Top Travel Destinations for 2015: The Emerging Destination

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Shwedagon Paya in Yangon.

Myanmar

Make for Mergui.

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Houses in Inle Lake.
Khao Sok National Park.

By Aaron Gulley
 
When Myanmar opened its doors to the outside world a few years ago, travelers poured in. A tourist circuit developed quickly – Yangon with its golden pagoda, Bagan’s thousand-year-old temples, and floating-village life on Inle Lake – but, in a nation almost as big as Texas, that leaves room for exploration. “Myanmar is changing fast, and everyone wants to go before it loses its charm,” explains travel advisor Tracy Fiala of Calgary. “But the truth is, you have to get off the beaten path a little bit for an authentic experience.”
 
Go: Spend three days cruising through one of the country’s least known treasures, the Mergui Archipelago, on Natural Habitat Adventures’ 13-day journey through Myanmar and Thailand. Mergui’s 800 mostly uninhabited islands lie scattered along the western coast and provide an endless array of empty beaches, lush rain forest, and pristine reefs rich with manta rays, sea turtles, and whale sharks. After Mergui, the 62-foot catamaran sails Thai waters to Khao Sok National Park’s limestone towers, home to langurs, macaques, and fish eagles.

Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2015:
  1. Europe for Less: The Balkans
  2. Honeymoons: French Polynesia or Maldives
  3. Culture: Milan
  4. Safari: South Africa
  5. The Emerging Destination: Myanmar (You are here!)
  6. City Escape: Paris
  7. Supernatural Nature: The Galapgos
  8. Family Travel: Costa Rica
  9. Close to Home: Napa Valley
  10. Adventure Travel: New Zealand
 
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, January 2015.

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