Do you consider yourself a bit of a foodie? Always on the look out for the next cool place to eat? What about a hotel junkie? Researching and keeping your finger on the pulse for the next wave of unique places to rest your head? Look no further! Below are the places to eat and stay that you do not want to miss!
1. Mongolian Yurt, Mongolia
Used for generations by nomadic herdsman across Central Asia, a Mongolian Yurt is a traditional family communal tent. These tents will act as your own little temple and are perfect for moving around and exploring at your own pace. Best tip is to check out the Terelj National Park (especially in Winter), here you can explore the best of what the national park has to offer all at the foot of your ‘door’. Prices start from $35USD per person per night.
2. Ice Hotel, Finland or Sweden
Located above the Artic Circle, there are many Ice Hotel’s to choose from in the Scandinavian countries. These hotels are definitely not your everyday hotel but one that you should experience at least once in your lifetime. In these suites you will be surrounded by beautiful artwork made from snow and ice. As long as you pay careful attention to the reception staff who will let you know the best way to dress for bed, you will have one of the most unique sleeping experiences around. Prices start from SEK4000.
3. Tree Houses, South Africa
Ever wanted to revisit that childhood treehouse pastime but with a spot of luxury? Well the Tsala Treetop Lodge in Plettenberg Bay is a must do bucket list item. Overlooking the Tsitsikamma Forest you will find 10 secluded tree-house suites each with floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows, a log fireplace in the living room, a private deck and an infinity edge pool. Now how’s that for one of the best tree houses ever! Prices start from 4050ZAR per person per night.
4. Tundra Lodge, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Immerse yourself among the resident polar bears at the exclusive Tundra Lodge, which is situated outside Churchill on the vast expanse of the subarctic tundra itself. This unique accommodation allows you to view the Polar Bears in their natural surroundings from the comfort of your private cabin window or the open air observation platforms. This custom “Train” consists of connected bedrooms, dining room and lounge car that is built on wheels allowing it to move around for optimal bear viewing each season. Best time to visit is from October to February. Prices start from $789CAD for seven days.
5. Tubohotel, Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico
Located approximately 45 minutes south of Mexico City, the Tubohotel is a unique and affordable holiday accommodation created from recycled concrete tubes. Designed by architect firm T3arc, the rooms are stacked in a pyramid shape, reflecting the Aztec pyramid of El Tepozteco that overlooks the town. Prices start from 500pesos per night.
6. Izakaya Kayabuki, Japan
Local residents mix with foreign techers and other inquisitives on the tatami mats. The space is small, intimate, unassuming. Tucked away in a corner of Utsunomiya’s concrete jungle. By all appearances, Kayabuki Tavern is just your ordinary, run of the mill Japanese restaurant. However behind these doors, a very less than ordinary story emerges. A monkey wearing a womans mask and wig will wait on you, and if you are lucky, jump on your head. Two monkeys work as waiters here. Their names are Yacchan and Fukuchan. Yacchan dresses in a shirt and shorts while he takes customers drink orders and delivers them to the diners tables. Fukuchan has the main duty of bringing attendees hot towels to clean their hands before ordering drinks.
7. The Cave Restaurant, Maroubra, Australia
The Cave Restaurant is not your average sushi train dining experience. The restaurant was carefully designed with the notion of creating an intimate and controlled dining space that experiments with forward design technologies. Integrating nature into the design the curved timber creates a continuous yet open canopy above the dining spaces while also having the added benefit of producing an acoustically intimate dining experience.
8. El Diablo Restaurant, Lanzarote, Spain
The chefs at El Diablo definitely has a one of a kind kitchen – a volcanic hole in the ground. As you can imagine building a restaurant on top of a massive heat source is not an easy task, the architects had to lay nine layers of basalt rock to build a foundation. The food is cooked on a giant grill that is laid across the opening where six feet below the gentle giant is softly bubbles lava at 400 degrees Celsius. Fear not though this is a dormant volcano that has been peacefully gurgling below since its last eruption in 1824. If that wasn’t enough the restaurant also boasts panoramic views of the Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park.
9. District Six Eatery, Johannesburg, South Africa
D6, as it’s known to the locals, is a vibrant and colourful eatery in Johannesburg. The traditional South African menu takes a sense of pride in the authentic Cape Malay cuisine which is famously characterised by its spices and full flavours. Visitors should try some local favourites including bredies (stews), bobotie (a baked mince dish), snoek (a local fish), oxtail, curries (of course) and some of the best milk tart in the country.
10. Restaurant Kalemegdanska Terasa, Belgrade, Serbia
Situated atop the Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, the Kalemegdanska Terasa’s interior is reminiscent of a medieval era. Overlooking the majestic site where the river Sava flows into the Danube you will be entertained by live music every night while you enjoy a range of flavours from the menu including Serbian, Mediterranean and French cuisine. Ranked as one of the most wanted venues during the warm summer days this is the perfect location to enjoy a night out.
Looking for more unique dining and accommodation to include in your travels or want more info on the above? Download and search the Crooked Compass Travel App for inspiration.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.