Top 10 Bucket List Experiences

We regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do. Sometimes life is just too short. Embark on unforgettable life-altering experiences, stand speechless among some of the Seven Wonders of the World and immerse yourself in other uniquely magical experiences. The time is now to start ticking off that bucket list of yours!

We’ve listed our top ten most requested experiences to give you some inspiration. Whether you’ve always dreamed of seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, following the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or going in search of the elusive northern lights, we’ve got the tours to turn your travel dreams into breathtaking reality.

1. Spotting the big five in Africa

As far as wildlife experiences go it doesn’t get more spectacular than spotting the big five. For years travellers have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief at the size and majesty of these colossal creatures, who take on an even stronger spine-tingling vitality up close. Put yourself within touching distance of lightening-quick lions and leopards, gargantuan elephants, boisterous buffalo and roaring rhinos at three stunning principal ‘big five’ destinations: Kenya’s Masai Mara wildlife reserve, Tanzania’s stunning Serengeti National Park and massive Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Hold your breath as you watch lions silently stalking their pray, enjoy leopards lazing under a vintage Serengeti sunset and buffalos bulldozing through immeasurably vast wild plains. Try not to flinch as ginormous giraffes eat straight from the palm of your hand at the Nairobi Giraffe Centre, watch enormous elephant herds roaming the Tanzania’s 2,850 km² Tarangire National Park and stand astounded in front of tree climbing lions at Lake Manyara National Park. For an iconic bucket list experience, see our Tanzania & Kenya trails 13 day tour and more Big Five tours, or tailor-make your own.

An elephant on a sunset stroll in Serengeti National Park

2. Learn the history of Ancient Egypt

Fuel your historic imagination with the fascinating relics and attractions of Ancient Egyptian past. Crafted approximately 4,500 years ago from a seemingly impossible lack of technology, the monumental Pharaoh tombs within the Pyramids of Giza are an enduring feat of human architecture that rightly take their place as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Gaze in wonder at Pharaoh Khufu’s 482 foot Great Pyramid made from 2.3 million huge stone blocks. Marvel at the gigantic statues of King Ramses II that guard his tomb at Abu Simbel; roam the 490,000 square metre complex of ancient Egyptian relics and antiquities at Giza’s new Grand Egyptian Museum; take in  Tutankhamun’s glistening golden mask; walk the breathtaking Valley of the Kings and admire the lavish Egyptian reverence for the deceased. Located within Luxor’s Karnak Temple Complex, the great Hypostyle Hall contains a remarkable range of temples and towering pillars with special interest going to the outer walls which its builder Seti I inscribed with details of his gory battles. Other areas of historic intrigue include the Temple of Philae, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Commonwealth War Graves of El Alamein commemorating WWII battles and the majestic Cheops pyramid – the tallest man-made building for 3,800 years.  All this and more on our Egypt tours.

3. Search for the Northern Lights

It’s no surprise that these shimmering sparkles in the sky fill the bucket lists of world explorers. Escape 94 kilometres East of Reykjavik to the minute town of Hella in southern Iceland and gaze upward for an ethereal display of spellbinding multicoloured lights. Retreat to the icy isolated Artic depths of Finland, set up camp and warm your hands by the fire as you wait in anxious anticipation for an electric explosion of colour. Or set foot on the magical Lofoten Islands in the Norwegian sea surrounded by towering snowy mountains. Soak in sights of purple, green and red hues in a staggeringly quiet and priceless moment of calm natural brilliance.

A traveller gazes at these incredible natural wondersTo pick the perfect tour for you, browse our selection here.

4. Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Set deep in the Andes mountains, the Inca Trial to Machu Picchu is an iconic bucket list experience. Make your way through stunning high passes taking in exquisite archaeological sites and jaw-dropping views on a suspense building journey to the infamous lost city of the Incas. Wade through ancient history on former pilgrimage routes, step into the ‘town in the clouds’ (at 3,680m) and feel the warm sweat on your neck during an 11km trek through the Urabamba Valley, flanked by the Urabamba river and snow-capped mountains. Tip-toe your way through ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ 4200m high at Warrmi Wanusqa before setting your walking stick down and drink in the clean altitude air characteristic of this sensational scenery that deservedly takes its place as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. All this and more – on our Inca Trail tours.

5. Camp under the stars in the Sahara desert

For a beautifully authentic experience, take in a moment of glorious natural beauty under the sparkling Sahara stars. Slip off your shoes and feel the soft sand on your feet as you stay in Berber tribe inspired tents, appearing as tiny dots on the expansive plains of wind-swept sands and undulating sand dunes that make up the 9,200,000 square kilometre Sahara. Hop on camel back for an hour to move away from local villages and look up at the stars on our Trek the Sahara 8 day tour. Feel the awesome power of the elements as we spend the night in fixed tents near the holy shrine of Sidi Naj and the spectacular sand dunes of Zahar punctuating a background of mesmerising mountains. Keen on Morocco but unsure where to start? Click here for some guidance.

6. Chase penguins in Antarctica

Step onto the chilly South Shetland islands 120 kilometres north of the Antarctic Peninsula in search of charming penguins seen gliding across the ice and going about their daily lives. Sightings of Adélie and Chinstrap species of Penguins are common here and form part of our Polar Circle Quest 12 day tour. Embark on a scenic sail along the Beagle Channel and stare in awe at immense colonies of penguins. Escape to eerily beautiful remote plains of South Georgia where you’re more likely to see a penguin or a seal wandering the streets than you are a person! Tick this one of your bucket list and choose your preferred method of Penguin chasing from one of our Antartica tours.

Three penguins in Antartica

7. Lose yourself in the lost city of Petra

Steeped in ancient intrigue, the ancient UNESCO-listed Nabataean city of Petra in Southern Jordan has fascinated explorers since its rediscovery in 1812. Wonder at the spectacular 70m high sandstone walls as you stroll through the enchanting mile long Siq passageway into the city complex, created by years of rain and wind erosion. Proudly one of the oldest cities in the world dating back to approximately 312BC and the former capital of Nabatean trade, there’s no shortage of attractions to explore here. A remarkable achievement of ancient engineering, this carved pink-rose coloured city includes the superb Khazneh temple of Indian Jones legend, the Theatre, Colonnaded Street, Museum, majestic hillside monastery, immense 8000 seat amphitheatre and more astonishing archaeological treasures all featured on ours Jordan tours.

Explore the magical lost city of Petra

8. Get that Insta snap at the Taj Mahal

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in affectionate memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz who died in childbirth, the Taj Mahal is a love story. In fact, calling on the strength of 1000 stone-carrying elephants and 20,000 labourers, this stands as the most remarkable monument of love ever built. As one of the Seven Wonders of the World and an enduring symbol of Indian brilliance, The Taj Mahal easily tops bucket lists and is best appreciated when bathed in a sensational sunset. Take in a blend of Indian, Turkish and Persian architectural styles on the intricate interior and daring décor. Visitors must also look out a sensational switch of colours depending on the suns movements with the Taj often glowing pink in the morning, white in the day and a golden yellow in the early evening. Enjoy a breathtaking Taj Mahal facing room at the Gateway Hotel as part of our A Taj Showcase 9 day tour, explore other Taj Mahal tours, or tailor-make your own!

The Taj Mahal bathed in sunset

9. Cruise among the glaciers in Greenland

Hunker down in an Ocean Atlantic ship and glide peacefully through gorgeous glaciers in uninhabited Greenland for a truly unique bucket list worthy experience. Witness gigantic icebergs crash into each other, shatter, and slowly drift away during an exploration of the far northern Eqip Sermia Glacier. Stare at colossal chunks of ice bathing in the late afternoon sun and keep an eye out for whales, seals and dolphins who appear out of seemingly isolated waters. Admire vibrant reddy colours as the midnight sun reflects off monstrous icebergs on our night cruise to Ilulissat, and gawp at the effects of climate change at UNESCO-listed Icefjord where the mammoth Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier calves icebergs at a rate of around 20 million tonnes per day. Click here for a look at our Greenland glacier tours.

A classic Greenland glacier

10. Take a vodka shot in Russia

A staple local drink since the 14th century, a Russia vodka shot is the absolute pinnacle of all vodka shots. A sample of chilled Russia vodka is best served with salty snacks and will leave your taste buds still tingling in delight on the plane home. But aside from the alcohol, Russia is home to a wealth of cultural riches. Take a guided tour of the Moscow Kremlin, enjoy the vibrant exhibitions at the the world-famous Hermitage Museum, appreciate the stunning St Basil’s Cathedral and the exorbitantly decorated Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood situated along St Petersburg’s Griboedov Cathedral Canal, all (and more) before unwinding in a traditional Russia banya (sauna). With a shot of this deliciously clean tasting vodka coming in at under 90 calories, it would be rude not to enjoy a couple in evening. Choose a Russia tour, or make your own, here.

Classic Russian vodka

One comment on “Top 10 Bucket List Experiences

  1. Thank you so much for this amazing article I truly enjoyed reading these and I am in no doubt that the list you have mentioned above would be in every person’s bucket list, Truly an amazing article I will surely share this with my friends and family as well for their future reference.

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