When you have the whole world to choose from, where do you go on your next trip? If you are in the planning stage, then there are plenty of things to consider: the climate, the time of year, and the cost, just to name a few. But if you’re looking to add unique destinations to your bucket list, consider these ideas as strong possibilities.
For westerners, China is a unique travel destination. In China, Sichuan is one of the most unique regions, and thereby the world, that you could choose to visit. Most westerners will recognize that this southwestern Chinese province is famous as the home of the giant panda, with several reserves you can visit. Secondly, located in the city of Leshan is the large giant buddha sculpture that is carved into the mountainside. Not only is this Buddha enormous, but it has remained intact since around the 8th century. But this isn’t all that Sichuan can boast. You will enjoy the bold unique cuisine – flavored with plenty of garlic and spices. You may also want to consider a stay at the Panda Inn. As the name describes, it is a panda themed hotel, with images of pandas everywhere. But wait for it, the staff even dress up as pandas too! Such a fun idea for a hotel to make your stay truly unique.
Alaska, United States
The largest US state is separated from the mainland United States, and on many an American’s bucket list. It certainly was ours! A memorable trip made for Pete’s 50th birthday had us based in Anchorage, with road trips to Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula. This trip catalyzed our growing wanderlust. Alaska, truly “The Last Frontier,” is unique in the world. First of all, due to its vast size and low population density, you will experience the wilderness relatively unscathed by human footprint. Secondly, if wildlife encounters are a priority, your wishes will be granted. You’ll want to check off “The Big Five”: grizzly bears, caribou, Dall mountain sheep, timberwolves, and plenty of moose. With mountains and glaciers galore, you may want the sightseeing perspective from one of the exclusive Alaska cruises available in the panhandle or the southern coast. You’ll likely see marine life such as humpback whales, orcas, beluga whales, seals, porpoises and dolphins, sea otters, and perhaps even a polar bear. Fishing and water sports are also great activities, making Alaska the trip of a lifetime.
Mont St. Michel, France
The tidal island of Mont St. Michel in France is isolated at certain times of the day. When the tide comes in, you’ll be surrounded by water, and then when it goes out, you can walk back on to land. With shopping and the world famous gothic style abbey (which also has empire and Roman architectural elements) on the island, you’ll want to spend a full day at the very least. Plus, in Normandy, the region of France in which it is located, there are many other interesting things to do.
Tip: Normandy is one of the underrated destinations in Europe we recommend you consider visiting now.
If you enjoy the cold weather and winter sports, Sweden is a destination that should be on your bucket list already. However, to take things up a notch, why not stay at a hotel entirely constructed of ice? (And no, it has nothing to do with Queen Elsa!) The Icehotel itself is located 200km above the Arctic Circle, with stays available throughout the year. In winter, the seasonal structure is a stunning environment: the beds, chairs, tables, and all decor are constructed entirely of ice. Each year the hotel is completely redesigned, so no two years are alike. There are plenty of activities and experiences to fend off the cold, including world class dining, a cozy lounge, and a glistening, cool ice bar.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
For a truly unique experience, visiting Dubai can be a vacation like no other. For many westerners, simply seeing Arabic letters on signs and menus is an exotic experience. But what makes Dubai unique is that it really is an ‘east-meets-west’ kind of place. Undergoing constant construction, this city is the largest in the UAE. Many visitors come specifically to stay in the many unique and modern hotels, as well as to shop in Dubai’s luxury malls. But traditional culture can also be experienced: there are mosques to visit, festivals to attend, sand dune rides, desert dining, and a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa (over 2700 feet high). The man-made islands are unique too, which is why a trip out to ‘The Palm’ is a must.
This quaint little town in Italy was given world heritage status over twenty years ago, and it is easy to see why. Founded in the 14th century, Alberobello’s quirky little limestone homes have unmistakeable cone shaped silhouettes. This style of building, called trullo, is unique to the Itria Valley. The dome-like construction has thick walls, and is only suited for single story buildings, many of which consist of multiple domes. These buildings were traditionally built using a dry-stack method – meaning no mortar or cement holds them together. Some of the cone roofs will display painted symbols: Christian crosses, hearts with arrows, and other meaningful characters. Team this unique architectural experience with delicious Italian food and drink and you’ve got an amazing vacation to experience.
The Maldives islands are so picture-postcard perfect, it’s hard to believe they exist. So it is no surprise that they have made many a bucket list, particularly in the past few years as their notoriety increased. But there are still highly unique experiences to be had in the Maldives. We suggest a visit to the island of Rangalifinolhu, where you can eat in an underwater restaurant. Part of the Conrad (Hilton) Resort and Spa, Restaurant Ithaa is 16 feet below sea level. This will be an intimate experience, though, as the restaurant seats only twelve. Be sure to book in advance! The island itself is uninhabited except for the resort, and must be accessed by seaplane, so a very exclusive experience!
Have you ever been to any of these locations before? It would be great to hear your experiences if so. Are any of these now on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.