10 lesser-known destinations for your NEXT BIG holiday

Let the PM’s groundbreaking move not stop your expensive travels.

Embrace it as a reason to explore something new and book at the earliest to avoid a wallet-hole. In order to to bring in the new year’s fervour, if you’re eyeing a destination for your next juicy travel- StyleCracker has the perfect options for you! Featured in the Travellers’ Choice ‘Destinations on the Rise in Asia’ Awards- here are golden nuggets of the world worth your next thrilling story!

GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Khoo Kongsi Temple, Little India, Waterfall Gardens, Penang National Park

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: November and December OR early February

Penang, Malaysia, view of George Town from Kek Lok Si Temple, by travel and panoramic photographer Matthew Williams-Ellis

Capital city of the state of Penang, George Town was one of the first British settlements in South-East Asia. One of Asia’s most well-connected cities, the destination boasts of a large assortment of colonial and eclectic Asian architectural styles, complete with a diverse history and the most appetising food options. The Peranakan community also offers to you an award-winning and beautifully designed ‘Pinang Peranakan Mansion’, a recreation of a typical home of a rich Baba (Straits-born Chinese man)!

HUALIEN, TAIWAN

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Taroko Gorge, Hualien River, Baiyang Trail, Hualien Farglory Ocean Park, Tunnel of Nine Turns, Hualien Sugar Factory

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: April or November

Once again a naturally majestic wonder, visitors to Hualien are promised scenic views, stirring gorges and landscapes worth your next big selfie. One of Taiwan’s first-choice destinations for local and international visitors, the county’s population is one that would make the best guides and friends literally for life. Almost every attraction is a few kilometers away, so you travel less and explore more!

SAPA

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Sapa Valley, Cat Cat Village, Sapa Market, Sapa Square, P.Cau May Road

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: March to May OR September to November

A hill station town in Northern Vietnam, near the border of China-  Sapa’s forte lies in rich cultures, hill tribes, lush mountains, rice fields, just all in all, the best of touristy views. Incentive enough, the town can be completely covered by foot but in case you wish to broaden your horizon and venture further, hiring a motorbike would surely suffice. The town’s cascading rice terraces can’t be missed too!

KOTA KINABALU

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Mt Kinabalu, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Gayang Seafood Restaurant, Kota Kinabalu Waterfront

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: January to March

Renowned for its marine life, national parks and boasting off the most beautiful biodiversity, coral reefs and mesmerising islands- the Kota Kinabalu life is straight off a postcard. To make your trip a memorable one, besides the usual hustle and bustle of the city- Kinabalu’s multicultural biodiversity offers options for every taste bud from every corner of the world. If gaining power and strength are pre-requisites for your travels, mountain tops are in plenty here!

JEJU

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Loveland, Mount Halla, Seongsan Ilchul-bong, Olle trail, Hyeopjae Beach,  Hallasan National Park

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: All year round

South Korea’s self-governing province, Jeju is one of the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations and known for its fresh seafood and natural attractions. No, we don’t intend to pre-plan your wedding dates but sea-women, rapeseed fields, and the world’s longest lava tube are just a bunch of unconventional ideas your honeymoon should cover! Besides, Jeju is a bashful option for adventure seekers, with innumerable options for hiking and natural challenges to test your core strength.

JODHPUR

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhavan Palace, Rai ka Bag Palance, Balsammand Lake, Sojti Gate Market

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: October to March

Rajasthan’s second largest city, Jodhpur is a true reflection of royalty it has witnessed since centuries. Known as the country’s ‘Sun City’ and ‘Blue City’ (go figure), majestic forts and palaces set just the right vibe for travellers yearning an experience of the glorious past here. The city folks are the most humble Indians you’d meet and enjoy a chat over every topic of discussion, ranging from history, culture to even touristy suggestions that the beautiful city has to offer!

KUCHING

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Kuching Waterfront, Old Sarawak Museum, Taman Budaya, Cat Museum, Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sunday Market, Fairy and Wind Cave

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: December to February

That one travel experience packed with learning and leisure! Jaw-dropping views from atop the mountains to museums to rekindle the historical you, Kuching has a tropical weather throughout the year. Living up to its name (which means ‘cat’ in the Malay language)- Kuching’s Cat Museum has memorabilia ranging from Hello Kitty, Garfield, Matthew Flinder’s cat, among other felines. Flock to chinese temples, visit the closest museum or wade through China Town while interacting the most multi-racial cities of Malaysia!

DA LAT

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Crazy House, Elephant Falls, Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Thien Vien Truc Lam, Dalat Flower Park, Xuan Huong Lake

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: November to March

Centered around a lake and a golf course, the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ has a colourful approach to tourism. While for some it offers the luxury of rejuvenation amidst nature, to the rest it offers activities like mountain biking, canyoning. The roads are wide, traffic bare minimal and the local populace is the most friendly to foreigners. Most of the houses are French-inspired in built and the connectivity through the city is easy, accessible and most importantly, quite walkable.

EL NIDO

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Snake Island, Secret Lagoon, Taraw Peak, Las Cabanas, Matinloc Shrine, Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: December to March

A cluster of 45 islands atop the Palawan island, this is the destination your glossy magazines cover! Perfect for peace, solitude and ranked as Asia’s second best beach in 2016’s Travellers’ Choice Awards- El Nido encompasses white-sand beaches, island resorts and options for every budget. El Nido quite literally, is a slice of paradise. Its beautiful structural formations, turquoise waters and with accommodations set amidst the most beautiful landscapes, Nido’s untouched beaches have been a major haunt amongst travellers since decades. P.S. Hiring a tricycle is one thing you need to do here!

BAKU

MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Maiden Tower, City Seaside Park, Ateshgah, Icheri Sheher, Flame Tower

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: September to November

A heavy mix of Asian and western cultures, Baku is a low-lying city with its coastline along the Caspian Sea. Complete with soviet influences riding through the capital and being the commercial hub of Azerbaijan, here’s to exploring the medieval Old City of Baku (touted as a must-visit), housing the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower while you admire the contemporary masterpieces like the Frame Towers. Stone mansions, streets lined with trees and filled with the most exclusive boutiques, this city is jaw-droppingly beautiful!

IMAGE COURTESY:

Matthew Williams Ellis, Wikimedia, Asia Day Trips, Y Timg, Lonely Planet, Telegraph UK

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