While I’m isolating here in Liverpool until the Covid-19 outbreak subsides, theres plenty of travel inspiration on Netfix! Here’s what I’m loving right now including Anthony Bourdain’s parts unknown and Jack Whitehall’s travels with my father! Also thrown in the mix are some interesting documentaries about the world including ‘Our Planet’ and ’72 Deadliest’ I hope that you enjoy my best travel shows on Netflix.
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain – what a travel hero! Seeing the world through the eyes of a food lover and someone who has friends all over the world is captivating. He goes off piste and delves into the ‘parts unknown’. I adore his philosophy – ‘I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one!’ he says.
I watched most of his latest series on my flight to and from Muscat in March. My favourite episodes are the Manila episode where he meets the most famous rock cover bands and the London episode where he’s trying to fathom out Brexit!
It’s heart breaking that he committed suicide during the filming of the most recent series. May Anthony Bourdain rest in peace and let this help to raise awareness about mental health – people don’t always feel on the inside the way that they appear to be on the outside.
Parts unknown is absolutely one of the best travel shows on Netflix. But hurry, it’s only going to be available on Netflix until October 2020.
I love the way that this young German couple have converted an old school bus into a beautiful home – their ‘loft on wheels’ and taken their dog on the road! Felix and Selina are two free spirits in pursuit of happiness. Their journey across North America in their road trip takes them through Alaska, Canada, the West coast of USA and Mexico.
Expedition happiness has totally inspired me to travel to Mexico – mmmmm, those tacos!!!! Felix and Selina’s 90 minute documentary explores the realistic highs and lows of travel – from the beauty of Banff national park to horrific border crossing attempts. Although I wouldn’t have been so laid back about the itinerary and visas, I do get their way of travel without a strict plan. The end is moving – oh so many emotions that all of us as travellers can relate to. If you have a spare evening, it’s a good one off for travel lovers.
If you liked Expedition Happiness, you might also want to watch Felix Starck’s earlier adventure through Europe – ‘Pedal the World’.
Jack Whitehall Travels with my Father
Nothing really can prepare you for a pompous British comedian travelling with his straight-laced Tory father. Ok, much of it appears poorly scripted, but the way that Jack is constantly taking the piss and pushing his father out of his comfort zone is wildly amusing to me!
I adore Southeast Asia and so it was the destination rather than the setup that first sucked me into the first series. But then I kind of wanted more on their relationship during their travels – they bounce off each other like chalk and cheese! My favourite episode is when his father un-beknowingly ‘befriends’ a prostitute in Bangkok! I could relate to their journey through Thailand and Cambodia – they also visited the APOPO land mine clearing rats.
I couldn’t resist the second series – their travels through Europe during which Jack’s father is made out to be some Hitler loving military man who can’t deal with exchange rates! The second series covers the Bavarian alps, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Istanbul.
Warning! Do not watch if Hungry! This Mexico based docuseries takes you on a mouthwatering journey around Mexico interviewing chefs and locals about the ingredients that they use in their dishes and the culture and history behind them. Directed by Carlos Perez Osorio, it’s a Spanish speaking series and so also great if you are learning the language (there is a subtitled version).
One of the best travel shows on Netflix focuses on dark tourism destinations. Journalist David Farrier explores the phenomenon of the rise in tourism to war zones, murder capitals, genocide museums and nuclear disaster spots around the world.
My two favourite episode? The Phnom Penh Killing fields of Cambodia and the episode on Chernobyl. I visited the Phnom Penh killing fields myself in December 2019 – a trip which I felt was essential to understanding the history of Cambodia before I travelled round the country for 3 weeks. Chernobyl is a destination that I would love to visit to understand the impact of the nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
Sure, some episodes are a little warped, such as the Milwaukee murder episode and the one on African voodoo. But hey, that’s what draws you in, right?!
Ok, so not a travel show per se, but Tiger King is on my current ‘Must Watch’ list as it highlights the ethical issues of big cat tourism. Gay mullet sporting ‘Joe Exotic’ had a fascination with big cats….and profiting from them. His Zoo grew in popularity as people travelled far and wide to get the coveted tiger selfie, probably without realising the awful things that went on behind the scenes including tigers being shot for no other reason than ‘it went someone’. No shit Sherlock, it’s a wild cat!
At first I didn’t think I wanted to watch it, being uncomfortable with the principle, but the complete fucked-upness of everyone involved totally sucks you in. Joe’s Nemesis ‘that bitch Carol Baskin’ – the owner of a rival big cat sanctuary – was on the receiving end of public abuse on Joe’s YouTube channel, a feud which culminated in a million dollar lawsuit. The guns, the scandal, bumping people off….once you get three episodes in you just can’t stop watching it!
There’s always been something soothing about the calm voice of David Attenborough. In this 2019 documentary he explores the natural beauty of planet earth and the impact of climate change. Go behind the scenes of the great barrier reef and meet the Bird of Paradise in the jungle. Our Planet focuses on how we can minimise the human impact on the environment. I loved the ‘Frozen World’ episode which explores the global warming impact on the polar bears food supply and habitat in the arctic circle.
72 Dangerous Animals
Ever wanna know what could kill you whilst trekking in the Amazon jungle, or how severe an snake bite can actually be, watch 72 dangerous animals. Since my mom got a severe reaction to fire ant bites in Cambodia, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the dangerous animals and creepy crawlies that can ‘get you’ on your travels! The sharp claws, venomous stings and massive teeth are all there to be reckoned with. And it’s surprising to realise that the most dangerous animals are often the smallest. The South America series is ace – there is also an Asia one.
What are your Best Shows on Netflix?
So, what are your best travel shows on Netflix right now? I’m interested in travel video diaries, documentaries and movies. If there is anything that you totally recommend for me to watch, please drop me a comment below!