Ever been stuck wondering what to watch on a Friday night? Were you seeking adventure or an idea for your next travel destination? If you’re anything like me, this scenario has happened time and time again. This is why, I’ve compiled a list of the top 3 travel documentaries on Netflix that will spark your wanderlust and give you inspiration for your next travel destination.
Departures is a travel adventure series that documents the expeditions of three Canadian friends, Scott, Justin and Andre. The show primarily features high school friends Scott and Justin, who quit their day jobs to travel all over the world. The show has run for three seasons and feature the protagonists travelling to the following exotic locations:
Season 1 – Canada, Jordan, India, Ascension Island, Japan, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Thailand and Cambodia
Season 2 – Morocco, Libya, Brazil, Cuba, Mongolia, Iceland, Zambia, Madagascar, Chile and Antarctica.
Season 3 – Russia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Papa New Guinea, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Greenland, North Korea, Indonesia and Australia.
What I love about this show is just how real the adventure seems – Scott and Justin display a genuine curiosity and appreciation for all the places and people they meet. The show also captures what a real backpacking adventure is like with pitfalls, challenges and all. Start watching and you will soon become addicted!
2. Human Planet
John Hurt narrates the eight-part series called Human Planet, which tells the varying stories of civilisations and how they live from all sides of the globe. This series is essentially an anthropological dream, explaining how humans and wildlife continue to live in the most extreme conditions on Earth. From Galicia to Abu Dhabi, the series will take you far and wide, covering the following environments in each episode:
Episode 1 – Oceans – Into the Blue
Episode 2 – Deserts – Life in the furnace
Episode 3 – Arctic – Life in the Deep freeze
Episode 4 – Jungles – People of the Trees
Episode 5 – Mountains – Life in Thin Air
Episode 6 – Grasslands – Roots of Power
Episode 7 – Rivers – Friend and Foe
Episode 8 – Cities – Surviving the Urban Jungle
Ultimately, Human Planet highlights the remarkable ways in which humans have adapted to every living environment on earth. Make sure you listen out for one of my favourite lines from the narrator, which I believe captures this notion and is (in my opinion) incredibly powerful:
“Only one creature has carved a life for itself in every habitat on Earth. That creature is us. All over the world we still use our ingenuity to survive in the wild places far from the city lights – face to face with raw nature. This is the Human Planet.” – John Hurt, 2011.
3. Chef’s Table
This Netflix original series takes viewers into the life and kitchens of renowned chefs all over the world. Chef’s Table not only displays the culinary talent and personal stories, the series also delves into the unique cooking styles and fusion of local culture into each dish that is plated up.
Chef’s Table will take you on a cultural journey as you re-live the history of each restaurant and chef, all whilst they create their awe-inspiring signature dish. There are three seasons of Chef’s Table, each telling the stories of the following culinary geniuses:
Episode 1: Massimo Bottura – Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
Episode 2: Dan Barber – Blue Hill Restaurant and Stone Barns (New York City, USA)
Episode 3: Francis Mallman – El Restaurante Patagonia Sur (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Episode 4: Niki Nakayama – N/Naka Restaurant (Los Angeles, USA)
Episode 5: Ben Shewry – Attica (Melbourne, Australia)
Episode 6: Magnus Nilsson – Faviken (Jerpen, Sweden)
Episode 1: Grant Achatz – Alinea, Next and The Aviary (Chicago, USA)
Episode 2: Alex Atala – D.O.M (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Episode 3: Dominique Crenn – Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, USA)
Episode 4: Enrique Olvera – Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
Episode 5: Ana Ros – Hisa Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
Episode 6: Gaggan Anand – Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Episode 1: Ivan Orkin – Ivan Ramen (New York City, USA and Tokyo, Japan)
Episode 2: Jeong Kwan – Chunjinam Hermitage (Baekyangsa Temple, South Korea)
Episode 3: Nancy Silverton – Mozza (Los Angeles, USA)
Episode 4: Tim Raue – Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
Episode 5: Virgilio Martinez – Central (Lima, Peru)
Episode 6: Vladimir Mukhin – White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)
I hope that these documentaries quench your thirst for travel and bring you hours of entertainment! If you have any other favourite Netflix documentaries, please comment below – I’d love to hear all about them 🙂