1. The Gobi Desert, Mongolia
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.
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.
2. The Pamir Highway, Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.