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World’s Incredible Mountain Passes That Are Worth A Visit

W

e have all searched through the Top 10 lists that help adventure seekers plan their next trip. But it is in the realms of the unknown and the unexplored that real excitement resides.

Read through these amazing, yet relatively under-the-radar mountain roads that have skipped making it to the itineraries of most Indian road trippers.

The country of Japan is known amongst tourists as a coveted destination packed with breath-taking panoramas. What may come as a relative surprise to you is the fact that this beautiful nation also has ample to offer to adventure enthusiasts. One such comparatively lesser known (globally) spot herein, which will have any bonafide road tripper jumping in exhilaration is the site of Iroha-zaka Winding Roads.

An autumnal favourite of locals, Iroha-zaka is the name according to a pair of famous winding roads located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture in Japan. These provide for main access that helps connect the lower crags around central Nikko to the higher summits of the hilly Okunikko region.

The Iroha-zaka Winding Roads were thus named as they together consist of 48 hairpin turns, with each turning point marked with a letter from the ancient Japanese alphabet which consisted of 48 syllables; the first three of these combine to make the word Iroha.

This switchback mountain pass rises up to approximately 1,300 ft (396 m), with its winding construction offering some absolutely stunning views to the visitors – especially in the spring season.

As unforgettable as they come, the Bealach na Bà is a winding single-track road that runs through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula, situated in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. Built in the year 1822, this ancient mountain pass is spectacular enough to give most of the much better-known mountain roads of the world a run for their money.

With extremely tight hairpin bends that switch back and forth up the hillside, Bealach na Bà hosts the steepest ascent of any road climb in the UK, reaching steadily up to the dizzying height of2,054 ft (626 m).

The name Bealach na Bà translates to ‘Pass of the Cattle’ in Scottish Gaelic. Back in the day this notable mountain pass was used to drive cattle from Applecross and surrounding settlements to other parts of the Scottish Highlands.

A fabulous feat of engineering comprising viaducts, bridges, rock shelters and waterfalls transmitted into chutes, Arthur’s Pass is located in the Southern Alps of the South Island of gorgeous New Zealand (site of Middle Earth from Lord of The Rings movie series!)

It marks part of the boundary between the West Coast and Canterbury regions of the country that has been adjudged as one of the happiest places to live on Earth.

Situated at a distance of about 140 km from the city of Christchurch, Arthur’s Pass encompasses part of a saddle between the valleys of the Otira River in the west and of the Bealey River in the east. It was named after celebrated surveyor and explorer, Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson, who led the first party of Europeans across the pass in the year 1864.

A township with the same moniker lies about 5 km south of the mountain pass, and enjoys the distinction of being one of the highest settlements in the country.

Blissfully distant from the hustle bustle of the rest of the world, mystical Mongolia is one of the last few places on the planet where the nomadic way of life still exists.

An enigma for the international tourists, Mongolia is a treasure trove of wonderfully distinctive experiences. Amongst many magnificent sites that deserve a visit, this ‘Land of Blue Sky’ is also home to the Solongot Mountain Pass.

Situated on the border shared by the provinces of Arkhangai and Zavkhan, the Solongot Mountain Pass is about 2,600 m high and is considered one of the greatest and the trickiest mountain passes in Mongolia.

As of December, 2015, this remote mountain road is connected to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar via a paved road. Approximately 700 km of cruising from Ulaanbaatar behind the wheel of your 4×4, across the gorgeous landscapes of this landlocked country, will take you to the snow-capped wonder that’s Solongot.

So, if you are someone who likes to tread the off-beaten path, come join us on any of our planned trips; or let us customize a very special road trip that takes care of all your specific needs. Rest assured, with us at the helm, luxury and convenience is all that will accompany you as you take on the road less travelled.

 

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