Why follow the road less travelled? Well, the fact that not many other people will be getting in the way of all your beautiful photos is one good reason.
Seriously though. Maybe you’ve already ticked off the bucket list cities like Tokyo and New York. Maybe you’ve already found paradise in Thailand. You might have even already hiked in Nepal or seen the sun rise over Myanmar’s Bagan. Or maybe you’re just one of those contrary hipster types who loves doing things the alternative way. If any of the reasons above are true, we love you already – you can stick around and travel with us.
Consider these five countries the alt-indie New Wave bands of the travel world. If they were films, they’d be obscure art-nouveau masterpieces. If they were books, they’d be for highly advanced readers only. If they were a food, they’d be avocado-acai bowls, sprinkled with hemp and cacao nibs and served with a rosehip flat white on the side. You get the drift – basically, they’re way out of the norm, unexplored, totally surreal and maybe even just a little bit magic.
After all – who travels, sees. Who travels further, sees more. Is that not how the saying goes?
Sandwiched between China and Russia and next-door neighbour to Kazakhstan, Mongolia is where Asia meets the chilly northern hemisphere, making this vast land every bit as offbeat and beguiling as you could imagine. Whereas India’s colourful craziness screams that it’s part of Asia and Italy seductively sings ‘Eurooope’ from every one of it’s spires and domes, Mongolia is a rebel with a truly unique identity.
Mongolians are cool. So cool, that they’re nomadic in the genuine sense of the word. Whole communities move across lush hills regularly on horseback, carrying their tents (known as yurts) and belongings with them. It’s this relaxed way of life that is said to make them some of the most hospitable people on Earth. See for yourself as you move along with them on our 10 day Local Living in Mongolia tour.
Colombia’s Lost City
We don’t know if it’s Netflix’s Narcos, or the rise in travelgramming we have to thank, but Colombia is finally getting the attention and praise it rightfully deserves for being one of the best travel destinations in South America… if not the world.
This tropical, diverse country is shaking off its bad reputation – because in reality it’s a colourful, culture-filled paradise home to buzzing beachside cities (hello, Cartagena!), friendly locals and active adventures that could even give Machu Picchu a run for its money.
Like the five-day Lost City Trek through the misty mountain-tops surrounding the ancient Ciudad Perdida. This mysterious enclave was only discovered in the seventies by treasure looters, who found the stone steps amidst dense jungle, and followed them. Thousands of them.
It’s no mistake or happy accident that the six-letter unique identifier code on the end of this trekking tour is ‘-gasmic’ (if you don’t know what we’re on about, click the link and see for yourself). For those who love to step off the beaten path, this is one big daddy.
Not far enough off the beaten path, yet?
Well, we even offer tours which let you visit Uzbekistan and its neighbours in the same week or two (in case you’re wondering, they’re Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan – try saying those countries quickly when your gran asks you where you’re off on holiday next). Spoiler: They’re NOT. ONE. BIT. Like Borat’s cinematic portrayal.
From the ancient UNESCO listed gem of Bukhara, to an overnight experience in the vast desert, complete with a yurt to sleep in and some pretty cool camels to selfie with, you’ll get a deep, unique insight via locals you’re invited to stay with, on what it is that makes Uzbekistan so peaceful and untouched.
Georgia (the country, not the American state)
What do you get when you cross Europe and Asia?
It’s something like this: a mix of wine vineyards, beautiful old churches and soaring mountains that eventually snake their way far east, across the silk road countries, and into the Himalayas. The wine, cheese, and hearty stews of eastern Europe enriched with the spice of western Asia. And the burgeoning nightlife scene of capital city Tbilisi, mixed with an awesome array of treks outside of it. Whereas the city is a party-lovers paradise, Georgia’s mountains are an outdoor-lover’s Adventureland.
Combine Georgia with its neighbour Armenia for a real-deal off-the-beaten-track (and often off-road) experience. This country has more to boast than just *gulp* the Kardashians – and the chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably already know that.
Like handfuls of medieval villages, mind-melting monasteries and snow-topped peaks. Then there’s a complex history that will shake you to the core when you finally manage to digest it. Due to the cultural and language barriers even the hardiest of travellers often face in Armenia, the best way to experience it is on a tour with an informative guide. Are you in? Check out our 8 day tour of Armenia and Georgia combined.
Want more inspiration? Of course you do. How does scaling Namibia’s soaring desert dune peaks to watch the sun rise, or hot air ballooning over the otherworldly stone grottoes of Cappadocia sound? Check out our top trending travel destinations of 2018, or search all of our small group adventures across every continent right here.