Welcome to Part 2 of my Least Visited Countries In The World Series! This series is definitely putting me to work. I don’t usually write this sort of post, but I thought I’d change things up a bit. Writing this series has really opened my eyes to just how little I have actually seen of the world. It makes me a little sad really, to know that I will probably never visit every single country in the world. I do have a list of places to visit and experience, but it seems that list is ever growing. I count myself lucky in the fact that I have seen a little of the world, while there are others who only dream of it. To be completely honest I haven’t really had much interest in visiting the Asian countries. I mean sure I would love to go see the Great Wall of China, but I haven’t really thought of much more than that. Who knows maybe once I’m done with this Part 2 that may change!
North East Asia Region — The core countries of East Asia are also the core countries of North East Asia. They are as follows: Mongolia, China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. I will mention Russia here, but since I have included them in the previous post of the Eastern European Region I will not include them in this list. Russia is one of those odd countries that could be considered East Asian and East European.
Mongolia — This country is the 18th largest and also the most sparsely populated country in the world. The Mongolian people have led a very nomadic life throughout history and still to this day. Only about 45% of it’s 3 million population lives in it’s largest city Ulaanbaatar. It has seen it’s fare share of trouble in the past but they are trying to turn things around. In the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, there are plenty of museums, monasteries, and other places of interest. There are three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mongolia. With ten more nominated. If you are looking for real adventure though I would suggest to make friends with a nomadic family. Travel with them for a while, see how they live. It is in the people that we get to know what a country is really about. Mongolia Tourism
Taiwan — This is the second least visited country in the North East Asia region. Taiwan is a small island just off the coast of China. It was founded in 1912 and was the first Democratic Republic in Asia. It lies in the Pacific Ocean and has tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate climates. Pretty much the perfect place to have a vacation. With beautiful landscapes such is peaks, hills, baselines, and it’s coastal regions how could someone not enjoy themselves. It boasts nine National Parks and thirteen National Scenic Areas. You will not run out of fun things to do. Because of the peaks you can trek, hike, take a train ride, and who doesn’t want to soak up the sun on a tropical beach! Taiwan should definitely be on your radar for a tropical good time. Taiwan Tourism
North Korea — I’m only mentioning this country because of recent actions the leadership of this country has taken. I do hope in the future they open their borders to tourism. I hope they make strides to free their own people, and show the world how amazing their little country is.
South East Asia Region — The countries that make up this area are pretty well known, well most of them anyway. When you think of this region you may think of beautiful tropical islands with gorgeous blue water. Though, not all of the countries in this region are islands. They have all had their ups and downs. Some still to this day have their troubles, but that doesn’t mean we should count them out. The countries in this region are: Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Brunei, and Timor-Leste. If you didn’t know already, a few of these countries suffer from civil war and still feel the effects of it to this day. But, like I said you still shouldn’t count them out. They all have something to offer the adventurous traveler.
Timor-Leste — This country was originally colonized by Portugal in the 16th century and was known as Portuguese Timor until 1975. When Portugal left, Indonesia swooped in and took over. The people of Timor-Leste or (East Timor) revolted. This country was rocked by violence until 1999. The UN sponsored an act of self determination and Indonesia relinquished control. On May 20, 2002 this little country joined the UN and the Portuguese Language Countries. Since its declaration of independence it has joined the Southeast Asian countries as the eleventh nation in the region. Now that I’ve gotten some of the history out of the way, let’s talk about what this little country has to offer. Timor-Leste has a hot tropical climate, and a wet and dry season. Also, because this is a relatively new country, you can be sure that there will be little to no tourists to contend with. So, if you are tired of crowds of people this is definitely the place to be. With beautiful scenery and friendly locals, you are sure to have a good time. Timor-Leste Tourism
Brunei — Brunei is located on the north coast of the island of Borneo. This is another country that has had a little trouble in the past. With occupation by other countries such as Great Britain and Japan. During WWII this little country was occupied by Japan and in 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962 a small armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British. Brunei gained its Independence from the British January 1, 1984. It is the fifth richest nation out of 182 countries. I would say this country has a lot going for it. One of the reasons more people don’t visit Brunei is that their dollar is one of the strongest in the region. There are museums, an amusement park, the Sultans Palace, several beautiful Mosques, and one National Park. I supposed you could think of Brunei as the Monaco of Southeast Asia. (The Brunei Tourism page is currently down, I’ll keep checking and update once it’s back up again.)
Cambodia — When I think of Cambodia, I think of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. I absolutely LOVED his show. It was raw and real and that’s something I appreciate. I had read about Cambodia a little, while in school, but never really thought much about the country until I saw an episode of Anthony in Cambodia. He highlighted the struggles of the country but also focused on the good it had to offer. I hope I can do the same here. The country was ruled by the same family for 600 years, after the line ended it changed hands a few times. Finally becoming an Independent nation in 1953. The U.S. got involved in the area with the Vietnam war 1969-1973 and bombed much of the country. In 1970 the U.S. was involved in a coup and disposed of the King at the time. In 1979-1991 there was the Cambodian-Vietnamese war. Mass genocide was committed during this time. In 1991 the UN took over and Cambodia was led by United Nations Mission (1992-1993). Eventually the UN left and held an election before leaving. In 1997 fighting broke out once more and has been ruled by Prime Minister Hun Sen until present day. You can clearly see why Cambodia doesn’t have many tourists. Cambodia has plenty to offer travelers though. However if you plan to visit Cambodia please understand that some of the regions are not safe. They suggest you stay in the more touristy area of Siem Reap. I know that may not sound very inviting for the adventurous traveler but, better safe than sorry. Cambodia Tourism
South Asia Region — This area includes the countries of: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The south Asian countries do not make up a large region so choosing which countries has the least visitors was a little difficult. You would think that most of these countries receive a lot of tourists each year. That is true for many but there are two in this list that people tend to overlook.
Bhutan — You might be surprised to find that Bhutan has never been colonized in its entire history. There was a civil war in the 19th century but the country soon recovered. The country is diverse in its geography, with the Greater Himalayas in the north, the Inner Himalayas, and then the Sub-Himalayan foothills. Nepal isn’t the only place to spot these gorgeous mountains. There are plenty of adventure activities and festivals to attend throughout the year. But, if adventure isn’t your thing, spend some time in the many temples, and wander through the villages and cities soaking up the culture. Bhutan Tourism
Nepal — I know shocker right! Never would I have thought that Nepal would be one of the least visited countries in the world. Personally, it is one of my goals in life to get to Mount Everest. I mean how could you NOT want to visit this incredibly beautiful and diverse country. Nepal is home to eight of the ten world’s tallest mountains. I know that most people know about Mount Everest. So, here are a few things you may NOT know about Nepal and why you should visit. First, the founder of Buddhism, Guatama Buddha, was born in southern Nepal. Although, Hinduism is the the predominant religion. Nepal was also a part of the Silk Road. Like Bhutan Nepal was never colonized but it played a role against Imperial China and Colonial India. If you aren’t into adventure, Nepal has many other activities to offer. Explore the birthplace of Buddhism and attend a yoga or meditation class. Nepal is a a very spiritual place rich in history and culture. There are villages to explore, food to eat, bird watching and of course adventure sports. If you are brave enough try a trek to Mount Everest! Nepal Tourism
Oceania Region — To be completely honest I had never even heard of some of these countries before. From the statistics I found at the UNWTO I’m not the only one. The countries that make up this region are: Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, Tuvalu. Obviously you have most likely heard of Australia and New Zealand. It was really hard to narrow this region down to just three countries. So, I have included four of the least visited countries in this area.
Tuvalu — Yep, you say it just how it’s spelled. This Island..or cluster of small islands, is located half way between Australia and Hawaii. It is believed that the Polynesians settled this island originally. It’s safe to say that if you are looking to escape, I mean REALLY escape this would be the place to do it. According to the Tuvalu tourism site there are just seven accommodation options. It is also a great destination for snorkeling, diving, and yachting. It was also the location of several U.S. Air Force bases during WWII, many of the bases were abandoned afterward. If you are looking for a little adventure during your relaxing tropical stay, go check out some of the bases. Tuvalu Tourism
Kiribati — This group of islands became independent of the United Kingdom in 1979. It is also the only country located in the four hemispheres according to it’s tourism website. Like Tuvalu, Kiribati has much to offer in the way of snorkeling, diving, and boating. There are also several WWII sites to visit as well. Kiribati is also home to the Phoenix Islands which is the worlds largest marine protected area, which makes it an excellent place for bird watching, and swimming with 509 different species of fish. Each of the habitable islands offer various options for accommodation as well. Overall this is another one of those places you can escape to if that’s what you are looking to do on your next vacation. Kiribati Tourism
Marshall Islands — The Marshall Islands might be one of the more well known countries than the others in this Oceania region. Micronesian colonists were the first to settle these islands and then came the Europeans in the 1500s. Over the years many nations claimed these islands as their own. Like the other islands in this region you will find great fishing, snorkeling, diving, and sailing. You will find a variety of accommodation options for different budgets. Also, because the United States, has an agreement with the country of Marshall Islands Americans are allowed to stay as long as they like. That list also includes Palau and FSM. So, if you are an American looking for a tropical place to live for a while, this would be a great place! Marshall Islands Tourism
Niue — This country located northeast of New Zealand is one of the world’s largest coral islands. Technically the locals of this little island are citizens of New Zealand as they conduct a large portion of the country’s diplomatic relations. This small island has much to offer the explorer. It has caves, coves, secret beaches, and the Huvalu Rain forest. Of course there is also the usual water sports to have fun doing as well. There are plenty of options for accommodation on the island from resort style to hostels. There are fourteen villages to explore. Everyone is allowed to stay for less than 30 days but if you wish to stay longer you can apply for an extended visa. Niue Tourism
As you can see there are some real gems in this list of Least Visited Countries. I hope you will think about visiting some of these the next time you go to book your vacation. Some of these countries are trying to come back from civil war and natural disasters and they need all the help they can get. You can be sure the crowds of tourists will be down when compared to other popular countries. Some of these countries offer real adventures while others offer a relaxing escape from your every day hectic life. And, if you are American you might even end up falling in love with the Marshall Islands and staying for a while. Whatever your travel style is, I’m sure you will find something you will enjoy in each of these countries.
Keep an eye out for Part Three in my Least Visited Countries in the World Series!