Whether you’re a novice or an experienced hiker, that unpredictability of life that backpacking commands makes you reluctant to return to a normal life in the city, to take your place in the rat race. Whether you look for spirituality, adventure, friendship, new cultures, or just beauty in nature, you know that a single backpacking adventure has the capacity to change you forever. There are some amazingly breathtaking places to go in the world, good places where you will find happiness at the cheapest prices, with just a backpack of 50 liters to carry your world in.
You learn so many things by interacting with people all over the world, without the artificiality and blindfolds that accompany a vacation with luxuries. There are so many opportunities to make friends everywhere you go, and to promise to one day return and visit them. When you’re out there, you know that this was how it was meant to be, that this was what humans were made for: living free.
Some Breathtaking Places Which Should be on Your Bucket List
The Everest Base Camp Trail, Nepal
Anything that has Everest in its name is bound to be difficult, but this one is moderate. It starts and ends at Lukla, at an altitude of 18,192 feet above sea level. About 116 km (70 miles), it takes you through scenic mountain routes on which you see some of the highest peaks in the world at close quarters, like the Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse, all at very low prices. There are sherpa villages to be stayed in, and harsh conditions to be acclimatized to, but it’s all worth it!
North Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
A walk on the Drakensberg escarpment in South Africa, is about 65 km long. It is the ridge that borders the Lesotho plateau of the Drakensberg mountains at the border between Lesotho and South Africa. The view from the escarpment goes down 1800 m (the mountains themselves being about 3000 m high). If you plan accordingly, you can visit the San Rock Paintings, which are a world heritage site. The lushness of the area will surprise you, since it is one of the more forgotten parts of the world.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
Peru is a beautiful country where you can plan budget travel and have an amazing time. There are several alternative routes to Machu Picchu from the surrounding terrain, so you may customize your experience as much as possible, (provided you carry permits). Three of the main ones are The Classic, The Mollepatta, and the One Day routes, ranging in difficulty and anywhere between one- to ten-day treks. You are guaranteed plenty of ruins, llamas, and mountains to last you a lifetime.
The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Hike, United States of America
A popular site within the backpacking community is the strenuous rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon carved out over time by the Colorado river through Arizona, that people usually undertake from the North Kaibab Trail to the Bright Angel Trail in the south, covering a distance of 24 miles (including ascent and descent from the banks of the river). It is a grueling hike, but you have pit stops along the way where you can refuel. The view from the banks of the Colorado is the best part.
The Polar Route, Greenland
This route takes the backpacker to the frigid areas around the Arctic Circle, in a sparse and unexplored, but intensely beautiful country. Make your own paths across the 200km route from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut, with plenty of wild food you can catch yourself (though you shouldn’t). The area is good for summer, if you want to see the vestiges of Greenland in its former icy glory. A lot of tundra, falling glaciers along the coastline, fjords and human remains inhabit the land.
The Appalachian Trail, United States of America
This is the longest trail in the list, at 3,500 km of the Appalachians, from the Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, spanning 14 North American states. An adventure fest in its own right, it takes about five to seven months for a fit person to finish the trek. It offers breathtaking sights in the first few miles itself, like the 30-Mile-Wilderness, the Lower Wilson Falls, with the Blue Mountain, Anthony’s Nose, and Kittatinny Ridge coming in later.
The Kilimanjaro Trail, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in all of Africa, and has the most amazing trekking routes, 7 in all, which take varying amounts of time, ranging from 6 to 12 days. If one opts for the Machame route, it will take you through the most scenic areas of forests and wildlife, with views of Kibo and Mount Meru, albeit at a price of high foot traffic and high difficulty levels.
Pays Dogon, Mali
A vivid world of mud huts, sunshine, warm people, art, and cliffs awaits you at this World Heritage Site which is located in Mali, West Africa. You can start at a bigger town and make your way across the landscape to smaller settlements, like the ones at Dourou, Songo, or Bandiagara. Tempting as it may seem to interact with the locals who have lived there for centuries, you need to respect them and their rites. It can prove a wonderful experience in a new land.
A popular route is from Amman to Petra which allows the backpacker a great way to check out the multicolored and beautiful desert Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, Jerash, Dana Nature Reserve, and the archaeologically significant site at Petra, which means you will have to hitch hike a bit to get around in the absolute heat.
There are several places in Egypt that you can explore like the ancient city of Alexandria, the Nile, the pyramids of Giza, Kom Ombo, and the Great Sand Sea because accommodation, food, travel and tourism is inexpensive. There are numerous things to see in Egypt besides the desert; the coastal area is often unexplored and has so much adventure to offer in the way of water sports and snorkeling at competitive rates. Hitchhike it all the way there with a few dollars in your pocket.
Virtually the entire country is easy to backpack across, as people here are kind and friendly enough to help travelers. You can start out at the capital Ankara or at the multicultural, east-meets-west, all-important hub of Istanbul, with its beautiful mosques, bazaars optimized for haggling, and the amazing food. Make sure you visit the ruins at Anatolia and take a look at the Roman aqueducts that were constructed in the city. It is the haven of travel enthusiasts and backpackers.
India has lots to offer in terms of backpacking options for tourists. Plenty of religious and spiritual landmarks like Rishikesh, Varanasi, and the temples of the south are easily accessible, though excessively charged for travelers as compared to the Indian public. Take a ride from scenic Kashmir in Ladakh and Srinagar, to the beaches of Goa. There is immense diversity here every few miles, enough to satisfy the most curious traveler. Be wary of swindlers and gold-diggers, though.
Ethiopian Simiens, Ethiopia
The Simien Mountains National Park offers a very beautiful landscape for travelers wanting to hike across Ethiopia. The amount of flora and fauna one comes across here is breathtaking to say the least. The land gently flows over, at an altitude of 3,600 m above sea level. Trekking with guides is encouraged, though not necessary. It’s just that there aren’t many helpful facilities for the independent visitor. Taking a scout along won’t hurt, though.
The list here is just the tip of the iceberg. One can backpack across any and every terrain, starting from one’s own backyard to the neighboring city. Seasoned backpackers know this already, but always make sure to research about the locals and their habits, cultures and customs, economic situations and atmosphere of the country you want to go to, before you decide to go gallivanting across the hemisphere. Keep a few safety measures in place and your documents at all times and you’re good to go!