Sunday Chapter · Dec 10, 2015

Ultimate Travel Bucket List: 20 Incredible Experiences

If you like to travel, you probably have a bucket list of places you want to hit throughout your lifetime. I spend a good majority of my day thinking about mine. Call me a cliché but I believe life begins at the end of your comfort zone. It’s so hard to restrict a bucket list to just a few experiences and there’s new additions almost daily, but I’ve tried my best. Here’s 20 things to see and do at least once in your life (or maybe even a few more).

1. Go on a Hot-Air Balloon Ride in Turkey

This experience has been at the top of my bucket list for some time now. Every picture looks breathtaking and I can only imagine how surreal it would feel taking flight during sunrise along with all the other hundreds of hot air balloons. You will drift over the fairy chimneys, valleys scattered with pigeon houses, over archads and vineyards.

2. See the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle

Few people are lucky enough to see the Northern Lights which paint a breathtaking colour backdrop across the wilderness of the Arctic circle. A remarkable sight.

3. Go on Safari in Africa

Whether you go deep bush in northern Kruger or follow the big cats in the Maasai Mara, a trip into the wilderness will be life-changing.

4. Skydive over the Swiss Alps

I’m not particularly fond of heights but I’ve told everyone that if I was to ever travel to Switzerland, I wouldn’t miss the chance to skydive over the Alps.

5. Float in the Dead Sea in Israel

The Dead Sea (Yam Hamelakh — “The Salt Sea”) is the lowest place on earth, roughly 1,300 feet below sea level. Visitors can float effortlessly on the waters of the Dead Sea due to its concentration of minerals, which is the highest in the world.

6. Visit Neuschwanstein, a fairy-tale castle in Germany

Neuschwanstein is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace that inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom, in particular, Cinderella. It was built on a rugged hill against a backdrop of the most picturesque mountain scenery, especially magical during Winter. Talk about the perfect White Christmas!

7. Explore the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean. These 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Its geographical location and ongoing seismic and volcanic activity, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual plant and animal life – such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches.

8. View the Taj Mahal at sunrise in India

The Taj Mahal at Agra, India, is one of the wonders of the world, and also known as “crown of Palaces’. It’s 171 metres (561 feet) in height and it took 17 years to complete!

9. Hike in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, is known for its soaring mountains, electric-blue icebergs that cleave from glaciers and golden pampas (lowlands) that shelter rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos.

10. Sail Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

Amazing beaches and sunshine are the star attractions here, while medieval towns and charming fishing hamlets provide a gorgeous coastal backdrop. A very popular venture among young people, but one I would encourage everyone to experience once in their life.

11. Take a cruise in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islands.

12. Visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

New Zealand’s most colourful geothermal attraction, located on the North Island with unique features including the world famous Champagne Pool naturally coloured springs, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations.

13. Swim in Devil’s Pool in Africa

Only a slippery, submerged lip of rock stands between these bathers and a 100m drop over the world’s largest waterfall. There’s a reason it’s called the most dangerous swimming pool in the world. Definitely one for the thrill-seekers.

14. Hike Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments, and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery.

15. Admire the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma

The 325ft zedi , adorned with 27 metric tons of gold leaf and thousands of diamonds and other gems, is believed to enshrine eight hairs of the Gautama Buddha as well as relics of three former buddhas.

16. Walk on water in Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Introducing the world’s largest salt flat. It’s the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desertlike, 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands. Though wildlife is rare in this unique ecosystem, it does harbor many pink flamingos!

Related: 10 Most Surreal Destinations in the World

17. Release a candle at Yi Peng Festival in Thailand

The Festival of Lights is celebrated all around Thailand with Loi Krathongs (lotus-shaped receptacles) released on water to bring luck and fulfill wishes. Did anyone else immediately think of Tangled? (if you didn’t, you MUST watch that movie!).

18. Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

In a magnificent black-lava field, the milky-teal spa is fed water from the futuristic Svartsengi geothermal plant. The superheated water (70% sea water, 30% fresh water, at a perfect 38°C) is rich in blue-green algae, mineral salts and fine silica mud, which condition and exfoliate the skin.

19. Board down an active volcano in Nicaragua

People are hiking up an active volcano in Nicaragua, and sliding down, sitting or standing, on a thin plywood or metal board at 60mph. I mean honestly, who wouldn’t want to tick ‘slid down an active volcano’ off their bucket list?

20. Visit Japan during Cherry Blossom season

Springtime in Japan is nothing less than magical. From late March to mid April/May, the country’s iconic sakura (cherry blossoms) capture the attention of visitors and locals as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the country in soft, colourful splendor.

The post Ultimate Travel Bucket List: 20 Incredible Experiences appeared first on Sunday Chapter.

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