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.

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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

Safety Tips for Traveling to Dangerous Countries

Travel Safety Tips

When you make the decision of where you want to travel to a large number of people will try to defer you from traveling because of “travel safety” issues. Although these issues may be very real, it should not deter you from doing the trip that you want! My experiences in dangerous countries include Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea and many more. This list of safety tips derived from my travels through war torn countries, crime capitals, wild jungles, and the uncharted parts of the world. I have been thrown in jail, interrogated, suffered from tropical illnesses, been shot at and attacked by wild animals and although i wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world, i do want to help my followers avoid these situations. Being prepared for the worst is the first steps! 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

Travel to Libya’s Saharan Capital, Ghadames

Ghadames, Libya

The Saharan mirage gives way to a wonderful sight of a palm fringed oasis, a caravan town of white Islamic architecture that provokes images of a lost ancient desert masterpiece. The shimmering gold sand dunes in the distance add contrast to such a perfect image. This is not a dream, this is reality if you can make it to the far flung capital of Ghadames, Libya. Ghadames beauty if only the beginning, the hospitality and culture of Ghadames inhabitants will be your lasting memory.  This whimsical desert odyssey is not for the faint of heart as getting here requires a plethora of security issues, but for the jaded traveler this makes the allure of visiting Ghadames even more. Read More