Escape into the wilderness

From Poland to Russia with its Siberian tigers, Chris Carter explores three of the best wildernesses to get lost in.


A trekking adventure in Khabarovsk in Russia could lead you to the rare Siberian tiger

Tiger-spotting in Russia

At the extreme edge of Russia, close to China and seven hours ahead of Moscow, "ghostly swamps are frozen over", says Sophy Roberts in the Financial Times. Here in Khabarovsk, where the temperature can slip to well below freezing, there are no tourists. It has little history of attracting visitors. But there are tracks in the snow that tell you the rare Siberian tiger lives close by.

Only 500 are thought to be left in the wild. Just as Roberts is starting to wonder if all she's going to see is "wind-torn cloud and a billion birch and alder", the guide spots a line of pug marks in the fresh snow, indicating the presence of a tiger close by. She caught a glimpse, just before he vanished, "the flash of black and orange disappearing among the skinny tree trunks".

From £2,325 per person see

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up


Primeval woodland in Poland

Poland's Biaowieza forest, straddling the border with Belarus, is the last remnant of a vast primeval woodland. Here,the wild bison still roam, along with wolves and lynxes, although logging now threatens to disturb the peace. Wild Poland, led by naturalist ukasz Mazurek, seeks to reconnect visitors with the untouched forest, says Ros Coward in The Guardian. From the traditional wooden Wejmutka Manor hotel guesthouse, you venture out to the forest edge early in the morning.

On Coward's trip, the bison emerged out of this mist as if a primitive cave painting had come to life. Much of the area is swampy and feels mysterious, with black storks skulking in dark pools. Conservationists are keen to develop sustainable tourism in the forest. Certainly, "there aren't many places left to glimpse Europe's wild past".

From £785 per person for seven nights see


Rustic paradise in Kyrgyzstan

If your idea of paradise is yurts and hot springs lost in mountain valleys a thousand miles from anywhere, then Kyrgyzstan is for you, says Giles Whittell in The Times. Walking up the "most perfect mountainscape on Earth", the Altyn Arashan valley bends with its river, revealing new meadows carpeted with edelweiss when not grazed upon by sheep and horses. The topography is Alpine, the scale Himalayan. But "more than anything", it is Kyrgyzstan.

From £2,555 per person for a 13-day tour see


How to survive in the great outdoors

You've done everything right and still ended up lost in the wilderness. Welcome tothe club, says adventure writer Mark Jenkins in The Guardian. The thing to do is letthe panic pass and think clearly. Remember the acronym, "Stop". S is for "stop".T is for "think". What was the last landmark you recognised? How long ago was that?O is for "observe". Can you see any landmarks? P means "plan". Is there enoughdaylight to retrace your steps? Shouldyou build a fire? Can you make a phonecall?

Food is the least of your worries, butwater and staying warm are critical. If youdo regain the trail, "hightail it out and getback to your car". The last thing you wantis to spark a search and rescue mission.Otherwise, except in canyon country, yourbest bet is to move downhill. Eventuallyyou'll come to a road or a path. "You don'tdie from not knowing where you are.You die from bad decisions."

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.