After the last post of 7 Insane Adventures People Need to know About, I realized there are many travel experiences out there that do not need the spirit of a daredevil, or require you to jump out of airplanes in front of the highest peak in the world. There are experiences that educate you, inspire you, change your perspective or even change yourself.
There are experiences that require you to do nothing but just look and that itself will stir something within you. It will make you feel alive and awe at the world you live in, educate you about the things you didn’t know about and even look into the past and imagine how things were. More than anything else, some experiences remind us of the things we take for granted, the things we expect to always be there.
So here is my list of 7 Travel Experiences that are unique, and also an adventure in their own way.
1. Reindeer migration with the Nenets
Living in the most extreme environment, at the edge of human endurance in the Yamal Peninsula are the nomadic Nenets. Twice a year, the Nenets migrate their reindeer for 60km across the frozen Gulf of Ob, a bay of the Arctic Ocean which can take up to 24 hours.
Step into their warm boots in the frozen world of the Arctic Circle as you keep pace in all-terrain vehicles and sledges. Secret Compass brings you this unique opportunity to plunge into their culture as you live alongside the Nenets, wear what they wear, eat what they eat and also sleep in their conical tents.
So, slide into this unstaged reality by crossing a frozen gulf as you become a part of the wildlife migration of a lifetime, followed by the annual Reindeer Herding Festival in Yar Sale which includes fascinating reindeer races and traditional sports.
When & How much?
25 March 2018 – 10 April 2018
Cost: £3,499 per person
2. A blizzard of bats in Zambia
Bats! As soon as I hear that word, a chill runs down my spine. So what would I do if I was in the company of 10 million fruit bats?
Every November the most jaw-dropping spectacle of nature occurs in Zambia’s Kasanka National Park. Around 10 million fruit bats swoop in from across central Africa to feast on forest fruits. Watch them cover the trees like thick icing during the day and then watch them create a wondrous silhouette against the dropping sun as they fly away.
How do I go about it?
3. Traverse the desert like a Bedouin in Egypt
A ‘bare bones’ undertaking, this 230km journey across the dunes of the Sinai desert is a two week expedition like no other. It will have you climbing Egypt’s highest peaks, sleeping under the stars with just a Bedouin blanket, trading camels and bartering with nomads with no technology beeping its way into your day or night.
It’s not all desert dunes. This 142 mile route winds its way across dunes, tight sandstone slot canyons, natural plunge pools and lush desert oases. Throughout the journey you will be collecting firewood to roast food, help the Bedouin make fresh bread each morning and also learn traditional recipes for Baba Ganoush.
When & How much?
22 Sep 2018 – 07 Oct 2018
4. Go on safari during the great wildebeest migration
Described as the “World Cup of wildlife” and one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World,” this marvelous migration consists of more than a million wildebeests, 400,000 Thomson’s gazelles, and 300,000 zebras stampeding their way from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
If there is only one safari you could go on, this has to be it. The stage is set with anticipation as these main migrators cross the ranges of over a quarter of a million other resident herbivores and, of course, carnivores. The lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and lesser predators await the annual coming of the migration with excitement as the migrators try to make it out alive.
Crocodiles. The crocodiles awaiting the herds in the Mara River drown their prey by clutching them in their strong jaws and pulling them below the water, twisting them to break off bite-size pieces. This is basically all of National Geographic and BBC wildlife shots that made you cover your face happening in front of your very eyes.
Taking place from July through October, the timing of it is quite unpredictable, but if you get the chance to see it on safari, you will be among a lucky few.
5. Take the Polar Plunge, Kayak or Ski in Antarctica
Although not that unique anymore, visiting Antarctica is a dream come true in itself. But imagine jumping into those icy waters with nothing but your swim suit on. The Polar Plunge is considered to be a rite of passage when visiting the white continent which comes along with the best bragging rights ever. So, if you travel with Quark Expeditions, you jump right into the center of the ocean from the ship itself.
Glide through the quiet waters by paddling through astounding icebergs, watch penguins, seals and possibly whales swim around your kayak. If that’s not enough, you can choose to ski on this seventh continent. Ski Antarctica has some amazing expeditions coming up.
Prince Harry has skied there, Bill Clinton flew there and Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, sailed there. Which one will you choose?
6. World War II Underwater
As time travel isn’t possible at the moment, we have to find simpler ways to understand or immerse ourselves in history. The Second World War was the deadliest and most widespread war in history. Many locations around the world stand witness to it even today.
In the middle of the Pacific, lies the protected Truk Lagoon (also known as “Chuuk Lagoon”). Once considered “Japan’s Pearl Harbor,” the location was a main base for the Empire of Japan during World War II.
In the aftermath of the battle that ended in the defeat of Japan, 12 warships and 32 merchant ships sunk and 249 aircrafts were destroyed. With such a high number of wrecks, Truk Lagoon has become a scuba diver’s paradise that allows you to dive to these wrecks that can be found from the surface up to a depth of 60 meters.
Some of the larger ships that sank still hold things like tanks and jeeps in their cargo. You can also swim through the ships and encounter different artifacts. Moreover, it’s not just shipwrecks. One of the best ways to get the best experience is aboard a dive ship called the SS Thorfinn. It covers around 70 dive sites that include ships, air planes and a submarine.
7. Travel on the Trans-Mongolian Express
Crossing 5 time zones and a multitude of different terrain ranging from forest to mountain to desert to grassy steppes, the Trans-Mongolian Express is one of the longest uninterrupted train routes in the world (Trans-Siberian being the longest). Connecting the world’s largest country, Russia to the magnificent country of China by chugging through the plains of Mongolia in between, this trip will be one that will be packed with astounding sights, fascinating history, 9- am vodka fuelled breakfasts, and strangers who will eventually become your friends for this long journey.
Crossing Countries? How long does it take?
If you do the journey non-stop, you will most likely be on-board for around 7 days. But, you have the option of doing it in parts by staying back in a place for as long as you like and booking separate tickets between the places you intend to stay back in.
This trip is not one that you can hop on spontaneously as it will require some amount of planning. It requires three separate visas and you need to plan in advance for the locations you want to get off at.
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