Travel Inspiration for 2020

Posted by Crooked Compass

In 2020 we are unveiling some incredible destinations that we have just released for the first time, with more to follow later in the year. We also have some old favourites which are worth considering if you are looking for travel inspiration to take you off the beaten track. The world awaits! Where are you considering travelling in 2020?

Photo Credit: Ian Dooley (Unsplash)

Forbidden Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. It occupies an area about the size of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Saudi Arabia’s population is 33 million, includes around 12 million foreign residents. Saudi Arabia’s geography is diverse, with forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts. The climate varies from region to region. Temperatures can reach can soar in the desert in the summer, while in the winter temperatures in the north and central parts of the country can drop below freezing. A trip to Saudi Arabia can best be described as surpriasin, unexpected and beautiful. But don't take our word for it discover it for yourself.

Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia
Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia

A journey of discovery awaits. Our Forbidden Kingdom of Saudi Arabia small group tour which will be led by Crooked Compass Founder Lisa Pagotto, and has a departure date for 9th November 2021. If you are wishing to explore Saudi Arabia before 2021, our Tours By Design team can help you create your perfect journey on a private basis. Only recently opening its previously forbidden doors to travellers, this is one destination that has caught the attention of intrepid travellers the world over. A country rich in symbolism and home to some of the world’s most incredible pre Islamic treasures, the country is also home to unusual yet diminishing tribes, hidden cultures, forgotten practices and contrastingly modern cities with buzzing cosmopolitan vibes and a stunning coastline which is home to a vast array of marine life. Chances for learning and discovery are abundant, Saudi Arabia delivers a contrast of landscapes and lifestyles unlike any other Middle Eastern destination for the curious minded voyager.

The city of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia
The city of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia

Lemurs & Tribes Madagascar

Madagascar was only colonised by human settlers relatively recently - perhaps as late as 500AD - some 300,000 years after the first appearance of Homo sapiens in Africa and is truly a world of its own. Separated from mainland Africa over 88 million years ago, it is dubbed the ‘eighth continent.’ According to Conservation International, just 17 countries are considered “megadiverse”. Each possesses a vast number of different species – many found nowhere else. And Madagascar, thanks largely to being undisturbed by humans for so very long, is one. Among its resident animals are more than half the world’s chameleons and dozens of species of lemur. Apart from its natural treasure, the island nation is also rich in a culture of charming ethnic groups.

Ranomafana, Madagascar, Lemurs & Tribes - Crooked Compass
Ranomafana, Madagascar, Lemurs & Tribes

Calling all adventurers, wildlife lovers and those looking to immerse themselves in a true explorers journey! Our Lemurs & Tribes small group tour will take you places that you thought only existed in the pages of National Geographic. Immerse yourself in the welcoming Malagasy people, the indigenous tribes along with their proud traditions as well as allowing you to venture into the local custom of the ‘Turning of the Bones’. Venture far from civilisation into the wilderness to marvel at the country’s biodiversity which cannot be matched by any other destination on our planet. Visits to National Parks are a chance to spot unique plants and animals whilst exploring stunning landscapes with sharp cliffs and bizarre rock formations, resulting from volcanic activity and wind. Are you ready to see Madagascar in 2020?

Trio of Lemurs

Discovery of Central Asia - 5 Stans

Tucked between India, Russia and China, the five 'stans' are a congregation of mountains, steppe grassland and desert. Once a mix of feudal khanates and nomadic peoples, they were formed as republics under Stalin's rule. Now, 20 years after independence, they are forging their own identities. A trip to this region is a chance to witness sapphire lakes, sheer peaks capped with snow, wild nomadic frontiers, cobalt architecture and a tangle of fascinating history which are Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Big Almaty Lake in Kazakhstan
Big Almaty Lake in Kazakhstan

These almost untouched nations provide travellers with some of the most incredible and fresh travel experiences on our planet. A destination that was once truly off the tourist map is starting to gain momentum as a hot spot, but it is not too late to see it before the masses. Just don't wait too long! Our small group tour is a true exploration into a bygone era as you uncover time frozen cultures, a jumble of soviet and Persian history, Silk Road trade routes and jaw dropping beauty unlike anywhere else and that transitions into the modern world.  This is an immersive and rewarding journey for those adventurers wanting to embrace a region that truly is off the beaten the path.

Camping at the Dawarza Crater or Doorway to Hell
Camping at the Dawarza Crater or Doorway to Hell

Bhutan Unveiled

Looking for a country with no traffic lights? What about a destination that smoking as well as tobacco products are illegal? What about a country where Gross National Happiness was identified by the nation as being more important than Gross National Product? Then Bhutan is for you. The small and predominantly Buddhist nation of Bhutan, tucked between China and India, is lanced by deep ravines and coated with thick woods. It is a mysterious kingdom nestled in the heart of the Himalayas and is no ordinary place. Here, chilies make up whole dishes, the rice is red and you get fined for not wearing your national dress.

Tigers Nest, Bhutan
Tigers Nest, Bhutan

Bhutan is a country of surprises terraced by lush rice paddies, pine forests and dotted with sparkling mountain lakes and is one of the most untouched kingdoms on our planet. A fascinating land heavy with deep mythology, where giant protective penises are painted on the walls of houses (no really, they are) and ancient traditions intertwine seamlessly modern complexes. The doors open to only a small number of travellers each year so now is your chance to mingle amongst the elders chewing on red beetle nut, the creak and whirr of spinning prayer wheels and the flap of fluttering prayer flags, your senses are overloaded. A trip to Bhutan with us will truly encapsulate you.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in Bhutan

Looking for a bucket list journey to take in 2020? If you would like to make this experience yours then contact us today, our Tours By Design team are ready to create your bespoke journey. Check out our range of small group tours here.