Uncharted Backpacker

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Top “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences

With the click of a button you can explore the world’s hidden wonders, get  off the beaten path and set off on your next adventure, but for the jaded traveler the average travel experience can seem mundane. After Eleven years in search of unique travel experiences I have devised a list of my favourite off the beaten track travel experiences from around the world. For those of you who are looking for something more than the average trip where you can delve into the unknown this list will help inspire your inner explorer, but most of all give you an insight into the lesser known corners of the world! Travel off the beaten track! You won’t be disappointed. 

Attending a Tribal Festival in Papua New Guinea

A trip to the island of Papua New Guinea is a trip back in time. Little development has occurred since this islands recent discovery. If you are in search of tribes, Papua New Guinea has some of the most primitive and natural tribes left on earth. In Papua New Guinea worshiping elders, hunting for food, and wars over pigs are still things that actually happen on a frequently basis!

A few months out of the year different regions of Papua New Guinea will hold festivals to bring the tribes together in a peaceful display of dance and games. These festivals are world famous, but very few make the effort to attend these Off the Beaten Path tribal festivals. It might seem expensive and logistically insane to get here as in independent traveler, but the efforts will be worth the rewards! Check out my Papua New Guinea Budget Travel Guide!

See Off the Beaten Path Papua New Guinea Stories Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Mt Hagen Tribal Festival in Papua New Guinea

Surfing in North Korea

Mentioning that you are traveling to North Korea is bound to land you some concerned looks.  But if you really want to turn heads say that you will be surfing North Korea’s remote shores! Now, the select few travelers are venturing to North Korea not just for the weird and wonderful, but to explore North Korea’s beautiful nature and potential for water sports!

In 2017 I spent two weeks’ beach hopping with Uri Tours through North Korea’s Northern Off the Beaten Path coastline. Stopping by small fishing communities and teaching locals how to surf this trip broke political berries and allowed us to dig deep into North Korea’s incredible culture.

More North Korea Stories HERE

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Surfing in North Korea

Following the Karakoram Highway in Northern Pakistan

The great Karakoram Highway which snakes its way through China and into Pakistan, cutting right across the Himalayas, hides some of the most spectacular mountain scenery and remote communities on the planet. These regions are almost empty of tourism despite this being one of the safest areas in Pakistan.

In the valleys of Passu, Gulmit and Hunza you will find ample opportunity for hiking, mountain climbing, cultural home stays or just soaking up the beautiful scenery in this Off the Beaten Path destination. Whatever your reason for coming you will find it very hard to leave!

See more Off the Beaten Path Pakistan Stories Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Gulmit Pakistan

Horse Back Riding in Mongolia

The great Mongolian Steppe has been inhabited by the strong willed nomadic Mongols. Since the time of Genghis Khan these peoples have been famed for their horsemanship. Venturing deep into the Mongolian heartland is no better done than the same way the nomads have done for centuries, on horseback.

My fondest memory of riding horseback in Mongolia was in the Orkhon Valley. Beginning our six hour journey to a waterfall I began to realize that this was not just a horse “tour” I had found myself on, but in fact I was employed to round up the yaks and wild horses and bring them into town. My time spent as a Mongolian cowboy will live on as one of my favorite experiences.

See More Mongolia Stories Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Orkhon Valley, Mongolia

Staying at a Dayak Longhouse in Borneo

For centuries explorers have ventured deep into Borneo’s heart of darkness, and many have not returned. Legends of headhunting tribes, and primeval jungles have kept the art of exploration alive here! Now with many part of Borneo becoming possibly for the intrepid traveler it is possible not only to plunge deep into Borneo, but also stay with some of the headhunting tribes.

My favorite region is Sarawak in Malaysia. Here the Iban allow travelers to stay at their longhouses. No area of Sarawak is more traditional than the Batang Ai and Skrang River Region. Here you can sip on local moonshine while hearing stories from an Iban shaman all whilst under a bouquet of Human Skulls lining the roof of the longhouse.

See Stories into Borneo Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Skrang River, Sarawak, Borneo

The Mount Kailash Pilgrimage in Tibet

High above on the roof of the world is the fabled Buddhist kingdom of Tibet. Here history is written in the shape of colorful legends and Buddhist folklore. Deep in the far western reaches is the oddly shaped Mount Kailash. For centuries Buddhist, Bon, and Hindu pilgrims alike have been walking the 50km path around the mountain to wipe away all of their sins.

The journey to Mount Kailash itself is an off the beaten track adventure. Taking a minimum of three days from Lhasa you cross almost the entire Tibetan plateau! The trek around Kailash will take another three or four days depending on your strength and stamina. For a cultural insight into Tibet’s deep rooted beliefs and history head to Mount Kailash!

See the Mount Kailash Trek Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

The Mount Kailash Pilgrimage in Tibet

Climbing to Hilltop Churches in Ethiopia

In the North of Ethiopia, the rock riddled ancient churches make for a great adventure. Built high above in the mountain cliff sides to protect their relics from invaders, these churches have been in the sights of would be adventurers for centuries.

Ethiopia is a remote country in itself, but getting to some of these churches you will believe you have entered the story of a real explorer! After a three-day journey through the North of Ethiopia I arrived to a mountain where I had to free climb up a sheer rock face. The cliff required nerves of steel, the journey is not for the faint of heart. This was just one of the amazing Off the Beaten Path churches in Northern Ethiopia.

See Ethiopia Stories Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Climbing to Hilltop Churches in Ethiopia

Hiking in the Valleys of Dragons in Bhutan

Welcome to a side of the Himalayas that very few have experienced. This land is wrapped up in colorful folklore and immensely beautiful scenery. This is the home of the thunder dragon, Bhutan.

The Kingdom of Bhutan has kept itself relatively separate from the majority of the world keeping modernisation and western influence out. Bhutan’s valleys are remote, clean, and stunning. There are also a number of minority groups who call these valleys home, this mixed with ornate Buddhist temples and legends of the Yeti make this one of the last great places on earth to hike!

More Bhutan Stories Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Tigers Nest in Paro, Bhutan

Swimming with Whale Sharks in the Philippines

The incredible palm fringed islands that dot the pacific like gems in a sea of emerald blue are just as amazing below as on the surface. With a plethora of sea life and colourful coral the Philippines is one of the most amazing Off the Beaten Path underwater destinations out there.

On the south end of Cebu island local fisherman have tamed the wild whale sharks and even gave them names all to protect these gentle creatures. The select few tourists who make it out here get the chance to swim alongside these enormous sharks and more than often their numbers are well above ten!

Swimming with Whale Shark Full Story Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Cebu

Sampling Marrakesh’s Street Food in Morocco

The legendary Saharan city of Marrakesh is home to the world’s largest outdoor food market Djemaa El Fna. Here you can sample on salty snails, bubbling lamb heads and Moroccan tagines. Apart from the amazing food there is also a host of entertainment such as cobra charmers, whirling dervishes and games you can join in.

Take to one of the nearby roof top restaurants to get a better view of the madness. From here a cloud of smoke billows from the roasting kebabs and the music of entertainers fills the air creating one of North Africa’s most Off the Beaten Path incredible spectacles!

Marrakesh Guide Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Marrakesh’s Street Food in Morocco

Road Tripping Through Oman

Oman’s culture is traditional, its natural beauty is stunning and the sights will leave you in awe. Simply put, Oman is Arabia’s hidden gem waiting to be discovered by the curious traveler. Oman is also home to some of the best roads and cheapest petrol in the Middle East making this destination particular great for road tripping.

With Oman being particularly safe compared to its neighbours, it’s hard to believe why more people don’t travel here! Another great reason you should take a road trip to Oman is the wild camping. Oman allows camping pretty much everywhere in the country. Come to Oman and discover Off the Beaten Path Arabia!

More Oman Stories Here!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Dhofar Region, Oman

Camping in Canada’s Remote National Parks

Voted the top destination to visit last year by Lonely Planet, Canada holds a close spot to my heart, as it’s my home. Growing up here I can tell you that its vast national parks are a great place to explore the wilderness and get in touch with nature.

Pristine blue lakes, jagged rocky mountain peaks and abundance of wildlife spotting will take you back to a natural time away from the modern world. Camping in the national parks leaves you secluded and in peace. Come to Canada and get in touch with your inner wild side Off the Beaten Path!

Top Twelve “Off the Beaten Path” Travel Experiences for 2018

Jumbo Pass, Kootenay, Canada

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Stephen Gollan

Stephen Gollan

Uncharted Backpacker is a glimpse at the past eleven years of globetrotting I have done. Now at over ninety countries I share my travel knowledge for you so you too can travel the world and see what wonders it has to offer.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • To try to comment….there are no words….all of me is smiling 🙂
    You have opened a box of possibilities that I didnt know where out there…
    I am taking my elderly mom and step dad to Mexico mid September for 2 weeks. Staying at a resort near Cancun but would love for them to experience some real Mexico….would love to consult u on options if u r familiar with this neck of the woods….

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