Four great exotic holiday destinations 

Planning an exotic overseas holiday? You’re not the only one. Statistics show Aussies make around eight million international trips a year. Here are some of the best exotic holiday destinations you might not have considered. 

Most holidays are to locations like the USA, Thailand or Indonesia. But if you yearn for less travelled, more exotic destinations here are five to consider. 

1.  Romania 

There’s a lot more to this eastern European nation than vampire tales and Gypsies. Sure, it has more than its fair share of castles, but Romania  is on the cusp of becoming a happening destination.

For a start, it’s really cheap. The public transport is clean and efficient, most people seem to have a smattering of English. Medieval towns such as Brasov and Sibiu are just gorgeous, as is the countryside.

Must-sees: 
  • Wander the historic centre of Bucharest, and be astounded by the architectural wedding cake excess of dead dictator Ceaucescu’s Palace of Parliament. 
  • Hike the Carpathian Mountains – where bears still roam. And marvel at thousands of species of birds and animals, including foxes, otters, wildcats and boars. 
  • Kick back and relax on the Black Sea coast.

2.  Dominica

Dominica , known as the ‘Nature island of the Caribbean’, is pristine perfection for hikers, divers or anyone enthused by nature. 
A melting pot of West Indian, British, French and Dutch influences, the exotic cultural mix is reflected in its calypso music, creole language, art and food – and in the colourful colonial architecture of the capital, Roseau. 

Must-sees:
  • Don’t miss the World Heritage-listed Morne Trois Pitons National Park with its numerous waterfalls and turquoise pools, Boiling Lake, and the fumaroles, mud pools and geysers of the Valley of Desolation.
  • Champagne Reef, a magical diving site where geothermal activity causes thousands of bubbles to erupt from under the rocks close to shore.

3.  Bhutan 

The remote and isolated kingdom of Bhutan offers majestic mountains, spectacular valleys, beautiful monasteries and temples, dzongs (fortresses) and superb trekking. And then there’s the fiery national dish, ema datshi – hot chillies and cheese. 

Must-sees: 

  • At an altitude of 2600m, Bumthang Valley is considered the kingdom’s spiritual heartland with some of its oldest Buddhist temples. 
  • Cradled by the Himalayas, Thimphu is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights and many of the locals walk around in national dress.
village

4.  Mongolia 

Sealed off from the rest of the world until late in the 20th century, Mongolia  retains a remote, time-stands-still atmosphere.
Here, visitors can experience the nomadic life of the hardy horsemen of the plains, sleep in a ger (a traditional felt yurt), help round-up sheep and bird watch – there are more than 4230 recorded bird species in Mongolia.
 
Must-sees:
  • Naadam festival of traditional wrestling, dancing, horseriding and music. The main Naadam is held amid the Soviet-era architecture of the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
  • The mountains, glaciers and lakes of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, rich in mountains, glaciers, lakes and archeological sites.
  • The 70 million-year-old seabed of Bayanzag in the Gobi Desert.

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