Five places you wouldn't visit 10 years ago

Contrary to popular belief, the world is a lot safer than it was a decade ago.

Ten years ago, bathing under these amazing hot springs in Timor-Leste was definitely not an option. Photo / Getty Images
Ten years ago, bathing under these amazing hot springs in Timor-Leste was definitely not an option. Photo / Getty Images

While today's wealth of instant information delivers worrying headlines to our devices with alarming frequency, many leading thinkers — including Oxford University's Max Roser — believe the world is now safer than it has ever been.

Roser's Our World in Data project points to falling violent crime rates, fewer regional conflicts, and rising economic prosperity as contributing factors to an overall safer planet.

Because of this, it is now possible to experience destinations that ten years ago were either inaccessible or were not advisable to visit. With help from Booking.com, we've highlighted five of the best:

Colombia

Ten years ago, Colombia was struggling with drug cartels, kidnappings, gang violence and guerrilla warfare but security has improved dramatically over the past decade.

The historic centre of Cartagena, Colombia. Photo / 123RF
The historic centre of Cartagena, Colombia. Photo / 123RF

Today, Colombia's tourism is booming. An historic peace deal between the revolutionary FARC group and the Colombian government, focusing on reconciliation and unity, is being negotiated this month — a positive indication for wary travellers.

The country is buzzing with colour and art, from architecture to street art to a four-day carnival in Barranquilla. Colombia is filled with places to explore, offering tourists an experience that is unavailable anywhere else.

Casa Pombo Sercotel, Cartagena de Indias. Photo / Supplied
Casa Pombo Sercotel, Cartagena de Indias. Photo / Supplied

Where to stay: Casa Pombo Sercotel, Cartagena de Indias

Rwanda

Rwanda's tragic story is familiar to many, and one that the people of this beautiful country are eager to move past. A cornerstone of Rwanda's future prosperity is encouraging tourists to return to the nation to sample its many attractions. With a stable government and renewed focus on unity, it's a country that is rich in cultural experience.

Spot gorillas in their natural habitat in Rwanda. Photo / 123RF
Spot gorillas in their natural habitat in Rwanda. Photo / 123RF

As a fully-fledged safari destination, it is a nature-lover's dream, hosting East Africa's only canopy walk above Nyungwe forest. This breathtaking vantage point allows tourists the opportunity to track monkeys and gorillas thriving in their natural habitat, without disturbing their fragile ecology.

Raddison Blue Hotel, Kigali. Photo / Supplied
Raddison Blue Hotel, Kigali. Photo / Supplied

Where to stay: Raddison Blue Hotel, Kigali

Myanmar/Burma

Until 2010, Myanmar, also known as Burma, was closed off to the rest of the world under a strict dictatorship. Travelling here is like travelling back in time as much of the country is unspoiled. Outside of the main centres, it is possible to not bump into another foreigner during your time here.

Hot air balloons over the temples of Bagan. Photo / 123RF
Hot air balloons over the temples of Bagan. Photo / 123RF

Adventurous travellers are able to explore over 800 uncharted islands off its beautiful coast in the Andaman Sea. The country, abundant with history and religion, is peppered with temples complete with intriguing architecture and gracious monks willing to share their experiences.

Sanctum Inle Resort, Nyaung Shwe. Photo / Supplied
Sanctum Inle Resort, Nyaung Shwe. Photo / Supplied

Where to stay: Sanctum Inle Resort, Nyaung Shwe

Sri Lanka

2009 marked the end of Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war that once prevented many tourists from considering it as a holiday destination. While that was the case ten years ago, today it is a hotspot with a wide range of activities to suit your idea of the perfect tropical getaway.

Be sure to check out Sri Lanka's annual kite festival. Photo / 123RF
Be sure to check out Sri Lanka's annual kite festival. Photo / 123RF

Sri Lanka is known for its slow-paced lifestyle and picturesque scenery, complete with rainforests and national parks brimming with exotic wildlife. Experiencing the full moon and kite festivals is a must for those who are looking for an action-packed trip.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Tangalle. Photo / Supplied
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Tangalle. Photo / Supplied

Where to stay: Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Tangalle

Timor-Leste

Originally known as East Timor, Timor-Leste is one of the world's newest countries, having struggled for its independence for 24 years. In 1999 the UN deployed a peacekeeping mission until order was restored. December 2012 marked the end of the mission and the tourism industry is only just developing.

Timor-Leste is one of the world's newest countries. Photo / Getty Images
Timor-Leste is one of the world's newest countries. Photo / Getty Images

It is an adventurer's dream with historical landmarks, untouched landscapes and deep-sea diving. Timor-Leste offers you the unique opportunity to explore its many secrets before the rest of the world catches on.

Terra Santa Residence, Dili. Photo / Supplied
Terra Santa Residence, Dili. Photo / Supplied

Where to stay: Terra Santa Residence, Dili

- NZ Herald

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