We have all heard the oft-used phrase “off the beaten track”, something discussed in the world’s 10 least visited countries article. But whilst there are countries out there that few people visit, there are even more extreme settlements that not only few people visit, but which throw up the question of why on earth would people live there?
Be it geographical distance, isolation, or sheer ruggedness, the following places all have one thing in common; the people here are tough!
One thing in common: The people here are tough!
5 – Chang Tang, Tibet, China
Whilst Tibet and Lhasa are very much on the backpacker trail, the town of Chang Tang certainly isn’t! A high-altitude plateau stretching 1,600 kilometers across the Tibetan Plateau, this inhospitable land is inhabited by an amazing half a million Changpa, a nomadic race of hard-assed folks! An EU commission even named it as the least hospitable place on earth! For the battle-hardened, YPT can arrange an independent tour here.
4 – Oymyakon, Russian Federation
You simply cannot have a most isolated list worth anything without including a little bit of Siberia! Oymyakon is one of the coldest places on earth. It has an extreme subarctic climate that on February 6, 1933, dropped to a temperature of −67.7 °C. Days range from 3-21 hours depending on the time of year, and the 500 or so people that live here are that special type of tough Russian you only find in deepest darkest Siberia. YPT might not go here, but we do go to Magadan!
3 – Tristan Da Cunha, British colony
This British colony is statistically the most isolated place on earth. It lies 2000 KM from the nearest populated island of St Helena, and with its population of exactly 297 people, it’s hardly buzzing. There is no airport, and the only way in, or out, is by boat. They make up for all this by having a capital “city” called Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, how cool is that? Unfortunately, they don’t serve haggis suppers, though.
2 – Kerguelen Islands, French Overseas Territory
These set of French colonial islands lie in the southern Indian Ocean, and are also known as the “Desolation Islands”. At more than 3,300 km (2,051 miles) away from the nearest populated location, it is the benchmark for off the beaten track! The population fluctuates from under 50 in winter to over 100 in summer, and there really isn’t much to do here.
1 – Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
If you think saying “Ittoqqortoormiit” is hard, getting there is even harder. Located on Liverpool Land (no relation to actual Scousers), a peninsula in eastern Greenland, it is one of the most remote towns in the country, and thus the world. First settled in 1925 by 80 Inuit, the local population of under 500 now spend their time hunting whales, killing polar bears and discussing which of the 200 Inuit words for snow is their favorite. YPT are planning a Greenland cruise in 2019, contact us for pre-booking.