Travel To Afghanistan: The Next Frontier?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

If I were to look back upon some of the places I’ve traveled to recently — Colombia, Argentina, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique — as recently as even a decade ago, people would’ve thought I was crazy to travel to some of those countries. So is the prospect that travel to Afghanistan really that far-fetched of an idea? Don’t forget, Afghanistan — as part of the so-called “Hippie Trail” of the ’60s and ’70s — was once well on the “beaten track.”

Outside Magazine recently decided to check out what travel was like these days in the war-torn country. For a mere $3,700 it seems intrepid travelers can sign up with Hinterland Travel — a U.K.-based travel company — for a whirlwind tour of some of the country’s best ruins, spectacular Central Asian vistas, and, oh yeah, probably a few encounters with members of both the Taliban and the United States military forces.

And who can you expect on this trip with you? Oh, the usual hodgepodge of British, Danish, and American tourists, and as the author encountered, maybe even a Indian septuagenarian.

The oldest person in our group was a tiny, 75-year-old Indian woman named Bithi Das, who walked with a cane and exuded Yoda-like tranquillity. She was going to Libya and Uzbekistan after this, and seemed to have a philosophical take about risk.

“I will die,” she told me at one point. “We all will die. It’s OK.”

  • Tribalcaravan

    Great article.
    Would you consider Afghanistan for ski holidays? I was surprised to see
    this link. Untamed Borders a UK based adventure company already arranged
    a first ever ski trip to Afghanistan. 

  • Ahh…If only we were around in the days of the hippie trail…recently I read Rory MacLean's "Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail From Istanbul to India" where he goes back over the old hippie trail years later looking for remnants from the day.

  • Jon Wick

    This makes me remember my dad's reaction to my plans of going to Hanoi, Vietnam. Something like, "Why the hell do you wanna go there?" With one raised eyebrow and a condescending tone. One of the best trips I've ever had.

    I guess prejudices are a hard nut to crack.

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