The world in highlights: 26 things to do before you die

Bagan hot air ballooning in Myanmar

We get it. The world’s a big place. So how can we expect one person to be able to make a choice about where to travel when the bucket list is literally endless? Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a list of all the best places we would like to visit before we die – and because they’re pretty cool, we think you should too.


1. Sky dive, Dubai

Skydive Dubai

Jumping out of a plane may be for the crazies, but no one ever said a crazy life was a boring one. Strap on your big boy boots (and a parachute) and jump out of a plane above the city of Dubai. Once your parachute catches, you’ll have plenty of time to admire the intricate patterns of The Palm and Dubai Marina. Can’t brave a sky dive? Book a seaplane flight. Dubai was made for an aerial view. Visit Dubai.


2. Go on safari, Sabi Sands

Safari South Africa

There’s nothing like a safari. The call of the fish eagle as it swoops above your head, the smell of dung crunching beneath your wheels, and the fresh air drying your tongue as you drive through the bush. And the feeling of your first sighting of the Big Five? It’s indescribable. Track leopards through the bush at Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa – one of the only places in the world where you can do this! Visit Sabi Sands.


3. Dine underwater, Maldives

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island underwater restaurant

Dine with sharks, stingrays and turtles at the underwater restaurant at Conrad Maldives. The floor to ceiling glass windows offers a fascinating view of life beneath the Indian Ocean. Often the sun shining through the water is so bright, you’re required to wear sunglasses. Visit Conrad Maldives.


4. Whale watch, Hermanus

Whale watching in Hermanus

Hermanus is one of the world’s best places for whale watching. Every year between June and December, Southern Right whales cruise into Walker Bay to mate and you can experience close encounters from the cliff paths. When you stay at Grootbos Nature Reserve, you can enjoy a marine walk with a biologist or jump onto a boat for a closer look. Visit Hermanus.


5. Swim with pigs, Bahamas

Pig Beach in the Bahamas

A beautiful white sandy beach in the Bahamas has been affectionately nicknamed “Pig Beach” after the wild pink and brown pigs that call it home. These friendly pigs “hog” the crystal clear waters but if you bring food, they’ll be nice enough to share the water with you. The pigs have become so used to humans, you can even feed them by hand. Visit the Bahamas.


6. Fly over NYC, New York

New YorkCity helicopter view

What better way to see the Big Apple than from above? Hop on a 20 minute helicopter flight and enjoy a bird’s eye view of New York’s greatest icons. Fly over Manhattan’s Financial District and view the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and the Verrazano Bridge, before travelling up the Hudson River towards Midtown to see the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges. Visit New York.


7. Float in the Dead Sea, Jordan

Floating in the Dead Sea

Bordered by Jordan and Israel, the Dead Sea is a massive salt lake and the lowest and saltiest spot on earth – so salty that it cannot sustain any life. People flock from all over the world to indulge in the healing properties of the Dead Sea as the salty water provides relief to many ailments. Another advantage of its excessive salt content is that the water is extremely buoyant, making it one of the best spots in the world for an afternoon of lazy floating. Visit The Dead Sea.


8. Explore the Rockies, Canada

Rocky Mountaineer

Explore some of Canada’s purest scenery on the Rocky Mountaineer. This one-of-a-kind mountain railway travels from the coastal city of Vancouver to the mountain towns of Jasper, Banff and Whistler. See beautiful lakes, glaciers, and snow-covered peaks and keep an eye out for grizzly bears, caribou and birds. Ride the Rocky Mountaineer.


9. Hike to the Hollywood Sign, LA

Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognisable symbols in the world. Hike up to the nine white letters through the Santa Monica Mountains and enjoy one of the most incredible views over downtown Los Angeles towards the Pacific Ocean. Three routes are available, depending on your fitness level. Visit Los Angeles.


10. Bungee jump, South Africa

Bungee jump in South Africa

At 216m, the Bloukrans Bridge bungee is the highest commercial bridge bungee in the world. Do you have the courage to jump off it? You’ll be buckled into a harness and waddled to the edge of the bridge where you’ll swan dive towards the valley floor. Visit South Africa.


11. Visit Salt Lake, Bolivia

Salt Lake Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt plain in the world, spreading an impressive 10,582km² through southwest Bolivia.  It’s definitely a great spot for selfies – when it gets covered in water, it becomes one of the largest mirrors on earth! Book a South America tour.


12. Roadtrip along Highway 1, California

Highway 1

Travel one of the world’s most enjoyable routes. Hugging the coastline, this 1000km drive runs between San Diego and San Francisco and takes 10 hours to complete at a leisurely pace without stops. But with highlights along the route like Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Hearst Castle, and the San Francisco Bridge, it would almost be a crime not to. Visit Highway 1.


13. Stay in a treetop airplane, Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Where else can you stay in the fuselage of a refurbished airplane? Costa Rica offers the opportunity to wake up to a view of the treetops with monkeys and sloths for neighbours. This  rusty Boeing 727 has been transformed into an unusual two bedroom, two bathroom suite in the middle of a Costa Rica rainforest. Visit South America.


14. Visit Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls (Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls), and has the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world! Did you know that Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America? These are some big claims – you should check them out. Visit Niagara Falls.


15. Visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Visit the largest religious temple in the world (and by far, one of the most famous) situated in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia. Angkor Wat is considered the largest Asian pyramid towering over 60 metres tall and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect it’s magnificent beauty, including the layers and layers of intricate detail that can be found on it’s exterior. Book a Cambodia tour.


16. Climb the Statue of Liberty, New York

Statue of Liberty

Take a ferry to Ellis Island on a New York Discovery package tour and brave the 393 winding steps to the crown of the iconic Statue of Liberty for one of the best views of the Big Apple. Don’t forget to take a moment to explore the museum in the pedestal. As this is one of the most popular attractions of New York, you will have to book your tickets months in advance. Visit New York.


17. Walk underwater, Mauritius

Underwater Sea Walk

The Underwater Sea Walk is one of the most unique attractions of Mauritius. One hour guided walks on the ocean bed reveal life beneath the ocean and offer the chance to walk between colourful coral and spot unusual fish with the help of a helmet and special breathing apparatus. Visit Mauritius.


18. Hot air ballooning, Myanmar

Bagan hot air ballooning

Admire the dramatic landscape of Bagan from the basket of an enormous hot air balloon, gently drifting along in the breeze. You’ll get a fascinating bird’s eye view of over 3,000 temples and stupas in the area and almost complete silence to enjoy it in, broken only by the sound of clicking cameras. Flights last about 45 minutes and depart at sunrise. Visit Myanmar.


19. Hike the Piton Mountains, Saint Lucia

Piton Mountains in Saint Lucia

The Piton Mountains are the most iconic sight of Saint Lucia with hiking trails that offer the best views of Piton Bay. These two volcanic plugs are situated in a World Heritage Site and offer beautiful scenery that make it into just about every postcard of Saint Lucia. Visit Saint Lucia.


20. Visit Petra, Jordan

Petra in Jordan

The Lost City of Petra is a 2,000 year old ancient caravan-city and one of the most important tourist treasures in Jordan. Described as an ancient rose-red city, carved into the rock and surrounded by secret mountain passages and gorges, it is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Visit the Treasury and Roman amphitheatre. Visit Jordan.


21. Visit an underwater museum, Cancun

Riviera Maya caverns in Cancun

A visit to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is a must. Its sunbeam-lit caverns offer some of the best PADI diving in the Caribbean with ancient shipwrecks and plenty of marine life. Snorkel through the Cancun Underwater Museum to see over 450 statues on display between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. These statues, including one of a VW Beetle, act as artificial reefs to promote new coral growth. Visit Cancun.


22. Visit a hill tribe, Vietnam

Hill tribes Sapa

Swap the modern world for a visit to the ancient hill tribes of Sapa. You’ll trek through terraced rice fields and villages, learn how to make clothing out of raw hemp, and discover which herbs can cure an upset stomach. Enjoy an ethnic dinner and stay overnight in a local’s hut. Visit Vietnam.


23. Hike the Inca Trail, Peru

Machu Picchu

There are not many bucket lists that Machu Picchu isn’t on and it’s no surprise that a trip up this ancient mountain is one of the most popular holiday activities in the world. The Inca Trail has spectacular scenery filled with subtropical jungle and ancient Inca ruins. For those who prefer a faster route, a train travels to the Lost City of the Incas at the top. Visit South America.


24. Go to a Full moon party, Thailand

Full Moon Party in Thailand

A Full Moon Party is one of the biggest beach parties you’ll ever experience and an explosion of neon colours. These all-night beach parties are held on the night of a full moon and are one of the wildest attractions for younger travellers in Thailand. The best place is Koh Phangan where parties are held through the second week of each month. Visit Thailand.


25. Discover the Galapagos Islands, Galapagos

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, famed for its rich ecosystems and huge variety of endemic species. Navigate the beautiful islands of Galapagos on a cruise, keeping an eye out for the seals and marine iguanas that call this area home. Cruise the Galapagos Islands.


26. Visit the Grand Canyon, USA

Grand Canyon

Around 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. And it’s no surprise as this 446km canyon is one of the most famous natural icons on earth. Despite popular belief, it is not the largest or the deepest canyon on earth, but it is one of the most visually appealing. It is home to a large variety of wildlife, including unusual pink rattlesnakes that blend into their surroundings. Explore by foot, helicopter or boat. Travel Route 66 to the Grand Canyon.


What other activities are on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!


Author BioLauren Morling is a South African travel writer for the Best At Travel blog. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.


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