Out of the Box Vacations: Top Underrated Destination to Travel in 2015

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If you haven’t already booked your 2015 vacation or you’re looking to add a few underrated yet intriguing places to your bucket list, AFAR, the experiential travel guide, has curated the perfect line-up of locales around the globe.
Discover where food insiders are eating in Japan, explore Indonesia beyond Bali, avoid the crowds in China’s most diverse province, be surprised by Cambodia’s next great cultural hub, and more.

  • Eat Your Way Across Osaka – Osaka is known as the food kitchen of Japan and has the second largest number of restaurants in the country.
  • Explore Indonesia –  Go now to explore the wild nature near Flores Island, connect with locals at a socially conscious resort, surf Indo’s best waves, experience culture on new cruises, and, when it opens in summer 2015, to get pampered at the new Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
  • Change the Way You Think About North Korea – Why is the famously secretive North Korea on our 2015 travel list? Because curiosity is a powerful motivator. The despotic regime has restricted travel dramatically to and within the country (and the U.S. State Department strongly discourages us to even think about it). But Joss Kent, founder of Outfitter & Beyond, says that “if travel is about opening your eyes to other cultures and learning more about the world we live in, then North Korea has to be very high on that list of travel experiences. It will definitely impact the way you think.”
  • Escape the Temples in Battambang, Cambodia – Battambang is where travelers go when they are templed out. Cambodia’s second largest city offers some of South East Asia’s best preserved colonial architecture.
  • Find Your Center in India – Get in touch with nature—and yourself—at Vana Retreats, a new wellness spa in the foothills of the Himalayas that offers an immersive and totally tranquil experience.
  • Go Gourmet Yunnan – Yunnan is often called China’s most beautiful province, extolled for its terraced rice fields in the south, blooming canola fields in the west, the semi-tropical macroclimate jungles of Xingshanbuana, and the frigid oxygen-depleting heights of the Himalayan north.
  • Recharge in Cambodia Song Saa – Song Saa is a year-old resort in Cambodia’s off-the-beaten path Koh Rong Archipelago. The resort spans two pristine private islands that are connected by a footbridge set over a marine reserve teeming with colorful sea life.

Africa & The Middle East
Tourism in these areas has been hit hard recently by world events, but new conservation-minded luxury camps and culturally immersive tours are giving travelers a reason to return.

  • Get off the beaten path in Bazaruto Archipelago – The Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of six islands in Mozambique, is home to white sand beaches, exotic birds, and pristine reefs.
  • Paddle the Okavanga Delta – Escape + Explore offers truly one-of-a-kind, three-to-five-day trips that range from wildlife experiences to pioneer adventure that venture to places few tourists visit. For 2015, the outfitter is launching trips down Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
  • See the Middle East by Boat – Windstar Cruises’ new 18-day Wonders of Arabia trip sails from Athens to Dubai via the Suez Canal, docking in Jordan, Egypt, and Oman along the way. Travelers will have the chance to explore the stunning ruins of Petra, snorkel or dive in the Red Sea, sail the Nile on a traditional felucca, visit iconic pharaonic sites such as Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings, and see where the Queen of Sheba’s summer palace once stood.
  • Visit Majestic Zimbabwe – With four UNESCO World Heritage sites, exotic wildlife, huge waterfalls, and a rich cultural heritage, Zimbabwe is definitely on our travel to-do list.
  • Experience the Mara Triangle – Nicky Fitzgerald and her husband Steve are pioneers in African tourism. The couple has opened more than 50 luxury safari lodges across sub-Saharan Arica and India and for years worked with the pioneering safari company &Beyond. The couple has spent the last year building Angama Mara, a very special property that sits on the border of Kenya’s Mara Triangle and will open June 2015.
  • See Iran with Wild Frontiers – Travelers can explore ancient Persian ruins such as Persepolis, whose names echo through history; see Zoroastrian burial towers in Yazd, and some of the world’s finest Islamic architecture in Isfahan; and enjoy the beautiful gardens and the elevated art of poetry in Shiraz. The landscape is as stunning as the cities, with soaring mountains, echoing deserts, and beaches around the Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water in the world.

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