Uncharted Backpacker

Travel Knows No Borders

Stephen Gollan; Travel photographer/blogger, travelling the uncharted parts of the world, exploring the culture, cuisines and natural wonders to get you the latest travel updates.

Cuba Travel Guide

Cuba Travel Guide 

Cuba is a country often overlooked as a backpacking traveling destination, ask anyone who has delved into this island nation and you will hear otherwise. From the dilapidated colorful neighbourhoods of Havana old town, tobacco farmers pushing their ox cart and plough beneath behemoth Limestone Mountains in Vinales, the stunning white sand and blue waters of Veradero, or the picturesque hill top colonial town of Trinidad; Cuba is without a doubt one of my favourite travel locations! Never has a destination captured its culture with a symphony of music, artistic style and hospitality quite like Cuba. So if you are ready for something new, surprising and wonderful dive into Cuba, you will not be disappointed. Read More

Hiking Ganden to Samye Monastery – Tibet

Ganden and Samye Monastery, Tibet

The high altitude mountain trails bend and twist their way above the clouds. From one vast starkly beautiful valley to another, the trail takes you by frigid glacial lakes and impossibly high mountain peaks. Sometimes the valleys are dotted with yaks and their owners who live in primitive black tents made of yak wool, but for the most part its just you and raw nature. With its deeply spiritual, and intensely alluring culture; this is Tibet at its most authentic. Hiking between these two monasteries is one of Tibet’s greatest passages, a journey that has been preformed for centuries. Prepare to connect deeply with Tibet and its history as you follow in the footsteps of countless Tibetan pilgrims and explorers before you! Read More

A Photographers Journey into North Korea – Remote Coasts, Buddhist Temples and the DMZ

North Korea

One week into my North Korean journey I have explored Pyongyang’s vibrant districts and small mountain villages in the nation’s interior. Next on our schedule is to drive to Hamhung, Majon, and Wonsan to photograph the remote coastal regions of North Korea. These regions are famed for their deserted white sand beaches, and small fishing communities. From the Coast, my journey took me into the controversial DMZ, and finally back into the mountains to hike to Buddhist temples at Mt Myohyangsan. North Korea is quite the epic adventure!
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North Korea Photos You’ve Probably Never Seen – Pyongyang and the Country Side

North Korea

Landing into Pyongyang airport after all of the hype and nervous tension you abruptly realise where you are, the nation that is constantly flashed in the media, talked about in political debates, and known as the most secretive nation on earth. It’s quite overwhelming finally being in North Korea, but I can quite honestly say, it was one of the most exciting moments in my entire travel career. My goal for the next twelve days was to photograph as much of the people, history, architecture, and culture of North Korea as possible. This post is dedicated to the more unseen sides of North Korea, no not missile testing and dubious media jaunts, this post is for those who seek to see the real and authentic side of North Korea. Read More

The Road to Everest – Everest Base Camp, Tibet

Tsang Region, Tibet

Left breathless from the altitude you open your eyes to a surreal scene of rolling sand dunes, pristine blue lakes, and seemingly impossible mountains. As your heart struggles and labours after each beat, and the sky turns black you believe you’ve made it to Shangri La itself. When you come to, and everything becomes clear again its apparent that your still on the road, the long, bumpy, high altitude, and incredibly beautiful road to Everest. A journey to Tibet’s Everest Region is not to be taken lightly however, it’s a rugged exhibition, but those who endure it are rewarded with the riches that Tibet has to offer! Read More

Traveling the Axis of Evil – War Zones, Conflict Zones and Dictatorships

There comes a time in every traveler’s story where scooter trips in Thailand don’t cut it anymore, where the average adventure no longer satisfies the thirsty traveler. When travelers open a world map to discuss where they are going next, many quickly disregard many of the world’s most fascinating destinations due to war, politics or simply lack of information. These areas are often talked about with a hush tone over drinks with other travelers.

Many mock those who dare to travel on the edge to these places, but the few who decided to brave the unknown are rewarded with travel at its most authentic and wild. These dark areas on the map are what adventurers are made of. The pioneers of travel did not hold back from visiting these parts of the world, so why should you! This post is my account of dodging bullets, navigating into dictatorships, living in war zones and braving the Axis of Evil!

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A Look into the Real North Korea – Travel North Korea Guide

Pyongyang, North Korea

From the minute I decided to travel to North Korea, to the moment I returned from it, people have looked at me with concern. Before I left, my sanity was questioned by many, people believed I had a death wish, or I was looking for my next big thrill. Now that I have returned they think I may have been brainwashed or manipulated by the nation.

After two weeks in North Korea I can tell you this, it is indeed an incredible place to visit. Everything from the interesting people, stunning nature, and glorious monuments make it simply awe-inspiring. Obviously travel to North Korea has its concerns, and I will cover these stereo types and issues in this post. I will also show you a side of North Korea that most have never seen before, as I traveled overland to the north-east coast from Pyongyang. Read More

Traveling the Sepik River – Papua New Guinea

Wewak, Papua New Guinea

As we delve deeper into the unknown we lose ourselves. Every kilometre, every hour everything changes. What were once paved roads become bumpy dirt tracks, manicured forests grow wild like a scene from the prehistoric era. Even the looks the locals give us when they notice a truck full of foreigners driving into the unknown are unnerving. Papua New Guinea’s Sepik region is not for the faint of heart, it is a raw, lawless, tribal land that explorers dream of. As the jungle gets thicker, and the sun begins to set you can almost hear the beat of the tribal drums along the Sepik River. Welcome to Papua New Guinea and the Sepik River.

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Gunung Bromo and Kawah Ijen Travel Guide – Java, Indonesia

Gunung Bromo, Kawah Ijen, Java

In the far eastern regions of Java lie two extraordinary sites. The first is the massive volcano named Gunung Bromo. The second is the sulphuric crater lake of Ijen. These are two of the most impressive sites in Java, not to mention the whole of Indonesia. Sounds amazing, right? Well like most amazing places it comes with a catch. Bromo and Ijen and very remote places, making accessing here quite difficult and tedious. Transport from Yogyakarta can take up to twelve hours to Bromo and eight or nine from Bali to Ijen. The weather is also a major factor here, as clouds often cover up Bromo and heavy rains make Ijen hazardous. Apart from all these factors, witnessing sunrise at Bromo and the miners of Ijen will be an experience you are unlikely to ever forget.

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Mount Hagen Show – Papua New Guinea

Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

In the middle of it all, I pause. The hypnotic, rhythmic tribal war calls, the impossibly vibrant tribal warriors adorned in paint and birds of paradise feathers, and the incessant heat of the midday sun. In this moment of calm, you realize where you are, amidst this dazzling spectacle unfolding around you. I am so happy in this very moment. I spend my life in search of moments like this. As I begin to smirk, the pause ends and I am brought back to the present. Maybe you understand this, maybe you don’t, but all I can tell you is that at that very moment, in the middle of the tribal Mt Hagen show, I have never felt so happy to find such a raw example of human nature and being, here in Papua New Guinea.

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