Touring the world's lesser-known pyramids




Jack's Flight Club ✈️ Travel News & Inspiration

Hi there, JFC-ers!

While we love to start The Detour off with a bit of positivity, it’s hard not to mention the news of devastating natural disasters around the world this week.

Firstly, earthquakes in eastern Turkey & northern Syria have caused massive destruction and loss of life. The Turkish president has declared a three-month state of emergency, with rescue efforts ongoing to save thousands of trapped residents and visitors.

Meanwhile, the city of Aleppo and the surrounding region—already badly affected by war and home to millions of displaced refugees—is among the worst hit in Syria. Here in particular, rescuers are facing incredibly harsh winter conditions.

If you would like to directly support search and rescue efforts on the ground, you can donate to AKUT or The White Helmets.

Wildfires have also been causing mayhem in Chile, where record summer temperatures are making it hard to prevent flames from spreading. Over 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes, and several have also been hurt or killed.

Our thoughts are with all those whose homes and loved ones have fallen victim to these disasters. Please take extra care if you are travelling in either region

Stay safe,



Pyramids On Tour

Like Germany with Christmas markets, Egypt really nailed down its reputation for being the home of pyramids early on. But we know you, dear readers—you like to walk the road less travelled, swim the seas less paddled, eat the food less… digested? Maybe not.

Well, friends, Giza isn’t the only place in the world you can bear witness to the tombs and temples of ancient cultures. Here are our favourite lesser-travelled pyramids around the world:


With over twice as many pyramids as neighbouring Egypt, Sudan’s ancient cultures have left behind a wealth of imposing and well-preserved structures that fly under the radar to this day. That’s likely due to so many governments advising against all travel to the region, which has been struggling with civil unrest on and off since the 1950s. That said, much of the country is completely unaffected.

If and when you do visit, you’ll be greeted by 255 pyramids, which were erected along the Nile Valley by the Kushites in ancient Nubia. There are several settlements to choose from, but the most impressive is undoubtedly the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meroë, a few hours north of Khartoum.

While they max out at around 30 metres tall (in comparison to Giza’s 139 metres), there are nearly 200 pyramids there, many of which are tombs of the 40 kings and queens who ruled the Nubian Empire. Visiting in person would of course be our preferred way to experience the Nubian pyramids, but we found a wonderful virtual tour to tide you over for now.

The ruins and temples of Naqa and Musawwarat es-Sufra, which make up part of the same UNESCO site, also offer some insight to the history of the region. Though at around 40 miles off the main road, you definitely need to plan how to get there. If you’re dying to see it all ASAP, we’d recommend checking out tours run by adventure travel experts. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait it out…


Pre-dating even the pyramids in Egypt, Brazil’s pyramids are considered the oldest in the world, having been built around 3,000 BCE. These ones are a lot more mysterious than their African counterparts, though, with no written records of their construction in existence.

The pyramid near Jaguaruna in Santa Catarina State is one of the last remaining in Brazil. It stands 100 ft tall (though researchers think it may have once been much taller) and has a base covering an impressive 25 acres. However, archaeologists reckon there were once thousands of pyramids built along the Atlantic coast of southern Brazil.

And why along the coast? Well, that’s because these pyramids were made using only seashells. As a result, many have been mistaken for rubbish heaps over the years and destroyed to make way for development.

Brazil’s pyramids were built over the course of decades, or even centuries, and appear to have been used for burials and other religious purposes, just like the ones found in Egypt. However, more like the pyramids found in other parts of the Americas, structures were built on top of them.


The gem at the centre of the ancient Angkorian capital of Koh Ker is Prasat Prang, a seven-level stepped pyramid standing 36 metres high. At around 2.5 hours’ drive from Angkor Wat, it’s definitely off the beaten path, hidden away in the Angkor Archaeological Park among the jungle of northern Cambodia.

Like other pyramids, the Koh Ker Pyramid was built as a religious temple. Inscriptions suggest it was built by King Jayavarman IV in 928-942 CE to worship Treypuvanesvara, the god of happiness. And believe us when we say you’ll be happy with the spectacular views from the top, which you can reach by climbing a purpose-built wooden staircase.

You can easily spend a day among the complex, investigating the ruins of 76 temples. Look out for the elephant sculptures adorning Prasat Damrei (Elephant Temple), the various depictions of the mythological Naga, and several detailed inscriptions etched into temple walls.


Yep, that’s right. There’s a pyramid slap bang in the middle of Rome. Why? Well, quite simply, the Romans loved a fad, and all things Egyptian were really popular from around 30 BCE to 12 BCE. So, when the powerful Roman magistrate Caius Cestius decided that he wanted to be entombed like an Egyptian monarch, nobody batted an eyelid.

At 36 metres high and made of white marble, the Pyramid of Cestius definitely stands out from the busy road and cemetery that lie on either side of it. The interior is like another world entirely, featuring ancient frescoes that were restored in 2015. Unfortunately, only the physical building and none of its contents survived all those years, having been ransacked at various stages throughout history.

Visitors can see inside the tomb on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. While you may not be able to look at bits of a decaying Roman, you can worship the local sphinxes at pyramid’s very own cat sanctuary. Just as the Egyptians would have wanted.


Well, this one’s a bit of a red herring. Back in 2005, a Bosnian businessman claimed that he had found the world’s oldest pyramids, not far from Sarajevo. The perfectly equilateral shape of the five hills in Visoko, and their position in relation to the sun, supposedly proves that they must have been man-made.

Unfortunately for Semir Osmanagić, the scientists disagree. They believe the hills are simply natural structures known as flatirons. In fact, a group of archaeologists even called his claims a “cruel hoax”. Unsurprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence to back his assertions that visiting the “pyramids” can help health conditions like hypertension and hyperglycaemia, either….


Around The States In 50 Editions: Montana

Each week in 2023, we’ll be going on a whirlwind tour of a different randomly selected US state. This week, we’re heading to Montana.

Many of you will know that Montana’s real time to shine is still 40 years away. But while we await first contact, let’s focus on the things that make it great right now. Following on from last week’s trip to Wyoming, the town of West Yellowstone just over state lines is another good base for your National Park adventures. Plus, it’s the only place you’d actually want to run into a grizzly bear.

When it comes to Montana’s big moments in history, The Battle of the Little Bighorn might sound familiar, aka Custer’s Last Stand (not Custard, as some of us may have thought as children). Today you can visit a monument to the battle near Crow Agency, Montana, taking in the beautiful sculptures and gravestones dedicated to the men and women who died there.

The Crow Fair is another important stop during August, when the hills surrounding the Little Bighorn River are turned into the “teepee capital of the world.” Members of the public are welcome to witness the parades, rodeos and dance competitions celebrating tribe culture.

Ya·qawiswit̓xuki—or Glacier National Park as it’s known in English—is your next stop. It was formerly a homeland of the Kootenai people, but years of development and global warming have changed the landscape greatly. Visiting is allowed, just take time to be respectful of the land and learn about the local history before you go.

The glaciers are receding more each year, but a day hike in Many Glacier Valley can still provide you epic views of Grinnell Glacier and Salamander Glacier. If you’re pushed for time, plan ahead for a drive along the infamous Going-To-The-Sun Road and keep your eyes peeled for the Jackson Glacier Overlook sign. Bring binoculars for the big reveal!

The Kootenai and Salish Tribes are also responsible for something wholly unexpected in the area—The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. You’ll be transported straight to Tibet, surrounded by colourful prayer flags, a shrine to Yum Chenmo, and—as you may have guessed—one thousand statues of Buddha.


Our Pick Of The Clicks

All the important (or silly, or strange) travel news from across the web this week.

Hong Kong is giving away 500,000 free flights! Aiming to lure tourists back to the region after a quiet few years, residents of Southeast Asia can apply for tickets from 1st March, followed by residents of China on 1st April.

Most of us will have to wait until 1st May, when the rest of the world can throw their hat in the ring.

Whether you love it or you hate it, there’s a big pink heart-shaped Hallmark holiday next week. This handy guide will help you express your love around the world, whether in simple words or with pig-shaped chocolates.

Despite all the news of small airport closures, there’s talk of another abandoned airport reopening. Manston Airport in Kent has been closed since 2014, but developers are hoping redevelopment could lead to new low-cost flight routes within five years.

This TikToker managed to fly all the way to Italy and buy a pizza for less than the price of ordering a Dominos at home. That’s the JFC spirit!

And finally, it’s not just cats and dogs that try to hop on board flights these days. Security agents in Pennsylvania were surprised to find a live frog inside a checked bag in Harrisburg Airport. Thankfully, the little guy was toad-ally fine.