Uncharted Backpacker

Tag - asia

The Cave Cities of Cappadocia – Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

Such an odd and wonderful place this is. A place where people sleep in caves, cities are constructed underground and the landscapes reminisce a fairy tale. Located right in the middle of Turkey, Cappadocia made a perfect stop to break up the dusty overland Silk Road journey. Arriving in the early hours of the morning I wandered the empty streets. Every so often a light would turn on through the window of a cave house. In the distance, the colorful rocks gleamed in the early morning light. An amazing first sight of Cappadocia! Read More

A Photographers Guide to Hong Kong

Hong Kong

An old style Chinese Junker boat ploughing through the waters across Hong Kong Harbour, a dazzling array of futuristic fluorescent in the distance, soaring modern buildings covered in glass stand beside dilapidated and overcrowded concrete blocks splattered with vibrant decked out kanji signs from a time long ago. This is Hong Kong; The old, the new and the unexplored, many travellers don’t even attempt to scratch the surface of this misunderstood city. Stay long enough and you will be rewarded with one of Asia’s most fascinating destinations. Hong Kong, city of colour and culture, a photographers dream. Read More

Visiting the Chaotic City of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

The air is like soup mixed with exotic spices and a hint of pollution. The colors around me keep my gaze in a constant struggle. I sit in the middle of a sea of rickshaws Unable to comprehend the madness that surrounds me. When I close my eyes I hear thousands of bicycle bells serenading the absolute insanity. This is the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. It’s a gritty mess of poor infrastructure, mass poverty, heavy pollution, and extreme overcrowding. Dig past all of this and you will see what Bangladesh is truly about, its deep rooted culture, amazing cuisines, incredible hospitality and historical sights hiding in plain view. It is an absolute assault on the senses, but if you brave Dhaka and dive in, you will be rewarded with one of the most spectacular destinations on earth! Read More

A Journey into Bajau Laut, The Sea Gypsies of Borneo

Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo

Ever since I saw the BBC Human Planet documentary on the Bajau Laut I have been fascinated with these “people of the sea”. It is said that many of the Bajau can hold their breathe for upwards of five minutes, plunging into the depths with only a pair of wooden hand made goggles. Trying to find information on visiting the Bajau proved difficult but here I am speeding along in a small wooden boat, flying past remote islands and impossibly blue waters with my Bajau guide who I met only moments ago at the Semporna docks. Suddenly in the distance the rickety frames of wooden structures emerge like a mirage over the vast ocean horizon. Finally, I have made it to the home of the Bajau Laut!  Read More

Layover in Seoul – South Korea Guide

Seoul, South Korea

Those traveling from North America to Asia often transit through Seoul, South Korea. Seoul is not just a place to relax in transit. It’s a chaotic, fast paced, and modern city, and yet it’s managed to stay very traditional, which means a plethora of historic sights remain. Whether you have 12 hours or 36 hours, Seoul can offer the weary traveler a host of amazing experiences. With my Layover guide to Seoul you will be dining on Korean BBQ and walking the neon lit streets of Seoul! 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

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