26 June 2014
The world's best volcano tours
Erta Alle, Ethiopia
Set out in the middle of the night to reach the summit of the active Erta Alle volcano in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia. The most active volcano in the country, it means “smoking mountain” in the local language, and there are two active lava lakes at the summit, which occasionally overflow. Travel the Unknown has an eight-day trip that includes a night-time summit trek of Erta Alle, as well as Addis Ababa and nomadic villages. From £1,895 per person, full board. Flights extra. (020 7183 6371; traveltheunknown.com)
20 June 2014
Inside Iran - The Glories of Persia
The Address Magaine
Dawn light streams into Nasir al-Molk mosque, illuminating the meditative dusty air with a vibrant palette, enriched in intensity by the stained-glass windows. The reflections cast onto a deep-pile Persian rug snuggle my toes and invite me to stay a while. The mosque is empty at first light; a rare privilege in Shiraz, the city of poetry, literature, flowers and wine. The vineyards of old no longer exist since Iran became the Islamic Republic in 1979.
17 June 2014
Iran: tour operators welcome reopening of British embassy in Tehran
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary said that “the circumstances are right” for the reopening of the embassy, which closed in 2011 after a riot left considerable damage, and diplomatic ties with Iran were severed.
The move is good news for tourists looking to travel to Iran as it means there will be a greater level of support and consular advice on the ground, the lack of which has been one of the key reasons why the Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential travel to the country.
This has made obtaining travel insurance expensive, because insurers are usually unwilling to cover visitors to countries against which the government advises travel.
The reopening, the date of which is yet to be set, is a positive sign that the government will lift these travel restrictions, facilitating travel to Iran and making the purchase of travel insurance easier and cheaper.
1 November 2013
Along the Bedouin trails of Jordan
Diana Darke takes her family on a five-day, five-star desert trek to visit the ‘rose-red city’ of Petra.
Disguised as a Muslim with sacrificial goat in tow, the Swiss traveller and Orientalist Johann Burckhardt entered the legendary ‘lost city’ of Petra by pretending to make an offering at Aaron’s hilltop tomb inside the ruins. It was 1812 and his were the first European eyes since the Crusaders to set sight on the now-famous facade of Al Khazneh (‘The Treasury’). Unable to disguise his astonishment, he aroused the suspicions of his guide, who drew a rifle on him. After conducting the sacrifice he bid a hasty retreat and never got a chance to explore further. But the ‘rose-red city’ had been ‘rediscovered’ and was back on the map.
23 April 2013
Göbekli Tepe, Turkey: a new wonder of the ancient world
Jeremy Seal marvels at an astonishing archaeological site near the Euphrates. Go, before the crowds arrive.
"Wow," exclaims the visitor from New Zealand, a place, after all, with a human history shorter than most. For from a wooden walkway we’re gazing down at an archaeological site of giddying age. Built about 9000 BC, it’s more than twice as old as Stonehenge or the Pyramids, predating the discovery of metals, pottery or even the wheel. This is Göbekli Tepe in south-eastern Turkey, generally reckoned the most exciting and historically significant archaeological dig currently under way anywhere in the world, and there are neither queues nor tickets to get in.
Wow for a number of reasons, then, though it’s neither the access nor the staggering implications of the site’s age that has particularly impressed the man from distant Auckland. Neolithic Göbekli Tepe is also remarkably beautiful. From the partially excavated pit rise circular arrangements of huge T-shaped obelisks exquisitely carved with foxes, birds, boars and snakes or highly stylised human attributes including belts, loincloths and limbs. We’re profoundly moved by this glimpse into a radically recast prehistory, and mystified too. Even the archaeologists hard at work on this September morning can only speculate about its function, not least because the stones appear to have been deliberately buried.
“This series of sanctuaries is the oldest known monumental architecture,” explains the excavation leader and approachable on-site presence Professor Klaus Schmidt. “Maybe burial was already part of their concept from the very beginning.”
12 April 2013
Birding abroad: Super Serbia
When was the last time that you visited a country that totally exceeded your expectations and debunked all your preconceived notions? I assumed when I first arrived in Serbia that I would be discovering the same kind of birdlife to be found residing in neighbouring Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. I was exploring the Pannonian Basin an area of lowlands surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, the Alps, the Dinarides and the Balkan Mountains, led by Serbian ornithologist Milan Ruzic. I also had a secret agenda: to bathe myself in ornithological glory by rediscovering the presumed extinct Slender-billed Curlew in some remote area of the Basin. Well, the region was once a regular migratory stop-off for this enigmatic wader, so why not?
23 March 2013
Back door into Petra
Approach the ancient city along Bedouin migration routes and shepherd trails and discover something far more rewarding than a day trip.
In 1812, when the Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt entered As-Siq, the narrow gorge that runs into the heart of Petra, he was disguised as a Muslim and leading a sacrificial goat. He feigned lack of interest in rumours of a rock-cut city – knowing that local guides would be unwilling to reveal it to an outsider – and instead invented a pretext of making an offering at Aaron’s hilltop tomb. Nevertheless, he was unable to disguise his astonishment when he set eyes on the now-famous façade of the treasury (becoming the first European since the crusaders to do so), arousing the suspicions of his guide, who drew a rifle on him.
1 January 2012
Latin Quarter: Southern Colombia
Colonial towns, haunting deserts and mysterious pre-Inca sites – Colombia’s south is a distinctive and surprising slice of Latin America.
...breakfast the next morning out in the desert was one of my strangest. As the sun rose we ate fruit – small, lurid-pink and shaped like chilli peppers – straight from the top of cacti. They had a crisp, sweet taste, like strawberry. We washed them down with milk, frothy, warm and squeezed fresh from a goat on the Gonzalez family’s farm...
25 March 2011
How will unrest in the Middle East affect tourism?
BBC Fast Track
The past few months have seen great change across Northern Africa and the Middle East. The presidents of Tunisia and Egypt have been deposed after weeks of protests, and unrest continues to spread throughout the region. Rajan Datar looks at how the unfolding events will affect tourism in the Middle East.
Travel The Unknown director, Rahul Aggarwal, speaks about the challenges for travellers and tour operators of the current situation in the Middle East ( 2m 44s and 6m 10s)
11 December 2010
Finding Nagaland: India's Final Frontier
In the north-east of India is a remote state, largely unknown even to Indians. Almost cut off from the world, Nagaland`s rich culture thrives in landscapes of startling natural beauty ...
1 December 2010
Top 50 new trips for 2011
India: Mingle with the Tribes of Nagaland
The Nagaland Hornbill Festival is no ordinary knees-up. Remote Nagaland, often considered India`s true frontier state, is reputedly home to the last head-hunting tribe in Asia....
10 June 2010
Get Lost Magazine
Cartagena and the Carnival – Travel the Unknown
WHAT: From violent to vibrant, former drug baron Pablo Escobar’s stomping ground is loaded with colour, culture, crazy-Colombian (locombian) charisma and cracking good times ...
www.traveltheunknown.com/press/Get Lost Mag - Cartagena and Carnival.pdf
2 May 2010
A land soaked in sunshine...and sorrow
Independent on Sunday
Adrian Mourby discovers Serbia beyond Belgrade.
Its troubled past is unavoidable, but new tours of Serbia offer rich rewards ...
23 January 2010
Trail Of The Unexpected: The root masters of India
The extraordinary bridges over the Khasi river valleys are living works of art ...by Jini Reddy
22 November 2009
It's time to wake up and smell the coffee!
Independent on Sunday
Colombia`s crackdown on drug gangs and rebel forces has opened up areas previously out of bounds to tourists. Adrian Mourby reports.
21 October 2009
Featured in latest Lonely Planet guide
Lonely Planet: Northeast India (2nd edition, Oct 2009)
Travel the Unknown (www.traveltheunknown.com) is an England-based company running specialised tours to the northeastern states.
3 October 2009
Top 50 winter breaks
Travel the Unknown
Only available between October to March when it`s dry enough to travel to the region. Travel the Unknown is a new specialist tour operator to north-east India. One of its highlights is a five-day trip to Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, where tree roots have been coaxed across the river over hundreds of years to form natural bridges (one a double decker).
How much: From £300 per person, including transport, guides, activities and all-inclusive accommodation but not flights (these can be added on from around £500). It can also be added on to longer tours (0845 053 0352; www.traveltheunknown.com)
13 July 2009
Discover Colombia - safe in the sultry south
Why now? With large parts of the country finally off the FCO ‘no go’ list, Colombia’s reputation for adventure unspoiled by tourism is soaring.
The trip: Travel The Unknown’s Southern Colombia Explorer tour visits quaint villages, the verdant coffee triangle, historic colonial towns and the bizarre Tatacoa Desert; climb a volcano and chill in a traditional farmhouse. Even better, you’ll probably have the hundreds of mysterious statues scattered around San Agustín to yourself.
Who: Travel The Unknown (0845 053 0352, www.traveltheunknown.com)
How long: 14 days
When: monthly departures year-round
How much: from £2,800 (incl flights)
27 May 2009
Our pick of the best trips on offer: Southern Colombia Explorer
Real Travel Magazine
Get to know the Southern parts of Colombia with Travel The Unknown, which has recently introduced this new 14-day trip. highlights include cosmopolitan Bogota, the Salt Cathedral, the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, the Coffee Triangle, the `White City` of Popayan, historic San Agustin and the stunning Tatacoa Desert.
1 March 2009
Paradise Unexplored - North East India
Real Travel Magazine
SEARCHING FOR AN INDIA AWAY FROM THE CROWDS, KARLA DUARTE VENTURED INTO THE COUNTRY’S NORTHEAST
\\\"That’s a hell of a lot of tourists,” I remember thinking as I looked through a friend’s photos of the Taj Mahal. I had wanted to visit India for a long time but I wasn’t after something every Tom, Dick and Harry had done. I wanted something a bit more exotic, a little wilder...
10 November 2008
New Trips we can’t wait to take: Uncover India’s Secret North East
Escape the well-beaten tourist trail and head to India`s little known north-east on Travel The Unknown`s Monks, Tribes and Rhinos tour. Spot tigers and unicorn rhino from the heady heights of an elephant`s back, be awed by Akshardam Temple and relax in a bamboo home on Majuli Island, the world`s largest river island.
Who:Travel The Unknown (0845 053 0352, www.traveltheunknown.com)
How long: 20 days
When: from 21 Nov 2008
5 November 2008
Our Pick of the Best New Trips: Monks, Tribes & Rhinos
Real Travel Magazine
This tour with Travel The Unknown showcases the best of unseen North East India. Rise above the Himalayan Clouds to stunning Tawang, encounter the ancient Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, relax in traditional bamboo homes on Majuli, the world’s largest river island, visit Assam’s famous tea estates and spot unicorn rhinos on elephant-back in Kaziranga.
1 September 2008
Responsible Tourism: Travel the Unknown
Group Leisure Magazine
This month, we look at how a travel company is embracing responsible tourism.
Not just a thought-provoking subject, responsible tourism can also provide rewarding and fascinating travel experiences, particularly for small groups. Take new adventure travel company Travel The Unknown, which has put it at the heart of its tour operator services. From the selection of destinations to the way that tours are conducted on the ground, every aspect of the chain has been analysed and actions put into place to ensure that tours benefit both groups of travellers and the local communities.
Travel The Unknown Ltd. Registered Address: Hyde Park House, 5 Manfred Road, Putney, SW15 2RS Company number: 06347869 | ATOL number 9854
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Travel The Unknown is a UK based tour operator specialising in off the beaten track travel, small group and tailormade travel, bespoke tours and private travel in some of the least explored places on Earth.
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