Uncharted Backpacker

Category - Asia

Traveling the Non-Touristy Side of Bali

Bali, Indonesia

The tiny island of Bali hosts stunning lush tropical landscapes riddled with rice terraces and active volcanoes. It’s also home to an ancient Hindu culture that has left its mark here with intricate and ornate temples that reflect the islands intense beauty. Unfortunately for us travelers this is no secret and tourists have been flocking here for years. For the savvy traveler there is plenty of opportunity to find the parts unknown. After visiting Bali frequently for the past ten years I have developed a guide to help you find the authentic Bali you have been dreaming of. See why Bali is one of my favourite Islands! Read More

Why You Should Visit North Korea

North Korea Travel

Let’s put aside the politics, the propaganda and everything else negative about North Korea. Instead of looking at the constant barrage of negativity surrounding this controversial destination let’s take a look at the positives. I traveled to North Korea for two weeks and loved it. After traveling the most secretive country on earth I can tell you that it is a beautiful country that has stunning nature, clean cities, friendly people and of course bizarre but wonderful sights. North Korea also has a very distinctive culture that everyone shows with pride. Here is a list of reasons why you should visit North Korea! Read More

The Travelers Soul, Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

I have been here before, a place in time where all my troubles seem irrelevant, where everything I thought I knew has just been turned upside down. The colours, sounds and people unfold in front of me in a dazzling display of culture. All the descriptive words I can write, but nothing will give this place the justice it deserves, this is Varanasi, India. You see, Varanasi is where traveling became something different for me, it’s the place where I abandoned my previous life and entered my new one. This place of life, death and everything in between is the place I keep returning to for many reasons, although many are still understood. Varanasi will change you, walk these holy shores and she will take a hold of you as she did to me. Varanasi, the ultimate traveling destination! Read More

Traveling the Karakoram Highway, Kashgar to Pakistan

Karakoram Highway

The scenery is indescribable. As we slowly bump down this 1300km road in a colorful semi-truck with Urdu music blasting it’s hard not to get wrapped up in this amazing journey. It’s a difficult, uncomfortable, dusty and at time’s dangerous route, but it’s one that will stick with you forever.

The Karakorum Highway is a classic traveler’s trail that is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, The Karakoram Highway. This ancient trade route whispers hints of its former glory with its grand crumbly forts, magical traditional villages and legends of Marco Polo. Travellers who undertake this journey will not be disappointed.  The Karakoram Highway will change those who dare to undertake its path, venture here and join the elite travelers who have done so! Read More

Exploring the Yarlung Valley, Tibet

Yarlung Valley, Tibet

High in the Himalayas I clamber through a dark cavern deep into the mountains heart in search of the Guru Rinpoche’s path to enlightenment in the Yarlung Valley the cradle of Tibetan civilization. The cave opening is barely wide enough for me to squeeze through. A weathered old leather rope was placed here hundreds of years ago by pilgrims to help assist in pulling yourself to the other side, this is not for those who are claustrophobic. Finally, I reach the heart of the mountain. Wafts of juniper incense and the heat from the butter lamps make the air heavy. In the distance you can see Tibetans gathered around a large gold statue murmuring mantras.

For Tibetans a pilgrimage should be a difficult and dangerous event, this way when you finally complete the journey the sense of reward is there. In Tibet’s Yarlung Valley there are many of these karma boosting journeys taking place. Those who make it to the Yarlung Valley will find one of Tibet’s oldest and culturally rewarding experiences. Read More

Wonderful Pyongyang – A Rare Look into North Korea’s Capital

Pyongyang, North Korea

When the sunrises in Pyongyang you are awoken to the eerie morning wake up call. The bleak and empty streets then quickly fill with an ensemble of people wearing 1950’s style clothing and military outfits. No where on this planet will you bare witness to a scene so frozen in time. Looking beyond the streets from your hotel window the colourful skyline emerges from the dense morning fog only to be replaced by a fiery burning orange sun brilliantly situated right over Juche Tower. When the morning call comes to an end the streets are full of life. This is Pyongyang, North Korea. Read More

How to Travel Tibet Guide

Tibet Travel

High in the Himalayas inside an ancient temple, it begins. The Trumpets commence surging through mountain valley; the chanting of monks mixed in with the scent of juniper incense billows from the wrathful deity’s altar. Then, slowly, drums begin to pound from the tantric shrine only to be masked by the thick, butter lamp filled air. I lose myself in it all. This is a regular scene for those travelers who make it to Tibet. The land of snow is the kind of journey that travelers for centuries have been dreaming of.

A journey to the roof of the world is one of the most iconic journeys for a traveler to undertake. Here you will face the dangers of high altitude, confusing permits, and constant travel bans, but past all the bureaucracy is an ancient land of mystical deities, stark natural beauty and a culture that is so addictive and fascinating. All these reasons make it well worth the difficulties of getting to and traveling through Tibet. Read More

Learning to Surf in North Korea

Pyongyang, North Korea

North Korea the next big surfing destination! No, these are not headlines you are likely to hear anytime soon. But the fact is, there is Surfing in North Korea. Not just for those privileged to make their way into the hermit nation of Asia. North Korean’s themselves are beginning to take notice of this sport. Something unheard of in the past. Not only surfing but stand up paddleboards as well! There is so much more to this mysterious country than meets the eye. After two weeks gallivanting around the country, I can finally say tell you that the Uncharted Backpacker surfed for the very first time… In North Korea! Read More

The Mount Kailash Kora – Tibet

Ngari, Mount Kailash, Tibet

A place so tranquil yet powerful, Mount Kailash contradicts itself. As you labour one foot after another, oxygen deprived and lost in a sea of emotions, just as pilgrims for thousands of years have done, in the exact same fashion. This journey will change you, after traversing the entire Kora around the worlds most holy mountain you become a part of it. A chapter of this mountains story. Finally, when the air becomes so thin that I fear I’m at my breaking point, I look up, I have arrived. A scene of what heaven must look like, Mount Kailash’s highest point the Drolma-la pass. Here time stands still, pausing for a sigh of relief, its hard not to connect with it all, never has a moment like this brought me so far into the depths of my mind. This is the Mount Kailash Kora. 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