Last updated: 03:13 PM ET, Sun March 08 2015

Tourists, Add These Unique Villages to Your Must-Visit List

Destination & Tourism | Cherese Weekes | March 08, 2015

Tourists, Add These Unique Villages to Your Must-Visit List

Photo of Popeye Village courtesy of Wikipedia/Wusel007

These five villages are worth every bit of discovery. Although you might have to make a detour to witness off-the-beaten path experiences, they guarantee a glimpse into some of the world’s most fascinating communities, creating a world of waterside fantasy for guests to enjoy.

Popeye Village, Malta

Although Popeye Village was created to be the fictitious town of Sweethaven for the 1980 film "Popeye," it has not lost its movie star quality. That’s because the residents of Malta went through great lengths to maintain the imported wood from Canada and the Netherlands that style the picturesque buildings of the village.

As a result of the preservation of the production set, Popeye Village has become a tourist magnet with Popeye the Sailor and his clang popping out of the TV screen to put on a grand show for guests of all ages, heightened with attractions and many fun activities.

Ganvie, Benin

Hundreds of years ago the water of Lake Nokoué laid the foundation for Ganvie in order to survive the threat of slavery.

Never losing sight on the important role the lake played in their escape, this West African village in Benin stayed true to its roots and has become one of the largest floating villages in Africa with a population of about 20,000. With a majority of its landmarks impressively balancing on stilts, this is one destination where bustling streets will be nowhere in sight and hopping a boat will be the only way to truly explore the unique lifestyle Ganvie has to offer.

Caleta Tortel, Chile

Boasting a rugged location bathed by the Baker River and Baker Channel and set in the midst of two ice fields, it is easy to see why Caleta Tortel remains one of Chile’s best kept secrets. Even only a few residents call this destination home, which is evident of the few small houses speckled throughout its landscape.

Though the village displays a primitive appearance, the villagers only officially settled in the area in 1955 to take advantage of the Guaytecas Cypress wood found here. The wood is also used to construct Caleta Tortel’s extensive boardwalk system that not only replace the need of conventional roads but provide an extraordinary walk into the village’s rich traditions.

Shirakawa-go, Japan

Through rain, shine, or snow the mountainous village of Shirakawa-go remains a picture-perfect destination thanks to its farmhouses displaying a Japanese style known as gassho-zukiri. After all, it is this style that landed the city on the UNESCO Heritage Site list in 1995 and makes no qualms about changing their appearances.

Marked by thatched roofs designed in a slanted position to mimic Buddhists monks’ hands coming together in prayer, they also have proven to be architectural feats over the years by withstanding the effects of heavy snowfall.

Ko Panyi, Thailand

If you are searching for an off-the-beaten-path experience in Thailand, then the village of Ko Panyi is worth the visit. Bobbing along the ebb of the Andaman Sea on a long-tail boat brings visitors to the feet of this fishing village hovered by huge limestone boulders majestically jutting out of the water.

And in the midst of its surrounding natural beauty, it is amazing to see Ko Panyi’s buildings emerging out of the water as they did centuries ago when its settlers first set up shop in the 18th century. Since then a Muslim school has been added including an impressive floating football pitch.

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