Got a few weeks of vacation coming up and still haven't decided where to spend it yet? Allow us to help you plan your trip. Whether you're craving to see sandy shores, temple ruins or exotic markets, here are 5 places that should be on this year's itinerary:

1 Maldives

We've all had that luxury Maldives holiday on our bucket list since forever. But we've been putting it off and compromising with more mainstream and less expensive vacation spots. Why? Because we think a trip to the Maldives is costly and it's just a honeymooner's paradise.

Well, if you've been paying attention to your facebook feed lately, more and more of your friends are realizing their Maldivian dreams! And not all of them are couples. Most of them come with friends and family. And Sole Sister Adi even traveled solo to the Maldives last year!
Why go now:

Angaga Island Resort & Spa, Maldives
Photo Credit: Mohamed Iujaz Zuhair

Just the mere mention of "Maldives" can get any sea or nature lover excited! Even while wading in knee high water, you can already see so much variety of marine life. This is where people go to experience world class diving with rays, dolphins, sea turtles, whales and even sharks! You start your day with breakfast on the beach in what feels like your own private island, and you end it by sleeping under a blanket of stars.

More airlines like Tiger airways and Malaysian airlines are offering flights to Male via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. If you're lucky and get tickets through seat sales, it can go as low as 1,000 USD. Most people choose to stay at resorts in the Maldives' 1,192 islands. If you're going with a group, you can also choose to live aboard a sea vessel and incorporate dive trips into your vacation.

Indonesia Guide Kuta Beach

2 Lombok, Indonesia

I first came to this place in 2011 and people gave me a wondering look after I'd told them I just spent a week in Lombok. It's a lesser known destination as more people visit the island of Bali. But if you are tired of the party crowd and sellers shoving a sarong in your face every 5 minutes, it's time to book a ferry or a flight to Lombok.

Why go now: Lombok is starting to get more and more popular as a lot of luxury resorts are being built on the island. More surfers who get jaded in Bali's overcrowded breaks have also started to come here. If you want to get on a motorbike with your surfboard in hand, and experience the paradise that Bali was decades ago, I suggest you come visit this place.

Kid monk in red robes  Myanmar

3 Bagan, Myanmar

Myanmar was one of the highlights of the 6 month backpacking trip I did 3 years ago. At that time, it was not yet open to a lot of tourists because it was still under the rule of a military junta. But with a bit of luck and a lot of determination, we were able to join a motley crew of couchsurfers on a serendipitous journey through Myanmar. We visited temples and monks, hiked through villages and rode a public boat othe Irrawaddy river. We met locals who have never even met anyone from another country before!

Why go now: In 2011, the military junta officially dissolved itself, opening the way for a democratic transition under the government of President Thein Sein, a former general. This once closed off country has now opened its gates for tourism. And pretty soon, tourism will change the face of Myanmar. It's best to see it now while its people are still able to maintain their authentic way of life.

Photo Credit: Miguel Navaza

4 Siargao Island, Philippines

I've visited a lot of surf spots in the Philippines last year and Siargao left the most lasting impression. I surfed Cloud 9 and a handful of lesser known breaks, island hopped through some little known white sand beaches and experienced the island life through its friendly locals. Surfer or not, this place has lots to offer in terms of food, culture and chill vibe.

Why go now: While living in the island for about a month, I realized that a lot of the land were being bought by foreigners who are building resorts in the area. As a Filipino, I also felt outnumbered by the foreigners surfing in Cloud 9. I'm pretty sure that with the influx of low cost flights, more and more people will want to visit, surf and even live here. 

DGJ_3952 - Start Walking - 309 stairs
Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

5 Chiang Mai, Thailand

After living in this city for 4 months recently, I got to explore so much of it that I almost didn't leave. Most people come here for a vacation to see temples, visit the markets and experience an elephant camp. And because this place has all the comforts of home- malls, assortment of cuisine, fast internet- some of us choose to just camp out here for years even!

Why go now: For those who want the combination of being close to nature as well as living the city life, Chiang Mai is the best option there is in Southeast Asia! It's also a great launch pad to meet digital nomads and start your own location independent lifestyle. April is a great time experience the songkran water festival within the walls of this city.

Main photo credit: Tommy Schultz Photography

Lois is the Editor-in-Chief of the female travel blog When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving motivational workshops and retreats.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Great list! This would be perfect for those looking for exotic destinations.

  2. Your article is very helpful thank you very much for sharing .

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