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8 Best Places To Go After COVID-19

As countries around the world started to open its door to tourism again after a long period of lockdown and closed borders.

Captured at Pamir Highway on the 29 September 2017 by Freya Muller

1. The Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Confirmed COVID Cases: 215+ in Mongolia
Trip Duration: 5 – 7+ days
People on this Trip: 6 people max

As I was reliving my Mongolia Moments when I was redoing my travel videos under lockdown, I started to realize how great the Mongolian Steppes and the Gobi Desert would be to social distance ourselves from the rest of the world and then one thing led to another, and I am now writing this article for you.

I remember the time I looked out of the yurt I was staying on my last night in the Gobi Desert and realizing how spacious our world is. There was not a single soul around me for miles away.

I went and walked up to a mountain top to look for some sign of other settlements and I was unable to see any. There was nothing around me but pure nature and I felt nothing but bliss as I stood on that mountain, realizing how lucky I was to be able to be there.

Due to the fact that Mongolia is sparsely populated, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t affect the country as much as other countries with only 214 confirmed cases in mid-2020 making Mongolia one of the safest places to go after the pandemic.

To explore the Gobi Desert, you will need to go on a tour that can range from 6 – 12 days depending on what you want to see in the Gobi Desert. The tour will consist of about 6 people maximum and you won’t be in any crowded area during the entire trip as you hop around from one yurt to another like a nomad. It truly is the ultimate destination to go social distancing while traveling.

To get to the Gobi Desert, you will have to first fly into Ulaarbator (find cheap flights to Mongolia here) and find a tour to join to go to the Gobi Desert. I highly recommend the Sunpath Tour Operator or you can browse through other Mongolia Tours with the link below:

2. The Pamir Highway, Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan

Confirmed COVID Cases: 3726+ in Kyrgyzstan, 5630+ in Tajikistan, but much less in the remote Pamir region.
Trip Duration: 8+ days
People on this Trip: 4 people max

The Pamir Highway is one of the best road trips you can do in your life. The highway stretches across Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan along the remote mountain region of the Pamir bordering Afghanistan. This beautiful scenic road is considered to be one of the highest international highways in the world with the highest point at 4,655m above sea-level.

Along the way, you will be sleeping at local’s guest houses in towns in the middle of nowhere, seeing what life is like out there along the Pamir, and interacting with lovely people while being sandwiched between stunning landscapes and snowy mountains throughout your entire road trip.

The Pamir Highway is one of the most remote regions in the world and social-distancing will not be a problem at all while you are on this trip. Since the Pamir Highway connects the 2 countries, you will have to start your trip in Kyrgyzstan and end in Tajikistan.

The confirmed COVID cases in these 2 countries are relatively low compared to countries in Europe and America with only 3,700 cases in Kyrgyzstan and 5,600 cases in Tajikistan, mostly in urban areas. You will most likely be only arriving and departing from these cities but once you are on your way to the Pamir, you will be in a less affected region most of your trip.

To start traveling along the Pamir Highway, you will have to travel to Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan and from there, you can either join up with a tour at Osh Guesthouse where they run the trip often or you can pre-organize it via Caravanistan Forum which I personally used.

3. The Great Walks In New Zealand

Confirmed COVID Cases: 1166+ in New Zealand
Trip Duration: 3+ days
People on this Trip: 1+ person

New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world that was able to flatten the COVID curve successfully and they are way ahead of everyone else in terms of readying their country for tourism.

Due to excellent policies by the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and the country’s effort to control the spread of the virus, New Zealand only saw about 1166 confirmed cases, making it one of the safest places to travel to.

New Zealand was already a well-known destination for its untouched nature and great hiking spots even before the COVID-19, especially in the South Island where many of the most beautiful Great Walks are located.

They have managed a way to create and maintain several hiking tracks around the country where you will be able to hike through some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring landscapes with varying difficulties and duration. There is no better way to socially distance ourselves from the world when traveling than to go hiking in New Zealand and they have a ton of scenic routes for us to choose from.

There are several Great Walks for you to tackle while in New Zealand. While I was there, I was able to do parts of the Abel Tasman Coast Track as well as the full-length of the Routeburn Track which I highly recommend.

To do these great walks, first, you have to plan ahead and pick the dates you want to start and end the hike and then you will have to book the mountain huts on New Zealand’s official website along the route. These mountain huts get booked out extremely fast so be sure to do it prior to your trip.

There are also other nature-related things to do in New Zealand other than hiking that will help you with social distancing and you can browse through all the available tours from the link below:

4. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

Confirmed COVID Cases: 26,389+ in Bolivia but much less in the Uyuni region
Trip Duration: 3+ days
People on this Trip: 6 people max

South American countries are not doing as well when it comes to flattening the COVID curve as countries in Asia or Oceania but fortunately, there are a ton of regions that are less affected such as the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world in Bolivia.

Bolivia confirmed cases sit at 26,389 as of mid-2020 and even though the number is high, the affected regions are usually the highly populated area which Salar de Uyuni isn’t, making it a great place to go social distancing and away from the rest of the world.

To explore Salar de Uyuni, you will be traveling in a jeep with a maximum of 6 people through the salt flats, sleep in a hotel made out of salt, and relaxing in a high altitude hot spring in the remote mountain region of Bolivia.

Most of the jeeps traveling the route will spread themselves out to different guest houses in the remote villages around Salar de Uyuni so you won’t be around many people in a confined area during the trip making social distancing much easier.

To start planning your trip, you can book a tour from a local travel agency (I recommend Red Planet Expedition) when you arrive in Salar de Uyuni or you can browse through the tours available online and book one with the link below:

5. The Galapagos Island, Ecuador

Confirmed COVID Cases: 51,643+ in Ecuador but only 78 cases on the Galapagos Island
Trip Duration: 7+ days
People on this Trip: 8 – 12 people max

While we are still in South America, another excellent destination to travel to for social distancing is the Galapagos Island in Ecuador. Despite the high number of confirmed cases in Ecuador, standing at 51,600 cases as of mid-2020, the Galapagos Island has only seen about 78 confirmed cases, and for a good reason.

The Galapagos Island is located 926 km west of mainland Ecuador, making it easy for the island to control the COVID-19 spread, something I can’t say the same for the mainland. Due to this fact, Galapagos Island is one of the best places to the social distance while traveling and surround yourself with cute and beautiful animals instead of people.

To get to the Galapagos Island, you will have to go through either Quito or Guayaquil airports and from there, you can fly domestically to Isla Baltra and Isla Santa Cruz where the airport and the main town are located respectively.

While you are on the main island, you can spend a day browsing around and find the perfect cruise to join for a boat trip around the Galapagos archipelago which is the best way to explore the more remote regions of the Galapagos.

On this boat, you will be with around 8 – 12 other people and you won’t be going into any crowded area for the next 6 – 12 days depending on your trip’s duration so social distancing will not be a problem.

If you would rather book a cruise online and pay with a credit card instead of cash like you would if you book on the island, you can browse through available Galapagos tours with the link below:

6. Easter Island, Chile

Confirmed COVID Cases: 254,000+ in Chile but only 5 cases on Easter Island
Trip Duration: 5+ days
People on this Trip: 1+ person

Talking about islands, another great remote island that you should visit after the COVID-19 is Easter Island located over 3,500 km away making it one of the most remote islands I have ever visited in my life.

To be honest, Chile is not doing so well with the containment of the spread of COVID-19 with whopping 250,000+ cases as of mid-2020 but since Easter Island is so far away from the mainland, they have only been seeing 5 cases which makes the island a great place to stay social distance while traveling.

The beautiful culture of Rapa Nui is one of the most interesting cultures out there and to be able to see the Rapa Nui statue with your own eyes is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will not regret.

You can rent a quad bike and explore the island alone, away from people, or you can go off at night and see the stars as you have never seen before. I’ve never the Milky Way so visible in my life!

To get to Easter Island, you will have to fly into Santiago and from there you can fly domestically with LATAM Airlines to get to Easter Island. When you arrive on the island, you can rent a car, a quad bike, or a bike and go out and explore the remote island by yourself.

You can find cheap flights to Easter Island at Expedia or if you rather go on a tour around Easter Island instead of doing it independently, you can browse through great tours with the link below:

7. The Himalayas, Nepal

Confirmed COVID Cases: 10,728+ in Nepal but much less in the Himalayas region
Trip Duration: 5+ days
People on this Trip: 1+ person

You can’t talk about remote areas without mentioning one of the most remote areas in the world, the Himalayas, which is another great place to travel to after COVID-19. Nepal is one of the cheapest countries you can travel to and get access to some of the most stunning areas in the Himalayas.

You can go off into the mountain and start hiking one of the many scenic trekking trails around the country or you can stick to the popular routes like the Annapurna Base Camp or the Everest Base Camp, both of which I highly recommend.

With the tourism infrastructure to accommodate hikers from around the world, you will have plenty of options when it comes to teahouses and since not many will be traveling after COVID-19 as before, you will be able to pick an empty teahouse to your liking and stay social distanced in an already remote region of the country.

Nepal itself is not doing well in relative to other Asian countries but the Himalayas is massive and extremely remote and so the region was less affected by the virus than the more urban areas like Kathmandu.

That said, you will have to travel to Kathmandu first to get into Nepal and from there, you can fly domestically to the trailhead and begin trekking into the Himalayas. You can do these hikes independently as I did or if you would rather book something online prior to arriving, be sure to check out some of the available tours with the link below:

8. The Outback, Australia

Confirmed COVID Cases: 7,519+ in Australia but much less in the Outback
Trip Duration: 3+ days
People on this Trip: 1+ person

Australia is another country that is doing very well at containing the spread of COVID-19 with around 7,500 confirmed cases since mid-2020, making it another great place to visit after COVID-19.

The Outback desert of Australia is the perfect place to maintain social distancing while traveling in Australia. With a vast unpopulated desert area, so remote that even the Australians rarely go, you will have all the beautiful aboriginal sacred spots like Uluru and Kata Tjuta all to yourself.

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Written by Shivam H

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