10 Tiny Towns with Big Tourism Dreams

Sauraha, Chitwan District, Nepal
Sauraha also hosts the International Elephant Festival which promotes conservation and gets together local pachyderms for a friendly game of soccer. © Sunil Pradhan/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Population: 1,470 [source: City Data]

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The "food festival," long the province of famous foodie destinations around the world, is slowly making its way into small towns that most gourmets would never think of. The village of Sauraha, at the base of the Himalayas and offering easy access to Chitwan National Park, has decided to get in on the action.

The first Sauraha Food Festival took place in February 2013, showcasing Nepalese food, particularly local delicacies, along with international fare and a pretty wide range of events, many refreshingly quaint [source: Hamal]. The festival features a tug-of-war, a soybean-eating contest, an alcohol-drinking contest (perhaps more surprising than quaint!), a pot-breaking contest, and team events that pit waiters against tourists [source: Hamal].

Oh, and there's a "Best Couple Award," too, the festival taking place over Valentine's Day and all, and a 25-percent discount for couples at local hotels [source: Hamal]. The folks of Sauraha hope the romance angle will attract tourists looking for some love with their gundruk (a Nepalese specialty dish).