THERE’S nothing like going away and spotting a Bintang singlet and hearing an Aussie accent to make you feel like you’ve never left the country.
To help travellers truly escape on their holiday, Skyscanner Australia dug into their data and found the destinations least booked by Aussie travellers.
Check out these places off the well-trodden tourist path and you might be the only Australian in the city.
TRAVELLING TO ARGENTINA?
Skip: Buenos Aires
Try: Iguazú Falls
A surprising name on our list of least travelled destinations for Australians is one of the world’s natural wonders, Iguazú Falls in Argentina.
This incredible collection of almost 300 waterfalls straddles the Argentine and Brazilian border for a distance of three kilometres. (That’s twice as wide as the falls at Niagara.)
In Iguazú National Park you can get up close and personal with the waterfalls by hiking a number of upper and lower circuits, including a boardwalk that takes you to the edge of Devil’s Throat, a breathtaking u-shape of cascading water. As well as peering down into the gushing water, you can also get dunked under it on an exhilarating speedboat ride departing from the lower circuit. You might want to pack a poncho and visit the bathroom before boarding the boat though, as you’re definitely in for a drenching.
Inside the National Park is the Sheraton Iguazu Resort and Spa. With a pool bar that’s open to day guests, the Sheraton is close enough for you to see the spray of the falls while sipping cocktails on a sun lounger — and if our data is right, there won’t be a single Bintang singlet in sight.
TRAVELLING TO MALAYSIA?
Skip: Kuala Lumpur
Found on the west coast of Malaysia, Malacca is a historic city with a medley of Dutch, British and Portuguese influences. The historic city centre, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, houses crumbling forts, churches and cathedrals, including the Dutch Square and Christ Church that date from the 17th century.
Popular ways to explore the city include on the back of one of the ritzy rickshaws (look out for the ones covered in Hello Kitty!) or on a river cruise which is prettiest at sunset.
The weekend Jonker Street Night Market will delight foodies with its abundance of cheap street food and buzzing atmosphere. Another local favourite is Jonker Dessert 88, famed for local snacks and sweets including Cendol, a Malaysian dessert made from shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar, sticky rice, red kidney beans and corn. (Yes, it does sound a little weird but we hear it’s refreshing.)
TRAVELLING TO INDONESIA?
Far from the bogan-lined beaches of Bali is the little-known Indonesian island of Biak. Biak is found near the northern coast of Papua and it neighbours the stunning Raja Ampat Islands, whose peaks and bays have been getting a lot of attention lately. Biak has its own boast-worthy reefs, corals and atolls and not only are you likely to be the only Aussie you might be the only tourist altogether.
Outstanding dive spots include Owi Island, known for its vibrant crown-of-thorns starfish, and Rurbas Island, home to plentiful puffer and bat fish. Inland on Biak you can explore hidden waterfalls, secluded beaches and traditional fishing villages. Visit Lombok Marine for more information.
TRAVELLING TO LAOS?
Savannakhet (or Kaysone Phomvihane as it was renamed in 2005 after the former leader of Laos who was born here) is the second largest city in Laos after Vientiane. It’s a rather sleepy city, famed for its decaying French Architecture and (rather unexpectedly) a Dinosaur Museum housing dinosaur fossils.
Historic tours of the city cover the former Laotian leader’s residence and a short distance outside of town you’ll find That Ing Hang Stupa, a 16th century stupa which is one of the most revered in the country. As Savannakhet is both a starting point for eco-adventures in the surrounding region and a gateway for overland journeys into Vietnam and Thailand, a handful of trendy restaurants and cafes have sprung up to service (non-Aussie!) tourists.
You needn’t walk far along the riverfront for a cold Laos beer or freshly brewed Laos coffee. You can also sleep with views of the Mekong at Daosavanh Resort & Spa Hotel, which offers free transfers from Savannakhet Airport.
TRAVELLING TO THAILAND?
Try: Sukhothai Province
About 400km north of backpacker-filled Bangkok is Sukhothai Province, home to the remains of Siam’s first capital. The Sukhothai (meaning “dawn of happiness”) Kingdom flourished from the mid 13th century to the late 14th century and produced such splendid art and architecture that the period is considered the golden age of Thai civilisation.
Today, you can explore what remains of that golden age at Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO-listed area containing an unbelievable 193 historical sites spread over 45 square kilometres.
One of the oldest and most important temples in the park is Wat Mahathat, which was originally surrounded by 185 stupas. Ramkamhaeng National Museum is also worth visiting to discover more about the history of the province and see some of the kingdoms finest artwork.