The famous quote by Paul Theroux “ Tourists don’t know where they have been, travellers don’t know where they are going” has inspired me to set on an adventure and discover the least travelled and the unexplored places on the earth. On my recent trip to Asia, I came across some people who have seldom heard of some places, that got me to set on an adventurous journey to discover what these places have to offer.
Below are the insights of the four least travelled but highly recommended places that you should visit before it gets flooded with travellers.
Nong Khiaw (Laos):
Nong Khiaw is a hidden gem in the northern part of Laos, this beautiful rustic remote town is located on the banks of the Nam Ou River, and is surrounded by the beautiful limestone mountains.
Getting There: Nong Khiaw is 4 hours away by road from Luang Prabang, busses and mini vans regularly operate on this route and charge about 50,000 Kips ( 6 USD).
Staying There: Nong Khiaw has a wide range of accommodations to choose from, however backpackways recommends Sunrise Bungalows for its spectacular location, with an incredible view of the limestone mountains and Nam Ou River from your hammock.
The room rates are as low as 30,000 Kips to 60,000 Kips per night (3USD to 7USD).
Exploring Nong Khiaw: Its easier to explore this small town by walking or by renting a bike.
Get Out : An hour’s boat ride northwards along the Nam Ou river would get you to a more sleepy rural area known for its alluring beauty Muang Ngoi Neua.
Kep is a small coastal town on the southern coast of Cambodia. Known for its white sand beaches and sea foods. Kep has its own charm, its peaceful, the local inhabitants are welcoming and friendly, I was amazed to be invited by one of the tuk-tuk drivers to his house. No visit to Kep is complete without having at least one meal of the fresh crabs, putatively the best in the country.
Getting There: Phnom Penh, the capital city is 5 hours away by road. Many bus companies operate on this route and would charge around 4 USD- 5 USD one way.
Staying There: Kep has a broad range of accommodations. Backpackways recommends Kep Lodge for its hospitality, and ideal location. Kep Lodge is owned by a friendly Swiss man Dan Kreis, it has beautifully designed bungalows and a plush swimming pool which offers a relaxing ambience to stay and feel more at home.
Exploring Kep: Its easier to explore Kep by hopping on a tuk-tuk , each trip usually costs about 2USD, its also possible to hire one for an entire day for 20 USD.
Get Out: Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island is 20 minutes away. Its easily accessible by boat from Kep, a return trip would cost 10USD.
Hoi An (Vietnam):
Hoi an is a well preserved ancient town in the central coast of Vietnam. Hoi An’s architecture reflects a mix eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colourful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda. Hoi An’s old town has been recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Getting There: Hoi An is served by the only airport located in Da Nang, which is well connected with the two major cities of the country, Hanoi and Saigon and internationally linked with Bangkok, Siem Reap and Singapore. A taxi ride to Hoi An from the airport would cost 20USD.
Where To Stay: Ideally people prefer to stay in the old town itself for its convenient location. However, backpackways recommends Hoi An Beach Resort, just 4 kms away from the bustling old quarter, Hoi An Beach Resort is quietly nestled on the shores of the Cu Dai Beach.
Exploring Hoi An: The centre of Hoi An is very small and pedestrianised, however its possible to rent a bicycle for 20,000 Dongs (1USD) per day.
Get Out: Hue is another beautiful coastal town and a former imperial capital. There are busses operating frequently from Hoi An to Hue and the trip would cost 210,000 Dongs (10USD) and would take about 4 hours.
Ilocos Norte Region (Philippines):
Ilocos Norte is a province in the northern part of the Philippines. Laoag is the capital and the gateway to Ilocos Norte if arriving by air. The white sand beaches and crystal blue water of the Saud beach in Pagudpud, the first wind farm of the South east Asia in Bangui, the remarkable ancient church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte has a lot more to offer to its visitors with an open heart.
Getting There: Ilocos Norte’s only airport Laoag International Airport is well connected to the capital city Manila, there are regular flights operated on this route by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
Where To Stay: The enchanting beauty of the Ilocos Norte region could be explored by staying in Laoag and taking a day trip to the near by regions. Backpackways recommends Texicano Hotel and Restaurant for its close proximity to the city centre and budget friendly room rates.
Exploring Ilocos Norte : Ilocos Norte has many regions that has preserved different things for its visitors. A one hour bus ride from Laoag City to the Northern Most part of the country- Pagudpud, would cost about 50 Pesos (1USD), from the bus stations its recommended to rent a tricycle and explore the beauty of the region a half day’s trip would cost 600 Pesos (13USD).
Get Out: Ilocos Sur, is another attractive town, a 4 hours bus ride from Laoag to Vigan (The capital city of Ilocos Sur) would cost approximately 500 Pesos (11 USD).