Our world is becoming smaller by the day as advances in technology make travelling easier and quicker. The furthest reaches of the globe are becoming more accessible as travel, which was once a luxury, is now being seen as something that anyone can do, not just the rich and famous.
However, there are still a few places where you can escape from the beaten track to find some solace and silence in a remote location that won’t be overrun with tourists. Some of these places will cater to tourists very well, while others may require you to summon some dedication and cast off your creature comforts.
Whether you want to indulge in idyllic island living or travel to the most remote areas of a large country, there is something out there for you.
1. Easter Island
Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui, is a Chilean territory, although it lies far off the coast of Chile in the South Pacific Ocean. The island is famed for its statues, known as moai, which have distinctive large heads and short torsos. These iconic figures are thought to represent the ancestors of the first settlers, or well-respected members of the community.
The statues are not the only tourist attraction on the island. Rapa Nui also has mysterious caves, stunning beaches, and fascinating volcanoes. Many tourists on the island spend a lot of their time hiking, scuba diving, horse riding, surfing, swimming, or simply relaxing in the beautiful surroundings.
Rapa Nui is relatively easy to reach by air in comparison to other remote islands. There are several flights a week to and from the island. This makes it an ideal destination for travellers who want a taste of isolated island living, but do not feel confident enough to independently plan a trip to somewhere that is not very accessible.
Although it is now an American state, Alaska used to be part of Russia, and its remote landscape has more in common with Russia or neighbouring Canada than most of mainland USA. Alaska was sold by Russia as part of a political strategy and went through various incarnations before becoming a state in 1959.
Over half of Alaska’s population resides in the South Central region. This region includes Anchorage, the largest city, and the Kenai Fjords National Park. The other Alaskan regions, some of which are less populated and less accessible, include South West, Inside Passage, Interior, and Far North. The Inside Passage is home to Alaska’s capital city, Juneau, and has a number of Russian Orthodox churches with their iconic onion domes.
Adventure-loving travellers are in for a treat in Alaska. Though the landscape and weather can be harsh and unrelenting, Alaska is a rewarding place to take part in some of your favourite activities: hiking, kayaking, fishing, or even dogsledding.
Alaska provides a brilliant vantage point for those wishing to see the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. The best time to see them is between September and April, and the most reliable area is the Interior, in places such as Fairbanks.
Auroras are usually spotted when the weather is clear and dark, as cloud cover would mean that the aurora would need to be especially strong to be seen.
3. Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean, which lies roughly mid-way between South America and South Africa. It is the most remote inhabited island group in the world, with a population of around 275. The island’s inhabitants share just seven surnames.
A trip to Tristan da Cunha is only recommended for travellers who are serious about seeing this isolated part of the world, as it is quite a difficult place to get to and it does not have a heavily developed tourism industry.
Before planning a trip, it is necessary to obtain permission from the island council. If you are granted permission to visit the island, you then need to figure out how to get there – bearing in mind that by boat from Cape Town can take up to a week.
Most visitors to Tristan da Cunha stop there as part of a cruise ship itinerary, though there are some who visit to research the island in order to make a film or write an article, and a few who plan to settle there for a longer period of time and integrate themselves into island life.
The landlocked Central Asian country of Mongolia has a strong tradition of nomadic lifestyles, and is the most sparsely populated country in the world.
Its landscape is defined by its sprawling, almost endless steppes. Since shaking off the chains of the oppressive Soviet Union, Mongolia has been making a gradual return to Buddhism, which has become a more central part of the culture.
While many tourists visiting Mongolia will spend their time in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, if you are fascinated by remote and isolated places then the steppes are your perfect destination. Though the capital city has become more modern, there are still some rural areas of Mongolia that remain largely unchanged. A trip to Mongolia would be wasted if you didn’t stray from the city to the steppes.
For some travellers, a journey on the Trans Siberian Railway is a lifelong dream. If you’re itching to see the majestic landscape of the Mongolian countryside but don’t feel up to going through the arduous process of arranging transport, supplies, accommodation and a guide, then a journey on the Trans Siberian is a great way to experience it from a more comfortable viewpoint.
This journey will also take you through other beautiful but remote areas such as small Siberian villages, Lake Baikal, and Irkutsk, a historically important city within Russia.
Socotra is a Yemeni island in the Indian Ocean that has secured the bragging rights of being called the most alien-looking place on earth.
There are almost 700 species of flora and fauna that are unique to Socotra, a result of it being so isolated from other parts of the world as the species evolved. Due to its fascinating natural elements, the entire island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are many opportunities for trekking and hiking on Socotra and though some routes are difficult and take a long time, it is the best way to see the strange beauty of the island, such as the dragon blood trees. A boat trip around the island is also a great chance to see whales and dolphins, and to swim in the beautifully clear waters.
Tourism on the island is in its relative infancy, so Socotra is not the place to go if you want a completely straightforward and relaxing island getaway. There are many other beautiful islands all over the world with a highly developed tourism industry, which are perfect for people with less of an interest in having an exciting adventure.
A trip to Socotra is sure to impress everyone you know, or pique their interest in this bizarre Middle Eastern island.
Greenland is a country that lies close to North America, but falls under the Kingdom of Denmark, and is often considered part of Europe.
Tourists may find that money does not stretch far in Greenland, but it is a truly fascinating destination, often thought of as ‘the place to go when you’ve been everywhere else’. Most people will know that Greenland is a country, but not all will know that it is a great place to take a trip.
The most enduring image of Greenland is of small, quaint villages with brightly coloured houses. Looking at these will be like a breath of fresh air for any travellers who might be depressed by the monotonous colours of their hometown. When these buildings were built, the colours were intended to indicate the purpose of the building: a hospital would be a different colour to a police station, for example.
There are a lot of opportunities in Greenland to get out and explore the true beauty of unspoilt nature. It is a great place to get out on a boat or to take a dog sled journey. For a truly authentic experience, you may wish to wear clothes made from reindeer hide during these activities.
Anyone who has experienced an Arctic climate will vouch that animal hide is far more insulating than the majority of man-made fabrics. For those who may be worried that trekking in Greenland may involve planning and packing that is similar to an Arctic expedition, there are tours that allow you to transport your luggage by boat as you walk.
Please note that travel to Yemen is discouraged due to political instability, civil unrest, and threat from terrorism. This may pose a problem when planning a trip to Socotra.
Cover photo: jensalaskanadventure.blogspot.com