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Amazing destination dupes that feel like the real deal


Avoid the crowds and save money with these travel dupes you probably didn't think of!

Did you ever go to one of these big bucket list places, like Bali, Machu Pichu and Tokyo, only to find out that a zillion other travellers had the same plans as you? Yeah, things tend to get pretty crowded, especially during the high season. If you prefer things a little quieter, and like to explore lesser-known destinations with just as much charm, we have just the thing for you. Continue reading for ten alternatives to some of this year's most popular travel destinations.

Fiji Tokoriki Island Couple

So, what is dupe travel and what makes it great?

Travel dupes are all about making your travel experiences feel authentic and special without breaking the bank. These are alternative destinations that will give you similar experiences to famous spots like Chiang Mai and New York, but without the overwhelming crowds and inflated prices that often come with them.

What makes dupe travel great is that it allows you to have a more real experience. You get to meet locals, try traditional foods, and see the everyday life of a place - not just standing in line for its famous landmarks. Plus, it's usually more budget-friendly since you're not spending all your money on overpriced tourist attractions.

With destination dupes, you get the best of both worlds: unforgettable adventures in places a little less ordinary, and great value for your money. All destination dupes featured in this blog offer equally great experiences with similar vibes to their more popular cousins.

So, if you're looking for a way to travel smart and make the most out of your trips, check out this list for the perfect hidden gem!

Machu Pichu dupe: Choquequirao

Instead of joining the crowds at Machu Picchu in Peru, consider visiting Choquequirao. Often referred to as "Machu Picchu's Sister City," Choquequirao offers similar breathtaking Inca ruins but with fewer tourists. Located in the Vilcabamba mountain range, this archaeological site can be reached via a challenging trek, rewarding adventurers with stunning views and a sense of discovery helped by its remote location.

The terraced hillsides, age old stone structures, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains are exactly what you'd expect of Andean Inca ruins, and while Machu Picchu may draw larger crowds, Choquequirao offers a more intimate and off-the-beaten-path experience. With its archaeological significance and stunning natural surroundings, Choquequirao is a great alternative if you want to explore the mysteries of the ancient Inca civilisation in Peru.

Check out our Choquequirao to Machu Picchu tour, where you'll explore the ruins of Choquequirao and its destination dupe.

Inca Ruins of Choquequirao high up in the mountains in Southern Peru

Jaipur dupe: Hampi

In India, one of the touristic highlights is the spiritual city of Jaipur, also known as the Pink City. It's a city full of temples and other amazing architecture, with the Hawa Mahal and the Amer Fort as shining examples. While Jaipur sure is pretty, it's also very crowded, both with locals and loads of tourists, so a good destination dupe is more than welcome.

Enter Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most unreal historical destinations in India. Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, Hampi was once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The ruins of Hampi consist of numerous temples, palaces, and monuments spread across a surreal landscape of giant boulders and banana plantations.

There are several iconic spiritual landmarks around like the Virupaksha Temple, the Vittala Temple with its musical pillars, and the Lotus Mahal. Around the Lotus Mahal you can see plenty of buildings from the Vijayanagara empire in great shape, like the historical elephant stables and the watch towers. Hampi offers a similar blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty as Jaipur does, providing travellers with an exceptional cultural experience away from the crowds.

Check out all our India group tours for a wide selection of experiences, from the golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, to the beaches of Kerala, or the buzz of Mumbai.

Lotus Mahal arches during sunset at the Hampi temple in India

Bali dupe: Lombok

Bali is definitely the perfect example of a destination that is so popular, it gets too crowded at times. Well, we're here to spread the Lombok love, as this Indonesian island has just as much to offer!

Lombok serves as a less ordinary destination dupe for Bali, offering a serene escape with both amazing landscapes and cultural experiences. While Bali is now known for its busy tourist hubs, Lombok maintains a more relaxed vibe, making it perfect for travellers looking for a quieter retreat. The main highlight though, are the beaches.

Sandy beaches are present all around the island, but some of our favourite areas include the beaches around Kuta, like the quiet Tanjung Aan beach and Selong Belanak, where you can even spot water buffaloes walking around the beach area. But there are more tropical places to explore, like the ''pink'' beach and of course the Gili islands, ensuring Lombok offers the same paradise feeling as Bali.

Where on Bali it's popular to hike up Mount Batur, Lombok has an equally great (or better!) hike to Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. There's a stunning volcanic lake, and the views are to die for. In the north of the island is where you'll find most of the adventure, with plenty of rainforest and waterfalls, and the trek up the Senaru Crater. Where Mount Rinjani can be closed due to seismic activity or the weather, Senaru Crater is usually open, and is a little less challenging. 

Check out our classic Bali & Lombok trip for an unforgettable experience that includes both Lombok and its destination dupe.


Tokyo dupe: Taipei

If you're keen to experience vibrant street markets, delicious street food, and a rich cultural scene, Japan's capital city of Tokyo may top your list - but we'd also suggest the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei.

Taipei is an excellent dupe for Tokyo, as it's a dynamic blend of modernity, tradition, and urban charm akin to its Japanese counterpart. Much like Tokyo, Taipei dazzles visitors with its towering skyscrapers, neon lights, bustling streets, and cutting-edge technology, creating an electrifying city that will definitely impress.

But it's not all about the visual spectacle - there are many cultural treasures waiting for you to explore. Taipei's night markets feel similar to Tokyo's lively street food alleyways, and offer a big range of treats and local delicacies that satisfy your taste buds like only Asian foods can. The traditional temples you'd maybe expect are also present, such as Longshan Temple and Taipei Confucius Temple, which are not unlike Tokyo's historic shrines.

With its ultramodern transportation system, diverse culinary landscape, and vibrant street life, Taipei captures the essence of Tokyo while offering its own unique Taiwanese twist, making it the perfect alternative if you're looking for an authentic urban adventure.

Skyline of the city of Taipei at night, filled with colourful lights

Sydney dupe: Perth

Perth offers stunning coastal views, outdoor adventures, and a thriving arts scene - just like Sydney, but with fewer tourists.

Situated on the stunning western coast of Australia, Perth is home to some gorgeous beaches, including the iconic Cottesloe Beach and Scarborough Beach, where visitors can soak up the sun and surf in crystal-clear waters.

Much like Sydney, Perth is a modern city with a thriving arts scene, world-class dining options, and vibrant nightlife. However, what sets Perth apart is its relaxed pace of life and easy access to nature. Both within the city, where you can explore Kings Park (one of the largest inner-city parks in the world), or take a ferry to Rottnest Island to spot the adorable quokkas and enjoy secluded beaches.

Perth is also a perfect gateway to many of Western Australia's breathtaking landscapes, from the famous Outback to the many national parks scattered around the west coast of the country. We think you'll like Moore River National Park and the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, with treetop walks 40-metres up in the air, or bush walk trails. There are many more parks to pick from, so if you're doing a road trip there is plenty to see and do here for a truly unforgettable Aussie experience.

Why not explore Perth through a wildlife tour? Our Perth to Exmouth experience will have you drinking in beautiful beaches, incredible cliffs, crystal clear waters and seeing tons of wildlife

Skyline of the city of Perth with the river Swan in the foreground

Costa Rica dupe: Panama

Panama is the attractive dupe for Costa Rica you didn't know you needed, offering natural wonders, eco-adventures, and cultural experiences that rival its Central American neighbour. Like Costa Rica, Panama is blessed with lush rainforests, the most gorgeous beaches, and animals like sloths, parrots and even jaguars, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. We recommend you explore the Gamboa rainforest, either by boat or by doing a kayak tour through the waters of the park.

One thing Panama has and Costa Rica doesn't is a hyper modern capital with a skyline you maybe wouldn't expect in this part of the world. The city even has a nature reserve, with Parque Natural Metropolitano located only 15 minutes away from the city centre.

Panama has plenty of cultural heritage too, with historic cities like Panama City's Casco Viejo district showcasing colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and flavourful foods influenced by African, Indigenous, and Spanish traditions.

Just like Costa Rica, Panama's got something for every traveller no matter what you like. Zip-lining through the canopy, lounging on white-sand beaches, or getting a taste of the local culture, Panama is a perfect alternative for Costa Rica if you're looking to explore the greats of Central America. 

Check out the Spanish courses we offer in Panama - you'll come home with more than just photos for your social media feed - you'll have a new skill for the old CV!

A traditional boat in really blue water at the San Blas islands in Panama

Chiang Mai dupe: Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is an excellent dupe for Chiang Mai, if you're looking for a cultural experience in Southeast Asia.

Like Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang offers a blend of natural beauty, historic temples, and a laid-back atmosphere. Nestled in northern Laos, this UNESCO World Heritage city is known for its well-preserved architecture, which reflects the fusion of traditional Lao and colonial French influences. The city's numerous temples, such as Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai, provide a serene setting if you want to learn more about Buddhist traditions.

One of the highlights of Luang Prabang is the daily alms-giving ceremony, where hundreds of monks walk through the streets at dawn to receive food offerings from the locals. This spiritual experience, similar to the one you might find in Chiang Mai, offers a little glimpse into the local way of life and the importance of Buddhism in the region. We can also really recommend the night market, where you can shop for handcrafted souvenirs, textiles, and enjoy delicious street food.

Nature lovers will appreciate the stunning Kuang Si Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall with turquoise pools perfect for swimming, just a short drive from the city. The nearby Pak Ou Caves, filled with thousands of Buddha statues, are another fascinating day trip. Additionally, the Mekong River, which runs through Luang Prabang, is great for doing river cruises and boat trips to explore the surrounding countryside. Luang Prabang's slower pace and smaller size make it a more intimate and less crowded destination compared to Chiang Mai, with many of the same experiences! 

Check out our Luang Prabang exploration tour for a great way to experience the city.

Monk dressed in an orange tunic standing in front of a temple in Luang Prabang in Laos

Maldives dupe: Palawan in the Philippines

Palawan in the Philippines is an amazing travel dupe for the Maldives, offering similar stunning scenery and pristine beaches without the hefty price tag.

While the Maldives is known for its luxury and exclusivity, Palawan provides that same sense of paradise but in a more accessible and affordable way.

Palawan offers an incredible diversity of attractions in an unforgettable landscape. Think crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, and lush green islands that almost make you think it's photoshopped.

One of the highlights of Palawan is its incredible diversity of attractions. If you love snorkelling and diving, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's got some of the best underwater experiences in the world with colourful coral gardens, schools of tropical fish, and even sightings of sharks and manta rays.

If you're looking for that overwater bungalow experience, you can find charming and cosy accommodation right on the water in places like El Nido and Coron, offering stunning views without the Maldives' price tag.

If you want to get away from the beach,you can explore the Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, where you'll paddle through a subterranean landscape of limestone formations and crystal-clear waters. Or maybe visit the limestone cliffs of El Nido, as they're perfect for kayaking and island-hopping tours, bringing you to hidden lagoons and secret beaches that feel like your private paradise.

Palawan's charm also lies in its laid-back vibe and friendly locals. You'll find a welcoming vibe that's perfect for both solo travellers and groups. Add to that some of the best beachfront hostels we've ever seen, and you'll make the most out of a tropical getaway without the luxury prices!

Check out our 13 day Palawan Island escapade for the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of this under-appreciated destination dupe!

Girl sitting in the water at a beach hotel in Palawan in the Philippines

New York City dupe: Toronto

Toronto is a fantastic alternative to New York City if you're looking for an exciting and diverse experience without breaking the bank.

Toronto's lively neighbourhoods, like Chinatown, are part of a large collection of cultures and cuisines that rival NYC. In Chinatown, you'll find bustling markets, authentic dim sum spots, and street food vendors that make every meal an adventure. Try some delicious soup dumplings or new bubble tea flavours - there's always something to discover in what is said to be the most multicultural city in the world.

But that's just the start – each of Toronto's hoods has its own unique flavour and vibe. Kensington Market is a hipster's paradise with indie coffee shops, vintage stores, and eateries. Walk around the colourful streets filled with street art, grab a vegan taco or a Jamaican patty, and soak in the atmosphere.

Beyond the food, Toronto's nightlife and the unbelievably friendly Canadians create a welcoming and exciting environment. Whether you're exploring the historic Distillery District, want to catch a live music show, or simply enjoy the city's numerous parks or the waterfront, Toronto offers the same dynamic energy as NYC but with a lot less tourists filling the streets.

Want to discover more of Canada? Check out our backpacking-style experiences in Canada.

Skyline of the city of Toronto in Canada during the evening, with lots of lights in the skyscrapers

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