Any well-experienced traveller will tell you that the thrill of finding a new place gives you a buzz like nothing else can. Whether it's a secret peaceful hideaway further from the resort, a beach that appears to have never been trodden on, or a hard-to-reach portion of the world that is seemingly untouched by the modern world we are used to, we all get excited by the thought that a place could be our little secret.
So how do you end up finding these hidden gems? The answer is simple - get off the beaten track.
If you're visiting a brand new destination keep your eyes pealed as there bound to be something new around every corner. Have you ever found a hidden place whilst on holiday? For many, this can be the most memorable part of your trip! The trick is to take a new route, visit a new place, get lost... as much as possible and enjoy it! This is the best way to experience new things and find new places. If you're going to stick to the main tourist areas and follow the paths, chances are you won't get to see any of the gems we've cherry picked below.
Travellers can fly, use the train or drive to the village of Yogyakarta, which is central to Java's cultural and intellectual heritage, and which still practices the preserved Indonesian traditions. The political core of the city, the Kraton, a beautifully-crafted walled palace for the Sultan of Yogyakarta, who still resides inside. The village has continued to maintain its former traditional glory, conserving the ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, palaces and monuments, which are in tip-top condition and still in use.
Renowned for its stunningly diverse landscapes, the giant dunes, ancient petroglyphs, craters and waterfalls make parts of this country some of the most untouched landscapes on Earth. Namibia has even taken the conservation of its ecosystem into its own hands, with the country winning two WWF Gift to the Earth Awards for their outstanding conservation achievements. Travellers hoping to visit this beautiful country can fly into Hoseo Kutako International Airport, or fly to Cape Town and transfer to the smaller airport of Eros. There are also buses which run from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls past the Namibian borders.
The smaller of two islands which were popular with American bootleggers and rum-runners throughout the Prohibition, South Bimini attracts wild Atlantic spotted dolphins in its nearby waters and is a paradise for snorkelers and keen scuba-divers. Aside from the Bimini Sands resort, which provides accommodation and food for tourists aboard the island, the majority of the island is undeveloped and as such relatively unseen by many. The resort consciously preserves the island's eco-focus by staying low-key, not building or developing on the island and keeping an eye on the thriving ecosystem.
Since starring in several nature documentaries due to their biological marine preserve, the Galapagos has hit many a travelling bucket list. The island was left untouched by modern life for so long that the animals have evolved uniquely and differently from others across the world, and some species are extinct elsewhere but thriving on their archipelago home. Fortunately, access to the islands is strictly controlled, with ships and boats carrying tourists kept to strict licensing and scheduling laws enforced by the National Park which focuses on conserving the state of life on the islands.
Papua, New Guinea
This location might not sound like a secluded must-see, but Papua New Guinea is actually one of the most rural and unexplored places on the planet. Scientists believe that the vast majority of yet-undiscovered plants and animals live inside the vast jungle further inside the country, which will always remain undeveloped, and which provides the perfect setting for budding explorers to take the Kokoda track and visit inside.
Strandja National Park, Bulgaria
This slice of pre-ice age Europe provides the average traveller with a glimpse at pre-historic rare plants, archaic flora and rich forests - all of which are protected heavily by the Turkish border force and the people running the conservation and preservation projects at the park, but still allowing members of the public access to a rich and exotic piece of their native history.
A popular holiday destination, but not one you would automatically think of as particularly secluded or preserved, unspoiled from the touches of humans, but the Seychelles actually has the largest percentage of land under conservation than any other country in the world. Over half the island is protected, making for pristine beaches, unique wildlife like the Seychelles Black parrot, and exotic coral reefs.
In central Iran, Meybod is home to a mud-brick town which is at least 1800 years old, with some buildings being dated back to over 3,000 years ago. Visit the centrally-located church for a tour inside one of the oldest structures in the world which is still in use, and make your way to the top of the rooftops for a view of these mud structures basking in the desert sun.
Daintree National Park, Australia
Sometimes, the older something gets, the more untouched it becomes, and the Daintree National Park down under is no different. It contains a 110-million year old rainforest - one of the oldest surviving ecosystems on the planet- and is home to thousands of special plant species and trees which are over 2,500 years old - well worth a visit.
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
The high mountains and jagged rocky waters of Fiordland's scenery mean there has never been much significant human population residing inside its borders. Empty of much human development, and devoid of human contact with the exception of the neighbouring native Maori tribes who visit the area to hunt, fish and collect the rare New Zealand jadestone, and roaming tourists, the national park is free to whoever wishes to explore its nooks and crannies.
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