When you get ready to go on vacation, you probably have a destination in mind. Whether you score cheap tickets to Orlando, plan the weekend of a lifetime in New York or opt for a trip to Las Vegas (and let what happens there stay there), it isn’t unusual to have one place in mind. Occasionally, however, you’ll wind up with an opportunity to tack a side trip onto your vacation. Side trips give you the chance to visit corners of the world that you might never see otherwise. Plan ahead and you’ll be able to get even more out of your vacation than you would have otherwise.
Some side trips are downright crazy. They are cold and remote, home to the strange or just downright weird. When you have the chance to take them, jump at it! Here are five of the strangest side trips in the world:
The DMZ: it all starts with cheap tickets to Seoul, South Korea. Around an hour to the north, you’ll be on the border of a foreign country – and one that is notoriously difficult to enter. Book a tour of the DMZ at Panmunjom, and you’ll come face to face with North Korean soldiers as they peer through the glass in the very building where negotiations are held. Make sure you take a look at the wires for the microphones: they trace the border between the halves of the DMZ controlled by North and South Korea.
Greenland: if you’re already thinking about going to Reykjavik, Iceland, you have a unique opportunity to visit one of the least-visited spots in the world: Greenland. From an airport right in Reykjavik, a short cab ride or a long walk from most hotels in the city, you can catch a flight to Nuuk, Greenland (or, for another side trip, to the Faroe Islands). Bring some warm clothing – you’ll be inside the Arctic Circle!
Tallinn: would it ever occur to you to visit Estonia? You can get cheap tickets to Tallinn directly from the United States, and it’s definitely worth spending a day or two in this quaint medieval town. But, you might have trouble filling the long vacation required for an Eastern European vacation with a layover along the way (that’s a lot of time on a plane). Instead, take a day trip to Tallinn from Helsinki. It’s only a few hours on the ferry, which drops you off a short walk from the old walls of the city. Before you board the ferry, make sure you stop at Café Snellman along the way for the best doughnut in Finland!
Baghdad: okay, it certainly isn’t the safest place in the world, but if you have a jones for adventure, Baghdad, Iraq is an option. You can add it on to a trip to Dubai or Turkey, which is not even a three-hour flight to one of the most dangerous spots on the planet. From what I’m told, the airport itself is safe, but once you leave it, you’re in the Red Zone!
Photo: Justin Ornellas