Most associate road trips with an easy-going vacation where you take your time and make all the stops that you want while exploring the area. They can look like that and for many tourists they do. However, there are also more extreme road trips out there, that require preparation and aren’t for everyone.
These trips will take you through some of the harshest and most remote environments and allow you to experience parts of the world that are often overlooked by travelers. A lot of these routes go through several countries and you’ll need an international driving permit issued by the International Drivers Association to drive through them.
El Camino De La Muerte (Bolivia)
This 60 km long trail that goes from Corioco to the Bolivian capital, La Paz is often considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It’s only 3 meters wide and the traffic goes in both directions.
The road goes through the cliffs and is about 600 meters high with no guard rails whatsoever. The harsh weather conditions make the trip even worse since there are a lot of heavy rains and winds blowing you off the road. There have been more than a few hundred casualties in recent years and it’s best to take this trip only if you’re confident in your car and driving skills.
Kolyma Highway (Russia)
Kolyma Highway goes through one of the coldest parts of the world and if you don’t count Antarctica – the coldest one. The temperatures measured there go up to -60 Celsius. Most travelers use this highway to reach the Trans-Siberian Railway and get to the Pacific Coast.
Winter lasts ten months in this part of the world and during it, you can expect heavy snow and cold weather on the road. Mud season is equally difficult and it usually causes massive traffic jams. Visiting the road is still worth it due to its beauty and extraordinary circumstances that made it possible.
Hindustan Tibet Road (India)
This 500 km long road connects Punjab and Tibet and it was used for trading since the time of the Silk Road. Now, it’s formally known as National Highway 22. The locals can pass through the border, and tourists could only reach the border with China (which is still worth the trip).
The road is carved into the cliffs and presents a true marvel of engineering. The Tranda section of the road is the most dangerous but it also has the most beautiful view.
Guoliang Tunnel (China)
This amazing tunnel is one of the most impressive products of Chinese engineering and labor. It’s five meters high, 4 meters, and 1200 meters long. The tunnel goes through the Hunan province and cuts through the most dangerous and beautiful mountains in the region.
The tunnel was opened in 1977 and it took five years to complete. Ever since it attracts drivers from all over the world since it requires almost perfect driving abilities and remains one of the most dangerous roads you could take.
Ruta Nacional 5 (Chile)
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest parts of the world and therefore one of the most dangerous. Chilean Ruta Nacional 5 goes through this desert and it presents one of the most challenging and beautiful road trips you could take. It’s essential that you prepare for it, however, both in terms of bringing water and making your vehicle ready for the conditions it will face.
Ruta Nacional 5 is just a section of the world’s largest highway, which runs from Argentina to Canada. If you want to visit the whole route you’re going to set aside 6 months to do it and to be ready to pass through Panama on ferries and boats.
Sichuan Highway (China)
This road presents the big north line on the map that connects China and Tibet. It’s 2412 miles long and the average altitude at which you’ll be driving is about 4000 meters. The road cuts through mountains and forests, and it features a tunnel at over 6000 meters of altitude, making it the highest tunnel in the world.
The road causes more than a thousand fatalities each year so you should be careful both in how you drive and what kind of vehicle you’re using. It does, however, feature some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
All of the road trips we mentioned are suited to experienced drivers and require specialized equipment and vehicles made for dangerous terrains.