Disclaimer: While I encourage everyone to try these places, tips need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
By Simran Gill, Crazy Traveller, Lover Of Adventure And Other Mad Things
I have what everyone calls ‘a bucket list’ of places to visit in my lifetime. In fact, it’s a list of more than 100 places. Some of them are off the list already, some are off limits, and some I hope to tick off very soon.
My list is made up of places that either replicate my personality, push me to the edge, or to bring me back to my comfort zone when I drift too far away. Most importantly, I search for something thats beyond the ordinary. So here goes, the top 10 destinations on my travel list!
Iceland: A country where fire and ice co-exist is the perfect region for people like me who want to do something extraordinary. I have been planning this trip for 2 years now and it almost hurts to have to write about this place without having visited! My ideal trip would start from Lake Mylan – what a surreal experience it would be to be surrounded by dormant as well as highly active volcanoes. Then immerse myself in the blue lagoon, enjoy Landmannalaugar’s hot springs then rush to Askja for a hot dip in the geothermal lake, Vito. Finally, end it with Iceland’s pulsating nightlife in the capital city- Reykjavik.
TIPS: It is one of the happiest countries in the world, and all of us could surely use a little more happiness in our lives! Any time of the year is a good time to visit as Iceland has something for every month.
Dance with ‘Aurora Borealis’ The Northern Lights in Finland: Starry nights in Delhi, a city I call home are a rareity. While I love loud parties, sometimes a quiet night with starry skies above and a snowbed below could be an ideal getaway. Imagine a solo party in a glass igloo, with snow clad trees and mountains as the backdrop, plug in my earpods, play my favourite deep house music and watch the most spectacular dance show of nature.
TIPS: Lapland in Finland has many luxury resorts and glass igloo options. 200 days in a year, starting late August one can be lucky enough to watch this marvel.
Svalbard Islands in the Arctic Ocean: This ice beauty between Norway and North Pole is home to my favourite mammals on earth-Polar bears. With only around 3000 human beings (my greatest motivation to visit a place is to not see too many of my own species) this place is more of a challenge I have set for myself. From filming the polar bears, to dogsledding on the artic wilderness, to cruising through icebergs and glaciers, chasing the northern lights- if this is not adrenaline rush, then what is? And if you aren’t a wildlife enthusiast, the city of Longyearbyen has several cultural activities like festivals, exhibitions, activities etc. And despite its low human population, the city has some high-end bars and restaurants.
TIPS: Temperatures between May to July would be more bearable. (I am not responsible if weather patterns changes due to global warming :()
Ibiza, the land of party animals: My friends, Anirudh and Ousep are suckers for parties just like me. While Ousep has already fulfilled his party streak by visiting Ibiza, we are the losers and still at planning stage. With its sunny blue beaches, pulsating nightlife and a stage to some of the greatest electronic music artists, Ibiza is the ultimate party place. From San Antonio on the west coast to Playa d’en Bossa on the east coast, they are home to world famous sunset strips, boat parties, clubs like Pacha, Amnesia and Ushuaia. I am not saying Ibiza is only to party but I would like to explore it that way.
TIPS: Experience non-stop dancing and parties before you get too old for it!
Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia: While most of us are always looking for that one mirror which is long enough to show us the perfect reflection, imagine a 11000 sq kms of land which looks like the largest mirror in the world! Yes, Salar De Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat- legacy of a lake that went dry forming bright-white salt. In rainy season, the salt is layered with water forming a reflection. My friend Swarnim Bhardwaj visited it last year and his pictures got me hooked on to this place at once (See it to believe it: ATTACH IMAGE). I am keen to tick this off my bucket list at the earliest.
TIPS: Visit during rainy season, which is usually from November to March. In Swarnim’s words: ‘February is the best time to go and enjoy the mirror effect’.
Tofu Beach, Mozambique: I may not know how to swim, but the thought of swimming with the majestic whale sharks, is incentive enough to make me want to learn how to swim! It may sound crazy but I believe this would be the most amazing form of experiential travel. Tofu beach is the place where one might just be lucky enough to get a chance to swim with Whale sharks. Also, called the Scuba’s mecca, it is any traveller’s dream destination.
TIPS: Lonely Planet says October to March are the best months where more than 50-strong congregations are not uncommon. And I swear by Lonely Planet.
Transylvania- the land of Dracula, Romania: Cold wintery night in a small hill station called Dalhousie, I would grab my torch, hide under the quilt and ardently read Bram Stoker’s ‘Count Dracula’. Since then it’s been my dream to visit the fabled land of Count Dracula’s Bran castle in Translyvania. For the first time since 15th century, AirBnb rented it out on 31st October 2016 (Halloween night). Next year, I hope to tick it off my bucket list on 31st October 2017.
TIPS: Wouldn’t it be a great idea to sit in the Dracula castle and read the book all over again.
Rhumbak valley in ladakh: Has it ever happened to you where you decide that your life is too easy and mundane, so its time to shake things up, and push yourself beyond human limits? Well, that’s me. My friend, Nikhil Nagle has invited me to travel to Rhumbak Valley, 14000 feet above sea level; winter temperatures at -20 degree celsius and most importantly, home to endangered snow leopards. I had always wanted to visit the freezing and beautiful deserts of Ladakh, but like this? Yes, we will be camping for 20 days on a snowy bed to catch a glimpse of the snow leopards. While Nikhil will pray that he sees at least one, I will pray that I survive and come back alive to the world!
TIPS: Definitely not for people who aren’t wildlife enthusiast. Adventure? Oh yes! its bang on. Soon to be off my bucket list.
Skydiving and bungee Jumping in New Zealand: I have tried bungee jumping in Christ Church where I was strapped around my ankle and then thrown head down, heading straight into the running water below. That was the most shocking experience of my life. This time, I would choose New Zealand to try skydiving. Fox glacier is one of the favourite spots located in the remote Tai Poutini National Park. Imagine a free-fall from the sky and enjoy the Alps, the glaciers and scenic beauty that New Zealand is. Well, it’ll probably be the toughest thing I’ll ever do, but this free- fall will give me an unprecedented adrenaline rush of a lifetime!
TIPS: Skydiving and bungee jumping aren’t the easiest things to do, but if you can muster the courage for it – you surely won’t regret it!
Aokigahara in Japan- ‘The perfect place to Die’: Located at the base of Mt. Fuji, these forests are infamous for being haunted and also the second most popular ‘suicide point’, where more than 500 people have apparently committed suicides till date. This place is actually the last on my bucket list of places to visit before I Die – on a darker thought, maybe I’ll go there once I’ve seen all there is to see in this world! The adventure through these thick, rocky, cold forests will defintely be the craziest, most scintillating one I could ever imagine.
TIPS: Defintely not for the faint hearted. Anyone interested to join me? Please ping me ☺
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