Lifestyle & Belief

2011: Unknown travel destinations




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BOSTON — If Budapest is the new Prague and the stylish set has decamped Buenos Aires for Montevideo, where should you go now to avoid those throngs?

GlobalPost's correspondents, whose assignments are the envy of any eager traveler, have some suggestions for destinations where you'll run into few Americans — and few tourists at all, if you're lucky.

Bridge on the River Kwai

Local guides wait for tourists next to the fabled Bridge on the River Kwai in Thailand's western Kanchanaburi province on April 27, 2004. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

1) Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Phuket too full for you? Try Kanchanaburi, home to the infamous bridge on the River Kwai. In addition to World War II history, this province just 90 miles west of Bangkok draws adventure tourists with climbing, rafting and trekking. But correspondent Patrick Winn has a more relaxing vacation in mind.

"The draw is sleeping in a bamboo room floating on the river," he says. It's "very hilly and scenic."

Los Roques, Venezuela

A woman takes a picture of her companion on May 24, 2009, on the Cayo de Agua beach, one of the islands of Los Roques Archipelago in Venezuela. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

2) Los Roques, Venezuela

Brazil correspondents Erik German and Solana Pyne spent their honeymoon in this Caribbean archipelago, which Pyne recommends for its "pristine pale blue water, tiny white sand islands, incredible scuba diving, and none of the nauseating high-rises and other development you find in places like Cancun." The national park is just a short flight from Caracas and visited mostly by Venezuelans.

Odessa, Ukraine

Michael Jackson impersonators dance in Odessa, Ukraine, on June 25, 2010, as they gather to remember the king of pop's death one year before. (Alexey Kravtsov/AFP/Getty Images)

3) Odessa, Ukraine

Correspondent David L. Stern recommends this jewel on the Black Sea coast as "a lovely city." The port city boasts cultural diversity, which is reflected in its cosmopolitan 19th- and 20th-century architecture. When the sun reflecting off the white buildings in the city center gets too hot, sandy beaches are a short ride away.

Zululand, South Africa

Mpila Camp at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in South Africa's KwaZulu Natal province. Visitors stay in chalets where animals are free to wander. (Erin Conway-Smith/GlobalPost)

4) Zululand, South Africa

After South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup, its many attractions are hardly off travelers' radar screens. But Zululand, according to correspondent Erin Conway-Smith, remains off the beaten track, even for South Africans.

"A visit to Zululand is essential for anyone interested in fascinating battle stories, but the area’s abundant natural beauty holds particular appeal for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers wanting to scuba dive with whale sharks and spot leatherback turtles along the coast," writes Conway-Smith. (To read more about Zululand, become a GlobalPost member.)

Jeju Island, South Korea

Lee Ki-sang of Korea tees off on the 18th green during second round of the Ballantine's Championship at Pinx Golf Club on April 24, 2010, on Jeju Island, South Korea. (Victor Fraile/Getty Images)

5) Jeju Island, South Korea

Its sandy beaches and towering waterfalls lead visitors to compare this island off the southern coast of Korea to Hawaii. You won't see many Americans there, but you can ogle at cute, honeymooning Korean couples as you tuck into the some of the world's freshest seafood. The island is known for its matriarchal society, originating in women who historically supported their families by diving to harvest shellfish and seaweed. Bonus: It's about as far in Korea as you can get from the north.