You might think where I’ve been lately after that aggressive poll I’ve made to relaunch my blog. Unfortunately, the process is taking longer than I’ve expected. I’m currently hiring a wordpress developer to look into my specifications and they’re working hard to make this happen. In the meantime, I’ve been searching on the internet to find unusual travel inspirations to share with all. Just bear in mind that I’ve never been to any of these places (yet). All of the photos aren’t mine but they’re all under creative commons. Have fun reading!

world map by normanbleventhalmapcenter

 

10. Antarctica

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 3/10
low access link factor: 10/10
hard to get visa factor: 0/10 – visa free
Beauty factor: 10/10

Unusual factor: 33/50

Why is it unusual?

It’s far, cold and always in winter. How cold cool is that? Antarctica a continent made of ice. A land of extremes. Where winter is always dark and freezing, and summer is bright but also freezing (duh!) and yes those penguins are everywhere. That’s where they come from, its their home and territory. Who are they to blame. The landscape is often dramatic. Mountains of icebergs forming a huge part of the scenery. It’s like admiring to those intricate carved ices you see at over the top events in Kuala Lumpur or London in this case. It’s one territory where few have set foot let alone explored.

Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent. It is a continent made primarily of ice which is said to be 1.6km thick. Antarctica is home to researchers from around the world though no permanent resident are recorded (how can anyone live here anyway?). This is the place where the extremes would go. Recently more and more people (usually older / retired) go and see. There’s literally nothing to do there apart from sightseeing. If you have the dosh, the willpower and in good physical shape why not travel to this part of the world?

What I love about Antarctica?

Exhilarating views of icebergs. And of course those penguins.

 

Photos by Liam Q

Photo by HRL

Photo by Angell Williams

Photo by Dave B

Photo by 23am.com

 

9. Timor-Leste

low tourist arrivals factor: 9/10
Conflict factor: 8/10
low access link factor: 7/10
hard to get visa factor: 6/10
Beauty factor: 8/10

Unusual factor: 38/50

Why is it unusual?

It’s one of the newest country in the world gaining independence from Indonesia in 2002. The country is slowly pacing itself forward after decades of war with the Indonesian military that destroyed most of its infrastructure and allegedly killed hundreds of thousands of its people.

What I love about Timor-Leste?

This part of the region is thoroughly unexplored, where villages still forms as the centre of society. Villagers often welcome foreigners with open arms considering tourism is extremely rare.

Fishing off Atauro Island Timor-Leste

Dili 2 by yeowatzup

Timor Leste by Sansao Mendes

East Timor by sugu

Traditional dress of Timor Leste by UN Photos

Traditional homes in Timor Leste by UN Photos

Timor-Leste Farmer Carries Away Crops Destroyed by Heavy Rains

 

8. Sierra Leone

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 7/10
low access link factor: 7/10
hard to get visa factor: 8/10
Beauty factor: 7/10

Unusual factor: 39/50

Why is it unusual?

It’s a country with ultimate wealth – gold and diamonds among them together along with one of the world’s largest natural harbour at the capital city Freetown – which brings a large number of cargo ship to the city. Despite that, 70% of the population is living under poverty making it the third poorest country in the world.

What I love about Sierra Leone?

The people. Sierra Leone is one of the world’s most religiously tolerant nation where large population of Muslims and Christians live in harmony. Tolerance in culture usually translates to the openness towards tourist which is always a good thing.

Photo by DFID

market town of Al-Meganis by AHeavens

a village in Sierra Leone by Mustafa Ozturk IHH

Lunsar by Mustafa Ozturk IHH

a mosque in Sierra Leone by Mustafa Ozturk IHH

 

7. Burma

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 9/10
low access link factor: 6/10
hard to get visa factor: 6/10
Beauty factor: 9/10

Unusual factor: 40/50

Why is it unusual?

Like North Korea, Burma is pretty much closed to the world. Look at any news channels today and most are reporting on the country’s appalling human rights violations especially towards child labour, human trafficking and freedom of speech. Despite that, the country boast one of the world’s most beautiful temple cities and very friendly people.

What I love about Burma?

Golden clad temples, scenic villages and amazing people

Parasols and paddles by Tarotastic

Lake Inle by Tarotastic

Floating Village by Tarotastic

Morning chores by Romsrini

Old women smoking by Druidabruxux

Praying couple at Schwedagon by AntwerpenR

Sunset over Bagan by Martin Sojka

Bagan by Marin Sojka

Mingalaba by Tranuf

Yangon buses by pyjama

11 by Tartarin 2009

Shwedagon at night by jmhullot

 

Golden Shwedagon pagoda by Martin Sojka

 

7. Tajikistan

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 5/10
low access link factor: 7/10
hard to get visa factor: 8/10
Beauty factor: 10/10

Unusual factor: 40/50

Why is it unusual?

It’s a country landlocked in the heart of Central Asia and along the beautiful Silk Road. It is one of the poorest country in the world owing largely to the huge civil war that broke out in 1991. It is also largely unexplored. Despite its size, Tajikistan is the second least visited country in the world with only 4,000 visitors a year.

What I love about Tajikistan?

Tajikistan has one of the world’s highest mountain regions in the Pamirs and a hospitable culture that hasn’t changed for centuries. And of course the fact that not many has visited this country gives it an extra appeal.

Wakhan Valley bordering Afghanistan and Tajikistan by sugarmelon.com

Never ending Chinese-Tajik-border along the Pamir Highway by sugarmelon.com

Holy Lake in Tajikistan by Ben Paarmann

alluvial fans in the Pamirs Tajikistan by mmj

water in Tajikistan by vhenevier

Central Square Khujand in Tajikistan by babasteve

portrait of a girl in Tajikistan by chenevier

farmer in Tajikistan by Oxfam International

a local family in Tajikistan by Radio Nederland

Market scene in Tajikistan by babasteve

Tajikistan by Robert Thompson

 

5. Chad

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 9/10
low access link factor: 8/10
hard to get visa factor: 8/10
Beauty factor: 6/10

Unusual factor: 41/50

Why is it unusual?

Chad is a country currently in political turmoil. The country is home to over 200 different tribes with many different religions including animist. These differences often resulted in tension between tribes. Chad is located in the heart of Africa bordering the troubled regions of Libya, Sudan and Central African Republic. Despite having crude oil as the primary resource of earnings, Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupted country in the world. It was declared as a failed state by FundForPeace based on its level of stability and capacity.

What I love about Chad?

The isolation. The dramatic desert landscape and the Chad basin, the second largest in Africa


Tchad by marches-lointaines.com

smiles and dust by 10b travelling

Zakouma National Park Chad 2 by Kempinski N’Djamena

Zakouma National Park Chad by Kempinski NDjamena 2

Sunset over river Chari by afcone

 

4. North Korea

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 8/10
low access link factor: 8/10
hard to get visa factor: 9/10
Beauty factor: 7/10

Unusual factor: 42/50

Why is it unusual?

North Korea is a supremely mystical country. A country that manages to make full use of its nuclear capabilities distancing itself from the rest of the world surely has a great secret or two. With half of the world already a well beaten track, North Korea’s one or two beautiful spots would surely garner anyone’s attention.

It is the world’s most militarised nation. Yes, with over 9 million army personnel ready to defend the country, North Korea has double the amount of troops compared to China’s ‘tiny’ 4.5 million and United States ‘miniscule’ 3 million troops. From a highly militarised nation comes an extremely disciplined work force. Check out the precisely coordinated opening at the Arirang Games in Pyongyang. Where else in the world can you get such a performance at a magnificent scale than in Pyongyang? I’m wondering how the preparation was like. In fact, I’m wondering how is everything like in North Korea? I wouldn’t think a minute if I ever get the chance to visit this intriguing country.

It’s hardly accessible. Not by road, rail or air. The only way for foreigners to visit the country is by joining a tour group that is organised by the government itself. If that sounds fun to you, there’s so many restrictions along the way. Firstly, happy snapping tourist would find themselves in trouble most of the time. This is not the country where you can take photos unless you were told to! Secondly, every single place you visit has been organised for you to watch and appreciate. It’s a huge theatre set. It’s like going to a Hollywood movie set where fill with actors and supporting cast. Thirdly upon departing the country, an officer will have to go through your cameras making sure you’re following the rules. To top that, anyone from the press are ineligible to join the tour group. Though I don’t necessarily agree with their policies, I really do not mind following their rules if I can make it to North Korea one day. Besides, you should respect local customs when travelling abroad right?

What I love most about North Korea?

Its secrecy, discipline and controversy.

North Korean soldiers by John Pavelka

Propaganda poster by yeowatzup

Arirang Games in Pyongyang by Leef Smith

Pyongyang by Fraser Lewry

North Korea by flatworldsedge

Pyongyang sunrise by stngiam

Pyongyang Hotel by Pricey

Pyongyang Traffic Warden by Bryanh

North Korea’s coast by Wandering Soles Photography

 

Sunday Rest by GadgetDan

Countryside North of Pyongyang by jensowagner

North Korean farmer by UnitedNationsPhoto

 

3. Yemen

low tourist arrivals factor: 9/10
Conflict factor: 10/10
low access link factor: 8/10
hard to get visa factor: 8/10
Beauty factor: 8/10 

Unusual factor: 43/50 

Why is it unusual? 

It is one of the friendliest Arab state with a genuine hospitality towards foreigners. Despite that, the country is currently facing a civil war and constant tribal conflicts. Yemen is a country that is waiting to be explored. It has one of the most dramatic landscape in the world coupled with a unique culture and great food. The Empty Quarter – a vast and hostile desert land stretching thousand of kilometres covers the north side of the country. The east and west are made of mountainous terrain that is great sight in itself. At the heart of this is Sanaa – the capital city of Yemen – which is one of the oldest city in history. The city is located 7000 feet above sea level. Yemen has a wonderful stretch of beach on its coastal west and south.

What I love about Yemen?

The amazing Arabian hospitality coupled with amazing natural landscape. And not to forget the amazing architecture of Sanaa. 

Sanaa Old City – by Richard Messenger

Sanaa town by eesti


Sanaa old town by Martin Sojka

Yemen people by enthogenesis

Yemen by eesti

a girl in Sanaa by Richard Messenger

Al Hajjara by ai@ce

Haraz mountains around Manaka by ai@ce

Zabid – the world’s hottest city – by ai@ce

Hadramawt wadi by localsurfer

Wadi Daah by enthogenesis

Socotra Island Yemen by Martin Sojka

Socotra Yemen by Soqotra

Socotra Island 2 Yemen by Martin Sojka

baobap trees in Yemen by alexbip

 

2. Afghanistan

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 10/10
low access link factor: 8/10
hard to get visa factor: 6/10
Beauty factor: 10/10

Unusual factor: 44/50

Why is it unusual?

Afghanistan has been the centre of the news for the past decade or so. The country has been at war for the past 30 years. There was the war with the Soviet Union in 1979 and recently the war to remove the Taliban. The country is still a war zone today. Afghanistan is an ethnically diverse country with a very rich history. Not many people know that the country’s unique location on the silk road has brought many different empires to its territory. Among the many wonders of the world includes the destroyed Buddha in Bamiyan.

What I love about Afghanistan?

The beautiful people, extremely beautiful landscape and a rich history

Kandahar Afghanistan by Nate Derrick

Band-E Amir by AfghanistanMatters

Afghanistan Lakeview by AfghanistanMatters

Road to Jalalabad by Todd Huffman

Destroyed Buddhas in Bamiyan by NRio

destroyed buddha of Bamiyan – photo on the left taken in 1997 and right in 2001 by bpblogspot

Kabul hillside homes by Laura Eyes

Kabul Buskashi by maiaibing

Kabul street life by rob7812

Compelling Eyes – Girl in Afghanistan by maiaibing

 

1. Kiribati

low tourist arrivals factor: 10/10
Conflict factor: 10/10
low access link factor: 10/10
hard to get visa factor: 5/10
Beauty factor: 10/10

Unusual factor: 45/50

Why is it unusual?

It’s a country which is far from anywhere. Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is one of the most desolated country in the world. It is also a country that is on the verge of disappearing due to the rapid sea level rise caused by the global warming. Despite receiving relatively few tourist, Kiribati is has one of the friendliest people. Some parts of the island are thoroughly desolated going to a point of being primitive.

What I love about Kiribati?

The paradise islands and untouched beauty. The people and their urgent plight from extinction. Global warming does affect more people than ever thought. This conflict doesn’t straddle on one region but on all of us. For a nation this isolated, only we as human beings can help save this nation from extinction.

Save us we are drowning – Kiribati by 350 dot org

Kiribati kids by teamkiribati.com

a Kiribati village by jopology

Kiribati by kiritours.com

Islet of Bairiki – South Tarawa – Kiribati by britannica.com

Kiribati by rafael avila coya

Near Tabiteuea North Tarawa by jopology

Butaritari Kiribati by KevGuy4101

Kiribati beach by BB

 

What is your favourite country from the list above? Have you been to any of these places?

 

 

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