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Top 50 Adventures
We’ve scoured the globe to compile our ultimate list of adventures. From helicopter rides to the top of the world to nocturnal glow-in-the-dark diving in the Indian Ocean, there’s something to suit all explorers
Everest in a Flash, Himalayas
The epitome of a challenge, scaling Mount Everest is a serious achievement even for a seasoned mountaineer. Granting access to quite literally the top of the world, the mountain stands at almost 30,000ft above sea level, famously making it the highest peak on earth. Usually, an expedition would take nine weeks or more, but Furtenbach Adventures’ ‘flash’ Everest expedition takes less than four weeks, thanks to at-home acclimatization using hypoxic tents. For those who have the financial means to conquer Everest (the permit, gear and guides alone cost around $50,000) but not the time, this experience is the solution. In addition to the pre-acclimatization, maximum oxygen support is granted during the ascent, as well as the latest equipment, expert guides and experienced sherpas. The spring 2018 expedition sold out within a few months, but bookings are now open for 2019.
Near-Space Flight, The Atmosphere
A part of the atmosphere once reserved exclusively for astronauts, near-space is now becoming a destination for daring civilians. The stratosphere, mesosphere and lower part of the thermosphere create near-space, somewhere between the Armstrong limit (above this, humans need a pressure suit to survive) and the Kármán line (where the atmosphere meets outer space). Taking off from just about anywhere on earth, Brown + Hudson’s near-space flight is the most luxurious way to take on this profound journey. Lifting off at 4am in a state-of-the-art pod that can hold four people, you’ll reach a height of 22 miles in around one hour. The entire flight takes 12 hours (with Michelin-starred in-flight dining), with two hours cruising in near-space.
Helitour the Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada
One of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, Canada’s Rockies are an awe-inspiring scene of jagged peaks, lush forests and alpine lakes. The best way to take in the awesome landscape is via helicopter — explore remote, virtually untouched areas that can’t be accessed by foot. Tauck’s seven-day Bugaboos Adventure begins at Alberta’s Banff National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, where you can horseback ride, hike through the mountains or take to the river for a rafting adventure. Next, head to the high country of the Purcell Mountains by helicopter to check out the snow fields, huge valleys and snowcapped peaks. Each time the helicopter lands, an expert guide will escort you to secluded landscapes to see sights such as chiseled granite spires towering up to 9,800ft, ice fields and waterfalls. During the trip, you’ll stay in Canada’s finest mountain resorts, including Bugaboos Lodge and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Golden Gun, Phuket, Thailand
Inspired by the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, which made the islands of Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay famous, the Anantara Layan Phuket has launched an exclusive package for 007 aficionados. Board a private jet from Bangkok to Phuket, where a limo will whisk you off to Villa Similan, the largest of the resort’s cliffside villas, featuring an on-call chef, spa therapist and live-in butler to prepare your martini — shaken, not stirred, obviously. The villa’s ‘man cave’ houses the custom-built golden gun from the movie. Handle the celebrated pistol during a wine tasting with Anantara’s wine guru. The package also includes a private yacht cruise around Phang Nga Bay. Back at the villa, take to the cinema room for a private viewing of vintage Bond films.
Flight Lessons, Hawaii, US
Offered through Four Seasons Lanai, aspiring pilots can learn to fly a Cirrus SR22 and perform basic maneuvers such as takeoff, cruising and landing at the Maui Flight Academy. The flying lessons last two or four hours, during which you can fly directly over an active volcano vent, travel alongside tall sea cliffs to Molokai or go over the lush West Maui mountains before landing in Hana to explore the rain forest. For those who want to extend their airborne time, there’s the Fab 5 package — a full day of flying with visits to five locales: Molokai, Honolulu, Lanai, the Big Island and Maui.
Sure, you can skydive. Sure, you can tick it off the bucket list. Sure, it’s a pretty hair-raising, adrenaline-fueled experience. But Brown + Hudson has taken it one step further with an unbelievable package — skydive 10,000ft directly over Belize’s Great Blue Hole with world-champion skydivers as your personal instructors. Then dive into the giant sinkhole to discover the undersea world that awaits. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, this Unesco World Heritage site is a rich habitat for marine life such as nurse sharks, reef sharks, blacktip sharks and even giant groupers. You can also combine your package with Special Air Service jungle survival training, if skydiving and swimming with sharks isn’t quite high-octane enough for you.
Hot-Air Balloon, Cappadocia, Turkey
With its surreal, otherworldly terrain, Cappadocia is a landscape like no other. Best known for its distinctive conical rock formations (known as ‘fairy chimneys’), the magical region is also home to an abandoned underground city that dates back more than 2,000 years. Take in the enchanting scene from above with a hot-air balloon flight at sunrise — watching the sun soar above the ‘chimneys’ is truly spectacular. Back on land, settle into the gorgeous Argos in Cappadocia Hotel. Owner Gökşin Ilıcalı spent 13 years converting centuries-old stone mansions and an underground labyrinth into this romantic getaway. Some of the suites are carved directly into the rock, and there’s even a naturally created underground concert hall — head there for a traditional Sufi dance performance.
Paragliding Flight School, California, US
With nearly a century of flying history (Charles Lindbergh was a regular back in the day), Torrey Pines Gliderport is Southern California’s go-to location for those who want nothing between themselves and the sky. Offering paragliding, hang gliding, remote control models and sailplanes, the Gliderport can make your flying dreams a reality. Soar over the dramatic cliffs with a tandem paraglider or hang glider, or if you want to earn your wings, you can learn to fly a powered paraglider and launch it from your own backyard with a certification that only takes a few days. We recommend staying in the nearby Lodge Torrey Pines, perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the Pacific and bordered with pristine beaches and protected forest.