With 2019 in our sights it is time to list our favourite destinations and experiences to give you some travel inspiration to ponder for your upcoming adventures. At Crooked Compass, we are always on the look out for emerging destinations and new experiences to take our travellers to. From hidden beaches to city secrets to remote tribal villages it’s all about seeing what our incredible planet has on offer and getting there before the crowds.
While it is tempting to revisit an old favourite like London, Paris or New York there is something special and very memorable about having adventures off the beaten path and at Crooked Compass we are all about following a different path.
Dusted in eye-popping cobalts, cyans and sapphires, Uzbekistan has an incredible tangle of history to unravel and hidden sites to uncover. From its former Persian rule and key location along the famed Silk Road, to which it owes much of its grand architecture and culture, to a short period under Soviet rule, this jumble of traditions is a treasure trove waiting to be cracked open. Wind back through Uzbekistan as you stay in hidden villages, live with locals and embrace the stunning scenery. Spend an evening under the stars in a yurt, deep in the Kyzyl Kum desert where the night sky will be one of the clearest and most spectacular star gazing experiences you may ever have.
Interesting Fact: Uzbekistan is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (that is, a country completely surrounded by landlocked countries), the other being Liechtenstein.
The Hunza Valley in Pakistan is a site of natural magnificence. Tucked between the soaring peaks of Pakistan in a strategic location nestled along the ancient Silk Road, merchants and traders have traversed through these humble villages for centuries. Only in recent years, has there been the infrastructure to access these ancient villages by road, revealing a time frozen wonderland of rich culture, glistening glaciers, fertile apricot farms and turquoise alpine lakes. Oozing with cultural heritage, this journey takes in the best of what Pakistan has to offer whilst exploring hidden mountain paradises and villages from another world.
Come and discover how gets its name – Pak (pure) and Stan (land) means ‘land of the pure’ in the Persian and Urdu languages.
A trip through Namibia is a journey of rich wildlife and raw culture. Go telemetry tracking for lions, elephants and leopards. Walk with caracals and go behind the scenes of the Leopard Conservation Fund. Join San Bushmen around their evening fire and listen to their traditional stories about the stars, animals, galaxies and the universe. Go on a bush hunt with the Ju’hoan hunters, collecting bush foods of berries, tubers, honey and small animals.
Interesting Fact: Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world, Mongolia takes the credit for being the least.
Hidden in the north Caucasus region in the far south east of Russia, Dagestan, officially the Republic of Dagestan which translates to ‘Land of the Mountains’, shares with its Caucasian neighbours the towering mountains of the Greater Caucasus, rushing Caucasian rivers, and mountaintop villages clinging onto spectacularly sheer cliffs. But in an already diverse region, most commonly known for its tumultuous past of Russian flashpoints, Dagestan is a wonderland of ethnic and cultural diversity offering breathtaking scenic beauty. Prepare to be greatly rewarded by the very friendly and hospitable people, incredible natural beauty, cultural diversity and impressive historical sites.
Did you know…About 35 separate ethnolinguistic groups live in this republic and the region contains an amazing 12 language families!
Think beyond Japan for Cherry Blossom season. South Korea is often missed as travellers get wrapped up in Japan’s Sakura season or ‘Golden Week’. Follow ‘Dream Road’ in South Korea as you hike and weave through lush forests bursting with soft cherry blossoms. Bowing overhead as you follow abandoned train tracks and pass gurgling streams, explore on foot and absorb nature at its most elegant. Move into the remote mountains to Mt. Songnisan National Park, one of the countries best kept secrets. Here you will be introduced to the zen of Buddhism at a traditional temple stay. Enjoy alms under the starry sky and meditation in the mountains and traditional tea ceremony’s with the monks and nuns. The perfect introduction to both the Korean and Buddhist culture and the beautiful natural world often hidden from many travellers minds.
Travel Tip: Words can’t describe just how much food surrounds this festival. There is great Korean food absolutely everywhere for you try so why try some famous Bibimbap (Mixed Fried Rice that is super delicious) or Hoeddeok (Sweet Syrup Pancakes that are to die for).
Discover Bangladesh, the greenest gem of Asia, carved with waterways which are the veins of the country and hill top villages bursting with tribal culture. Start in the hectic city of Dhaka, escape the chaos as you venture through lush landscapes of hundreds of hues of green dotted with bursts of colour from tea plucking ladies and wayside markets. Weave through the landscape by boat, allowing you to experience the country from a different perspective. Uncover hidden Buddhist temples and ruins whilst also learning about the blend of Hindu, Christian and tribal religions. Cruise through the Sunderbans in search of the elusive Bengal Tiger and home to an array of other wildlife. The experiences you will have travelling through Bangladesh are raw, eye opening and heart warming.
Interesting Fact: Bangladesh is home to the worlds longest sea beach, Cox Bazaar. You can see this on Day 8 & 9 of our Treasures of Bangladesh small group tour.
Make this experience yours, let us help you secure your spot on one of our amazing adventures of a lifetime. We look forward to welcoming you on one of our small group tours.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.