Urban Exploration, UE, or to give it its full hipster title Urbex is a sub-culture in the travel world that Young Pioneer Tours very much embrace! Much like Dark Tourism, it has its detractors and comes with its own controversy, but what fun things don’t?
What is Urbex? In its simplest form is exploring man-made structures in an urban setting that are mostly abandoned.
That explains it in its simplest form, but obviously, there is a little bit more to it.
What Are the Risks of Urban Exploration?
There is very little on God’s green earth than is unowned, either by peoples, companies, or the state, excerpt Bir Tawil, which is a whole other story. This means that Urban Exploration can often involve a degree of trespassing, which depending on where you are, has different degrees of illegality. So, before the crime Twitter brigade jump on this, we do not advocate breaking the law.
The other reasonably obvious risk comes from abandoned buildings. If something is abandoned, then it is not being maintained, so when you jump into a bit of Urbex, you need to be prepared and, most importantly, be careful.
Where Are the Top Urban Exploration Destinations for 2021?
Well, that is the 1 million dollar question! And this will largely depend on what genre of Urbex you are personally into. Therefore, we’ve picked our favorite places that we either personally do Urban Exploration in or would really like to! Split under various categories!
Historical Urban Exploration
Cuba – We have an office in Havana, and we definitely consider ourselves the experts when it comes to exploring Cuba. Two of our favorite places would be the tunnels where the nuclear missiles were stored during the Cuban missile crisis and the abandoned Nuclear Power Plant. The former of which we offer as a tour. Sadly it is not really possible to visit the abandoned nuclear power plant anymore. However, we did get some baller photos when we were there.
Kangbashi/Ordos – YPT was the original company to explore the world’s biggest ghost town, namely Ordos in Inner-Mongolia. If you need a quick less on the difference between inner and outer Mongolia, click here. This place is urbex heaven, you name the kind of building you want to see, and Kangbashi has it.
Check out our Kangbashi tours here.
The obvious choice here is Chernobyl, where although you cannot technically just go exploring, YPT tend to get a lot more leeway than other companies. Another option, though, is the Belarus exclusion zone, which, aside from being very interesting, is hardly visited by tourists at all.
We offer tours to both the Belarus and Ukraine sides of the exclusion zone.
Tropical Urban Exploration
Nauru! Nauru is the least visited country on earth, which immediately gives it some kudos. It was also formerly a Japanese colony and home to the biggest phonate mining operation in the world. Lots of abandoned infrastructure to do some Urbex in!
You can visit Nauru on our Least Visited Countries Tour.
When it comes to urban exploration, catacombs are some of the most exciting and indeed dangerous places you can explore. So, let’s get this out of the way! Do not go exploring a catacomb without a guide.
The Odessa catacombs are extraordinarily famous, and we visit them on our Eurasian Adventure Tour, but it is the catacombs of Tiraspol that are really interesting. Partisans even used them in World War 2.
To see our Transnistria Tours click here.
And that is our very non-exhaustive guide to the best places for Urban Exploration in general, but particularly for 2021 when we can (hopefully) finally start travelling and Urbexing around the globe.