Intrepid travelers are always looking for the next best tourist destination. Their goal is to get there before everyone else discovers it. For these off-the-beaten- path vacationers, the perfect vacation involves travel to a hidden idyllic beach, an untouched section of forest, or even an attractive and quaint city that has not been overrun by guide-book-carrying tourists.
As the world becomes more and more traveled, fewer and fewer of these places can be found. The “undiscovered” destinations that remain are extremely remote or are off-limits because of dangerous conflicts. These “forbidden destinations” can be quite attractive, but their remoteness and danger means that all but the most courageous (and foolish) travelers will cross them off of their to-visit list.
Where are these unreachable destinations?
Cape York Peninsula, Australia
The Cape York Peninsula sits in Northernmost Australia. It is one of the most remote and undeveloped places in the entire world. It is very sparsely inhabited, with only a few tribes of Aboriginal Australians calling the area home. Some parts of the region can be seen as part of a 4×4 tour, though dangerously high temperatures and hazardous terrain can even make this a challenge. Certain areas of York, however, are so remote that they are unreachable by anything other than a helicopter.
People have been trying to traverse Antarctica for more than a century. Traveling inland on the world’s coldest continent is a very dangerous undertaking that can only be accomplished with professional support and a lot of cold weather travel experience. More-casual tourists can reach Antarctica by cruise ship. Even coming by plane is a tough proposition because there are no paved runways on the continent. So, despite its vast size, a majority of visitors to the Antarctic only actually set foot on a small section of coastline, leaving most of the continent completely untouched.
Congo (sometimes referred to as The Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC for short) is a vast Central African nation with a wealth of beautiful landscapes, untouched nature, rivers, and wildlife. It is also one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Ongoing conflicts in the northern and eastern parts of the nation make safe travel impossible, and rampant crime and general instability make traveling to major cities outside of the conflict zones dangerous as well. Most people who have to travel to Congo, for business or as aid workers, hire professional security teams to protect them. That is too bad, because stereotypically lush African landscapes, abundant wildlife, including gorillas, and unique cultures would make this a very interesting travel destination.
A land of amazing landscapes and exotic culture, Afghanistan was once a great tourist destination for intrepid backpackers. For the past thirty or so years, conflicts and political instability have made it virtually impossible to travel anywhere in the country without professional security people. Though the capital of Kabul is relatively stable, the entire country is basically a war zone and the security situation is ever-changing, meaning that it is virtually impossible to find a “safe” section of the country to visit.
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited place on earth. Siting in the South Atlantic, it is further from other inhabited lands than any island in the world’s oceans. That said, it is not suffering from conflict and has no natural barriers other than its sheer remoteness. The island can only be reached by ship (there are no airports). It takes several days to reach the island by sea, with most visitors catching a ride on a fishing or science vessels that visit the island several times per year. Tristan has no hotels, only self-catered cabins and home-stay opportunities. Nonetheless, it is a ruggedly beautiful place with people who seem to embrace their remote home wholeheartedly.
The region of Tibet, a semi-autonomous section of China, is a difficult place to visit for several reasons. First of all, it is a politically sensitive area and travel restrictions are sometimes imposed by the Chinese government. And of course, geography also makes it a difficult place to visit. Tall mountains, rugged landscapes and unforgiving weather conditions make travel outside of main areas like Lhasa difficult at best and downright dangerous at worst. Nonetheless, the unique culture and amazing panoramas make this a worthwhile place to visit for people who can handle the strenuous journey and can overcome the PRC’s red tape.