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Have you ever dreamed of traveling somewhere that isn’t associated with a hundred different hashtags, that doesn’t frequently top the list of the most popular destinations to visit, and is free from beaches with droves of holidaying tourists?

You’re not the only one! The most clichéd places to visit are the popular ones that attract millions of holidaymakers each year and see the highest levels of gap year tourism; like Barcelona, Cancun, or Paris.

While you may easily mount an argument that these cities are popular for a reason, the cultural experience has become diluted, and watered down to serve mass tourism. They’ve lost a lot of their original authenticity.

With all things considered, you’re a lot better off avoiding these places, and searching for countries and cities that still enjoy a more quiet and traditional way of life. The following are 5 great destinations that won’t make you feel like a cliche.

 5 Places to Travel that are Non-Cliche

Southern States of North America

There are a multitude of charming states and cities peppered throughout the American South, and it would be a darn ol’ shame to miss ‘em!

Traveling into Utah, you can visit some of the most breathtaking national parks that American has to offer such as the likes of Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Arches National Park.

Check out the Austin neighborhood travel guide if you’ve got your sights on Texas and the surrounding cities of Dallas, Houston, El Paso, and San Antonio, for example.

Related Article:

3 Reasons to Pick Utah

Bryce Canyon Utah USA

Sunrise at Bryce Canyon by PiConsti

China

China is steeped in culture, history, and tradition. It’s a place that you simply cannot miss, and should travel to at least once in your life. There’s so much to see and do, and places to lose yourself in the outstanding beauty of nature.

Be sure to walk some of the Great Wall (check this post to avoid a touristy experience), and take the time to visit the astoundingly large and stunning rock formations in Guilin – a Chinese city recognized for, and by, its dramatic landscape.

While tourism to China has seen significant growth, Western tourists still aren’t very common, especially once you get outside the big cities. Locals are fascinated by Western tourists, so don’t be surprised if people ask to have their picture taken with you; you may feel like quite the celebrity!

China

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Myanmar is a country which has been off limits for many years; isolated from the rest of the world due to decades of a brutally oppressive regime. Though following the lifting of Western sanctions, Myanmar has become a magnet for tourists. And it’s not hard to see why.

This is a country full of mythical landscapes and wondrous sights: From golden-gilded Buddhas in Yangon, to a thousand temples scattered across the countryside in Bagan, it is a beautiful and culturally rich country.

The big draw is the chance to see a country where the 21st-century world has barely touched. This is the least visited country in South East Asia, which has managed to preserve the look of old Asia. It’s a place where Buddhism is still a way of life.

Addressing the political situation in Myanmar: Demands for a travel boycott of Myanmar have launched in response to international condemnation and media coverage of the Rohingya tragedy. Boycotting may seem like the honorable thing to do, as no one wants to be complacent of human suffering, but the reality is that a sanction against Myanmar isn’t noble and won’t positively impact the humanitarian crisis. Click here to read why.

Photo credits: Christopher Michel / Stefan Munder

Tunisia

Fancy kindling some adventure and romance in the desert? Look no further than Tunisia; land of sweeping dunes, bright medinas, palm-fringed resorts and camels.

With a coastline on the Mediterranean, this versatile country is as enticing a beach destination as it is a cultural terminal. Its cuisine is delicious and challenging, while the desert beckons those who seek to test their boundaries.

El Jem is a Roman amphitheatre that rivals the Colosseum for its impressiveness and actually offers a far more authentic experience. But it won’t be long before Tunisia’s treasures become as popular as its European counterparts so the clock is running to experience its wonders now.

Along with incredible ruins of not only Roman origin, you will find adventurous Sahara tours, beautiful beaches, and some of Africa’s lesser known animals. Scimitar horned oryx, addax, Dama gazelle, and the fennec fox.

Russia

Russia might not strike you as the most ideal county to visit given the current political climate, however St. Basils Cathedral, The Moscow Kremlin, The Red Square, and the Church of The Savior on Spilled Blood in Moscow and St. Petersburg, respectively, are astounding to see in their colorful and adorned splendor.

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia. There is definitely no shortage of things to do here and it makes a great base for taking day trip excursions to intriguing places beyond the cosmopolitan center.

Saint Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great, is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and for this reason has become so popular with tourists. It is the cultural capital of Russia and is a sleek modern city steeped in history, and home to one of the largest art museums in the world.

THESE BOOKS WILL INSPIRE MORE AUTHENTIC TRAVEL! ↓

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    30 Comments

  1. Top cliche destinations that I’m sick of: Paris, Rome, London, Sydney, Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Jerusalem, Tokyo, New York City, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Stockholm.

    Iceland is getting up there too – used to be unknown but now it feels overdone.

    These are good. Not sure about the Southern USA, but compared to New York or California, I’ll give it to you.

    • Yep, those are definitely in the category of cliche!! I’m so glad I visited Iceland a couple of years ago before it became a big trend, I really hope tourism doesn’t ruin it too much, it’s such a magical place 🙂

  2. Tbh it’s almost impossible to visit anywhere these days that’s completely untouched by tourism.

    • I agree with you, though there are quite a few places left that people don’t often venture too – the problem is that they’re all the places without much infrastructure so you usually have to put in a decent effort to visit – always worthwhile though obviously!

  3. It does seem to be a trend that the hidden gems of the world become hot spots for tourists within around a year – I think that Myanmar is going to loose it’s non cliche status fairly soon. All the more reason to visit these places sooner rather than later.

    • I definitely recommend traveling to countries like Myanmar sooner than later while there’s still very little Western influence and culture that has seeped in.

  4. I would like to add Japan to this list – not Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka or any of the cities. But there’s actually an incredible amount of nature and unexplored smaller islands that are very unique and no-one ever goes.

    Hokkaido for instance, is the northernmost island. Not many foreigners even know it’s name which is such a shame. It’s wild and pristine, with massive volcanoes. Really incredible if you’re looking for a non touristy part of Japan with pristine nature.

    • Thanks for the tip Aiko! Hokkaido sounds incredible, I’ll have to add it to my list the next time we plan a Japan trip 🙂

  5. Cool ideas here! Thankyou for sharing them 🙂

    • You’re welcome Del, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  6. Armenia is a lot more authentic than Russia.

    • Totally agree with you – an obvious oversight not including Armenia on the list 🙂

  7. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with traveling to cliche places. If you want to go to Paris, go to Paris.

    • For sure, ultimately, travel in the way that you want to 🙂 Hopefully this list can provide some inspiration for those who love getting off the beaten path though 🙂

  8. Vent: I’m so sick of hearing about Iceland atm. The hashtags are definitely here!!

    • Haha yes it’s definitely become somewhat of a trend hasn’t it!!

  9. It’s a dream of mine to get to Lapland – it’s probably a cliche that I want to travel because it’s a real life Chronicles of Narnia, but meh, I love a good cliche 😀

    • Lapland is incredible, you’ll love it Katie! Check into the glass igloos in Finland, it’s expensive, but totally worth the splurge 🙂

  10. Loved this article! I now want to visit every place on this list!

    • Thanks Meg! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  11. Tunisia would be my favorite ♥

    • An incredible country isn’t it!

  12. Here’s one for your list, ash boarding over an active volcano at Cerro negro mountain, Nicaragua!

    • Sounds epic, thanks for your input Keith!

  13. I’ve always wanted to go to Bhutan 🙂

    • An incredible country for this list 🙂 Happy travels Kathleen!

  14. Utah is the West- not the South- of the US.
    And, Myanmar? Given the forced migration of its residents, I’ll pass.

    • Southwest 🙂 Re the political situation in Myanmar, if you’re interested, do read the article I linked to on why I don’t believe in travel boycotts in these instances. It’s written by my friend Lola Mendez, but it sums up my opinions perfectly.

  15. I avoid cliches, like the plague!

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