September 28, 2016

It would be a foolhardy task to try and sum up all the truly amazing sights, places and experiences this wonderful globe of ours has to offer. But just in case you’re feeling a little travel ennui, here are 7 unique destination experiences to charm, dare and tempt you, found in the 7 continents across the world.

Ride with lions in Africa

If staring through binoculars from the faraway safety of a safari truck doesn’t quite appeal to the African adventurer in you, why not take a horseback riding tour?

Experience the true lay of the land as you brush gently through the tall waving grass on the African plains— sight, scent and sounds heightened as you approach the wild animals with nary a safety barrier or throbbing engine to take away from the moment.

Take a dip in Antarctica

The ominously named Deception Island in Antarctica is a series of contradictions. So-named for its deceptive appearance—it is shaped like a ring, but looks like a normal island from beyond—the island is also both one of the safest harbours in the Antarctic region, and an active volcano’s crater as well.

This makes its black sand beaches home to thermal springs just underneath, and a quick google of the place will yield you the incongruous sight of swimsuits and bare skin next to pictures of penguins and snow caps. Though it seems that digging up the beach to reach hot spring waters has been outlawed under the Antarctic Treaty, Deception Island cruise tours are taking a new and creative approach, challenging tourists to chilly polar plunges instead. Why not we say, at least you’ll have the unusual bragging rights of having swum in the Antarctic.

Sleep at the door to Hell in Asia

Central Asia hasn’t had a great rep in the last couple of decades, and the relative inaccessibility and limited exposure of the region means it remains shrouded in mystery, wonder and danger, even for veteran travellers. So where better to find an attraction with such a temptingly moribund name as, “Door to Hell”?

Found in the vast desert of Turkmenistan, “Door to Hell” or “Darvaza” is a large, crackling pit of fire not unlike a vision of hell come to earth. 69 metres wide and 30 metres deep, the natural gas pocket had been set on fire by Soviet engineers and geologists in 1971, while attempting to contain the spread of poisonous gases to nearby communities. Unfortunately, the fire which was expected to die out in the course of weeks, has burned on merrily for over 40 years with little sign of abating.

Overnight tours are conducted so one can enjoy the impressive sight of the glowering pit against a vast desert and sky, much akin to having the world’s largest campfire night.

Frolic with giants in Australia

See and experience the sheer majesty of nature in the clear blue waters of Western Australia. Swimming with whales tours have recently begun off Coral Coast, which sees the migration of pods of humpback whales to Ningaloo Reef down south.

As of 2014, the gentle filter-feeders that are harmless to humans are no longer considered endangered, thanks to successful hunting and ecological laws. These wild mammals are famous for their whale songs and making playful leaps out of water. Swimming alongside them you may also catch sight of the imposing whale shark, the largest fish on earth and dolphin schools.

Drive like James Bond in Europe

Play it cool and suave while seeing the sights by going on a supercar tour of Europe. Known for its scenic mountains and great driving, there are many European tours offering one the chance to experience the true pleasure and power of driving million-dollar speed machines down smooth and winding roads.

In Ferraris to Lamborghinis and more, wind your way across the continent along routes such as the famed “Stelvio Pass” in Italy—dubbed the “World’s Best” by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson—and enjoy the continent from a refreshing vantage point.

Live volcano surfing in North America

At Cerro Negro near León, Nicaragua, dozens of tourists are taking to the vast, blank and black slopes of the active volcano to experience the thrill of speed and danger.

On metal-reinforced boards, riders sweep down the sides of the 728m tall young volcano in a matter of minutes, risking rough tumbles and deep abrasion on the sharp-edged, soot black pebbled surface. The hike up is a slightly arduous 45 minutes long, though one is well rewarded with a glorious bird’s eye view of the surrounding cities and nature.

Swing off the edge of the world in South America

In an isolated seismic observation outpost deep in the forests of Casa Del Arbor, Baños, Ecuador, there hangs a swing to beat all others. Dangling over what appears to be a sheer cliff with a 2,600m drop (there is actually a steep hillside beneath), the swing offers one unparalleled views of surrounding valleys and the volcano, Tungurahua on the horizon. Unfettered by safety cables or gear, the site makes for great photo-ops and a one-of-a-kind picturesque experience.

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