With the whole world to choose from, South Africa can’t make it into the Top 10 list every year, so here’s what Lonely Planet says is worth visiting in 2012. The list is selected by a panel of experts who narrowed down the options from hundreds of ideas that came from travellers, bloggers and tweeters.
It is ranked in order:
“The Cinderella of East Africa……a rising adventure sports and wildlife-spotting destination.” Lonely Planet’s book ‘Best in Travel 2012’ also says, “make sure you discover it before everyone else does.”
No. 2 Myanmar (Burma)
Since the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest, the boycott on travellers has been lifted and in the words of National League for Democracy, “We want people to come to Burma.”
No. 3 Ukraine
Ukraine co-hosted the Euro 2012 football championships and an opinion poll concluded that the majority of Euro-2012 guests fell in love with Ukraine. Lonely Planet says, “Ok, there are wolves and bears as well if you scour the lovely, lonely Carpathians, but you’re more likely to encounter magical folk traditions and Gothic scenery dramatic enough to make Dracula cast an envious eye east.” Oh and by the way, beer is cheaper than water!
“One of the most open, friendly and welcoming nations in the Middle East……… Jordan is one of the most accessible Arab states for English-speaking travellers.” Petra is still the main attraction, but you can also hike through Wadi Run and see the pristine Roman ruins of Jerash.
No 5. Denmark
Denmark is the Happiest Country, according to the World Happiness Report. Perhaps all the exercise has something to do with it as there are 390km cycle tracks in flat-as-a-pancake Copenhagen, and plenty more around the country.
In case you’re wondering, it’s next to Nepal at the foot of the Himalaya, but travel is somewhat restricted because of mandatory guides. It’s not cheap either and Lonely Planet says go now before they put the $200 per day ground cost tariff up. But you’ll be privilege to the coy charms of this beautiful Buddhist country.
No 7. Cuba
Cape Talk’s Afternoon Show Host, Africa Melane, often says he wants to visit Cuba before Castro pops it. Lonely Planet agrees and says, “Go while the clock is still stopped at 1959.”
No.8 New Caledonia
Nobody does France like their island colonies and New Caledonia is a little touch of pure Frenchness in the South Pacific! But the local Kanak culture is at the peak of its revival and affords a fascinating opportunity to see New Caledonia from a new perspective.
No 9. Taiwan
Taiwan is another country set up for travelling by 2-wheels. Better known for its technology, Taiwan was actually once called Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Isle), which gives an indication of what’s in store.
What a breath of fresh air to be in a country where everything works and runs on time, there’s no rubbish and crime isn’t an issue. But does perfect mean dull? Absolutely not! Where else can you saddle a cow and trek along the banks of the Rhine?
We hope you’ve enjoyed this whirlwind tour of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries of 2012. We’d love to hear which is your favourite choice and why.