Adventure Trips© Getty Images

15 Life-Changing Adventure Trips You Must Go On Once In Your Lifetime

HELLO India Logo
Shraddha Chowdhury

Marvel at gigantic glaciers, explore mystical cities and get up close and personal with whales.

From spectacular natural wonders to ancient cities, we bring you life-changing adventures from around the world.

MORE: Bollywood Celebrities’ Top Holiday Destinations

Meet The Wildlife Of The Galápagos

The Wildlife Of The Galápagos©Getty Images

The flora and fauna endemic to this archipelago — found nowhere else on Earth — has attracted environmentalists and animal lovers alike in droves for decades. Think Española lava lizard, giant Galapagos tortoises and fur seals lounging about; blue-footed boobies and colonies of frigatebirds chirping and squawking away; sea turtles and colourful schools of fish waiting for you to go snorkelling. Need we say more?

Watch The Sunrise Over Angkor Wat In Cambodia

Angkor Wat In Cambodia©Getty Images

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is one of the biggest draws to Southeast Asia. The grand size of the temple complex, along with its incredible architecture, makes it quite the experience even for the most unreligious individual. In fact, the sight of the five lotus-like towers rising 65m into the sky, silhouetted against the rays of the rising sun, is rather surreal, one that should be on the bucket list of every traveller.

Discover The Frozen Wonderland Of Antarctica

Frozen Wonderland Of Antarctica©Getty Images

From the spectacular snowy mountain views of the Rojas and Bryde peaks to the glimmering blue facade of the Petzval Glacier, the sights of humpback and minke whales wading through frigid waters to greetings from squawking penguins, the vastness of Antarctica can leave one feeling rather insignificant. Regardless, the snow-covered South Pole is on every bucket list there is.

Reflect At The Salt Flats In Bolivia

Salt Flats In Bolivia©Getty Images

There’s a good reason why the salt flats in Uyuni, Bolivia — the world’s largest such geographical phenomenon — is known as the place where heaven meets Earth. It resembles a giant mirror when wet, reflecting everything the human eye can see. And when dry, the flats make for incredible photos that play with scale and depth. Located near the crest of the Andes, the region boasts otherworldly beauty that make it worth the trip.

Try Hang Gliding In Rio de Janeiro In Brazil

Hang Gliding©Getty Images

This one’s for adrenaline junkies. Rio de Janeiro may be known for its bustling beaches and happening nightlife, but we recommend the bird’s eye experience of the main attractions of the city via hang gliding. Starting from Pedra Bonita, soar above the statue of Christ the Redeemer and the Sugarloaf mountain, Copacabana and the Pedra da Gávea peak, to take in the sights and sounds.

Road-Trip Down The Big Sur In California

Road-Trip In California©Getty Images

For those looking for an unplugged vacation in the US, a road trip down the Big Sur is perfect. This popular strip of California highway — it runs from the Central Coast of California near Carmel-by-the- Sea to the San Simeon area — remains fairly untouched and boasts the most scenic stretches coastline, dotted with flowers, breathtaking views of the ocean and state parks, besides a number of spots to stop and stretch.

Opt For Island-Hopping To Explore Croatia

Croatia Island©Getty Images

Home to hundreds of island gems easily accessible via small ships, island hopping is perhaps the best way to explore this Balkan nation. From medieval cities and some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches on Brac Island, to the historic landmarks and buzzing nightlife of Hvar, Old Town of Dubrovnik and the dazzling emerald saltwater lakes of Mljet Island, take the ferry route for this unforgettable experience.

Pet A Whale In Baja California Sur In Mexico

Whale In Baja California©Getty Images

Who wouldn’t want to give these ‘friendlies’, as they are famously known, a head rub? The gray whales that congregate in these Mexican lagoons appear to seek out interaction, swimming directly to the small boats — known as pangas — that venture out. Some even appear to bring their new calves to introduce them to the humans! This is best experienced between mid-January and mid- April before they head north to Alaska on their annual migration.

Go Waterfall-Hopping In Iceland

Waterfall©Getty Images

Certainly one of the most scenic countries on the planet, Iceland is a bucket list nation in itself, though it has a lot more to offer than its hot springs and black-sand beaches. Enter its many waterfalls. Starting from the Seljalandsfoss in the South Coast, the double-rainbow- prone Skogafoss and Gullfoss, to the Godafoss — known as the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ — and Kirkjufellsfoss, waterfall-hopping in Iceland is guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind experience.

Try Dog-Sledding Beneath The Northern Lights In Norway, Finland

Northern Lights In Norway©Getty Images

One of the best places on Earth to watch the magical colours of the Northern Lights reflected in the sea, the Lofoten Islands in Norway are a must visit. Take this up a notch in the Lapland in northern Finland, a prime spot to view the Aurora Borealis, while also enjoying endless activities like dog sledding and snowmobiling.

Hike The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu In Peru

Machu Picchu In Peru©Getty Images

The hike up to Machu Picchu in Peru is as breathtaking as it’s culturally enriching, as much of the Incan architecture remains well-preserved to this day. Many have described the trek up the Inca Trail to the Huayna Picchu Mountain — nearly 1,000ft, above stone ruins, terraces and plazas — a life-changing experience, one that’s on many a travel wishlist today.

Experience The Glaciers Of Alaska In USA

Glaciers Of Alaska©Getty Images

There are few experiences that match watching the calving of a gigantic glacier. Here enters the Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It’s a sight to behold when a 7-mile stretch of glistening blue ice loses a large chunk, crashing into the ocean with a roaring sound. A trip to the Tongass National Forest, hike to Mendenhall Glacier, or a dog-sledding adventure on the Denver Glacier are other experiences on offer here.

Atacama Desert In Chile

Atacama Desert In Chile©Getty Images

Considered the best destination for the ultimate stargazing experience, the Atacama Desert in Chile draws scientists in hordes and even more astronomy enthusiasts. It is high at 8,000ft above sea level, dry and unpolluted, giving it the clearest skies in the world with the best view of the Milky Way — the reason several top-level observatories have set up shop here, with tourists hot on their tails.

Swim To The Edge Of Victoria Falls In Zambia

Victoria Falls In Zambia©Getty Images

Checking out the mighty Victoria Falls is definitely on many a bucket list. But when just seeing the falls is not enough, why not add to the adventure and swim on its edge? Visitors to the falls can swim in what’s known as the ‘Devil’s Pool’ that’s located beside Livingstone Island on the Zambian side. This rocky area is right on the edge of the falls, making it the scariest infinity pool imaginable!

Set Up Camp In The Deserts Of Jordan

Deserts Of Jordan©Getty Images

There’s more to this Jordanian attraction than its Indiana Jones connect. While the ancient ruins of Petra may be what Jordan is most famous for, not far from this site lies what’s come to be known as the Valley of the Moon. Camping in the Bedouin setups in Wadi Rum blesses visitors with spectacular views of red sand and rock formations in the surrounding desert, so strange that they almost look Martian!

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s August 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!