By SOPHIE WILSON
At the beginning of every year various lists that predicts the “top” travel destinations for the year ahead start floating around the web world. Many are completely subjective, based on personal opinions. But some countries recur in many lists and thus are likely to be the hot picks of globetrotters everywhere.
1. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is this year’s top emerging as well as best-value destination for travelers worldwide. Hit tragically by a tsunami in 2004 and torn by civil war from 1983 to 2009, much of the country remained off-limits to visit as a local let alone a tourist. Now that the conflict is over, much of the coast has been rebuilt, more low cost carriers flying there, and prices are affordable, which makes 2013 the time to get ahead of the crowds. A lush tropical island with nothing but the huge expanse of the Indian Ocean surrounding it, Sri Lanka is a country bustling with energy. Visit fifth century forts, learn about the country’s fascinating culture, head inland to the breath-taking Tea Country, and reach south east to the untouched and newly emerging beaches and amazing national parks. Try Sri Lanka’s delicious local gourmet which will blow your senses away. With new boutique hotels and lots to see and do, Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for those looking for a culture similar to India minus the enormous cities and exhausting train journeys.
2. The Philippines
For travelers searching for an unspoilt beach, The Philippines is a nation made up of more than 7,000 heavenly islands, where each one is caressed by turquoise waters and ecstatically white sandy shores. But there’s more to this fascinating country than just glorious beaches, that’s if you know where to look. Unlike much of East Asia, the archipelago nation is relatively inexpensive while still pretty exotic. In Bicol you can swim with the whale sharks. In Palawan you can hang out with locals at markets, meet local tribes in the depth of the jungle, and experience its wildlife. Its BacuitBay is something like Halong Bay in Vietnam, only better because it is minus all the tourist hordes. The Philippines capital of Manila is also not behind with some impressive locales and posh resorts. Stay at some engaging eco-resorts, beautiful boutique hotels or even cozy little village homes. Now is the time to go visit Philippines!
3. New Zealand
New Zealand has emerged from its mighty neighbor Australia’s shadow with the “Lord of the Rings” movie franchise. Anyone visiting this country will be spoilt for choice. But the best part is that the country is so compact that you can visit several of them in a trip. There are gems like Queenstown, Christ Church, Auckland and of course you cannot overlook the capital Wellington. There are 14 National Parks are overflowing with beautiful, natural scenery. Awe inspiring mountain landscapes, glaciers, vineyards and natural wonders are found around every corner. You can also visit Hobbiton, which was shot on a farm in the Waikato region of North Island. Iconic road-trips have forever been the best way to privately explore some of the world’s greatest wonders and the Cook Strait is best for that. So rent a cheap car in New Zealand and drive along the coast to indulge in some of New Zealand’s best coastal lodges and mind-blowing beaches. Being jam-packed with things to do, the only tough part while planning your holiday will be deciding what to do first!
Sophie Wilson has worked in the Travel & the Tourism Industry for 5 years and is lucky enough to get to travel a lot. She writes about every one of those weird, unusual and beautiful experiences. You can visit her website http://www.getacarhire.com for cheap car rentals in over 1000 locations worldwide.