OFF THE BEATEN TRACK – EXPERIENCES

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The Wildest Tales 

I’m definitely off the beaten track girl. Must-see places are cool, but this is NOT where the magic happens. To me going off the beaten track means interacting with the local crowd. You need to let the people guide you. Don’t count on visiting famous sights, you will more likely end up in their favourite bar, but you will learn way more about the country than you would otherwise (and you can take some great photos!). Just imagine that in Russia we met some incredible folk who by the end of the conversation invited us to their dacha (summer-house) so we could actually see how they live. Isn’t it great?

I’m not afraid to ask a stranger for recommendations but if you are shy, try to go to one of the meet ups or couch surfing weekly meetings in the area. I usually post online my next destination (on my Facebook or in one of the couch surfing groups) and the response is always positive – people want to meet especially in less touristy places. If you stay in a hostel ask the staff for their favourite spots. A good idea is to browse some local blogs about the place you want to visit. For example, if you are going to Paris try to look for a blogger who lives there and is passionate about discovering new, interesting spots in the city. They key to travelling off the beaten track is THE PEOPLE!

Blog: The Wildest Tales

Instagram: The Wildest Tales 

About the photo – we were visiting a local friend in Yerevan when we spotted two men playing black gammon on the street.

My top off the beaten path destination has to be Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand.
I found it on the Thai National Parks website and set about arranging a short trip there on my recent visit to the country. It’s not easy to get to if you don’t have your own vehicle and this is a blessing because it keeps the hordes away. I camped there with my girlfriend in July and there was only one other guest and the Park Ranger (not to mention more wildlife than I have ever seen anywhere in one place).


My experience hiking through the jungle there was unforgettable and a little nerve-wracking at times. Walking through dense rainforest and camping where leopards, elephants and tigers live, not to mention some of the world’s deadliest snakes and scariest spiders had the adrenalin pumping but was the experience of a lifetime.


We stayed at the Ban Kraeng Campsite inside the national park. You must hire a driver and vehicle to get into the park if you don’t have a car. You can take taxis or minibuses to the main park office near Kaeng Krachan Town (an hour from Hua Hin or four hours from Bangkok). Entrance to the park is 300 Thai Baht and the vehicle and driver cost 1400 Thai Baht return.

Darvaza (The Door to Hell)
It doesn’t get more ‘off the beaten path’ than a giant fire crater in the middle of a desert in one of the world’s most closed and secretive countries. I was planning on travelling back to China from London along the old Silk Road and needed to pass through Turkmenistan in Central Asia to complete my trip. While investigating the country to see what I could see along the way, I came across the Darvaza gas crater and this was an absolute must on my trip.

Darvaza – The Door to Hell!


The crater exists as a result of soviet gas exploration in the 1950’s. After an accident where the drilling machinery sunk into a giant sinkhole scientists discovered natural gas and decided to burn it off, reckoning on about a week. 60 years later it is still burning strong. I wasn’t disappointed and spent one night camping in the desert next to the crater with a friend who was joining me on part of my journey. The heat and noise of the flames was intense and as the sun set a lightning storm broke out to make it one of the most eerie experiences I’ve ever had on the road.

For me, going off the beaten track means exactly that. It means simply walking or cycling until I am in the middle of nowhere. I usually ask hostel staff the best places to go to escape the crowds or for a particular hidden gem, but I will usually chose a destination that is not touristy to begin with. I usually research my destinations using guidebooks and online resources like Wikitravel and then head for the smaller places rather than the capital or tourist hotspots.

Ashgabat – The Strangest City

Yanar Dag – Fire Mountain

I live in China and with a population of 1.3 billion it can seem almost impossible to find somewhere away from the crowds and off the beaten track. However with a little inside knowledge and a sense of adventure it can be done with relative ease. On my days off I usually look at the map for areas of green and simply cycle in that direction. I have found some wonderful things doing this, including an ancient village that is not marked on any map which was a real treat for me!

I also think there are levels of “off the beaten track” too. For example I consider travelling to countries like Kosovo, Turkmenistan or North Korea off the beaten track simply because of the number of visitors. Other times it can be a smaller city rather than a larger one (Xi’an instead of Beijing). I recently spent three weeks in Thailand and was daunted at the thought of a tourist hell, but even there with a little research I was able to find somewhere off the beaten track.

Is it ok to visit North Korea?

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Here Are Some Great Destinations To Check Out From Travel Bloggers Around The World.

Turkistan and Otrar: Exploring Kazakhstan’s Deep South

Moldova: Europe’s Last Frontier

Enchanting Pushkar, Rajasthan

Going offbeat- why you should consider Lebanon

Seven Things To Do Off The Beaten Path In Madrid

My Day in the DPRK – Visiting North Korea

AGUMBE – A PERFECT ANYTIME GETAWAY FOR WILDLIFE ENTHUSIASTS

EXPLORING LUEBECK: THE FIRST GERMAN CITY THAT GOT BOMBED DURING WWII

Triund the one of the best trekking destination in Himachal Pradesh

Have you been to any OFF THE BEATEN TRACK PLACES? If so send us an email on [email protected] (with a short written piece up to 500 words and 3 photos and your blog and social media links) and we will feature you.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Avatar
    lexieanimetravel
    Reply

    These are all amazing places to visit, the one really captured me is the Darvaza or the door to hell that’s just creepy but at the same time it looks absolutely exceptional.

  • Avatar
    Heleneq
    Reply

    Wow, amazing stories:D I really love off-the-beaten-track experiences too! I’m still a bit shy about approaching people I don’t know while traveling, so I usually get my local experiences through someone I know from that area. I need to get better at interacting with locals:D This post has definitely inspired me to try harder:D

  • Avatar
    Travelquartz
    Reply

    I am so glad I have visited Pushkar and shared the details in this awesome post, this motivates me to visit more offbeat destinations around the world, to begin with, I will choose destinations from the list you have shared. Love this post. thank you for letting us know all these cool places. the Darwaza in Hindi means Door can you believe it ( I wonder if it has some Hindi connection else how is the name Darwaza ) . Such a coincidence the name has a logic here. I am totally amazed!

  • Avatar
    Aditi
    Reply

    Woah! That crater, darvaza, is remarkable and unbelievable. I loved the stories and believe in talking to the people of the city too. Cheers!!

  • Avatar
    Rahat Arora
    Reply

    These all destinations are incredible must visit to explore the off beaten travel experience. These stories are amazing.

  • Avatar
    Ambuj Saxena
    Reply

    These are off-beat and amazing places to visit aren’t they? I would love to step out of the comfort zone and visit them. Thanks for sharing.

  • Avatar
    Helene
    Reply

    Wow I love all these off-the-beaten-track experiences! Especially the hell-crater looks so cool! I haven’t had that many unconventional travel experiences yet, but hopefully in the future:) Love all the photos!

  • Avatar
    Ava
    Reply

    Although I love finding hidden gems, extreme off the beaten path places are generally not for me. I do enjoy reading about them, though. Even traveling close to home, I like to ask the locals for recommendations.

  • Avatar
    Dave - Travel Bugs
    Reply

    I love your site! Beautiful pictures and great information to share. We too are off the beaten path travellers, choosing nature, culture and human experience over typical hot spots and travel trends. I will explore this site further 🙂

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