Monks in Vientiane (Dreamstime)
List Words : Insider Secrets | 16 December

5 countries that widely-travelled people love

Where do the world's most well-travelled people still get a kick out of visiting? Donna Marsh from the Travelers' Century Club reveals the places you'll want to return to again and again

1: Nicaragua

Palm Sunday in Granada, Nicaragua  (Dreamstime)

Palm Sunday in Granada, Nicaragua (Dreamstime)

From its Spanish colonial architecture in Granada and León to its unspoilt Atlantic and Pacific Ocean beaches, there is plenty to see in Nicaragua. It’s also a great place to brush up on your Spanish, with residents appreciative of any attempt to master their language.

If ecotourism is your reason for travelling, Nicaragua won’t disappoint. Visit active volcanoes, pristine rainforests, and incredible islands – from the beach-fringed Corn Islands off the Atlantic coast, to wildlife-rich isles in Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua).

2: Oman

Incense shop in Oman (Dreamstime)

Incense shop in Oman (Dreamstime)

You will find rich experiences in Oman’s mountains, deserts, wadis, and endless beaches. Nature buffs will be fascinated by the khareef – the monsoon in Salalah – which makes the desert bloom in the height of summer, and enjoy tracing the fascinating history of frankincense and oud.

Nizwa, the home of an important 12th-century fort and busy traditional souk, is also rich in stories – and is close to the magnificent Hajar mountains where wild hiking trails wait. 

3: Laos

Novice monks in Laos (Dreamstime)

Novice monks in Laos (Dreamstime)

Laos is Southeast Asia with a difference. Check out the capital city, Vientiane, on the Mekong River, and visit Buddhist temples without the crowds you'll find in neighbouring Thailand. 

Admire the beauty and serenity of Luang Prabang, where Kings once ruled and the French left some of their more interesting colonial architecture and culinary influences. It’s also a great place to find fabrics and other souvenirs.

4: Kyrgyzstan

Burana tower, Kyrgyzstan (Dreamstime)

Burana tower, Kyrgyzstan (Dreamstime)

After exploring Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's bombastic capital, venture into the mountains to find high-altitude lakes such as Lake Issyk-Kul, where you can enjoy an unusually warm swim. Venture into the Tian Shan Mountains, where the open spaces provide a top-of-the-world experience to rival the Himalayas.

Visit the Son-Kul region in summer, where stunning vistas, yaks, yurts and horse riding in its purest form offer a glimpse of centuries gone by.

5: Ghana

A young girl in Ghana (Dreamstime)

A young girl in Ghana (Dreamstime)

Want to discover Africa beyond the regular sun, sand and safaris? Go to Ghana.  

Experience the hospitality of its people, who welcome visitors like family. Travel from Accra to Kumasi, and learn about the thriving culture of the Ashanti kingdom. On the Gulf of Guinea coast, the sobering history of the slave trade can be explored at Cape Coast Castle and museum, where the Obamas have visited. 

Return to Accra, the captial, and immerse yourself in modern Africa. And don’t forget to enjoy live music – it’s everywhere, and probably most fun with Ghanaians on the beach at sunset.

Donna Marsh is the Chapter Coordinator for the Travelers’ Century Club (TCC) UK and Ireland. Membership is open to people who have visited at least 100 countries from the TCC’s list of 325 countries and territories. To learn more about the Travelers’ Century Club, visit their website.