The Polar Route
Isafjordur, Iceland

Don’t Miss these Overlooked and Underrated Destinations

The Westfjords of Iceland

The Westfjords are difficult to get to. The roads are windy, mountainous, often unpaved, and they seem to go on forever. As a result many travelers skip the area entirely. But if you enjoy stunning vistas, jaw dropping fjords, and getting off the beaten path, the extra time is well worth it. After all, it’s all about the journey and not the destination… but the Westfjord’s destinations are pretty damn cool, too (pictured above: panoramic morning view of Ísafjörður).

 

 

Puerto Natales, Chile

Purto Natales, Chile

Primarily a transport town, Puerto Natales funnels tourists on the way to somewhere else. Visitors tend to spend just a short night there, if they stop at all. But it’d be a mistake to leave so soon. The seafood dishes are amazing, and the town’s vibe is welcoming and super laid back. And the scenery? Ahhh-mazing.

 

 

Chennai, India

Chennai, India

Another transport hub, Chennai is often overlooked as a destination in and of itself. You only need a day or two to see the big sights, and it’s well worth it. As an added bonus, Chennai has some of the friendliest people I met in India.

 

 

Siberia

Listvyanka, Siberian Russia

Throughout history, hardly anyone has willingly traveled to Siberia. But you should. It’s awesome. For more on Siberia, read this: Why Would You Want to Travel HERE?

 

 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Not so much underrated as it is simply overlooked, Sri Lanka is more than worth your time. For one, it’s massively inexpensive. We’re talking a double hotel room on the beach for $9 USD a night. The spicy South Asian street food is delicious, and the beaches are more than adequate to lose yourself for a week or more. When you’re tired of the waves (if that’s even possible) head inland for some culture. Don’t miss the hike to the top of Adam’s Peak, best done at night for a gorgeous sunrise view.

 

 

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Southeast Asia’s travelers usually traverse either Bangkok or Singapore Airports, but give Kuala Lumpur a look next time you’re there. The markets are just as good, and the vibe is less seedy than Thailand’s crazy capitol but edgier than boring Singapore.

 

 

Mongolia

Mongolia

Mongolia doesn’t tend to rank terribly high on anybody’s travel list, but it should. If you like exploring vast open spaces and fascinating nomadic cultures you’ll love Mongolia. Make sure to spend a few days in the capitol city of Ulaanbaatar.

 

 

Tokyo's Golden Gai District

Tokyo’s Golden Gai District

Head down the back alleys of Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood for a slice of old school Japan right in the center of one of the most modern cities on the planet. The quaint alleys appear dark and unwelcoming at first glance. But go on a little further and you’ll soon realize those alleys are lined with small bars, each seating only a handful of people. Not all are entirely receptive to foreigners, so use discretion. But find a good one and you’re in for a fun night of local culture and conversation in an intimate and cozy setting.

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17 Comments

  1. Great collection! Seems to me many of the bet places are “overlooked or underrated” meaning undiscovered and without hordes of tour bus wranglers.

  2. I am glad you have included Chennai, India in this place. Most people visit Rajasthan, Taj Mahal and Goa but not many go to Tamil Nadu. Thanks for including this destination in the overlooked of destinations.

  3. I had the great fortune to live in KL for about 9 months during my travels throughout asia. The mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures make Malaysia a fantastic place to visit and stay a while.

  4. You are 100% correct. I tell my kids all the time it’s always about the journey and not the destination.The jounrey will always tell you more about yourself. The destination is just a reward and resting spot.
    Thank you for the great pics!

  5. I have visited India many times and totally agree that Chennai ( the old Madras) has some of the friendliest people in India. Also the food is a delight in southern India and vegetarian food especially is a large part of the southern (Hindu) diet.

  6. Thanks for the travel inspiration–haven’t been to any of these places yet :-) Malaysia should be coming up in the fall though!

  7. This is a great post – its funny I’ve recently been looking at the more overlooked destinations in Europe such as Slovenia and find it amazing how much they have to offer.

    I think I passed through Chennai when I was in India but sadly didn’t get to stop, I was in Bangalore and found the people there incredibly friendly too!

    Laura

    • Thanks for the comment Laura; it’s a mix of the lack of tourists plus the coolness factor of feeling like you’ve discovered something. Will have to take a look at Slovenia…

  8. I’m so glad to see the Westfjords make this list! From puffin watching at the Latrabjarg Cliffs, to the Dynjandi Waterfall, and to Hornstrandir, there is just so much beauty and adventure waiting to be discovered!

    And I totally agree with you about Mongolia. I have not been, but am extremely eager to!

    • If you liked the Westfjords you’ll love Mongolia. Yeah it seemed like every turn was something new and beautiful in the Westfjords. It’s easy to skip because it’s a bit out of the way, but that’d be a big mistake!

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