Our daily lives are so hectic these days, an increasingly important measure of our holidays is whether we felt like we really got away from the daily grind. True off-the-beaten-track destinations are getting harder to discover, but there are plenty out there if you know where to look. We’ve done the hard work for you – hand-picking some of our top remote destinations, whether you’re avid hikers, love wildlife or just want some tropical seclusion.
BEST FOR: Otherworldly wildlife
There’s a kind of alluring mystique that permanently hangs over the third largest island in the world. Popularly known as one of the last refuges for the orangutan, this is just one of the many unique and wonderful wildlife you can see here. The very name Borneo conjures up images of pristine jungle and a rich indigenous culture and you’ll find that your imagination is proved right once you visit there. Spot crocodiles, pygmy elephants and hornbills along the Kinabatangan River and hike the wild trails of Bako National Park to see silvery langurs, bearded pigs and proboscis monkeys. Elsewhere, Gunung Mulu National Park has one of the biggest caves and bat populations in the world but to see the headlining act, the orangutans, we’d recommend going to one of Borneo’s rehabilitation centres, either Semenggoh in Sarawak or Sepilok in Sabah.
BEST FOR: Tropical island tranquility
When we allow ourselves to daydream, our minds are often cast to sparkling white shores, turquoise waters and palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. This is the Maldives in a nutshell, a gorgeous necklace of emerald pearls floating in the Indian Ocean. Each resort is established on its own tiny private island, so it will feel like you’ve discovered your own little piece of paradise with few others around. There are resorts to suit every style, whether it’s romantic castaway chic for honeymooners to fun island escapes for families. Whatever type of feel you’re after, the Maldives is a destination that will guarantee you forget about life’s daily stresses as soon as you dip a toe in the powder-soft sand.
BEST FOR: A quiet slice of Africa
Barely scratching Africa’s tourist map, Mozambique is one of the continent’s unsung jewels. Its untouched coastline is skirted by mile upon mile of cream-coloured sand, only interrupted by a string of resorts where you can enjoy barefoot luxury. On any given day, a handful of people constitutes to a busy day on a Mozambican beach, meaning you can enjoy some well-deserved sun-soaked solitude, especially if it’s after a busy time on safari. If you get itchy feet, Mozambique also has hidden character, with its beautiful archipelagos of Quirimbas and Bazaruto home to thatched villages and flickers of its colonial Portuguese past. Wherever you go in Mozambique, you’ll discover you’ll have most places to yourself – make sure you visit before the secret is out.
The Islands of Tahiti
BEST FOR: Postcard-perfect views and an epic cruise
With bright blue waters, towering jade-hued peaks and whiter-than-white sands, you can’t help but be totally engrossed by the beauty of The Islands of Tahiti. Bora Bora is the dreamy jewel in its crown but there are so many more islands that are worthy of your attention, such as the emerald-wrapped mountains of Moorea to the vanilla scents of Taha’a and the rich marine wonders of Rangiroa. The Marquesas Islands is one of French Polynesia’s wildest and most unknown regions and the best way to discover then is on a cruise aboard the Aranui, a passenger and cargo vessel which begins on the main island of Tahiti and takes you around this fascinating archipelago. Witness epic scenery, be charmed by authentic local culture and spy the mysterious tiki statues. This is an adventure like no other, whether you’ll feel like you’re truly on the other side of the world.
BEST FOR: Adrenaline-fuelled activities and wild landscapes
The French island of Réunion has natural drama wherever you turn, a land where waterfalls tumble from jungle-clad peaks and the dense rainforest gives way to slender curves of golden and black-sand beaches that are a delight to stumble upon. Over 600 miles of walking trails vein its wild landscapes, where you can not only tread its lush interior but also hike through the lunar-like volcanic vista of Plaine des Sables. Keep an eagle eye out as you go for some of its rare birdlife, including the Mascarene paradise flycatcher. If you want to turn it up a notch, Maido massif is a rugged playground for quad and mountain bikers and climbers. Then, after all that, you could just sink your feet into one of those hidden beaches and relax…