Fiji, Zambia, Bangkok, Mauritius, the Iguazú Falls in Argentina and Brazil – the usual suspects of the hottest travel destinations are covered by most travel publications. But overtourism is a real problem, in Asia and elsewhere – with the temples of Angkor Wat close to being ruined, Boracay in the Philippines being down for six months due to unsustainable tourism practices, and Maya Bay in Thailand being shut for a few months this year (when it reopens, the area will have a strict cap on visitor numbers).
As a response to concerns about overtourism, Intrepid Travel has put together their annual ‘Not Hot List’, focusing on alternatives to Australia’s favourite Asian destinations. Europe was in the spotlight last year, and this year the focus has been closer to home, in an effort to understand how tourism can be sensitive to communities and nature.
The Intrepid 2019 Not Hot Travel List: Asia Edition
Komodo is the new Ubud
Once considered the adventurous alternative to Seminyak, Ubud – with its haven of health and healers – became extremely popular with tourists, although the day trip market means a lessened contribution to Ubud’s economy and puts pressure on local infrastructure.
Instead, Komodo is a viable alternative for travellers who are willing to sail from Bali through the Indonesian archipelago. Komodo is a place where ancient tribes maintain their traditions in deep rainforest valleys. You can snorkel coral reefs, walk across volcanic black sand beaches, and keep watch for the legendary and fierce Komodo dragons.
Bukhara is the new Angkor Wat
Uzbekistan’s fifth largest city Bukhara is a UNESCO world heritage site – the entire old city centre has more than 5000 years of human history. There are over 140 monuments and historical buildings to explore including Po-i-Kalyan Mosque that, during its 1300 years of history, even survived assault from Genghis Khan!
Ladakh is the new Everest
Nepal and the lure of Mt. Everest will always attract active travellers wanting to challenge themselves, but Ladakh in India is rising in popularity for its hiking and breathtaking scenery of the Indian Himalayas.
You can break up the hiking with river rafting, visiting remote villages, monasteries, and religious sites. Stay in hyper-colourful, bustling Delhi before and after your trek to truly appreciate the quiet natural beauty of the Ladakh region.
Naoshima is the new Osaka
Intrepid advocates that travellers discover the southern islands or ‘lost Japan’. Naoshima Island has been transformed from a sleepy fishing community to a world-class art destination with a variety of sleek and stylish museums. In Naoshima, you can cycle between galleries, outdoor sculptures, and modern architecture. The Southern Islands also house impressive castles and Japan’s oldest hot spring baths – Dogo Onsen.
Sumatra is the new Borneo
As the world’s sixth largest island, Sumatra made headlines earlier this year with the Mount Sinabung volcano eruption. Despite the possible danger, these geothermal activities have created surreal landscapes in this region – such as Gunung Leuser National Park, home to one of the richest ecosystems in the world.
Sumatra is also someplace you’ll have the best chance of spotting wild orangutans in Indonesia!