If you spent your 2018 travelling to places you haven’t been to, good on ya! But if you are constantly going back to the same old places, it’s time to explore new cities in the new year. There’s a whole world out there! As your new year resolutions start to slide into oblivion, hopefully these places will ignite your travel hunger strong enough that at least some resolutions get fulfilled. Here are some of the most interesting places to visit in 2019.
Best Places to Travel in 2019
1) Sicily, Italy: For a family gastronomical and historical trip
Sicily is famously associated with the Godfather movies, so get ready to discover all the Godfather locations in Sicily by signing up for a Godfather tour. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the Godfather movies, Sicily still offers plenty of historical and natural beauty such as the ruined ancient city of Akragas or Mount Etna, the hyperactive volcano in Sicily. Mount Etna is slowly sliding into the sea, so you don’t really have all the time in the world!
Food to try in Sicily
Authentic gelato from Caffe Sicilia, pasta with sea urchin from Da Vittorio
Recommended Hotels in Sicily
Budget Hotel: Artemisia Palace Hotel
Mid-range Hotel: Liberty Hotel
Luxurious Hotel: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
2) Da Nang, Vietnam: For a romantic couple trip
Castle in the sky is not only an imagination because you can find it in Da Nang! The French village in Ba Na Hills is a massive castle complex complete with a cable car, an indoor theme park and a roller coaster around the mountain. Other popular destinations are the Marble Mountains that house caves and tunnels as well as the Golden Bridge “held by a pair of stone hands”.
Food to try in Da Nang
Mi quang (noodle with proteins, and rice crackers with sesame seeds, and tons of chilli!) from Mi Quang Que and banh beo (cwee kueh) from Banh Beo Ba Be
Recommended Hotels in Da Nang
Budget Hotel: The Herriott Hotel & Suite
Mid-range Hotel: Mercure Danang French Village Bana Hills
Luxurious Hotel: Vinpearl Luxury Da Nang
3) Isfahan, Iran: For an off-the-beaten-path solo trip
CC BY 2.0/Ninara
Iran is too huge to conquer in one trip, but Isfahan will be a great starting point. Naqsh-e-Jahan Square, also known as the Shah Square, is a royal square where the blue-tiled Imam Mosque and the Ali Qapu Palace are located. Step into the Insta-worthy Nasir ol molk Mosque (Pink Mosque) during the day. The beautiful stained glasses filter the rushing sun ray, creating multicolour shadows on the mosque floors — no two photos of the Pink Mosque are ever the same!
CC BY 2.0/Liz Olson
Food to try in Isfahan:
lamb kabab from Shahrzad Restaurant, tea from Azadegan Tea House
Hotels in Isfahan
Hotels in Iran are rarely available online. Reserve your stay via a phone call.
4) Bucharest, Romania: For a budget family trip
Surrounded by the Lake Snagov, Snagov Monastery was claimed to house the tomb of Vlad Tepes. Whether it’s true or not, the place still holds so much culture and history for you to explore. Head to the abandoned Constanta Casino overlooking the Black Sea and the ancient port at Constanta. Another must-visit is the Salina Turda, a massive underground salt mine that’s turned into a sci-fi theme park several hours away from Bucharest.
Food to try in Bucharest:
ciorba de burta from Casa Jienilor, geese meat sarmale from Hanu Lui Manuc
Recommended Hotels in Bucharest:
Budget Hotel: Monte Carlo Palace Rooms
Mid-range Hotel: Grand Boutique Hotel
Luxurious Hotel: Epoque Hotel – Relais & Chateaux
5) La Paz, Bolivia: For an adventurous trip with friends
When you are in La Paz, arrange for a day trip to Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat that also serves as a reflective canvas after a short rain. If you are into peculiar souvenirs, head to The Witches’ Market for weird items used for Aymara rituals — think about llama fetuses and aphrodisiac formulas. Adventurous souls should sign up for the Death Road bike tour to conquer Yungas Road, the most dangerous road in the world.
Food to try in La Paz
anticucheros (grilled cow’s heart) from anticuchera near Plaza San Pedro and saltenas (Bolivian pastries filled with peas, potatoes, carrots, and meat) from Pacena la Saltena
Recommended Hotels in La Paz
Budget Hotel: Cruz de los Andes Hostal
Mid-range Hotel: Rio Selva Resort Aranjuez
Luxurious Hotel: Casa Grande Suites
6) Guilin, China: For a family-friendly trip
The colourful karst rock formation in the Reed Flute Cave, Guilin should be your next destination in China. Another option to explore the karst formation is by cruising down Li River. Besides karst mountains, Guilin is also famous for the Longji Terraced Fields, a rice paddy field shaped like a dragon’s backbone.
Food to try in Guilin
Guilin rice noodles from Rice Noodles Pub and Yangshuo beer fish from Guilin Boy Domestic Food
Recommended Hotels in Guilin:
Budget Hotel: Dragon’s Den Hostel in Longji Rice Terraces
Mid-range Hotel: Secret Courtyard Resort Hotel
Luxurious Hotel: Li-An Lodge
7) Hawaii, United States: For a romantic honeymoon trip
After the Kilauea’s terrifying eruption in May 2018, Hawaii starts welcoming tourists again. Go for the Jurassic Park Tour to explore Kualoa Ranch where the Jurassic Park’s first movie was filmed at. Besides the blackwater dive that features unique deepwater creatures, Hawaii is also famously known for the Pearl Harbour, whose attack led the United States to the World War II.
Food to try in Hawaii
poke bowls from Da Poke Shack and luau (taro leaves) stew from Mission Houses Cafe
Recommended Hotels in Hawaii:
Budget Hotel: Kilauea Hospitality Group
Mid-range Hotel: Alas Del Kealoha
Luxurious Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
8) Marrakech, Morocco: For an Insta-worthy trip
As Game of Thrones is coming to a close with its final season in April 2019, fellow hardcore fans can still rekindle the nostalgia when visiting Ait Ben Haddou aka “Yunkai the Yellow City” not too far from Marrakech. Marrakech also has so many beautiful and culturally-rich buildings such as the Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace and Ben Youssef Madrasa. For a unique experience, stay in a riad, a traditional Morrocan hometown with an interior courtyard.
Food to try in Marrakech
chicken tagine (stews) from Al Fassia and bastilla (meat pastry) from Cafe Clock
Recommended Hotels in Marrakech
Budget Hotel: Riad Atlas Prestige
Mid-range Hotel: Riad Al Anouwar
Luxurious Hotel: Palais Riad Lamrani
9) Taveuni Island, Fiji: For a family’s back-to-nature trip
Taveuni Island may be an underrated island in Fiji, but it has so many things to offer. Dive into the Somosomo Strait for a chance to catch a glimpse of leopard sharks or explore the lush tropical rainforest in Bouma National Park to find plenty of scenic waterfalls. Hike the De Voeux Peak and discover Lake Tagimaucia, a crystal clear crater lake in Taveuni Island.
Food to try in Taveuni Island
Fish curry from Coconut Grove Beachfront Cottages and fish and chips from Kai Time Restaurant & Bar
Recommended Hotels in Taveuni Island
Budget Hotel: Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat
Mid-range Hotel: Paradise Taveuni
Luxurious Hotel: Tides Reach Resort
10) Bagan, Myanmar: For a budget couple trip
Rent a bike to hop between hundreds of temples scattered around Bagan. Though climbing is no longer allowed, the local government has introduced designated sunrise and sunset points. For a romantic experience, get into a hot air balloon to witness the most beautiful sunrise or sunset in Bagan. Alternatively, take a relaxing boat ride on Irrawaddy River during sunset.
Food to try in Bagan:
tea leaf salad from Bibo and aubergine curry from Be Kind to Animals The Moon
Recommended Hotels in Bagan:
Budget Hotel: Nanda Garden Hotel
Mid-range Hotel: Ananta Bagan Hotel
Luxurious Hotel: Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort Bagan
Ditch your boring itinerary to night markets in Bangkok or beaches in Bali for something more adventurous and unique. Your resolutions for 2019 are pretty much sorted!