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.

Adventure Travel Photography Guide

Adventure Travel Photography Tips

Alas! The days are gone where only the most skilled photographer would be sent on long drawn out photography missions around the globe. Nowadays, all ambitious travelers can stake their claim in the travel photography world. However, with mass photo sharing applications like Instagram and Facebook, it can seem a bit daunting for the aspiring travel photographer. Uncharted Backpackers Guide to Adventure Travel Photography will help sort out basic questions like how to get your photos noticed, choosing the right travel camera, and how to make use of all those confusing buttons! It’s time to become the travel photographer you always wanted to!

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Oman Travel on a Budget Guide

Oman, Middle East

Mention Oman and the mind of a traveler will conjure up images of Arabian Palaces, impenetrable forts, stunning mountains, lush oasis’ and hospitality that is deeply rooted in Omani culture. One thing that the average traveler won’t think of is cheap Oman travel. Alas, it is now possible! After spending three weeks in the country in search of cheap hotels, food, and sights I can tell you this. Oman is definitely possible to travel on a strict budget. However, it is a country that takes precise planning ahead to be able to do so. Follow this guide, as Arabia is waiting! Read More

Visiting the Asaro Mudmen – Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Goroka, Papua New Guinea

The highland jungle is eerily quiet. A shroud of dense fog rolls over the lush mountains, not even a bird of paradise can be heard. Its as if the jungle knew that the warrior spirits of the Asaro were looming in the distance. As they draw closer, the fables come true. Fear takes hold, and your consciousness becomes a haze. That’s when the first Asaro Mudman breaks through the fog. Equipped with a club, his movements conjure up the feelings that he really could be a spirit from long ago.  Fixating closer on the haunting movements of the Mudmen you realize that he was only a distraction, as now there are over a dozen Mudmen around you. Luckily for me, these Asaro Mudmen were just displaying their warrior feats and had no intentions of taking me to the spirit world. Papua New Guinea could not be more enthralling. Read More

10 Tips for Female Travellers in the Middle East

Tips for Female Travelers, Middle East 

The longer I journeyed through this area of the world the more I felt a sense of deep respect, protection and curiosity from the locals. The landscape and climate is pure perfection, mountains, beaches, vast dessert planes and plenty of sunshine. But as I walked through the narrow streets in my hijab and a loose fitting, floor length cloak I became enthralled with the wonders of the middle east. You see, the colourful fabrics strewn in front of the shops mixed with the purifying smells of Frankincense and the distant sound of the call to prayer ringing across the entire city, made it easy to fall in love. Entering foreign territory always seems a little unsettling at first, but, as a female, travelling to this corner of the world is a completely unique experience with plenty of hidden gems.  Read More

Cuban Cigars and Horseback Riding in Viñales, Cuba

Viñales, Cuba

A haze of sweet smoke surrounds me as I begin my journey through lush and pristine scenery in search for the perfect cigar. Eventually the smoke clears and I am back in reality but still, I find it hard to stop myself from reminiscing on Vinales. Even for the most jaded of travelers, this dreamlike destination will not disappoint. When the first tobacco producers began to cultivate this land, I doubt they understood that one day this would be a traveler’s paradise. The sweet smell of cigar fills my nose and I find myself puffing the last of my perfect cigar. My steed takes me back to the tobacco plantations passing by limestone ridges etched with caves, Cuban cowboys rolling cigars, and one stunning vista after another. It was hard to believe that I had never thought of coming here before. Read More

A Traveler in Sana’a, Yemen – Sana’a Guide

Sana’a, Yemen

Nowhere has ever captured old Arabia like Sana’a. The smell of spices and meat cooking over charcoal in the old city souq, the enchanting melody of the call to prayer encompasses you as it rings out in every direction, locals prefer to wear turbans and the abiyah compared to western fashion. Sana’a will with no doubt take you to that Lawrence of Arabia dream you fantasize about. A city with such deep historical significance retains all its character despite the current circumstances. Now it’s not uncommon to hear airstrikes alongside the call to prayer, locals swapping their traditional outfits for military gear, and the entire city cut off from electricity and water; but politics and war aside, Sana’a still retains its charming self, a true authentic traveler’s paradise. 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

Journey through Yemen – Yemen’s War and Travel

Sanaa Yemen
What brings a traveler to places like this? Is it the desire to be so far from other travelers and achieve an authentic experience, or is it the thrill of stepping into the forbidden and unknown corners of the world?

When it comes to Yemen, I found my attraction drawn from its plethora of historical sights and its splendid natural beauty. But if I am to be one hundred percent honest with you the tremendous lure in coming to conflict areas like Yemen are the people. Yemen’s people are unlike anywhere I have ever been. Their hospitality is contagious, they smile even when there are airstrikes happening blocks away and no matter who you are, or what you believe in, they will be your lifelong friend.

This is what makes all the pain, all the danger, and all of the after effects worthwhile in venturing into finding the truth for yourself. This is Yemen, true Arabia.
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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