Paul Bowles once wrote that each time he traveled somewhere new, he wanted it to be as different as possible from the places he'd been. That, in essence, boils down the appeal of exotic destinations - so far from everyday life that we will forever be changed. Whether it is barren stretches of desert, small mountain villages or pristine wildlife you seek, pretty much any continent is home to at least one of the top exotic travel destinations - it just depends on how dedicated you are to discovering yourself in the unknown.
The sweeping sands of the Sahara call out to millions each year - from Morocco to Tunisia to Egypt, you can easily find yourself on camelback, covering the sun-scorched earth, the soothing sands blowing to the east. Morocco also has the scenic Rif mountains and beach resort towns like Agadir, making the country one of the most diverse in the world. Egypt has, of course, some of the most famous landmarks in the world, and as far as exotic destinations go, Tunisia has managed to hide much of itself from the encroachment of globalization while featuring quaint Mediterranean villages along its north coast.
If you are looking for exotic vacation destinations even further east, look no further than Southeast Asia. Whether you want to wander tiny mountain towns in Nepal, go on a spiritual journey through the Buddhist-intensive Tibet, or play with the tigers in Thailand, there's no shortage of exotic destinations here, and some, such as Cambodia, are often regarded as being among the top travel destinations in the world. If you are feeling especially adventurous, there's hardly a greater challenge, or more rewarding trip than India. The land of spices and princes has lost nothing of its majesty over the years, making it one of the top exotic travel destinations in the world. Whether you are riding the Ganges or parsing the intricacies of Hinduism, India is likely as different as possible from the places you've been.
The entire continent of Africa is pretty exotic in itself, but the island nation of Madagascar might top them all. And if you are looking for exotic vacation destinations that feature some of the world's most intense and lovable wildlife, this is the place for you. If that's not enough, you can head over to the Okavango Delta in Northwestern Botswana. A flood plain spread across the desert, it is an oasis not only for the hippos, crocodiles and zebra that frequent the area, but for tourists alike. The night sounds of the delta are in equal turns soothing and unsettling, and the smooth rustle of nocturnal predators can be heard across the plain. Exotic vacation destinations don't get much better than this.