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What Exciting Things Should You Have On Your Bucket List?

I recently was chatting to a friend who informed me that he had ticked everything off his bucket list. ‘What?’ I cried aghast. ‘We simply need to find you some new bucket list items‘ was my response. Just to stress, my friend is in the prime of his life. He is not on his deathbed, so it struck me as rather sad to have no new goals to target (sorry G! Just thinking of you!). So, as we advance into the New Year, and have time to reflect on past achievements and future goals, I am hoping to inspire you with some possible bucket list items if you too need to give your bucket list an overhaul.

Let’s start with the ones on my bucket list that I’ve ticked off already.

postcards of the United States
What is on your bucket list?

Completed bucket list items

Everest base camp trek

Mid-afternoon on the 14th of October, we descend a ridge to the boulder-strewn Khumbu icefall. Base camp is perched in the shadow of Lhotse, Everest, and Nuptse, mammoth 8,000m plus (almost for Nuptse at 7,861m) mountains. A smattering of what looks like volcanic ash dusts the huge boulders and rocks which form the plateau from which expeditions embark on their challenge to climb the world’s highest mountain.

Just getting here was no mean feat as I battled altitude sickness, food poisoning and the threat of panic attacks from the constant lack of breath. It was all worth it however to witness the incredible icefall up close in all its glory. If you think this might be the bucket list challenge for you, you can follow our progress in daily accounts of our experience.

En route to Everest Base Camp
Jason and I en route to Everest Base Camp with the Khumbu Glacier behind

If you still like the idea of this challenge after reading those posts, why not take the plunge and book Everest Base Camp trek.

Skydive

My first skydive followed a boozy party night in New Zealand in the late nineties. Almost twenty years later and Jason informs me that he now wants to do a skydive. So, early one morning we turn up at an airfield in Hampshire with a slightly clearer head. We watch closely as the instructor provides a briefing and then nervously slither into our harnesses.

All too soon we clamber into a small purple plane which hurtles down the runway and into the sky. I sit on the floor, a rush of emotions threatening to overwhelm, as our instructor calmly attaches himself to my harness. Then the door flings open, a whoosh of air whirls through the cabin and I’m shuffling towards the edge. We pause, hanging forward into space, and then with a deafening scream, I’m plunging towards the ground.

In no time at all the canopy opens above us (thank you Lord!) and we float gracefully to the ground. My heartbeat slowly returns to normal as I walk into Jason’s arms for a congratulatory hug.

Skydiving for charity
Let’s go skydiving (and deafen the instructor) – not sure it looks as though I am enjoying the experience!

If you want to experience a skydive in a spectacular destination, check out skydiving in Dubai. As much fun as our UK experience was, my experience in New Zealand was better. So find somewhere that inspires you and take the dive!

White water rafting

The thrill of riding the crest of waves, the raft slamming into the water and tumbling through canyons like clothes in a drying machine is exhilarating without the imminent fear of death.

My first experience in Scotland in the nineties was a glacial experience but this is one sport that is utterly diverse. From rafting through a tropical rainforest in Bali to hurtling down rapids under the sweltering heat of an Antalya summer, this is an exhilarating adventure for even the most reluctant of outdoor enthusiasts.

Read more about our Antalya white water rafting experience here. If you then decide you want to try it out, you can check out similiar activities here.

Hot air balloon

One spring evening in the Peak District we drive to Bakewell to the meeting point for our hot air balloon experience. I’m immediately struck by the size of this vast balloon which floats lazily from the ground. The eerie silence occasionally is disturbed by the firing of the engines. Otherwise, it is a serene experience topped off with a glass of champagne after landing (a rather bumpy but fun experience!)

For a truly spectacular hot air balloon experience, I recommend booking a tour in Bagan (see below). The daily vistas of tens of balloons floating into the sky looks stunning from the ground but I can only imagine the incredible views of the temples you will witness if you splash the cash on this experience.

Alternatively, how about Luxor, where for less than £85 you can admire the temples from above? This is truly a place to bag a bargain balloon tour.

Great white shark diving

The double engines on our marine vessel open to full throttle to overcome the swells off Gansbaai. Waves in this part of South Africa are large and powerful as they race into shore and the area is a magnet for giant pelagics.

Once anchored at sea, a large metal cage descends into the water at the rear of the boat and eager tourists jump into the individual slots. The skipper shouts instructions from above as great whites speed towards the cage, occasionally slapping their rear fin against the side. It’s as though they are toying with us, keen to remind us that the cage is no match for their strength.

Part of the thrill is, however, our race back to shore as our boat tries to crest the rolling waves, no mean feat when one engine has failed. You can read more about our dramatic rescue on that trip in our great white shark diving review.

The great white shark smacking our cage
A great white shark smacking into our cage

Book your own great white shark diving experience here.

Sydney Harbor bridge climb

Any visitor to Sydney is likely to capture endless photos of the bridge given its iconic status. However climbing the bridge is a whole different experience, involving a very attractive jumpsuit and incredible views of the city and harbour. It’s far from terrifying unless you happen to have a fear of heights, but it’s hard to beat the views of the city from up above. You will definitely need to book and tickets cost from around £90.

Climbing Sydney Harbour bridge
Climbing Sydney Harbour bridge Courtesy of Bridge Climb Sydney

Ascend the world’s tallest building

I’ve been able to ascend two of the world’s tallest buildings. We visited the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur back in 2001 and more recently the Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai. Although these visits can often be ridiculously overpriced, for me it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to view a city. It can help you to gain your bearings, as well as provide fabulous photos opportunities.

Tickets for the Burj Khalifa cost from 149 AED (around £30). The lounge VIP experience, which we did, costs 618 AED per person (around £129). By contrast, tickets to the Petronas viewing platform cost around £22.

I recommend the VIP experience in Dubai as this gives you fast track access to the towers. The dedicated elevator whisks you to a private viewing platform 152 stories above the ground where you can enjoy complimentary drinks and canapes as you admire the views. You can then descend to the 148th floor for further views and on the 125th floor, you can walk on a glass floor 456 metres above the ground. Book your tickets through Get Your Guide or read this Dubai layover guide for more information.

Views from the Burj Khalifa
Views from the Burj Khalifa

Helicopter trip

I recall my first ever helicopter trip in New York. Sadly, it was just a few months after 9/11 and the smouldering ruins of the world trade centre were still visible as we swooped across the city skyline.

Since then, we have been fortunate enough to enjoy helicopter sightseeing in New Zealand, Toronto, the Florida Keys, Cape Town and most recently in Nepal. Climbing into the Himalayas in a helicopter is etched into my mind for eternity and wherever possible I look into helicopter sightseeing options. Check out your options on your next trip at Get Your Guide.

Chapmans Peak, South Africa
Hout Bay towards Chapmans Peak on our Cape Town helicopter tour

Fly from Lukla airport

Dubbed the most dangerous airport in the world, take off from Lukla airport is both exciting and nerve-wracking. The runway is just a fraction of the normal runway length and has a steep camber to help with lift-off. There are no second chances for the pilot as the runway drops steeply into an abyss – the verdant green valley basking in the sun far below.

Thankfully our flight was uneventful and allowed spectacular views of the valley dotted with rice paddies, prayer flags, and small settlements. In no time we bumped onto the runway and disembarked to tropical heat instead of the fresh mountain air we had become accustomed to.

Views of the runway at Lukla airport
Views of the runway at Lukla airport

Read more:

Is This The Most Dangerous Airport In The World?

Halong Bay kayaking

All we can hear is the splash of our paddles as we slowly paddle between two limestone karsts. Shadows dance on the crystal clear water surface as we dangle our feet in the warm waters. Although there are lots of organised tours to the bay, it’s big enough for you to find your own piece of solitude.

Once we tire of lazing in the shallows we paddle back to our junk boat and retreat to the comfort of our teak cabin resplendent with king-size bed and en-suite bathroom. No visit to Vietnam is complete without visiting this world heritage site, preferably on an overnight cruise.

Beautiful Halong bay
Beautiful Halong bay

Check out day tours and overnight cruises here. I highly recommend an overnight trip as you be able to explore more remote corners of the bay. Besides, you have travelled a large distance to get here – you may as well enjoy it!

Angkor Wat at sunrise

A hush descends over the crowd who wait patiently in front of the main temple at Angkor Wat. It’s 6.30 in the morning and the first hints of sunrise are trickling into the sky. Shades of pale pink melt into bright oranges and hot pinks as the drama of the temple reveals itself in the encroaching daylight.

Although it’s an early start it’s absolutely worth the effort. I recommend that you avoid the group tours however and simply hire a tuk tuk driver for the day. You will need to pay the entrance fee on arrival but will be able to wander the numerous temples on your own timeline.

Views from one of the temples at Angkor Wat
Views from one of the temples at Angkor Wat

If you really would prefer to book a guided tour, small group tours start from £14.

Bagan at sunset

In Bagan, Myanmar, sunset is the star attraction. Thousands of temples of every size and shape dot the dusty plain surrounding the small town. Hire a bicycle and explore at your leisure. Many temples have free access and you can clamber unhindered up the steps on the side.

Some of the major temples charge an entrance fee but the highlight of any visit is finding a temple at sunset, climbing on its terraces or rooftop and taking in the vivid hues of orange as the sun bathes the temples in gold at sunset. Endless temples silhouetted make for spectacular photos.

Bagan at sunset
Bagan at sunset

If you would like to know more about the cost of travel in Myanmar, check out this post.

Read more:

Myanmar on a budget? Why pay £1000 for a trip when you could do it for less than £200!

 

The Killing Fields

Now, admittedly a trip to the Killing Fields is hardly going to fill you with joy. However, to understand Cambodia, this sight must be on your list. The Khmer Rouge wiped out almost a third of the population in their frenzied determination to introduce an agrarian state into Cambodia. The educated, public servants and many more were rounded up, herded into mass graves and bludgeoned to death at this location. It is a sombre experience but an essential stop on any tour of the country.

The killing tree at the Killing Fields
The killing tree at the Killing Fields

Book tours from £11 per person.

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Bubbles rise slowly above my head as I slowly swim through corridors of cathedral-like corals. On either side, huge columns of multi-coloured coral rise majestically to the surface, light bouncing off them in rainbow streaks. Thousands of tropical fish flit into the nooks and crevices. We see huge barracuda, the occasional turtle, moray eels and endless clownfish. It is a true feast for the eyes!

Diving colourful reefs
Diving colourful reefs (Courtesy of  yuejun gao from Pixabay)
Diving a reef somewhere in the world
Diving a reef somewhere in the world – seriously, if you have not tried it, maybe now is the time!

I dived on a 3-day liveaboard. It is over 15 years since I did this liveaboard, however, if you want to visit the southern barrier reef, you will have to book an overnight boat. The reef is over 12 hours offshore but worth the effort for the magnificent corals and lesser crowds. You can book your liveaboard here.

Dead sea

Everyone should head to the Dead Sea once in their life to slather mud all over their body, and bathe in the salt waters of the Dead Sea. It is a surreal experience as you bob around on the surface. Take note, it is almost impossible to swim without looking like a bumbling fool.

Floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan
Floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan

We stayed at the Ma’In Hotel which is nestled in a valley far below sea level. It has an incredible spa, gorgeous rooms and wonderful hot springs. Note, the service was somewhat lacking however.

Iguacu falls

Iguacu falls straddle the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. You can visit from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides and both offer very different experiences. On the Brazilian side, the woodland trails skirt the river, offering the occasional glimpse of the falls until you emerge into the Devil’s Throat. Underneath the belly of the falls you can enjoy an immersive (literally) experience in close quarters. Tickets cost from £13.

Iguacu Falls, Brazil
Iguacu Falls, Brazil

The Argentinian side offers a tourist train ride to a long boardwalk that snakes across the river to the top of the falls. Again the experience offers a birds-eye view of the falls from above. The spray hovers above the wooden viewing platform which perches on the edge of the San Martin fall. It’s a spectacular site and if you have time afterwards you can head into Puerto Iguazu to enjoy a mouth-watering Argentinian steak. Just don’t leave it too late to head back to the border if you are staying in Brazil as it closes. You will need to check the close time with your hotel.

Iguacu Falls Argentina
Iguacu Falls Argentina

If you are in any doubt as to why you should visit Iguacu Falls, you should watch this video which shows you the full splendour of the falls. You can book tickets here for the Argentinian side.

If you really want an amazing place to stay by the Falls, stay at Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas which is actually within the park on the Brazilian side. It serves amazing cocktails. HOTEL DAS CATARATAS

Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas

Niagara Falls

Personally I think Niagara is a bit overrated, however, it was on my mum’s bucket list and for this reason, it will always have a special place in my heart.

We don the blue macs that are included in the price of our falls tickets and pose for the obligatory shot in front of the falls. Then we clamber onboard the Lady Of The Mist to head into the horseshoe falls. The water rages beneath us as spray hits the deck and our macs. Laughing, we squeal as droplets sneak beneath the macs and trickle down our necks. It’s a fun boat ride but Niagara is otherwise a bit trashy!

Lady of the Mist at NIagara Falls
Lady of the Mist at Niagara Falls (Source: Pexels from Pixabay)

Penguins at Boulders beach

One crisp morning, we leave Cape Town and head further down the coast towards Cape Point. En route, we stop off at Boulders Beach to catch our first sighting of a huge colony of humorous penguins. They waddle around the beach, splash and play in the water and ignore the fascinated tourists trying desperately to take their photos. Definitely not one to miss!

The penguins of Boulders Beach
The penguins of Boulders Beach

Concorde

To fly on Concorde was always on my bucket list, but I imagined that this would be a treat I would enjoy in the very distant future. Perhaps it would be my retirement present to myself.

However fate intervened and following the tragic crash of Air France 4590 in 2000, and the subsequent drop in demand for seats, it was announced in April 2003 that both Air France and British Airways would cease Concorde flights.

My timeline changed dramatically – if I was ever to fly this beautiful aircraft it had to be now. I booked flights and just one month later excitedly climbed onboard and settled into our teeny seat. No seatback TVs to amuse us, just a trolley full of reading material and a spectacular silver service meal.

However, the real enjoyment of flying Concorde is watching the plane bypass the speed of sound, hovering just below outer space (actually being able to see the dark beyond) and arriving into New York at an earlier time than the one we left behind in Paris!! Sadly, you cannot indulge in this one unless those businessmen have their way.

Blackwater rafting

Imagine abseiling 100ft into a huge cavern with an underground river flowing through it. You receive a large inflatable ring and settle into the water for the ride of your life. With just headlamps to light the way, you toss and turn as the river batters you against the rocks and drags you downstream to a small pool.

Here you clamber out of your ring (if you haven’t already fallen out of it) and wade back through the water to your start point before climbing out of the cave. What a day of fun that was!!

You can book your own adventure for little more than £40.

Sailing the Whitsundays

We clamber onboard the Southern Cross, an 80ft maxi yacht refitted for tourists with hanging bunks and communal bathroom and kitchen facilities. A former America’s Cup yacht, it is a beautiful vessel, as it slides effortlessly through the deep waters of the southern barrier reef. At times the wind is so strong we skim across the water, our feet dangling over the side of the yacht. At other times, we anchor and sunbathe lazily on deck or take a dip in the shimmering azure waters.

This trip also allows passengers to experience Whitehaven beach without the crowds. We anchor early in the morning and wander the deserted beach, trekking through pristine rainforest to emerge at the viewpoint overlooking Hill Inlet. To this day, this beach is the best I’ve ever seen.

Beaches of the Whitsundays
Beaches of the Whitsundays (Source: Horst Müller from Pixabay)

Whilst the exact same trip I did may not be available, there are a bunch of options available for sailing around the Whitsundays. You can check out your Whitsunday options here.

Ziplining

We drive high up into the rainforest to a platform for our safety briefing, before donning harnesses and safety helmets. Then we clip onto the line and whizz off through the jungle tops, our feet dangling above the canopy.

We squeal with delight as we race down the lines, clipping and unclipping from one platform to another. All too soon our zipline adventure in the Honduran jungle comes to an end and we arrive on a beautiful sandy beach. Not a bad way to end the trip!

Ziplining on Roatan, Honduras
Ziplining on Roatan, Honduras

Whale watching in Boston

The boat edges out of the harbour and towards the Stellwagen bank. This marine sanctuary is renowned for sightings of humpback whales and we are desperately praying that we will be fortunate enough to see them.

Once we arrive at the bank, the boat bounces around on the waves and we scan the water looking for spray from the humpbacks’ breath. We are fortunate enough to encounter many whales during our boat trip and they put on a real show. These majestic creatures race through the water, jumping into the air as they breach. They make huge splashes in their wake. A truly beautiful sight and an easy day trip from Boston.

Humpback whales breaching
Humpback whales breaching. This incredible photo is courtesy of  Sarah Richter from Pixabay

You can book tickets for around £44 here.

Diving with hammerheads

I am fascinated with sharks. Yes, they make me slightly nervous, after all, they are a large predator and their behaviour can be unpredictable. However, they are such graceful, beautiful creatures and seeing them up close in the water is truly a spectacle not to be forgotten.

However, on a liveaboard in Egypt, we planned to dive with hammerheads in the blue which adds a whole new level of nervousness and anticipation. So it was one day that we found ourselves hovering in the deep inky blue water waiting. We were not to be disappointed, as a shoal of hammerheads circled beneath us, totally uninterested in us but we were captivated by them.

Hammerhead shark
Hammerhead shark. PIcture courtesy of skeeze from Pixabay

Sadly, this is not my picture. I was too busy focussing on my diving skills. I also suspect this picture is from an aquarium as hammerheads like the depths. Nevertheless, you can see how amazing these creatures are!

If you want to try diving yourself, check out some options for dive trips here.

Diving with seals in Kaikoura

Despite wearing a 7mm wetsuit and a gazillion kilo of weight to maintain my buoyancy, this dive in New Zealand goes down as one of my best.

We head into the frigid waters to dive with seals. I’ve only gone a short distance from shore when a large female takes an interest in me. She swoops and swims around me in a mesmerising dance. She seems intent on showing off and it’s like I’ve found a kindred spirit. After she almost sends me dizzy with her antics, she hovers just a foot from me staring intently into my eyes and claps her fins together.

I laugh and cannot help but clap my hands together in glee – a moment of connection in the shallows of the kelp surrounding Kaikoura. Then, in a flash, she is gone. She shoots away and I swim to catch my buddy who has missed the entire show.

Kaikoura bay
Kaikoura bay – the seas offshore are home to an abundance of sealife

If you don’t fancy diving, you can also opt for kayaking in the bay.

Kayaking with dolphins in Fort De Soto

Admittedly this experience, like the last one, is not one you can plan. Indeed, as we followed the kayak course around the mangrove swamps of Fort De Soto we admire large pelicans hovering for food when suddenly we are surprised to see a large shadow underneath our kayak. We peer into the murky water trying to figure out what this unexpected visitor is.

Then a splash, as a dolphin fin emerges from the water just to our right. The playful dolphin continues to dive and splash around us for several minutes before disappearing into the distance. It goes to show that you often don’t have to travel far from civilisation to get a real taste of the wilderness.

Swim with dolphins

I know just including this will likely bring a raft of abuse from those who do not believe animals should be exploited in this manner. In Roatan, where I swam with dolphins, the dolphins are free to come and go – they are not held in captivity. I had lost my mother a few weeks before and found the whole experience extremely cathartic.

A few days later, I was fortunate enough to encounter a dolphin on a dive. Seeing them up close in this manner really drives home how huge and powerful they are. But, also their instinctive ability to sense (and empathise dare I say?) with humans.

With the dolphins in Roatan
With the dolphins in Roatan in 2008

There are plenty of different locations around the world where you can still swim with dolphins. Take a peek here if you are interested.

Stay in a tented safari

We edge out of our jeep to stand nervously on the savannah while our guide attempts to free the wheels from the squelching mud, the soggy remnants of recent rains. The tyres slip and slide, mud splatters drenching anyone in close proximity, and I contemplate the prospect of becoming dinner for any one of the wild animals roaming the plains.

Later, we admire lions, zebras, giraffes and many more animals from the relative safety of our jeep. The lions and their cute little cubs look infinitely bored, and to my horror I find that reflects my own state of mind. It seems safaris are not my thing!

That said, there is no denying that staying in a luxury tent, with baboons leap-frogging across it in the night, is an experience I will never forget. From our deck, we can see hippos lazing in the shallows of the Masai river and from the poolside bar, we hear the sounds of wild animals roaming close by.

The best part of this experience, however, was the short flight from the coast to the Masai Mara. Our plane leaves from a runway that is little more than a field. The departure terminal is a mere shack but the hotel is pure luxury!

Get Your Guide has Safari options from a very reasonable £272. Considering we paid £1,000 for a one-night safari over ten years ago, that is exceptional value.

Heres one such safari hotel you might like. The Sarova Mara Game Camp offers luxury four-poster beds, a swimming pool and spa.

Surf down sand-dunes

We spend the day exploring Wadi Rum, marvelling at the rock shapes, huge arches and endless desert. Then our guide disappears to the jeep and returns with a snowboard and a big grin on his face. Mischievously, he points to a large dune in front of us and before you know it, I am strapped onto the board and sliding down the dune. I dissolve into a pile, laughing at my helpless antics but what a blast!!

A glorious sunset brings to a close a fantastic day of adventure.

Sandboarding in Wadi Rum
Sandboarding in Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum offers truly sublime scenery and it is best to book a tour to get the most from your visit. Check out trips here.

Go on a cruise

I have to confess, we were unsure about a cruise but decided to take the plunge and book a Caribbean trip. Our uncertainty did not last long.

The great thing about a cruise is that you get a taste of lots of places in a short space of time. You can then decide which you might want to revisit. Whilst I found the gluttony extraordinary, I did love waking up in a different location every day.

At day at sea on Carnival Liberty
At day at sea on Carnival Liberty
Carnival cruise liners in the Caribbean
Carnival cruise liners in the Caribbean

Go paragliding

Like the thought of running off a mountain? Ok, so in reality, you just need to take a few steps and the canopy should lift you easily into the air. Your guide will push and pull the chords while you sit back and enjoy the view.

I have been lucky enough to paraglide in Jordan, New Zealand and Turkey. I love the freedom of floating around in the thermals and admiring amazing scenery from above.

Paragliding in New Zealand in 2005
Paragliding in New Zealand in 2005

Bucket list items still to complete

Sadly my bucket list never reduces in size. If anything, the opposite is true. The more people I meet travelling, the more inspiration I receive for other future adventures. So here are some of the ones still on my list.

Sand-dunes of Namibia

Those endless huge sand dunes in Namibia fascinate me. Just look at these babies! Who would not want to try and climb those? Good hill training maybe?

Namibian sand dunes
Namibian sand dunes (Tanja Wilbertz from Pixabay)

Kayak with orcas

Sadly when we visited Vancouver it was wintertime so we could not kayak with orcas. I will definitely be returning in summer so that we can paddle through scenery like this and admire these majestic creatures close up.

orcas in the wild
orcas in the wild. Source: skeeze from Pixabay

Dive with whale sharks

I have dived with many sharks but never one that is bigger than a bus. These huge creatures are so massive that they are bigger than a double-decker bus (can you imagine?!). Just be careful to avoid their open mouths as one unsuspecting diver once happened to swim into the whale’s mouth (thankfully the whale spat that unfortunate individual out!)

Whale shark
Whale shark. Courtesy of Domingo Trejo from Pixabay

Learn to surf

I admit that the thought of surfing slightly terrifies me. I have visions of being spat out of a huge wave and thrust upon the sand with a mouthful of saltwater to express. However, I am not one to shy away from a challenge so I have no doubt that surfing is in my future but you probably won’t see me in a glamorous pose on the front of a magazine anytime soon.

Imagine surfing waves like this
Imagine surfing waves like this? Terrifying!! Courtesy of Pexels from Pixabay

If you fancy trying out surfing, maybe you would like to book a surf lesson in none other than Surfers Paradise. Lessons start around £40.

Macchu Pichu

After our Everest Base Camp expedition, I am keen to take on other big treks. This trek through the rainforest appeals with those superlative views as you arrive at the ruins at sunrise.

Mitch, from Project Untethered has been and here is what he has to say about it.

As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu has become a mega tourist attraction. That said, regardless of the crowds, it’s still a must-see. During my trip, I decided to do the 5-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in order to experience the area without as many other tourists. It is an alternative to the busier (and more expensive) Inca Trail trek, and I cannot recommend it enough. When we arrived in Machu Picchu on the last day, my favourite part was climbing up to the Machu Picchu Mountain viewpoint. It was a tough climb, but totally worth it!

Macchu Picchu
Macchu Picchu

You can book a short Inca trail tour from as little as £241 here.

Trekking the W in chile

Sights of a glacier groaning and glistening in the otherworldly landscape of Patagonia is high on my list. The Perito Moreno glacier looks utterly stunning.

Here’s why Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads think the W trek should be on your bucket list.

The W-trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile deserves to be on a bucket list of every outdoor lover and hiking enthusiast. It’s a 4-day trek with incredible scenery; massive glaciers, bizarrely shaped rocks, turquoise colour lakes, breathtaking lookouts, waterfalls, and beautiful indigenous forest.

The total distance of the route is 100km and it’s an easy/moderate trek. The W-trek can be done as an independent or guided hike. There are different accommodation options on the route from basic campsites to luxury cottages so hikers can choose where to stay depending on their budget.

Patagonia
The stunning views on the W trek

Don’t sign up for a ull guided trek in the UK as it will likely set you back over £2,000. On Get Your Guide, you can book a four day trip for around £750.

The Galápagos

I’d love to do a liveaboard in the Galápagos for a chance to dive with giant pelagics and a host of other creatures. Sarah from A Social Nomad took a 3.5 week trip to the Galapagos Islands and considers it serious bucket list material. Here is what she has to say about the trip.

We took the view that we’d likely never come back and so went all in.  We stayed on all four of the inhabitable islands then took day trips to places like North Seymour to see the stunning Frigate Birds. On Isabella we saw endless Blue Foote Boobies and swam with black and white-tipped reef sharks. We learned an amazing amount about conservation, ecology and the natural world.  On Floreana Island, we stayed right on the beach with a naturalist and swam with turtles each morning. It was an incredible experience and deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list.

Galápagos Islands
The amazing wildlife of the Galapagos

If you want to see what trips you could book in the Galapagos, click here.

Costa Rica rainforest

I’d love to trek through the rainforest, kayak through pristine mangrove and sleep on a deserted beach. Or, at least that is what I imagine I will do when I finally make it to Costa Rica.

Tracey, from Pack The Pjs shares her experience of Costa Rica and now I want to go even more.

We spent three days in La Fortuna, the volcano and rainforest region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. There are lots to do here, from learning about cocoa and coffee to spotting sloths, and zip-wiring. We took a circular walk through the tropical rainforest of Mystico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. You need strong footwear, but the path is good. The trek is slow, as the guide stops to show you any rare and wonderful creatures he spots.

A highlight was crossing the six hanging bridges. The adrenaline kicks in when you realise you are swaying 148 feet above the ground!

On the bridges of the Hanging Bridges Park
On the bridges of the Hanging Bridges Park

There are tons of adventure sports to indulge your adrenaline junkie needs. If you wish to check out your options, take your pick from these.

Tango in Buenos Aires

Jason and I have been to tango classes and I have to confess, we were shocking. However, I’d love to take a tango lesson in Buenos Aires and then catch a show of this sultry dance. James, of Travel Collecting has taken to the dancefloor and here is what he recalls of the experience.

There are several ways to experience tango in Buenos Aires.  The most common way is to see a tango show. There are several around the city and they are amazing. The music, the moves, the mood – it is pure passion and entertainment. This was the highlight of my trip to Buenos Aires. Most tango shows serve dinner before the show, but this is optional (and the food is typically not as good as the performance). Popular places are around El Caminito in La Boca and Piazza Dorrego in San Telmo.

It is also fun to try the dance yourself, and I recommend taking a tango lesson. Then dance the night away at a milonga (a tango dance hall) with local Porteños (as Buenos Aires locals are called).

Tango in Buenos Aires
Tango in Buenos Aires

Book your own tango dinner here.

Bhutan Tigers Nest

The sight of this monastery perched on the cliff side is stunning. I’d love to visit this country while it’s not over run by tourists. I’m super jealous of Agni & Amrita who share their experience.

Taktsang Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is one of the most iconic places to visit in Bhutan. The monastery is perched perilously on a mountain cliff in Paro and you have to hike for about 3 hours to reach the monastery.

We started the trek early in the morning and hiked through the pine forest trail. After an hour, we got our first views of the monastery and it was simply mesmerizing. The final stretch of the trek is a fleet of stairs that you descend before you climb up to the monastery gate.

Once we reached the monastery, we could feel the serenity of the place. It is said that there is a beauty in silence and we understood that for the first time. We felt on top of the world. A trip to Bhutan is incomplete without seeing Tiger’s Nest.

Tiger’s Nest
Taksang Monastery

You can opt for a multitude of different treks of different lengths. See what appeals here.

Antarctica

Antarctica is probably my number one bucket list item that I have yet to tick off. This is not a cheap fix however so it may be some time before I can accomplish this one. Thea, from Zen Travellers is one lucky devil who has already visited this stunning landscape and here is what she has to say.

Antarctica is the ultimate bucket list destination for good reason. It’s not easy to get to the end of the world, but for those that do make it to the White Continent, the effort is well worth it! See majestic, otherworldly landscapes and breathtaking icebergs floating by. Charming little penguins waddle across the snow and help to create memories to last a lifetime.

The most affordable way to see the great white south is to catch a last minute cruise to Antarctica where you can enjoy all the sights at a fraction of the price.

Kayaking in Paradise Bay Antarctica
Kayaking in Paradise Bay Antarctica

K2 Base Camp

Having now trekked to base camp I’m looking for a new challenge. I’d love to do this trek for sublime scenery, another challenge and to dispel many of the misconceptions of Pakistan, including my own.

Sadly I couldn’t find anyone who had undertaken this challenge so you are just going to have to take my word for it!

What is on your bucket list?

Now, remember, I’m trying to inspire G (and anyone else who needs some travel inspiration). This list is thus not exhaustive and you lovely readers probably have a bunch more awesome suggestions. Don’t be shy now. Let us know what they are in the comments and if you have a photo even better! Send it over to me and I will add your contribution!

This post may contain affiliate links which pay me a small commission should you click on them and make a purchase. These help towards the cost of running the site, and the occasional glass of wine, but you are under no obligation to use them.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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2 comments

  1. My flabber is well and truly ghasted!

    I believe the Cape Town Great Whites are unable to hold umbrellas, as the one weekend I was in Cape Town, all the shark diving tours were cancelled because of the weather.

    Glorious sunshine as I left for the airport, though.

  2. nice..I liked your way of presenting.

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