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    Cathay Pacific
    6 dupes for some of the world’s most famous destinations
    You don’t always have to opt for the most popular places for an extraordinary holiday
    Paros, Greece
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    The world is filled with incredible cities, each more unique than the last. From Europe to Australasia, there’s no shortage of destinations beckoning to be explored.  

    While there’s much to be said for ticking off your bucket-list destinations, there’s a wealth of travel experiences waiting to be discovered at the lesser-visited gems of the world. For the intrepid traveller looking to escape the crowds of tourists and explore some equally beautiful locations, here are our recommendations of the destination dupes worth travelling to – we guarantee these locales will not disappoint.

    Shanghai, China

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    Shanghai, China

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    1. Shanghai, China instead of Dubai, UAE 

    Dubai is famed for its extravagant experiences, desert safaris and luxury shopping. Shanghai may not have the Burj Khalifa or the Dubai Mall, but this bustling metropolis is home to its fair share of world-record breaking landmarks too –namely the Shanghai Tower and the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong

    This Chinese city is known for its innovative architecture, international influences and has a reputation for being Asia's premier luxury capital. Take your time visiting ancient temples, exploring modern areas of the city like The Bund, sampling local delicacies (xiaolongbao are a must-try) and browsing the city’s many shops.

    How to get here: Cathay Pacific flies directly to Shanghai

    The Rocky Mountains, Colorado

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    The Rocky Mountains, Colorado

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    The Rocky Mountains, Colorado

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    2. The Rocky Mountains, Colorado instead of the Swiss Alps, Switzerland 

    Both the Swiss Alps and The Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado are known for their stunning mountain ranges, iconic peaks and ski lodges. Although you won’t find any charming alpine villages in The Rockies, the area’s quaint mountain villages have their own allure.  

    The park boasts central North America’s highest peaks and a breadth of outdoor activities throughout its vast, dramatic landscapes for the whole family to explore. From camping and wilderness watching to fishing and horseback riding, there’s no end to the national park’s fun. 

    How to get here: Catch one of our connecting codeshare flights to Denver . From here, you can drive or catch a bus to the park, both of which will treat you to a scenic road trip.  

    Siargao Island, the Philippines

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    Siargao Island, the Philippines

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    Siargao Island, the Philippines

    Credit: Valentin Ayupov/Getty Images

    3. Siargao Island, the Philippines instead of the Maldives 

    The Maldives’ romantic atmosphere, turquoise waters and pristine coral reefs make it an ideal honeymoon destination. However,  there’s a hidden paradise to the east of it that offers equally awe-inspiring beauty with a more relaxed vibe: Siargao Island, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines.  

    Take in the sun on the tiny island’s sandy white beaches and surf world-class swells at the popular Cloud 9 surf spot or explore its natural beauty at Sugba Lagoon, where you can spend a day paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling in its crystal-clear waters. 

    How to get here: Fly directly to Cebu  with us and then take a quick, one-hour internal flight to Siargao island.

    Paros street, Greece

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    Paros boat in port, Greece

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    Paros harbour, Greece

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    4. Paros, Greece instead of Mykonos, Greece 

    Discoveries are endless no matter where you go in Greece, but there’s perhaps no holiday as romantic as those spent on a Greek island. Swap the dreamy, but overly crowded, isle of Mykonos for the more traditional, laid-back locales in Paros.  

    The island boasts more varied accommodation options than the luxury resorts strewn across Mykonos, and you can while away the days exploring quaint villages, ancient architecture of Cycladic design and pristine beaches.  

    How to get here: Catch one of our connecting codeshare flights to Athens or Mykonos . From Athens International Airport, hop on the daily ferry at Piraeus port about an hour’s drive away – the boat journey takes between three to five hours. Alternatively, from Mykonos, the ferry takes between 40 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on which you take. 

    Penang, Malaysia

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    Penang, Malaysia

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    Penang, Malaysia

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    5. Penang, Malaysia instead of Seoul, South Korea

    Seoul is a great well-rounded destination to experience rich heritage and all things dining, shopping and K-pop. If you’re looking to experience a similar blend of tradition and modernity, turn your attention to the city of Penang, a coastal Malaysian island known for its unique blend of vibrant street art and colonial history. 

    Take a trip to George Town, a Unesco-listed historic district strewn with urban art and wall murals. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich cultural heritage by visiting its many traditional temples and historic sights. And explore a fusion of regional flavours at its many bustling markets, all while enjoying the warm hospitality of its local community. 

    How to get here: Cathay Pacific flies directly to Penang

    Johannesburg, South Africa

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    Johannesburg, South Africa

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    Johannesburg, South Africa

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    6. Johannesburg, South Africa instead of New York, United States

    If you love The Big Apple, don’t sleep on Johannesburg – considered by many to be the New York of Africa. Affectionately known as Joburg, South Africa’s financial capital is no longer just a stopover city. Over the last decade, this vibrant city has been experiencing an upswing, establishing itself as an arts and cultural hub, attracting international artists, musicians and chefs to move to the vibrant city’s growing community of savvy creatives. 

    Popular landmarks to visit include the Apartheid Museum, and art lovers will appreciate a visit to cultural landmarks like Arts on Main and The Museum of African Design. For foodies, don’t miss the African food market in Yeoville. 

    How to get here: Cathay Pacific flies directly to Johannesburg

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