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 travellers who have seldom heard of these 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 minivans regularly operate on this route and charge about 50,000 Kips ( 6 USD).
Staying There: Nong Khiaw has plenty of accommodations. I stayed in Sunrise Bungalows, awing the spectacular view of the limestone mountains and Nam Ou River from my 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 plates of seafood. Kep has its own charm, its peaceful, locals are welcoming and friendly. I was invited by one of the tuk-tuk drivers to his house for a dinner with this family. A trip 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 of Colombia. It 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. I stayed in Rega Guesthouse & Restaurant. It has a beautiful courtyard and nice relaxed atmosphere.
Exploring Kep: Its easier to explore Kep by hopping on a tuk-tuk, each trip usually costs about 2 USD, it is also possible to hire one for an entire day for 20 USD.
Get Out: Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island is 20 minutes away. It is easily accessible by boat from Kep, a return trip would cost 10USD.
Hoi An (Vietnam):
Hoi an is a well preserved ancient town on the central coast of Vietnam. The architecture reflects a mix eras and styles from Chinese temples and wooden shophouses to the archetypal Japanese Covered Bridge with a pagoda, colourful French colonial buildings and ornate Vietnamese tube houses. UNESCO has recognised the old quarter as a world heritage site.
Getting There: Hoi An is accessible by the only airport located in Da Nang (DAN), which is well connected with the two major cities of the country, Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) 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. However, I stayed in Hoi An Beach Resort, just 4 km off from the bustling old quarter, Hoi An Beach Resort is quietly nestled on the shores of the Cu Dai Beach.
Exploring Hoi An: It costs 20,000 Dongs (1USD) per day to rent a bicycle. However, the centre of Hoi An is very small and pedestrianised.
Get Out: Hue is another beautiful coastal town and a former imperial capital. There are buses 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 the province if arriving by air. The white sand beaches and crystal blue water of the Saud beach in Pagudpud, the first wind farm of the Southeast Asia in Bangui, the remarkable ancient church in Paoay are a few attractions you can’t afford to miss. Ilocos Norte has a lot more to offer to its visitors with an open heart.
Getting There: Laoag International Airport is the nearest airport. The two renowned airlines, Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific have regular service to Laoag from the capital city, Manila.
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 nearby regions. I stayed at Texicano Hotel and Restaurant. It is in close proximity to the city centre and has budget-friendly room rates.
Exploring Ilocos Norte: Ilocos Norte has many regions that have preserved different things for its visitors. An hour bus ride from Laoag to the Northern Most part of the country- Pagudpud, would cost about 50 Pesos (1USD). For 600 Pesos (13USD) you can rent a tricycle and explore the alluring beauty of the region
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).