Everybody wants to know the secret places, locations about which the majority of camera-toting tourists remain totally ignorant, and where you can feel yourself to be on a totally private journey of discovery. What's quite amusing sometimes is that even the most famous places in the world - we're looking at you Angkor Wat - can be enjoyed without any fellow tourists at all. We're not kidding! Below are a couple of places that you thought would be really busy, but which are not. Maybe one day we will do an opposite list - places you thought were great but are over-run? OK, maybe not...
The Bayon Temple, Cambodia
...at sunset. The last time my wife and I were here we counted 12 other tourists, and we were there for more than one hour, in November, at sunset (crucial). Everyone else is off to find their own great sunset spot, thinking that sunset is only about seeing the sun. Watch their disappointed faces as they trundle back to their hotels.
Xian's Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Warriors are a must for any first time visitor to China. A giant necropolis guarded by 6,000 life-size terracotta figures, constructed over 2,200 years ago for the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, they are testament to the power, wealth and sophistication of Ancient China, as well as the longevity of Chinese civilisation. These days the warriors are also testament to the growth of tourism within China - receiving more than a million visitors annually.
Top tips to get the most out of your visit here are:
- Set your expectations - even if you come early there will still be many visitors. For obvious reasons you can't get up close to the warriors. You should also bear in mind that the warriors are displayed in vast hangers - don't expect a charming little museum!
- Arrive early - if you can be at the warriors when the site opens, you'll miss some of the crowds.
There's an interesting film shown which helps you understand the historical context of the warriors - try and see this before the warriors themselves.
While you're in Xian, try and visit the Hanyangling tombs as well. These are the much smaller tombs of Emperor Qin's successor. They receive far fewer visitors, but are just as interesting.
Make it happen
If you're interested in travelling to China or Cambodia, then get in touch with our local partner companies who are on the ground and ready to plan your perfect tailor-made trip. All trips offered by our local travel companies are entirely bespoke to you and can be adjusted to fit your specific requirements. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, please call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.