise you!
I’ve been to some amazing places over the last year, and plan to discover even more of the world in 2016, but for now here are my personal top picks for where you should be making travel plans for the year ahead.
With rugged volcanoes carving out over 17,000 islands filled with tropical beaches, stunning coral reefs, fascinating history, breath taking views, and a colourful kaleidoscope of cultures and customs, Indonesia will give you an adventure like no other. Indonesia is so huge that it really does feel like you are entering completely separate worlds as you head from one end to the other. Some parts, like Bali, have been completely overrun with mass package tourism and in many ways completely spoilt, but not many venture out past that, which is a huge shame given everything Indonesia has to offer. From ancient temples and volcano trekking in the ring of fire in Java, to heading to the remote islands of Flores and stepping into the realm of real live dragons! Indonesia will take you out of your comfort zone and give you a travel experience you will never forget! Go. You won’t regret it!
This small but jam packed Eastern European country is truly one of the next great European travel destinations. Romania hasn’t enjoyed the best of reputations in recent years but it is working hard to shake that off – especially since much of it is undeserved – and show travellers exactly what they are missing out on in this small but impressive country. Whether you want to try a bit of mountain hiking in stunning national parks or visit the inspiration behind Dracula’s castle, Romania has you covered. Jam packed with stunning scenery, great food and awesome adventure travel opportunities, not to mention extremely cheap, Romania is still off most travellers radars, so get in there before the crowds discover it!
Alpine scenery, Schnitzel, traditional dirndl’s and that musical, Austria is the living embodiment of it’s picturesque stereotype, but it is so much more than that too. Austria boasts everything from ornate baroque architecture and a cosmopolitan high life in Vienna to the medieval charms of Hallstatt, but it is the world renowned winter sports and adventure activities that people flock to Austria for year after year. With world class skiing and snowboarding, family friendly resorts and stunning scenery, Austria has it all. What a lot of people don’t realise though is that Austria also has a booming adventure sport culture in the summer too, with via ferratta’s across the stunning Wilder Kaiser mountain range, abseiling, canyoning, mountain biking and hiking through some truly spectacular scenery, you don’t just have to wait for the winter to come here.
This is an obvious one, but there was no way Brazil could ever escape being on any hot list for 2016. Despite the fact this huge country already has travellers flocking to its sunny shores to immerse themselves in the samba rhythms of its nightlife and culture, Brazil is going to explode in popularity in 2016 with the Olympics once again getting people fired up and in a partying mood, so what better place to dust off your dancing shoes and get ready for some of the biggest carnivals of the year!
Egypt has had a lot of bad press lately with terrorist scares in Sharm El Shiek and downed Russian planes, but there really is absolutely nothing to fear in this truly outstanding and mesmerizing country. How can you not want to see the Pyramids of Giza, the new library of Alexandria or any number of other awe inspiring sites? Get away from the tourist resorts and travel independently through the entire country to see a side of Egypt very few tourists ever get to see, and discover for yourself exactly why travellers have been drawn to this land for over 6000 years.
Don’t listen to the overblown bad reputation, Colombia is an independent travellers dream destination and a throwback to the days before mass tourism. Life is blissfully relaxed and unhurried here and travellers can enjoy a true travel experience with very little effort. World class beaches, adventures into the Amazon jungle, trails to ancient temples far older than Machu Picchu and laid back but surprisingly cosmopolitan cities with a pulse pounding nightlife, all of this and more is awaiting travellers brave enough to ignore the reputation.
Singapore may seem like a strange choice for a must see destination list, but it has been ignored for far too long. It’s time to get out of Changi airport – I don’t care how great it is – and discover how amazing this truly underrated country is for yourself. Indulge yourself in some of the finest cuisine in the world, from world class culinary masterpieces to delicious street food, discover some of the hidden secrets beyond the superficial touristy highlights and see what this tiny city really has to offer. Singapore is far too often underrated and dismissed as a boring and sterile destination by those who use it as a stopover on the way to somewhere else, but if you take the time to dig just a tiny bit deeper, you’ll discover that is far from the truth.
Yes, you heard me.Wales. And no, I’m not joking. Wales is a truly underestimated and completely wonderful part of the UK and has something for everyone. If you are from the UK then consider a staycation here, if you aren’t, then get out of London and get a taste of a corner of Britain not many international tourists get to. From castles galore, premier historical landmarks and world heritage sites to the rugged scenery of the Welsh coastline, there really is something for everyone here and is a perfect destination for soo independent travellers, couples or even entire families. You can get a taste of traditional seaside life in Barry Island or head to Swansea Bay and the Gower for world class surfing, or even try a spot of dolphin spotting in the burgeoning responsible wildlife tourism industry.
Myanmar is no longer the war torn no go area it was not so long ago. This mystical and mysterious land has already changed beyond all recognition from what it was like just a few years ago, and with elections happening and societal change exploding even more, you really want to witness history in the making as this country develops into one of the worlds biggest travel hotspots.
Borneo is a adventure travellers dream, and few countries can compete with it’s romantic ideal of trekking through thick virgin rainforest and seeing traditional tribes in longhouses or spotting some endangered species. From it’s fascinating tribal history to it’s sheer diversity of wildlife, it is easy to see why travellers are flocking here in ever greater numbers. But with recent devastating effects from the haze, a man made natural disaster, the local wildlife population is still suffering immensely, and large swathes of their already shrinking habitat have been purposely destroyed to make way for palm oil production, so it is imperative that travellers head to the region and focus on funding responsible and ethical organisations that revolve around protecting and maintaining the environment and the wildlife that live in it. The more travellers and tourists support these organisations, the sooner everyone will see it is more profitable NOT to destroy the environment before it is gone for good.
So those are my hot picks for where you should be thinking of heading to in 2016. Do you agree? Did I miss any of your must see countries of the list?
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