To travel is to immerse oneself in life and dwell in the sights, smells, and customs particular to one lone place on this planet. While the world’s traditional top travel destinations offer attractions and resorts aplenty, the following cities offer an alternative travel experience.
1. Byron Bay, Australia
The majority of passers-through are of the backpacking, surfing, yoga-posing, and artistic nature. Byron Bay is one of the world’s renowned surf-towns, as this most easterly point of Australia has become a sort of nomad, hippy waypoint. Smattered with painted camper vans, dreadlocks, and fire-twirlers, the town embodies everything lovable about the hippy lifestyle: acceptance, freedom, and a love of life.
2. Kathmandu, Nepal
Nestled in the tranquil foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal is bordered by both India and the Buddhist mecca of Tibet—a confluence of cultures that’s an ongoing juxtaposition of the serene and the hectic. Turbulent rickshaws belie the backdrop of monastic life, while backpackers meander the ancient temples and take in the endless aromas of spices. While still recovering from the tragic earthquakes of Spring 2015, which claimed 9,000 lives, Nepal is becoming safe to travel once again.
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
The peaceful counterpoint to the insanity of the Thai capital of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is an ancient city riddled with monasteries, around which a modern urban environment has grown. The authentically Thai-Buddhist culture is omnipresent here, and a short trip outside the city offers exploration of countless rainforests, waterfalls, and elephant sanctuaries.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
The ancient city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is an amalgam of culture and tradition given its placement between Europe and Asia. Ruled, at one time or another, by nearly every great empire of the ancient world, Istanbul is a place of great heritage. The people are the greatest monument of this city and their diversity and hospitality are as inviting as their world renowned culinary scene.
5. Tangier, Morocco
The entryway to the Mediterranean, Tangier is a bustling port city that vibrates with North African culture. The medieval alleyways are alive with merchants and vendors, and the surrounding ancient architecture is a constant reminder of a history that’s the antithesis of western life. The surrounding Moroccan landscape is a constant contrast of deserts, coastal oasis, and jagged mountain ranges.
6. Cuzco, Peru
High in the Andes the city of Cuzco lies alongside ancient ruins, cloud forests, alpine tundras, rural villages, and the Sacred Valley. The gatekeeper of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this most revered parcel of South America is a bright textile of ancient Incan culture preserved.
7. Prague, Czech Republic
The bohemian capital of Prague is an endless labyrinth of art galleries and history. Eastern European gypsy culture meets the beauty of Paris and an ancient past that rivals Rome. The City of a Hundred Spires boasts architecture that’s comparable in fame only to their beer.
8. Mumbai, India
The diversity of Mumbai is unparalleled; it is home to some of the world’s largest slums and most expensive homes. There is a relentless energy fueled by the movement of more people in one place than seems possible. Miles of coast along the Arabian Sea offer serene beaches that balance the city’s chaotic heartbeat.
9. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is an endless sprawl of graffitied buildings and boroughs. Home to some of the greatest street art in the world, it is a creative hub of the South American continent with a passionate people who love to indulge their senses through food, wine, and sensual dance.
10. Sedona, Arizona
Often referred to as the most spiritual place on earth, Sedona is a vast expanse of red and orange sandstone rock formations and canyons that sprawl for miles towards the Grand Canyon. Native American culture holds strong in this peaceful desert refuge: inexplicably mystical, it has always been a draw for artists, mystics, and new-age types.
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