10 Exciting Travel Destinations to Explore in 2013

by Jules on September 29, 2012

Now’s the time to start planning that adventure for 2013! Many airlines have already released their earlybird flights at bargain prices for 2013 as they battle to secure your custom. Take advantage of great prices and amazing choice as we reveal some of the most interesting and exciting places on earth.

Rio de Janeiro is hot stuff right now as the city prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The next four years will see a frenzy of tourism around the whole of Brazil, so get in early!

Stunning mountains, white sandy beaches and beautiful tropical rainforest all border this city known as “cidade maravilhosa” or the marvelous city. Tourists to Rio have many opportunities for once in a lifetime experiences. In addition to its magnificent environments, Rio also has some of the most famous sites in the world to visit, including the famous Sugarloaf Mountain. Perhaps Rio’s most famous site though is Christ the Redeemer which is one of the most well recognized statues in the world and has been marked as one of the “New Seven Wonders Of The World”.

The Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea have also been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012 for the area from the mountains of the Tijuca National Park right down to the Atlantic Ocean. The Carioca area also includes the Botanical Gardens which were created in 1808, the Corcovado Mountains with the iconic Statue of Christ. The Guanabara Bay hills and the carefully manicured landscapes of Copacabana Bay also fall within the Carioca region which has inspired many local artists, musicians and designers.
Ho Chi Minh City is a large exciting metropolis which is rapidly growing city of culture and business in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as many people know and recognize it, is a city full of history that people cannot help but see and feel. It is also a city of wonder and energy that visitors will feel upon arrival.

While in Ho Chi Minh City, visitors should not pass up on the opportunity to cycle through the Ho Chi Minh City to Angkor Wat which is a dramatic ride through the Cu Chi Tunnels and into Cambodia to Angkor. Visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda and gardens in the city as well. Combine your stay in HCMC with the capital Hanoi to get a rounded view of modern Vietnam.

Borneo is the perfect travel destination for wildlife and nature enthusiasts largely thanks to the Pongo pygmaeus aka the instantly recognizable Bornean orangutan. The island of Borneo is the third largest island on earth and is just north of Indonesia. Borneo is actually divided between the three countries of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Malaysian Borneo tends to have the widest recognised tourism destinations, with a solid infrastructure and as such, the greater level of visitors over the Indonesian and Brunei Bornean regions.

Cultural Borneo is rich in tribal heritage and tradition as well as largely untouched nature. While visiting Borneo, many visitors choose to check out the scattered homesteads and farms in the Kelabit Highlands, the communities within the Niah Caves and the stunning, historical nomadic jungle Penan.

The Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysian Borneo, northern Sarawak state became UNESCO listed in 2000 and is ecologically important due to the high biodiversity of the park and the natural karst landscape, which in fact is the most-studied karst region on earth. Gunung Mulu NP covers some 53,000 hectares and there are around 3,500 plant species here including many rare palms.

Kinabalu Park was also awarded UNESCO status in the same year in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah and is dominated by the imposing Mount Kinabalu standing at 4,095 m and which can be climbed. Kinabalu Park covers 75,370 hectares and a local guide can show you the indigenous flora and wildlife.

The South Pacific is visually stunning and of course The Solomon Islands were recently in the news as they played host to William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. With amazing coral-ringed beaches and mountains covered with rainforests and several volcanoes, these Melanesian Islands provide non-stop adventure. The islands provide endless opportunity for tours and treks along the mountains, coasts and the Kokoda Track, the 10 day trek which follows the trail of the sight of the famous WWII Japanese and Australian battle location. Additionally, the Solomon Islands are known for having world famous diving destinations. These destinations include an underwater collection of WWII plane and shipwrecks, very popular with history buffs. East Rennell on the Rennell Island is a world heritage site as located here is biggest raised coral atoll on earth.

The Lake District in the UK is a beautiful destination that attracts many celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt recently! The Lake District is the area of some of the largest natural lakes in England, hence the name. These gorgeous sites were set as the backdrop for many artistic works throughout history, from poetry to painting. Also set into the surroundings of Lake District, UK are some of the greatest historical landmarks, such as abandoned slate mines and the ruined Abbey of Furness.

Uganda may not be on many people’s top 10 must-see lists but it’s precisely this reason that we’ve decided to include it. Uganda is a beautiful county full of natural wonder and of course famous for gorilla trekking. It is home to Africa’s highest mountain range, the Mountains of the Moon, located in in the Rwenzori National Park, and is also the home of the great Nile River. White water fans will love Uganda as it is home to the best rafting in the world. Travellers can also explore the endangered Tombs of the Buganda Kings at Kasubi.

The primary reason that most travellers visit Uganda is because the country is home to more primates than any other nation, which includes the ultra-rare Mountain Gorilla. Both the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains National Park are World Heritage Status locations. Bwindi Park covers around 32,000 hectares and is rich in biodiversity. Visitors can join a gorilla tracking safari group in search of the elusive creatures, whilst trekking amongst some 160 tree species and 100 fern species. The Rwenzori Park is set in 100,000 hectares of lush forests, steep waterfalls, pristine lakes and stunning glaciers. The national park is also home to Mount Margherita which stands at 5,109 meters.

Transylvania in Romania is the birthplace and home to one of the most prolific literary characters of all time; Dracula, making it the ideal destination for vampire fan – calling all Twilight fans! Medieval towns and castles throughout the area of Transylvania add to the extreme interest in the blood bitten tales of the country’s most famous stories. Do not let this fool you though; Romania has much more to offer than just vampire lore. Romania’s countryside is beautiful and full of opportunities for skiing and hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, often called the Transylvanian Alps. Another great feature in Romania is the country’s monasteries and cemeteries which are works of art in themselves.

Explore some 300 bird species and 45 freshwater fish species in the Romanian Danube Delta which flows into the Black Sea. Romania is also home to 6 culturally sites official recognised by UNESCO; the 8 Wooden Churches of Maramureş from various periods, the eight Churches of Moldavia which date from the 15th century and the first century Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains. There is also the fortified medieval town of Historic Centre of Sighişoara, the Brancovan-style Monastery of Horezu as well as the Transylvanian villages within the Alba, Brasov, Harghita, Mures and Sibiu counties which jointly make up the region of Transylvania.

Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean has a setting which is simply stunning. Set in between three volcanoes, it appears as though you have stepped back in time. Power lines run underground, traffic is scarce and building codes are strictly enforced, ensuring that the setting of this beautiful country stays intact. An added history fact is that this beautiful island has the honour of having been named by famed explorer, Christopher Columbus. For these reasons and more, tourists have come to realize that Antigua and Barbuda is so much more than just a beautiful beach.

Albania is something of a rarity in Europe. While things have changed quite a bit since the 1990′s, Albania has for many decades remained separated from neighboring countries and is still somewhat untouched by modern capitalism. Albania is home to stunning, pristine beaches and historical sites alike. The ancient town of Berat, sometimes called the “town of a thousand windows” is a classical site which has been deemed by Albania’s government to be a museum city and a UNESCO site. The history of Berat and Gjirokastra can be traced all the way back to the 6th century. Albania is a country full of culture, hospitality and charm.

The Rocky Mountain National Park, USA is a must visit site for anyone visiting Colorado with over 415 square miles of superb mountain scenery. The views of the snow-capped mountain tops is only the beginning as the more than 3 million annual visitors often also see the living beauty that nature has offered in this mountain environment. From elk and moose to bighorn sheep and bear, the wildlife is abundant here. Miles of hiking trails and driving roads offer spectacular viewing opportunities for visitors of all types. Enjoy the Trail Ridge Road which stretches more than 12,000 feet through the designated parkland and looks out over the pristine alpine and subalpine landscapes. Pack your hiking boots as there are over 300 miles of designating walking trails with pretty wildflowers and curious wildlife en-route.

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