Uncharted Backpacker

Category - Travel Blogging

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

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

Where Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan

As you climb higher, past the ancient weeping cypress trees, across the bubbling stream that powers the giant prayer wheels, ascending into the clouds, you realize why this place is so sacred. Getting to Bhutan is a journey unto itself, but to take the trek up to Taktsang Gompa transports you to another world. Maybe all the talk about finding “enlightenment” or “oneself” has some credibility after all. This place would seem to indicate just so. Taktsang Gompa is an incredibly special location. As I climb through the clouds to a mystical Buddhist temple, I can’t help but thinking: This is Bhutan, at its most glorious.

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Where Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, Bhutan

Detour through Iraq: Kurdistan, Iraq

Iraqi, Kurdistan

For almost my entire life Iraq has meant war. From the so-called threat of weapons of mass destruction to the media constantly reporting about Bush senior’s gulf war grudge against Saddam. What the media and all those with preconceived notions of the country tend to leave out is the history, Iraq’s incredibly diverse people, some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Middle East. As I looked down a snow capped mountain valley from a medieval castle, it’s hard to believe everything I have heard and seen about this stunning nation. This is Iraq!

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Detour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, Iraq

8 Best Places To Travel In Asia In 2017

The continent of Asia is big; from the steamy jungles of South East Asia to the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, all the way to the scorching deserts of Arabia. The world’s largest continent is quite possibly the most diverse and interesting destinations to travel. Most travelers have heard of Asia’s more popular destinations such as; Thailand, India, China, and Vietnam. But Asia has many secret destinations that retain traditional cultures, incredible food, and are virtually tourist free! Here are a few destinations in Asia that I the Uncharted Backpacker recommend to truly feel like you’ve stepped into another world.

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8 Best Places To Travel In Asia In 20178 Best Places To Travel In Asia In 20178 Best Places To Travel In Asia In 20178 Best Places To Travel In Asia In 20178 Best Places To Travel In Asia In 2017

Kabul and the Panjshir Valley – Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan
Paint a picture. Paint overtop all the military checkpoints, violent past, and whatever else the media has filled your imagination with about this place. Paint locals whose smiles speak for their overwhelming hospitality. Paint clear, blue skies, bourn by one of the most dramatic mountain vistas imaginable. This place is what fairytales are made of. As I open my eyes and remember where I am, it all sets in. Reality is what you make of it, but finding the truth to reality is a traveler’s fortune. Here I am in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan; what an incredible place I have found myself in.
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Kabul and the Panjshir Valley – AfghanistanKabul and the Panjshir Valley – AfghanistanKabul and the Panjshir Valley – AfghanistanKabul and the Panjshir Valley – AfghanistanKabul and the Panjshir Valley – Afghanistan

The Baliem Valley, West Papua

Baliem Valley, West Papua

As the fog clears, steep, jungle-clad mountains loom in the distance. Clouds descend into the valley as they are pierced by the rising sun, painting a picture of solitude and serenity. Up until now, I had believed places of such remote and indescribable beauty only existed in fairy tales. As I crawl out from my smoky hut in the early hours of the morning, it takes an enormous effort to convince myself that this place is even real. This is the Baliem Valley in West Papua’s remote hidden interior, a place where true adventure can still be had. A place where travelers earn their stripes and become explorers; leaving all that they thought they knew behind them. Papua will change you; come prepared.

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The Baliem Valley, West PapuaThe Baliem Valley, West PapuaThe Baliem Valley, West PapuaThe Baliem Valley, West PapuaThe Baliem Valley, West Papua

Dance of Demons and Saints, Thimphu Tsechu – Bhutan

Thimphu, Bhutan    

Monks of black hat cults subdue demons with a spinning dance; the demons lash back with an equally grand performance. The battle of colour and music rages on. Horns of monks from the temple ring hypnotically throughout the valley. The constant beat of the drum releases the parading demons and saints into their spinning trance. The colours, sounds, and anticipation of what will come next from the Royal Dzong gates adds to serene beauty of this spectacle. The Thimphu Tsechu is an event unlike any other, one you will likely not forget.

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Dance of Demons and Saints, Thimphu Tsechu – BhutanDance of Demons and Saints, Thimphu Tsechu – BhutanDance of Demons and Saints, Thimphu Tsechu – BhutanDance of Demons and Saints, Thimphu Tsechu – BhutanDance of Demons and Saints, Thimphu Tsechu – Bhutan

The Slums of Jakarta – Indonesia

Jakarta Indonesia

A family of five, surviving on a dollar a day, cram into a house no bigger than the average North American bathroom. Outside, a river of sewage and garbage flows. Behind the house, the railway bears deafening trains that shake the houses every hour as they rattle by. This is reality of the Jakarta slums, and here I am as a tourist. All the troubles I believe I have go right down the drain. And yet, despite living in such poverty, the people of the slum graciously invite me in to their homes, expecting nothing in return. Read More

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Into Borneo’s Heart, Belaga to Kapit – Sarawak, Malaysia

Borneo, Sarawak Malaysia

Like images on an old film projector, the jungle slowly flickers by. When the hum of the boat’s engine slows, it’s noise is drowned out by the sounds of Borneo’s deep jungle. Traveling here is not easy, but the rewards of Borneo’s interior are great for those seeking something different, something more vibrant and beautiful. As the boat pushes further downriver, the jungle is occasionally broken by the odd Dayak longhouse settlement. This place is special, a travelers absolute fantasy. I am happy to be back, back in the heart of Borneo.

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Into Borneo’s Heart, Belaga to Kapit – Sarawak, MalaysiaInto Borneo’s Heart, Belaga to Kapit – Sarawak, MalaysiaInto Borneo’s Heart, Belaga to Kapit – Sarawak, MalaysiaInto Borneo’s Heart, Belaga to Kapit – Sarawak, MalaysiaInto Borneo’s Heart, Belaga to Kapit – Sarawak, Malaysia
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