What is it about ‘going off the grid’ that appeals to a little part inside each of us?
Even the hyper-connected, extroverted and social butterflies, are left curious by the idea of going somewhere just to disappear.
If you’re thinking of getting off the grid, here are some starting points to consider:
Torres del Paine, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena Region, Chile
Nearest City: Santiago, 2785km
Torres del Paine is one of the biggest and most visited National Parks in all of Chile. It was recently voted the 5th most beautiful place in the world by the National Geographic. But even with all this popularity, there’s plenty of space for you get off the grid – Torres del Paine stretches across the Chilean landscape for almost 2,500km².
Gokyo, Sagarmāthā National Park, Nepal
Nearest Capital City: Kathmandu, 137km (as the crow flies)
At at an elevation of 4,750 metres (15,580 ft) above sea level, Gokyo is thought to be one of the highest settlements in the world. Gokyo is a popular pit stop for acclimatizing hikers undertaking the Everest Base Camp trek. It is sandwiched between the eastern shore of Gokyo Cho (Gokyo Lake) at the foot of Gokyo Ri, a peak that offers 360 views of the Nepalese Himalayas, including Everest, and the largest glacier in Nepal, Ngozumpa glacier.
Montezuma, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Nearest Capital City: San José, 168km
If you’re not ready to cut the cord and disappear completely, then Montezuma is probably a good starting point for you. Montezuma was a sleepy fishing village until the 1980’s when it began gaining traction with budget travellers. There is no bank or post office, but there is accommodation and restaurants suitable for most levels of comfort. Montezuma is surrounded by beaches and a short hike from the inviting Montezuma falls.
Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), Bhutan
Nearest City: Thimphu, 62km
Perched 900 metres (3,000 ft) above the Paro Valley, Taktsang Palphug Monastery is a prominent sacred site for Himalayan Buddhist and the stuff escapist dreams are made of. The temple is devoted to Padmasambhava, who, according to legend, flew to the cliffside location from nearby Tibet on the back of a tigress. Padmasambhava is thought to have brought Buddhism to Bhutan.
The Gobi, China/Mongolia
Nearest Capital City: Ulaanbaatar, 650km (as the crow flies)
At 1,295,000 km2 , the Gobi Desert is considered to be the largest desert in the Asia region. Situated in the south of Mongolia and the north/northwest of China, The Gobi holds a special place in the history of the Mongol Empire, as is home to various important locations of the ancient trade route, Silk Road.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia
Nearest Capital City: Perth, 2750 kms
Consisting of two coral atolls (North Keeling Island and South Keeling Island), the 27 coral islands of the Cocos Keeling Islands are home to just 600 people. Situated in the Indian Ocean, the islands serve as a half-way mark between Sri Lanka and Australia. Only two of the islands are inhabited; the remaining are accessible by canoe.
Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah
Nearest Capital City: Phoenix, 509km
Recognisable as the backdrop for countless American westerns and road-trip movies, Monument Valley is a 23km dirt road drive you want to take to get off the grid. Situated on the Arizona-Utah State Border, Monument Valley is located within the Navajo Nation and is home to the Navajo People. The unmistakable red hue of the Valley and it’s formations are a result of centuries of iron oxide exposure in the sedimentary rock.
Changuu Island, Tanzania
Nearest Capital City: Zanzibar City, 6km
A 6km boat journey off the northwest coast of the Zanzibar Archipelago will get you to Changuu. Once a quarantine station, the 800m long island is now home to the endangered Aldabra giant tortoise and holiday makers. For approximately $4US you can gain entry to the island, and even stay in a converted prison ruin if you don’t want to leave, but that will cost you a little extra.
Nearest Capital City: Valletta, 21km (as the crow flies)
Car free, and a permanent population of four plus only 1 hotel, Comino is the answer to your Mediterranean escape dreams. The 3.5 square kilometre island is situated in the Mediterranean Sea between mainland Malta and Gozo. It is home to the pristine aquamarine waters of the Blue Lagoon, making it a haven for snorkelers and beach bums alike.
Deception Island, Antarctica
Nearest Capital City: Buenos Aires, 3,153 km
North of the Antarctic Peninsula lies one of the most remote islands known to man. Deception Island, is a partially submerged caldera of an active volcano and is used as a safe harbour for the bravest sailors. The waters here are geothermally heated, which makes this Antarctic location particularly unique as you’re able to swim comfortably. If you find yourself on Deception Island, pay a visit to the Hektor Whaling Station and the largest cemetery in Antarctica—which are both protected Antarctic Treaty Historic Sites.
Pura Luhur Batukarut, Bali
Nearest Capital City: Surabaya, 407 km
On the beautiful island of Bali is Pura Luhur Batukaru, which sits on the edges of a volcano and sees very few tourists each year. The destination is home to one of Indonesia’s many temples, but this temple is special in that it protects the entire island from evil spirits. Pura Luhur Batukaru houses a peaceful area called Wangaya Gede around the temple, making for a relaxing exploration of a new, remote destination.
Area 51, Nevada
Nearest Capital City: Las Vegas (241 km)
The United States Air Force facility commonly known as Area 51 is a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range. There’s plenty of rumours surrounding the true purpose of Area 51, from housing aliens NASA has captured to testing secret government weapons. According to various sources, this vast and vacant land (which isn’t viewable on Google Earth) most likely supports the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems known as “black projects.” Unfortunately, you can’t visit this spot without incurring a $5000 fine, prison time and possible government mind-control.