Last Updated: August 16th
Sometimes you need a nudge to get out that door and hit the road. Other times you need a full on shove. Below you’ll find a power ranking of the best travel documentaries on Netflix. Read, then watch to discover faraway places and the mad few who wander to the edges of the map in search of adventure.
10) 180 Degrees South
I debated whether to include this film. There is a really superb climbing story buried in a lot unnecessary narrative posturing and half-baked (pun intended) politics. Where the film shines in its portrayal of adventurers and mountaineers (and businessmen) Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins. Their late 1960s trip to Patagonia is the stuff of legends; and Jeff Johnson takes great care in recreating their trip with his bros. Yvon and Doug, and their families, have carved out a good life in Patagonia. They climb mountains. They surf. They grow organic food. They make gear to fund said life. They care about saving the environment. Although the film falls into white savior themes sometimes, it still has amazing photography and plenty of pure adventure.
9) They Call It Myanmar
Myanmar (colloquially known as Burma) is a country going through a massive transition. Largely isolated since the 1960s, it’s slowly opening up to foreigners. Yet there are still many, many hurdles to overcome: lynching of Muslims, unstable political movements, abject poverty, lack of education and medicine… It’s not the easiest place to find clear answers. Or even clearly identify the problems.
Yet, Myanmar holds some of the most amazing sites, people, and geography in Southeast Asia. I can speak from experience that Myanmar is 100% worth visiting. There are entire cities of temples that are largely untouched by tourism. The people are sweet and generous, even in poverty. The food is an outstanding mix of South Asian curry and Southeast Asian umami and spice. They Call It Myanmar doesn’t shy away from any of this. It illuminates a country that needs help; and you can help with tourist dollars.