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.

Mongolia – Kharkhorin to Orkhon, Mongols, Nomads and Shamans

Chuluun

Ulaanbaatar and the Orkhon Valley – Mongolia 

My mind is clearer here. The morning dew gives a fresh earthy scent as you breathe it in. Open your eyes to the wide vistas of emerald green seas of grass blowing in the crisp wind at your face. The odd puffy white clouds covering the ground from here and there. A chill running deep inside from the brisk cold air as I step outside from the warmth of my Ger. Central Mongolia is what dreams are made of. There is something special in the air here. Something no word in any of my stories can tell. Read More

Nepal Still Shines after the Earthquake

Nepal Still Welcomes Tourists Even After The Devastation

Kathmandu, Nepal 

April 2015 brought devastation to Nepal. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the capital and much of the country, killing over 8000 people. I have visited Nepal many times in the past, but my most recent visit a few months ago left me heart broken. So many amazing places here have been either damaged or destroyed altogether. One thing however that has not changed is the heart and spirit of the Nepalese people. The people are resilient and strong; they are working hard to repair the damage that has been done and restore the desperately needed tourism industry. Unfortunately, since the earthquake tourism has been almost non-existent. My recent travels into Nepal have shown me that yes, Nepal has been damaged and yes, much of what I had loved is now gone, but this did not affect my interest at all in this wonderful nation. Nepal still is and always will be an incredible country to visit. In this post I will show some of the devastation, but more importantly I will show you why you should still visit Nepal. Read More

Jordan Travel Guide

Cathedral at Petra

Why Travel to Jordan?

Jordan sticks with you. Long after you leave its borders this country will draw you back. It could be the spirit of the Jordanian people or its stark beautiful countryside. T.E Lawrence crossed the treacherous deserts of Arabia to find himself here for this same reason. From the ancient mysterious carved temples at Petra to the red sand dunes of Wadi Rum, Jordan becomes an addiction. Jordan also happens to be one of the safest places in the Middle East. Jordan has a small but beautiful coastline teeming with marine life. After delving into Jordan’s spectacular natural scenery take in the ancient carved temples of Petra or the Roman city of Jerash and to finish off in the urban streets of Amman modern day Jordan so you can experience The “New” Jordan. Traveling here will get you a good taste of what the Middle East has to offer. This is the land of true Adventurers, so just as Lawrence had done you too should come to Jordan and see for yourself why he held this country and its people so close to his heart. Read More

Top 5 Offbeat Places to Visit in Mexico

Palenques temples

Mexico has long been known to North Americans as the place where you go to drink, party and sit, day after day on the beach. Mexico however; happens to be one of my favorite backpacking destinations! After visiting Mexico many times it has ranked at the top of my list for “favorite destinations”, however, not for the beaches, but instead for its history and people. Historic Maya, Aztec, and Colonial Spanish cities are spread throughout the country adding to Mexico’s incredibly in depth and complex history. Mexico’s landscapes are also just as spectacular; from giant blood red copper mountains to lush humid dense jungles, and vast open barren deserts that make all corners of this nation an adventure waiting to happen. Mexico’s population is currently over 125 million which makes for some incredible diversity among its people. You can still find Mayan language speakers and the descendants of Spanish explorers throughout this fast pace country. Once you leave the Yucatan you will be amazed at how cheap of a travel destination Mexico really is. Most days in Mexico I only spent around 25 USD, and that’s including those desperately important evening cervezas. So grab your backpack and head to Mexico for something other than the beach with one of my top favorite Mexican “off the beaten track” destinations.
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Libya Trials and Tribulations: Life in Libya After the Revolution

Libya Uncharted Backpacker

Tripoli and Leptis Magna – Libya

When you think of Libya, images of violence, revolution, and the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi probably come to mind. While violence is still rampant throughout the country, the revolution is over and Gaddafi is gone. This is a new Libya: a nation facing political chaos in the aftermath of revolution. Free of the tyranny and terror that was Gaddafi’s reign, Libya is a country ready to show the world its once concealed beauty.

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Thailand Travel Guide

Thailand Travel Guide

Why Travel to Thailand?

Thailand as you may already know, has become an increasingly popular destination to visit, and rightly so! Thailand is the stomping ground for many travellers alike for its post card like beaches, steamy elephant filled jungles, and a culture that lies deep in every single Thai local you meet. Thailand is also famed for its food. It is a unique but complex blend of Indian curries, Chinese influenced noodle dishes, and spicy Thai ingredients that go together so perfectly. After you indulge in the food and the natural scenery, Thailand has a plethora of activities for you; try world class scuba diving or jungle elephant safaris. If that’s not for you than find that perfect piece of heaven on one of Thailand’s many secluded island paradises. Thailand is full of adventure waiting and a travelers dream. Read More

My favourite destinations in Myanmar/Burma

Yangon, Myanmar

I have traveled to Myanmar twice in the past five years and this country lies so close to my heart. Spending over three months in Myanmar I could not get enough of it.

Where is Myanmar?

Myanmar is a Southeast Asian nation situated between the countries of China to the north, Thailand to the East, Bangladesh and India to the west. Myanmar is home to many languages, but Burmese is the most widely spoken and understood language of the nation. Myanmar’s capital city ‘Yangon’, located near the southern coast is a complex blend of Myanmar’s people, being a mix of Bamar, Indian, and many other tribal/minority groups. The population of Myanmar is around 53 million and makes it one of Southeast Asia’s greatest diversities of ethnic groups. Travel to Myanmar and you will be rewarded with one of Southeast Asia’s best kept secrets. Myanmar has been closed to foreigners for many years, but has recently opened its land borders and remote locations. Read More

Photo of the week: Nagaland, India

nagaland india

While attending the annual Hornbill Festival in Kohima Nagaland, I was trying to photograph a certain dance performance that involved large firearms, when I noticed this man with his smart phone taking selfies and photos of other’s. I love this photo because of the stark contrast it resembles of old and new. Old being the outfit this man is wearing is a traditional war regalia his clan has worn for over a thousand years and new being how he whipped his smartphone out just like anyone would from the west to capture this amazing moment.

Libya Travel Guide

Libya Uncharted Backpacker

Why Travel To Libya?

Ask anyone in the travel world about Libya and you will get a blank stare. It is best known for the terrible conflicts that have occurred over the past few years, but in fact, it has the potential to become one of Africa’s and the Sahara’s greatest travel destinations. Imagine the largest ancient Roman ruins. Lost Saharan Cities. It has some of the most picturesque oasis and largest sand dunes in the world. It also has a rich culture which Libyan people take great pride in. As of now Libya is not the easiest country to get to as they often close their borders, make visa’s impossible to get and spurts of violence occur too often for comfort. But if you decide to head to Libya you will be rewarded with having the entire country to yourself and every curious local willing to help you see and experience this amazing place. Read More

Peru Travel Guide

Peru Uncharted Backpacker

Why Travel To Peru

Since the first explorer Francisco Pizarro came here in 1532 explorers and adventurers alike have been obsessed with the history and ancient riches that this country holds. Take any hike into the Peruvian Andes and you will see that there is plenty of these secrets yet to be found. Peru is home to the famous archaeological sites of Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines and the legendary city of Cuzco. Besides Peru’s rich history; Peru is also home to some of the best hiking and adventure sports in South America. While in Peru you can dune buggy over sand dunes, dine on seafood, hike to extreme altitudes and cut your way through dense Amazonian jungle all while never leaving Peru’s borders. Peruvian culture is also not to be missed. With festivals and a magnitude of different ethnicities, Peru will keep you dreaming of returning to this magical country. Read More