5 end of the world places in Asia
THERE are plenty of remote places in the world that can kind of feel like you’ve dropped out of the modern universe. In Asia these can range from deserted beaches to primal forest, the far reaches of a train line or mountainous terrain. These five locations around Asia are all places you could well quote Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean — “You’re off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters.”
Edge of the World, Tasmania
There is actually a place called “Edge of the World” in Tasmania and it’s a more a lookout than an actual place. Tasmania is riddled with these kinds of places of stark, remote and isolated beauty. There’s Cradle Mountain National Park where you could walk for six days and not see an electricity pole or any housing development. There are beaches that are deserted as far as the eye can see such as the stunning Friendly Beaches in Freycinet National Park.
Kashgar in the far north western province of China is definitely at the end of the rail line and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d also arrived at the end of the world. Located in almost desert-like country it’s actually a surprise to find such a bustling town in what you imagine could be the end of civilization. In fact Kashgar is something of a cultural melting pot with the borders of Pakistan and Kazakhstan not that far away. On the weekend markets this mix of people is something to behold and a sight in itself as people come to buy donkeys, camels and sheep at the Mal (animal) Bazaar or knives, scarves and other equipment at Donguwa Bazaar.
There’s something so pristine and raw about Malaysian Borneo that you do feel you’ve arrived at the end of the world. The thick rainforests, primate species, wonderfully pristine coral reefs, tribal groups and river towns all feel like something from an age past almost beyond the modern world. Highlights include Sarawak’s fantastic national parks like Bako on the edge of Kuching filled with snakes and monkeys, the unusual limestone formations of Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri, the wonders of the deep of islands like Sipadan off Sabah and high climbs almost into the clouds itself like Mt Kinabalu.
Skippers Canyon, New Zealand
One of the incredible things about New Zealand is how remote you can get in a short space of time. Skippers Canyon is one of those places. Just a few kilometres out of the tourist hub of Queensland the road turns to dirt, narrows and plunges down into a deep canyon, best attempted only in a 4WD and for those with a bit of nerve. The scenic gorge is 22km in length and filled with historic ruins from New Zealand’s gold mining days.
While India is vastly populated and it’s unusual to ever be too far from inhabited centres, the far northern region of Ladakh and part of Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the true wilderness areas of the country. Sparsely populated and filled with people of Tibetan and Indo-Aryan descent it is also one of the most starkly beautiful. The high plateau country is mostly over 3000 metres with remote chortens and monasteries dotting the hilltops. The mountains in this area are thought to have formed 45 million years ago.