As big as this world is, travel can sometimes feel confining. There are always those go-to spots in every destination which travelers feel are necessary in order to get the full experience, but travel has evolved so much further beyond that. Now, new experiences, places, and adventures can all be discovered in the blink of an eye. So ditch the mall, bypass the tourist traps, and go off the beaten path. It’s about time we really see the world. These seven unique attractions are sure to help you navigate your way out of the crowds, and into some awesome adventures.
Ditch Universal Studios for the Night Safari
A place to ride thrill-seeking rollercoasters, meet your favorite on-screen characters, and stuff your face with all-you-can-eat fast food, Universal Studios is great. The thing is, once you’ve seen one, you’ve kind of seen them all. So instead of seeking out Singapore's Universal Studios, bypass it for the world’s first nocturnal zoo. Since 1994, the Night Safari has been one of Singapore’s most unique and underrated tourist attractions, having been awarded 12 Best Attraction titles from the Singapore Tourism Board. The Safari takes guests on a tram ride in the dead of night through six different geographical zones from the Himalayan foothills to the Asian River Forests. Listen as your guide explains the routines of these creatures of the night, or take your tour off-tram and follow the paths that lead to the habitats of over 1,000 animals — from flying squirrels to fisher cats — and experience their nocturnal habits for yourself.
Ditch the Great Wall of China for the 798 Art District
Beijing is known and loved for its most iconic landmark, the Great Wall of China. That said, there is beauty within this culturally aesthetic city that many tourists never get to experience. Located in the Dashanzi area to the northeast of central Beijing is an industrial park full of state-owned factories, one of which is the notable Factory 798. Once a factory which produced electronics, the building and its surrounding structures have since been transformed into galleries, art centers, studios, design companies, restaurants, and bars. Epitomizing the feel of Soho in New York, the 798 Art District invites locals and tourists alike to experience the artistic influence of this urban destination, entwining an innovative aesthetic with a deep, rooted history. Discover the exciting, cutting-edge art movement of China in its infancy as it evolves and transforms into the next great art district of the world.
Ditch Notre-Dame for Sainte-Chappelle
More than 1,100 stained glass windows dazzle tourists of the Sainte Chappelle in Paris. The light dances around you, shining through windows which climb 15 meters to the ceiling. Each image tells tales from both the New and Old Testaments, taking guests of through history as it recounts stories all the way through its own creation and the arrival of some very important pieces (VIPs) of history. A jewel of Gothic architecture, the stunning cathedral was built in the 13th century (in just seven years) to house precious Christian relics, including the sacred crown of Jesus Christ. Although many were sadly destroyed during the French Revolution, you can still discover more about this secret attraction in the nearby Conciergerie, Paris’s oldest prison, and the holding chamber of the likes of Marie Antoinette and leaders of the Revolution before the days of their executions.
Ditch Bourbon Street for the Warehouse District
While we’re on an art kick, we can’t forget about the eye-catching Warehouse District of New Orleans. Many travelers gravitate straight to the nightlife of Bourbon Street, but they miss out on a historic neighborhood of art galleries, fine restaurants, world-class museums, and the bustling heart of downtown New Orleans. The art movement has been revamped and brought to life once more in this industrial district which once housed grain, coffee, and other products shipped to the Port of New Orleans. Known as the “Soho of the South,” the 10,000 square-foot complex enlightens and intrigues guests today with innovative artwork, eclectic music, and inspiring theater performances.
Ditch Disneyland for Kurashiki
Again with the amusement parks — skip them! If you find yourself in the Tokyo area, head to the fairytale village of Kurashiki in the southern Okayama Prefecture. Take a train from the city along the beautiful Japanese coast to experience a place rich in culture and history. Its beautiful canal and relaxed setting allow tourists to experience the Japanese culture at a slower pace, absorbing its unique scenery and flowing language. The historic downtown of Kurashiki, called the Bikan Quarter, is home to a number of 17th century storehouses which take tourists back through time to the Edo Period when the village was a bustling industrial town. Explore the town by boating along the canal and be enchanted by the weeping willows and stone bridges that preserve its charming character.
Ditch Burj Khalifa for the Dubai Miracle Garden
Over 100 million blooming petals decorate the Dubai Miracle Garden. Some of these flowers are even award-winning, holding the Guinness Book of World Record’s title of the largest flower arrangement after they formed the shape of an Airbus A380 airplane. The floral playground opened its doors on Valentine’s Day in 2013, inviting tourists from around the world to literally come in and smell the roses. Take a day away from the crowds at Burj Khalifa and surround yourself with beauty in the world’s largest natural flower garden. We promise you’ll feel the flower power.
Ditch the Colosseum for the Cobbled Streets of Trastevere
Head across the Ponte Sisto bridge to the other side of the Tiber River and experience the charming, medieval neighborhood of Trastevere. Boasting an intoxicating nightlife, the once working-class section the city will take you away from the crowds and into the depths of the local life and hidden corners of Rome. Find yourself amongst labyrinth streets, glittering mosaics, and opulent Renaissance villas to experience the Roman culture through the eyes of a local. And, if you’re keen to find an Insta-worthy views that require just a bit of extra work, hike 20 minutes up the eighth hill of Rome, Gianicolo, for the most breathtaking, tourist-free views of the Eternal City.
Looping back to Singapore, ditch the fancy restaurants for this Michelin star food stall.