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I have always had a fascination for passport stamps. Ever since I started traveling I would collect these little marks of having visited a place and then flip through the passport pages when home. I have also been keeping all the passports for the last 12 years, that is 13 of them, and all the corresponding boarding passes. But I have not been everywhere (yet!) and there are a lot of passport stamps I am yet to see, some of which are for the least visited places or temporary stamps issued during specific times, like when Lord of the Rings first came out in New Zealand.
Scroll through the amazing list compiled with the help of well traveled friends, bloggers, writers, adventurers and all round explorers.
We are talking about countries that very few people visit and which are therefore strange to come across. Curious to know how their stamps look like? I tracked them down from the most intrepid travelers.
“We worked as expats in Luanda for awhile, so we got many of them.” – Jorge from www.couplertw.com
“This is the tourist visa for the shortest amount of time, you even get a photo and they stamp entry and exit directly on top.” – Joan from againstthecompass
“The passport stamp from the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire, showing a pink flamingo, the island’s signature bird.” – Catherine Benoit from The Go Fever
“The coolest stamp in my passport is my hot pink Cuba stamp! As an American traveling to Cuba they never stamp your passport in Cuba BUT since my blog is Getting Stamped it would be a sin not to get stamped. When passing through immigration they stamped a piece a paper put in my passport but I insisted on the stamp in my passport. The agent was very confused and shocked, she even asked me like three times ‘are you sure you want a Cuba stamp in your passport?’ It’s my favorite stamp!” – Hannah from GettingStamped
7. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
This is a place which very few get to see and, given my memories and experience, I can see how. Although I will admit that I would like to return and conquer the Congo River, my memories are reduced to my colleagues catching an amoeba that ate one third of their liver and sent them packing to hospital for weeks; the immigration officer at the airport breaking my passport by detaching the pages from the cover then giving me trouble to get through; the security person at the airport trying to steal things off my suitcase in the control “Can I take this for my daughter”; and the morning we got out of the hotel only to find a line of Kalashnikov wielding soldiers pointing at the hotel’s entrance. fair to say my short time in the country was rather unusual.
“Eritrea – where the camel features just as heavily on their official documents as it did on the front lines in the war for Independence.” – Stephen from monkboughtlunch
“My entry into Iraq was a bit anti-climactic. I flew direct from Dubai to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan. The plane touched down at the new airport. I proceeded to immigration and within moments I handed my passport over to the official. With a hasty look and a quick smile, I received my stamp, and I ambled into Iraq.” – Ric from globalgaz
“It was quite easy to get this stamp because it’s visa free for the Singaporean passport. I crossed from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan via the land border and it was at the Kazakh side that something eventful happened. The customs guard tried to get a bribe from me. He held on to my passport and wanted my watch, but I stood my ground for half an hour while others just streamed past. Finally he knew that I wasn’t going to relent and shook my hand to say that we’re friends before returning my passport.” – my friend Donovan
“Entering the Kingdom of Lesotho, a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa.” – Elaine & David from The whole world is a playground
“One of the least visited (and dare we say, dangerous) countries in West Africa, the desert land of Mali” – João from Nomad Revelations
The country of the now extinguished dodo bird is a beautiful rugged, mountainous and honey-moon filled island that evokes tropical and exotic images of swaying palm trees, ylang ylang and vanilla.
Mongolia is the land of legendary warrior Ghengis Khan is the world’s least populated country and it is made of vast steppes and deserts. Fascinating as it is expansive.
16. North Sudan
Before South Sudan received its independence I spent a few months working in Khartoum, the capital of the north. Although this is a Shariah Law, dry, Islamic country I always felt welcome and free to do as I pleased. There was no alcohol but there was always delicious fresh watermelon juice available.
The funny sounding country in South America (if you are a Spanish speaker) has been visited and contributed by the lovely Stefan and Sébastien from Nomadic boys
One of my favourite Pacific islands was Samoa. Friendly, relaxed and they even hang free bananas on bus stops for people to enjoy.
19. San Marino
“You can get your San Marino passport stamp at the top of the foothill next to the cable cart located within the tourism information office. The stamp will cost you €5 to process. Still one of my favourite stamps as its unique with a hologram sticker attached to it. Very awesome indeed! Here’s a video of me getting the stamp!” – Dave from Travel Dave UK
20. St-Martin (Guadeloupe) and St Pierre et Miquelon
Did you ever hear about these two tiny islands? They are both French territories in the Caribbean so technically the European Union! Stamp provided by Dave from baldpacker
No longer visited by anyone other than war journalists or NGO personnel, I have fond memories of Syria. I visited right after Ramadan, during the holidays of Eid that mark the end of the holy month of fasting and was mesmerized by the beauty of its heritage and the history from Babylonian times. I keep hoping that the country returns to peace real soon.
The country where you can dive the largest wreck (The President’ ship), walkup to an active volcano rim, explore islands and get lots in completely remote parts of the Pacific. Vanuatu is more accessible and visited by Aussies and Kiwis but still a paradise like no other.
A country that is all too often associated with drug cartels and violence but which will hopefully return to normality soon. Check out their Caribbean islands, to die for. Stamp provided by Maya from Travel with the smile
Like Syria, nobody visits Yemen today. I hope that the beautiful and irreplaceable architecture of Sana’a, the capital, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will still stand when conflict and war finally leave this fragile country.
“I was participating in a road rally known as the Caucasian Challenge which began in Budapest and ended in Yerevan. One of the countries I traveled through was Kosovo a partially recognized country. While not an exciting stamp, it was somewhat of a humorous crossing. A simple shack served as the immigration center. I could see the official struggling with his computer. I ended up twisting my body through the partially open window and typing my information into his computer. I was met with a smile and allowed to enter Kosovo.” – Ric from Global Gaz
“I have visited this unrecognized de facto country which is sandwiched between Armenia and Azerbaijan twice. The only way to reach Nagorno-Karabakh is via a land crossing from Armenia. The visa process is a bit backwards. You cross the border into NK and a guard will write your name in a giant registry. Once you arrive in the capital of Stepanakert you must visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where you will purchase your visa which you will need to show when you exit the country.” – Ric from Global Gaz
27. Simferopol (Crimea)
“Our stamp from Simferopol while it was still part of Ukraine, before the Crimea war.” – Robson from Love and road
“Another de facto country unrecognized by the UN, Somaliland. The “safe” part of Somalia. A common place to attain the Somaliland visa is at the Somaliland Mission in Addis Ababa. After touching down in Addis Ababa I headed to a residential area of the capital and found a large house which served as the Mission. After filling out a form, giving a couple of photos, and providing some money, I was rewarded with my visa after an hour’s wait.” – Ric from Global Gaz
29. Easter Island
“This stamp is from Rano Raraku volcanic crater, part of Rapa Nui National Park. This is the location where Moai statues were carved from the rock. The stamp is given to anybody who wishes to have it in their passport, it’s in no way obligatory.” – Veronika from Travel Geekery
“In Iran, female travelers need to wear a head scarf for their tourist visa picture. However, if the guys at the desk are feeling lazy, this is what your visa will look like instead.” – Liam from Rucksack Ramblings
31. One Foot Island (Cook Islands)
The tiny One Foot Island, in the Cook Islands, is almost as small as the name indicates although it does not come from its size but rather a legend of a tragic past. A fun stamp to add to your collection.
“A Pakistan entry stamp… and a Pakistan exit stamp very deliberately stamped over by a (petty) Indian customs official, in case you needed more proof of tensions between the two countries.” – Alex from lostwithpurpose
One of the most interesting and stunning of the North Pacific countries is Palau, a heaven for divers from all over the world. Don’t forget to swim in jellyfish infested lake. Don’t worry, they don’t sting.
34. Saudi Arabia
Getting into Saudi Arabia as a woman is not a walk in the park. When I was living in Dubai, the Saudi embassy used to have a sign that read “Business Women cannot get visas” and they followed that to a T. Unless you were traveling with a male companion you were not allowed in. Not that I would have ever liked to go. Out of principle, I never want to visit, but the rules have now relaxed and I have a friend who has been going there for business for a while. Of course, you still have to cover head to toe and follow a host of other ridiculous rules but visas are now granted. Stamp provided by my friend Anna.
Don’t you just love the Coco de mer on the stamp? Cory from You could travel
36. Republic of Whangamomona (New Zealand)
The independent republic is a town located in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island. Mostly a joke than a real thing, the republic had many presidents, that never got invited to any international summits. This may have to do with the fact that they were mostly Goats, Sheep or Turtles. Get your passport stamp at the hotel when passing through. Stamp provided by Robin & Laura – from Backpackerguide.NZ
37. Middle Earth (New Zealand promotional entry stamp)
“To celebrate the release of The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey visitors to New Zealand received this unique stamp onto their passport. This was the legal entry stamp to New Zealand for almost 12 months!”- Robin & Laura from BackpackerGuide.NZ
These really are the top least visited countries in the world so check out their even rarer stamps below.
“A rare Afghanistan tourist visa, with entry and exit stamps on top.” – Sebastiaan from Lost with purpose
I bet you never heard of Comoros and don’t know where to place it on a map. Stamp by Gabriela from gabrielahereandthere
41. East Timor (Timor-Leste)
The former Portuguese colony went through years of civil war until final independence from both the European country and neighbouring Indonesia. As a result, it is hardly visited, hard to get to and expensive to fly into. Once inside, you can enjoy wonderful diving, adventurous road trips and completely deserted beaches. An unknown gem at the farther East of Indonesia.
42. Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk and Yap)
The only country in the world at the moment with officially closed doors to tourism since 2015, so this stamp is from my friend and ex-colleague Carlos who got it from working there a while back.
An undiscovered desert country of nomads and mud houses that hides the beauty of the Sahara. Stamp provided by João from Nomad Revelations
45. North Korea
North Korea is a country which very few get to visit. Secluded, secretive and idolising of the Great Leader. If you want to visit, it is very easy to do so. Just get in touch with one of the agencies which organise tours and they will do it all for you. The visa is a separate paper though, and you only very briefly hold it in your hands until you have to give it to the guide in the country who will keep it for the duration of your trip, return it to you upon exit for you to give it back to the immigration officer. Inside, there is a time capsule of a world that has remained in the 1950s.
46. Sierra Leone
A country with a capital named the same way as Gabon but in different language and which is known for having terrifying airport transfer. The ride from the airport into town used to be done by helicopter but the aircrafts regularly crashed, according to former clients of mine. Best to take a boat if you do visit!
47. Solomon Islands
Another truly unexplored country in the Pacific with stunning beaches completely devoid of any tourism and fantastic diving opportunities. And no, there are no more cannibals.
48. South Sudan
“Above the oval shaped stamp is another stamp from South Sudan that you get after registering into the country, something you have to do within 72 hours of arrival. Having a stamp from the newest country in the world is pretty cool!” – Nathan Coverdale from Always a friday
One word: Swimming with humpback whales. Ok, maybe four words but still, the most amazing experience ever.
50. Antarctica research stations
“We got these stamps from the Russian and Chilean scientific research stations on Antarctica’s King Georgia Island, where we also saw three kinds of Penguins. Amazing day!” –Bret Love & Mary Gabbett from Green Global Travel
51. Beagle Channel
“The stamp is from the Beagle Channel, a strait in the extreme Southern tip of Argentina.” – Gábor from surfingtheplanet
52. Camino de Santiago
“Camino de Santiago, which I have walked twice . Once from St Jean Pied de Port and the second time from Lisbon. I have attached 2 photos – one of an interesting page from the ‘Passport’ I carried on the Camino Frances and had stamped daily in order to prove I had walked the whole way. The other is of an unusual stamp which I got from one of the Albergues on the Camino Portuguese – the Albergue host made the stamp with wax and a specially made seal.” – Joanne Karcz from Travel with Joanne
53. Falkland Islands
“As in the well-known St.James’ Way, via Francigena offers its pilgrims a passport to fill with stamps in every town you cross towards Rome. If you love great food, Italian villages and walking, what are you waiting for?” – Inma from A World to Travel
“Accessible only by plane from Ecuador, the incredible Galapagos Islands offer unrivalled biodiversity, and remarkable experiences with terrestrial and marine wildlife. On arrival at the airport, you are given the option of getting a ‘Galapagos National Park’ passport stamp to remember your trip.” – Anastasia from galivantgirl
“Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of Spain. I took a flight from London to Gibraltar, and at immigration I got a stamp in my Australian passport. The passport stamp has the airport code of GIB shaped like Gibraltar’s famous landmark, The Rock of Gibraltar.” – James from nomadicnotes
57. The Great Wall research station
“This is a stamp from The Great Wall Station, a Chinese research station located on King George Island in the South Shetlands Islands, Antarctica.” – Shara Johnson of SKJ Travel
58. Haiti, Port-of-Prince
From the beautiful yet battered island of Haiti. Stamp provided by Dave from baldpacker
59. Lake Titicaca
“I got this stamp while touring the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca in Peru.” Brianne from A Traveling Life
60. Machu Picchu
“The stamp was obtained on my visit to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in 2009.” – Michelle from Cheeky Passports
61. Nazca, Peru
“When visiting Peru, flying over the mysterious, ancient Nazca lines is considered a must, aside from hiking to Machu Picchu. Don’t forget to have your passport stamped with this at the small airport just before you board your flight!” – Aleah of Solitary Wanderer
62. Norfolk Island
“As of 1 July 2016, travelling from Australia to South Pacific hot spot Norfolk Island became a domestic trip, so this stamp has historic value for now, but watch this space – the Norfolk Island People for Democracy are appealing against Australian rule to the United Nations!” – Red Nomad OZ (aka Marion Halliday) from RedzAustralia
63. South Georgia, King Edward Point
Another remote and hard to reach place in the souther seas. Stamp provided by Dave from baldpacker
64. United Nations
“I was invited to the United Nations as a Champions for Humanity Ambassador in 2016. It was an honor to be included in this project. When you visit the UN Building, go downstairs to the post office and get your passport stamped.” – Lisa Niver from We Said Go Travel
From Argentinian Patagonia with love from my friend Laura.
66. Carabineros de Chile
“This is the stamp from a Chilean Carabineros station in Coyhaique, a small place in Patagonia. The reason why it’s rare is that it’s not an official border crossing, just a police station! We were overlanding in Patagonia and got lost – from Argentina, we ended up in Chile! We discovered when we found this police station, and they were kind enough to stamp our passport to welcome us into Chile. Right next to this stamp you can see the ‘official’ Chilean stamp in red.” – Margherita from The crowded planet
“Kelebia, a village in Bacs-Kiskun county, in southern Hungary. We were on a train (see the cute train on the stamp) from Budapest to Belgrade in Serbia when the train was stopped for passport checks prior to crossing the border.” – Lyn from A hole in my shoe
68. Slovakia by train
“I snapped up this Slovakian passport stamp during my first backpacking trip back in the early 2000s. I was inter-railing through Eastern Europe with two friends. We were woken up by some mean looking border control men as we attempted to get some kip on the train after a few too many absinthes in Prague!” Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
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