Category Archives for "Adventures"

How to Play Mahjong for Dummies: The #1 Basic Guide [Illustrated]

Mahjong for Dummies

To a viewer unfamiliar with mahjong, the game and how to play it can present a bewildering spectacle, what with its walls of tiles, talk of prevailing winds and the constant clatter of pieces being discarded in turn by the four opposing players.

Appearances, however, can be deceptive.

This quintessentially Chinese game is, in fact, very similar to a number of Western card games such as rummy. The goal in mahjong is to complete a set with your tiles similar to a poker or rummy hand.

Anyone used to card games where a winning hand consists of a straight flush or a full house can easily get their head around the basic rules of mahjong.

Mahjong: The Tiles

Tiles Used to Play Mahjong

The most distinctive pieces in a mahjong set are undoubtedly the tiles.

Based originally on paper cards, the tiles are now solid, chunky pieces with an image or character on one side (similar in a sense to a domino) and a thick backing of bamboo or, more usually these days, plastic on the other.

There are three categories of tiles:

  1. simples
  2. honors
  3. bonus

As is the case with a set of playing cards, the simples fall into suits.

How to Play Mahjong Tiles on Table

In mahjong there are three suits for simples:

  1. bamboos
  2. characters
  3. circles

Each suit consists of nine tiles numbered one through nine. There are four copies of each of these tile in a set.

The honor tiles are divided between dragons (red, green and white) and winds (east, south, west and north) while the optional bonus tiles (flowers and seasons) are used mainly for the purposes of scoring and gambling.

Mahjong: The Dice

Attractive Women Holding Chinese Dice, Text on Image says "Mahjong Dice"

A mahjong set will also include a number of dice with which players determine who is to deal and where the dealing is to begin and a marker to show who is dealing and which round is being played.

Some sets may also include counters to help with scoring and racks into which players may place their tiles so they remain hidden from the other players.

Mahjong: Standard Game

Mahjong Tiles in box: how to play mahjong for beginners guide

A standard game begins with the players choosing a dealer either by means of a high-scoring roll of the dice or by the blind drawing of wind tiles (featured in image below).

The dealer is assigned the position of East wind and play proceeds in a counter-clockwise motion to the other players, each of whom is assigned the wind respective to their position in regard to the dealer.

Mahjong Wind Tiles, Chinese Character meaning North, South, East, West, Middle (zhong)

When a round is finished, the position of dealer shifts to the player on the dealer’s right.

Once a dealer has been chosen and the tiles have been shuffled, each player takes thirty-six tiles and builds a wall in front of them two tiles high and eighteen tiles wide, see image below for what this looks like:

Building Wall Mahjong can get you to a winning hand

The players then push their walls together forming a square, the hollow center of which will be used for discarding tiles.

The dealer then rolls three dice and, counting along the row of tiles to his or her right, begins dealing from the tile which corresponds to the sum of the dice.

One by one, over three rounds, the players take four tiles at a time and one last tile for a total of thirteen tiles each.

Game play proper begins with the dealer taking an extra tile and then discarding a tile of his or her choice.

Three People Playing Chinese Mahjong Location Mainland China

A winning hand in mahjong consists of fourteen tiles.

Except when drawing a tile during a turn, however, a player should only ever have thirteen tiles in their possession.

The aim is to have your hand divided neatly between a number of groupings.

In mahjong these groupings consist of:

  • Lungs – three of a kind
  • Kongs – four of a kind
  • Chows – a run of three consecutive tiles of the same same suit
  • ‘A pair’ – used to round out a winning hand

During a round, a player draws a tile from the wall.

If the tile cannot be used to complete a set the player then discards it.

When another player can use the tile to complete a set, that player is allowed to claim it and take the next turn.

Otherwise, following a discard, play continues in a counter-clockwise motion until someone has completed a hand.

In Western games a winning hand is often referred to as a “mahjong” and the player will call it as such when he or she has drawn the winning tile.

How to Win Mahjong showing a winning hand

Mahjong: It’s Easier than You Think

It is the unusual set-up of the game which often seems so daunting to the novice player of mahjong. But once a player is used to the assigning of winds, the building of walls and the dealing of tiles, mahjong is actually quite straightforward.

Games can, of course, get rather complicated once you begin to grasp the possible strategies involved.

Systems of scoring too can render the game overly complex, but a player can always just adopt the simple option of scoring winning hands only.

how easy is mahjong?

Ultimately mahjong can be as simple or complex as you wish to make it and this is perhaps the secret of its enduring success.

For those of you taking Heroic Adventures to your local China town or further wanderings to parts of Asia, knowing how to play mahjong can be a way to make a healthy connection with locals and gain deep insight into local culture.

How to Play Mahjong: The Top Books for Beginners

Southeast Asia: A 6-Week Travel Itinerary

Wat Arun with boat speeding by in front

Southeast Asia is one of the most popular destinations in the world for backpackers.

Comprised of eleven countries, this region offers rich variation in culture, customs, and tourist attractions.

Six weeks is more than enough time to see the best of the region, but it can be difficult to plan a good itinerary.  

You might be tempted to visit all eleven countries, but you're better off focusing on three or four of them if you want to avoid a rushed experience.

Week 1: Bangkok and Sukhothai

Sukhothai Thailand

Begin your trip with an assault on the senses in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city.

This sprawling metropolis is full of roadside street food stalls serving up delicious local cuisine until all hours, and a wild nightlife scene that doesn’t stop until sunrise.

Bangkok also features many must-see attractions, including Wat Arun, shown in main article image above, a majestic riverside temple, and the stunning Grand Palace, the former residence of Thailand’s royalty.

When you’ve had enough of Bangkok, travel north to explore the ancient ruins of Sukhothai.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sukhothai Historical Park features ruins from the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom of the 13th and 14th centuries.

Week 2: Chiang Mai

Lanterns in air with Doi Suthep in Background

After Sukhothai, you can catch a bus or a train to Chiang Mai.

Popular among expats and tourists alike, Chiang Mai is a place you’re likely to fall in love with.

Surrounded by lush jungle and mountainous scenery, Chiang Mai is the perfect location to go hiking, white-water rafting, or motorcycling. There are also some great night markets in the city, selling all manner of souvenirs and delicious food.

The people of Chiang Mai are friendly, and the Lanna culture of the north is worth learning about because it’s distinctly different from the rest of the country.

Be sure to treat yourself to a Thai massage when you’re in Chiang Mai because the city is famous for its spa and wellness centres.

Week 3: Northern Laos and Luang Prabang

Wat Xieng Thong

The next stage of your journey takes you to Luang Prabang, a tranquil city in the north of Laos.

You’ll travel by two-day slow boat from the border town of Huay Xai, just a five-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai. The slow boat offers ample opportunity to relax while you take in the beautiful scenery of the Mekong river.

When you arrive in Luang Prabang, prepare to fall in love with its charm.

You’ll also be impressed with how clean it is. Simply sit along the waterfront and relax with some delicious Laotian food while you watch the sunset. Be sure to check out the Kuang Si waterfall when you’re in town because it is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Southeast Asia.

Week 4: Vang Vieng and Vientiane

Reclning Buddha

Surrounded by a gorgeous karst landscape, Vang Vieng is a great place to relax for a few days.

Vang Vieng is a three-hour bus journey from Luang Prabang, and you’ll want to keep your eyes open for this trip because the scenery is incredible.

The town itself formerly had a reputation as a party town, but this has changed recently due to a government crackdown and because many young tourist were injured and even died while inebriated and partying in the water.

The main attraction of Vang Vieng is tubing. This involves riding down the Nam Song River on a rubber ring while you admire the glorious scenery.

The capital city of Laos, Vientiane, is just three hours from Vang Vieng.

While it’s not a hectic city like other capital cities in this region, Vientiane is a charming place to spend time.

You can go temple-hopping for a day and then relax in the evening with a beer beside the Mekong river.

Vientiane is also a great place to get to know Laotian cuisine, and it’s a good idea to do a cookery course in the city before moving on to Cambodia.

Week 5: Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat

Walkway across Killing fields in Phonm Penh Cambodia@CJMoore

The capital city of Phnom Penh is a good place to start in Cambodia because you get to learn about the country’s dark history under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.

Visit the heartbreaking Killing Fields where the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot sent millions of people to be executed. Phnom Penh isn’t the happiest place to go, but it’s important to learn about the country’s tragic past.

The next part of your journey takes you to the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap.

This attraction often makes it to the top of the world’s must-see destinations, and it’s easy to see why.

The complex was built by King Suryavarman II during the period of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. Prepare to be blown away by both the size of the complex and the intricate architecture.

Week 6: Kampot and Otres Beach

Cambodia Pepper Farm Kampot Southeast Asia Itinerary

The final leg of your journey is in the south of Cambodia.

Your first stop is Kampot, a sleepy riverside town famous for the production of peppercorns. You can visit temples, go to the local markets, or even visit a peppercorn farm. Make sure to try some crab with Kampot pepper for a truly delicious Cambodian dish.

Finally, you can spend a couple of days on stunning Otres Beach. With pristine white sand and clear turquoise water, Otres Beach is an idyllic location.

Feel free to relax by the sea with some Cambodian food, and get a cheap foot massage. This slice of paradise is the perfect way to finish your six-week trip in Southeast Asia.

5 South Korea Attractions You Won’t Want to Miss

South Korean Attractions

With over 5,000 years of rich culture and history, South Korea is one of the best places to visit on any trip to Asia.

This stunning peninsula offers a diverse range of experiences to tantalize the taste buds of even the most experienced traveler.

If a trip to South Korea is on the horizon for you, it may be a good idea to check out the following attractions:

1. Trick Eye Museum

If traditional art galleries aren’t generally your cup of tea, then the Trick Eye Museum in Seoul might be something you would enjoy.

While there are indeed many art pieces scattered throughout the museum, many of them are oversized, rotated or 3D lookalikes.

The beauty of these pieces is that visitors to the museum get swallowed up by these paintings; they can make you feel as though you are hanging off a cliff, climbing a wall or being swallowed by a Venus Flytrap.

2. Third Tunnel of Aggression

North and South Korea have a long history of military aggression towards each other. As such, the development of military tunnels running from North to South Korea began in the 1970s.

It is estimated that North Korea could move 30,000 men per hour into the South’s territory through these tunnels if they chose to do so – though the North has always denied the existence of these tunnels.

South Korea blocked the tunnels off as a form of further protection against the North years ago.

Still, visitors to the DMZ (demilitarized zone) can walk 265 meters down the tunnel and get to experience what using these tunnels must have been like, the site is close to Panmunjom.

For details on visiting check with Visit Korea here.

3. Jeju Glass Castle Theme Park

This beautiful theme park is an exquisite example of how glass can be used to transform a space into another world.

This theme park is divided into an indoor and an outdoor section.

Everything in the outside section, from waterfalls to fish in ponds and flowers in flower beds, is delicately crafted out of glass.

The inside is no different and features a room of mirrors which can transport visitors into an infinite journey of escapism.

Although nothing in this theme park can be touched, the beauty of the creations certainly has the ability to touch the souls of anyone who visits the park.

4. Seongsan Sunrise Peak

5,000 years ago, hydro-volcanic eruptions formed the volcano upon which the Seongsan Sunrise Peak lies.

This peak, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site some in 2007, is famous for bringing visitors to its edge. It is here that visitors can experience the breathtaking sunrise views.

If you prefer something a little more adventurous, you can hike up the northwest side ridge.

5. Gwang-An Bridge 

This bridge, also called the Diamond Bridge, connects Suywong-gy and Haeundae-gu.

Being two-stories above ground offers visitors breathtaking views of surrounding mountains, beaches and glistening city lights.

The only downside to this bridge is the fact that no pedestrians are allowed to cross it, but the site of the bridge from a distance is equally as impressive.

Packed full of history and natural wonder, South Korea truly has something to offer for every visitor.

While there, don’t forget to try out some of their delicious food options – you won’t be disappointed!

10 Amazing South Korean Travel Destinations Outside Seoul

Sout Korean Travel

Most visitors to South Korea spend their entire stay in the Korean capital city, Seoul.

Seoul is a one of the world’s largest cities and has an incredible selection of historic buildings, museums, galleries, restaurants and nightlife options to choose from.

However, tourists who spend their entire trip in Seoul will miss out on some even more incredible attractions offered by other cities in South Korea.

Here are 10 incredible destinations that any traveler in South Korea should consider visiting.

1. Gyeongju

Gyeongju South Korea

Tourists from within Korea and neighboring countries know Gyeongju as the home of some of South Korea’s most mind-blowing historical sites, but tourists from further afield have often never heard of it.

Located in the south-east corner of Korea, making it an easy day trip from the much larger coastal city of Busan, Gyeongju is the former capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla.

Until roughly 1000 years ago, Korea was divided into three separate kingdoms, with Silla being the most prosperous.

The most impressive traces of this kingdom that you can see in Gyeongju are fields filled with huge burial mounds and a museum displaying the contents of these mounds, with Gyeongju’s kings being buried with enough gold to make an Egyptian pharaoh jealous.

Gyeongju also hosts some incredible temples, including a cave high in the mountains with a huge statue of Buddha which was been there since the 8th Century.

2. Jeju Island

Jeju City Sout Korea Hiking

Jeju is a volcanic island off the southern coast of South Korea which boasts of Korea’s most beautiful natural scenery.

The dormant volcano Mount Hallasan dominates the island–and visitors can hike–don’t forget your hiking poles if you do, almost 2000 meters to its summits to enjoy incredible views across Jeju and the ocean around it.

Jeju island also has some of South Korea’s most beautiful beaches and a laid-back local culture that will refresh anyone feeling overwhelmed by the relentless pace of life in Seoul.

It’s also one of the best places to enjoy delicious fresh seafood in South Korea, as well as Jeju’s signature fruit, Jeju oranges.

3. Busan

Look down from mountain at Busan

Busan is South Korea’s second biggest city, and as mentioned above, its closely situated to the historical city of Gyeongju, making it easy to combine a visit to both cities.

It’s also South Korea’s closest major city to Japan, making it an ideal spot to take a cheap flight to Osaka or Tokyo if you’re visiting South Korea as part of a larger trip around Asia.

Busan is more than just a travel hub, however. In summer, it earns the nickname ‘Seoul on sea’ as residents of the South Korean capital flock to Busan’s beautiful beaches and booming nightlife.

Whether you want to relax by the ocean during the day or party long into the night, or both, Busan is an energetic city with plenty to offer everyone.

4. Jeonju

Jeongju hanok village

Jeonju is home to one of South Korea’s biggest traditional housing areas, known as a hanok village.

It also boasts some stunning Buddhist temples and is one of the best areas to experience traditional Korean culture.

Beyond the beauty of the old hanok village, Jeonju is home to some of South Korea’s most delicious food.

Jeonju is situated in Jeolla-do, a south-western province known as ‘the breadbasket of Korea.’

Jeonju is the birthplace of bibimbap, a dish of mixed rice, egg, vegetables, beef and hot sauce that has become somewhat popular in western countries in recent years.

It also has an area dedicated to restaurants serving the Korean rice wine makgeolli, along with a plethora of delicious side dishes.

5. Chuncheon

Chuncheon bridge and water statue in foreground

Chuncheon is conveniently located close enough to Seoul that it can reached on the South Korean capital’s subway network.

A stunning area of natural beauty, Chuncheon encompasses rivers, mountains, forests and islands, and enthralls visitors with some of the most beautifully situated Buddhist temples in South Korea.

It is also the spiritual home of the spicy chicken dish, dakgalbi, with many restaurants offering the popular local variety of one of Korean cuisine’s tastiest offerings.

6. Suncheon

Suncheon Folk Village South Korea

Another area of natural beauty, Suncheon is in the far south of Korea.

Its protected wetlands offer a chance to see some of the rarest birds in South Korea, along with stunning views across Suncheon bay to the ocean.

An eco-museum explains the area’s environment to visitors, and boat trips and wooden platforms offer a chance to get close to Suncheon’s unique wildlife.

7. Panmunjom

Panmunjom DMZ South Korean Border with North Korea

Panmunjom is considered a must-see on any visit to South Korea.

Although it lies a few hours north of Seoul, there are a ton of tour companies offering day trips from South Korea’s capital.

Panmunjom is the area that incorporates the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea.

Visitors can learn about the tragic history which divided the South Korean peninsula, as well as experiencing the strange sensation of peering into the mysterious country of North Korea.

There are even meeting rooms set up across the border where visitors can technically cross over onto North Korean soil.

8. Tongyeong

Tongyeong Coastline South Korea

Tongyeong is a southern coastal city which is often referred to as ‘the Naples of South Korea.’

It’s a beautiful city of winding hill paths and gorgeous ocean views, but what really makes Tongyeong a unique travel destination is its history.

You may have heard of Lee Sun Shin, the Korean admiral who invented an armored vessel commonly known as a turtle ship due to its hard outer shell.

These ships were used to defeat the much larger Japanese navy in a famous battle in the 16th century.

Visitors to Tongyeong can visit the many small islands which Lee Sun Shin used as cover during this battle.

9. Gwangju

Gwangju

Gwangju is a south-western city which, like the Jeonju, is located in Jeolla province, commonly regarded as offering the best food in the country.

Gwangju also has a tragic history, as it was the site where a student uprising against the authoritarian government in 1980 was brutally crushed by the Korean army.

This tragic event was an incredibly important point on the path to South Korea becoming a democracy, and elements of a rebellious counter-culture spirit are still present in Gwangju to this day.

10. Yangpyeong

Map Yangpyeong ski resort South Korea

Yangpyeong is another city which can be easily reached on the Seoul subway network.

Located to the south of the capital, Yangpyeong is one of South Korea’s best ski resorts.

Seoul residents flock to its slopes in the winter, which offer much cheaper skiing than similar resorts in Europe and North America.

While Seoul is by far Korea’s largest cities and home to a wider array of attractions than anywhere else, South Korea has a lot of amazing destinations to discover outside its capital.

Any visitor to South Korea should therefore make the effort to get out of the capital city and experience the other great destinations that Korea offers.

33 Heroic Adventures to Take Today

33 Adventures of a Lifetime

Planning your next heroic adventure, we’ve narrowed down some of the most memorable destinations in the world to get you off the beaten path and feed your adventurous spirit.

When you are seeking an unforgettable journey, you won’t wrong with these 33 destinations.

From the markets of Iquitos, Peru deep in the Amazon to the best food in the world at Noma in Denmark, the Heroic Adventures team scanned their collective experiences to choose the best adventures to take now.

Journey on!

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Foreground water reflecting Ankgor Temple Cambodia

Base yourself out of Cambodia’s Temple Town, Siem Reap, to begin your explorations of the massive Angkor Wat temple area.

This ancient Buddhist temple is the largest in the world which has a deep history dating back to the 12th century.

Angkor Wat is only one of about 50 temples scattered across 155 square miles.

The ruins fight the onslaught of jungle occupation, in recent years–thanks to the fall of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge–refurbishing temples to a visitable state has included land mine eradication in parallel to rapid development in Siem Reap to host in the influx of tour groups.

After taking a tour of the temple, explore the surrounding jungle and the sacred River of a Thousand Lingas.

2. Secret Beach, Kauai

View of Kilauea Lighthouse from Secret Beach in Kauai Hawaii

While most Hawaii beaches have endless stretches of sand and palm trees, none can compare to the secluded Secret Beach on Kauai.

Hike downhill through the natural bushes can cascading waterfalls to reach the 3,ooo foot stretch of sand.

Whale watch or observe the Kilauea Lighthouse from, the shores or by kayak.

3. Wuyishan, Fujian, China

Wuyishan People Rafting in Mountain River on Bamboo Canoe

Located in the Wuyishan Mountain range, this Chinese city has been recognized for both its cultural influences and beautiful surroundings.

After enjoying some local rock tea, venture through 36 different mountain peaks.

Hike through the one-of-a-kind rainforests in the nature reserve or explore the subtropical forests, which contain thousands of different plant and animal species.

4. Santorini, Greece

Whitewashed Windmill overlooking ocean in Santorini Greece

Known for its black sand beaches and white cliff-side buildings, Santorini mesmerizes as if you were in a dream landscape.

You can take a walking tour of the rocky cliffs or enjoy water sports in the Amoundi Bay.

Indulge Greek cuisine and sip the national drink Ouzo as you absorb the atmosphere found only within Greek borders.

5. Jellyfish Lake, Eli Malk Island, Palau

Snorkel with Jellyfish - Jellyfish Lake Pallau

The Rock Islands are well-known for being mostly untouched and uninhabited, making them the perfect spot for outdoor adventures.

Jellyfish Lake is an ocean-connected lake surrounded by limestone c1nd reef.

Populated by rare Moon and Golden jellyfish, this secluded lake is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.

6. Black Rock City Nevada

Girl Spinning Fire at Burning Man Festival Nevada Desert

Head to the world’s foremost nomadic city known for it’s hedonism as well as it’s art.

Black Rock City, Nevada–better known in the collective consciousness as Burning Man is a must visit destination for any well traveled soul.

From unimaginable art to the the upturning of social reality, when you leave Black Rock City, don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve just returned from another planet.

Don’t let the entry fee or the hardship stop from this journey because, until Elon Musk or another Space X like venture makes extraterrestrial visitations achievable, going to Black Rock City and Burning Man will remain the world’s cheapest ticket to another planet.

7. Nova Scotia, Canada

Canada Coastline Nova Scotia Adventure

Enjoy the tranquil views of the rocky coastlines on this calm Canadian island before taking advantage of the large waves and extreme tides.

Whether you want to see some puffins or whales via kayak or surf Lawrencetown Beach, you’ll find the extreme water sports you seek in Nova Scotia.

8. Venice, Italy

Venice Italy Coffee Drinking Overlooking Canal

One of the most iconic activities in Venice is a Gondola ride and serenade.

Very few people realize that the city waterways are perfect for kayaking.

When you are done touring the historic city by boat, venture to the nearby island farms and vineyards for some of the best Italian cuisine in the area.

For the lowdown on Italian coffee check out The Origins of Italian Coffee Culture.

9. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Old Town of Dubrovnik Croatia looking down from hill

Step back in time when you visit this intact walled city bordering the Adriatic Sea.

This World Heritage site isn’t just home to unique architecture and historic buildings; it is also  home to some of the most unique beaches in the world.

Kayak or sail to nearby (only 10 minutes from Dubrovnik) Lokrum Island to swim in the Dead Sea or marvel all the exotic plants.

10. Hong Kong Islands

View over ocean from Lama Island with hiking path in foreground

Hong Kong may be one of the world’s most packed metropolis’s but within a convenient ferry float away you can access a number of Hong Kong’s 263 islands.

Explore former pirate hideouts and enjoy a seafood feast seaside on Lamma Island, easily accessible from the Central Piers in front of Hong Kong Island tallest building the IFC.

Get your hiking poles ready if you want to traverse the island, you can check the ferry times here.

For other islands you can visit from the Central Piers check here.

11. Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Trincomalae beach scene in Sri Lanka

Trincomalee is a small  town filled with luxury resorts and surrounded by rocky beaches.

For adventurers looking to dive in the India Ocean or spend a few days on a yacht, the tranquil environment and active wildlife conservation efforts in Trincomalee make this place an intriguing destination.

12. Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey sunset

Istanbul is known for its unique architecture and stunning waterways.

While most tourists try to see the historic buildings by cruise, many adventurers can taking to the skies: floating around the large city in a hot air balloon.

When you’ re looking to escape the city life, float over nearby Cappadocia, a natural site known for its large cone-shaped rock formations.

13. Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Have you ever wanted to take a tour of an active volcano?

Volcanoes National Park is home to Mauna Loa, the 2nd largest volcano on Earth and responsible for forming a large part of the Hawaiian island chain.

Travel across the observatory road trail or spend a few days camping and climbing the natural lava formations.

14. Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand

Wanaka South Island Heroic Adventure Travel

Home of the Swiss Alps, South Island attracts thousands of skiers and hikers every year.

What sets Wanaka a part from the other small towns is its closeness to Mount Aspiring National Park, making it the perfect fishing spot.

Sip wine and relax in a luxury lakeside hotel or set off on your own to enjoy the pristine mountains.

15. Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre Italy Houses on rock outcrop overlooking ocean

Want to get the true Italian experience?

Travel along the rugged coastline to the historical towns in Cinque Terre.

These colorful cities are known for their strong ties to the Italian Riviera, offering fishing charters.

After your day at sea, tour one of the many ancient vineyards located throughout the mountains, where they practice heroic viticulture–classified as vineyards at altitudes above 600 feet and on slopes of no less than 30% grade in difficult to grow conditions.

16. Marrakesh, Morocco

Entrance to Marrakesh (tower) Morocco North Africa

Marrakesh is known for its beautiful gardens and medieval palaces surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.

If you have already hiked through the Atlas Mountain range, spend a few days camping in the Sahara Desert.

Ride through the sand on the back of a camel or pitch a tent in a luxurious oasis.

17. Michaelmas Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest stretch of protected coral reef known to man.

Michaelmas Cay is well-known for its rare fish and sea bird sightings.

Charter a glass-bottom catamaran or go snorkeling.

The most extreme adventurers can combine their snorkeling tours with a skydiving session, where you’ll get clear views of the islands and the pristine ocean waters.

18. Hakone, Japan

Hakone Japan Mt Fuji Hikers Shrine Lake

This volcanic region is known for its traditional Japanese inns and hot springs.

It is a favorite destination among Mount Fuji hikers looking to relax or tour the world-class art museums.

The beautiful Lake Ashi creates a picturesque environment and provides several opportunities for sightseeing cruises.

Alternatively, travel along the Hakone Ropeway to get a perfect view.

19. Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

This vibrant city is surround by the Andes Mountains, making it perfect for urban adventurers and outdoorsmen alike.

Whether you are touring the historic buildings or hiking to the El Chiflon Waterfall, you will have a rewarding experience.

If you would like to bask in the unique Andes wildlife, try taking an exclusive ecotour.

20. Iquitos, Peru

View Looking at Floating Houses and boats over the Itaya River in Iquitos, Peru

The largest town in the Peruvian Amazon, Iquitos can only be arrived at via boat or plane. Its border spreads from riverside to thick jungle and feels far from everything and in a different world.

Known for clean skies and smiles, when you are looking for a safe place to experience an Ayahuasca Retreat you won’t go wrong in Iquitos, just make sure you do your due diligence before committing to any specific shaman and their ayahuasca ceremony.

Beyond journeys involving medicine plants, you can visit Amazonian islands and experience Shipibo culture or go on a multi-day Amazon tour to view wildlife and begin to get a feel for the the mysteries enshrouded by the vast Amazon.

21. Milford Sound, New Zealand Milford Sound

Milford Sound snow covered steep mountains in background and water of the sound in foreground

Milford Sound is best known for the Milford Track, a 53 kilometer adventure starting at Lake Te Anau.

If you would rather see the mountain peaks and suspension bridges from a distance, try navigating the river ways by kayak or charter a helicopter for a scenic flight.

22. Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, Vietnam

Sa Pa Vietnam rural adventure

Sa Pa is known for its curvy roads and inconsistent weather, but it is also home to some of the most beautiful mountains in Vietnam.

Situated on the border of China, this region is perfect for people looking to hike through lush, diverse landscapes.

Trek or cycle by a number of orchid gardens and traditional rice terraces before settling down for the night in a remote hotel.

23. Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Highest Train Station in Europe Bernese Overland

This Swiss region has several unique attractions for the outdoor adventurer.

It is home to the Berenese Alps and Lake Thum, both of which are perfect for hiking.

Called by some, The Top of Europe. The Bernese Oberland is home of Europe’s highest train station (11,3302 feet above sea level), so–for you train buffs–this is the place of the most heroic train adventure at altitude in Europe.

Medieval history buffs can also appreciate roaming through the many small villages, many of which have history dating back to the 12oo’s.

24. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Hot Springs Iceland Blue Lagoon

Relax while you enjoy breathtaking scenery at this geothermal spa.

One of the 25 wonders of the world, Blue Lagoon was formed by a volcanic erupt ion that created a unique landscape.

For those that don’t want to soak in the saltwater, hike towards the nearby town of Grindavik to get amazing pictures of the lava beds.

25. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, United States

Arizona Navajo Land Sandstone Slot Canyon, 'Antelope Canyon'

Natural beauty can come from any landscape, even dry and dead ones. These spiraling canyon walls reach up more than 120 feet in some areas.

At some point in history, rushing water created the curves and grooves in the sandstone.

The canyon is a sacred site to Navajo, and is called – Tsé bighánílíní: “the place where water runs through rocks.”

Since the destination is on the Navajo Nation (i.e. sovereign Native American territory) interested travelers must take a guided tour to see the canyon.

The tour guides give a great overview of the history and creation of the sacred walls.

Perfect for any type of traveler and does not require any climbing or strenuous activity.

26. Copenhagen, Denmark

Boat in Canal of Copenhagen

Walk, bike or boat through this culinary town.

Copenhagen in recent years emerged as the epicenter of Nordic haute cuisine.

Scandinavian chefs have put Copenhagen on any adventurous epicure’s map with the reopening of the what for a few years was noted as the world’s top restaurant Noma, now located in the anarchist enclave known as Freetown Christiania–time will tell if the restaurant will recapture it’s former glory.

There is more to Copenhagen than the food. But, start with the food and the rest will follow naturally.

27. Malmö, Sweden

Sail Boats in foreground, Turning Torso Building in middle wiith blue sky Malmo Sweden

Malmö is a huge city known for its unique architecture and historic boardwalk.

And, it’s just a short train ride–thirty minutes–from our last entry, Copenhagen.

Map illustrating time to travel between Malmö and Copenhagen by train

While the Western Harbour is great for swimming and sunbathing, adventurers tend to head to King’s Park for jogging or cycling.

If you’re planning on backpacking through Skåne, you’ll notice the modern, urban atmosphere is much different than nearby historical Copenhagen.

28. Siwa Oasis, Egypt

Oasis Egypt Ruins of Shali and Palm trees

This isolated oasis is the perfect destination to get away from the tourists and discover natural beauty.

You can take in the natural lands and fertile fields, along with vast stretches of the Sahara Desert.

Set up your tent in the sand and stargaze in the darkness. Or bring your bathing suit for a dip in both hot and cool natural pools.

You won’t find a better opportunity to both relax and de-stress. The oasis can be an easy day-trip from the hub of Cairo.

The oasis itself is one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements, with a unique culture and very distinct language.

There are plenty of other unique destinations within the oasis as well, including the Temple of the Oracle, Cleopatra’s Bath, and Fortress of Shali.

29. Wolf Island, Galapagos Islands

Wolf Island Galapos, Diving With Whale Shark

It’s no secret that the Galapagos Islands are home to some of the unique animals on the planet.

For Wolf Island, this is especially true, showcasing several species of rare birds, including the vampire finch.

Scuba divers can also appreciate the abundance of whales, sharks and marine fish in the areas clear waters.

30. Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Vieques Island Puerto Rico

This tropical island in Bioluminescent Bay is famous for its quiet beaches and boat tours.

The water surrounding the island is a unique blue-green popular amongst local wildlife and the best place to glimpse an assortment of water creatures on a diving safari.

After exploring the ocean, go for a hike through the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy an encounter with the parks herds of wild horses.

31. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Fairy Pools Scotland

Do you want to visit a scene right out of a fairy tale? Are you ready to see the visions from your dreams?

Travelers delight when they set foot in the Isle of Skye and behold the Fairy Pools.

These pools in Scotland feature crystal clear waters that perfectly reflect the baby blue skies.

Though the pools are completely natural, the otherworldly colors make them seem almost unnatural. This is a very popular spot for swimmers and even features perfect diving locations.

The walk back to the pools is short and easy, perfect for any traveler. This site is perfect for that afternoon family picnic or evening swim.

32. Faroe Islands, Denmark

Faroe Islands Church Denmark

These 18 volcanic islands have a lot to offer hikers, as most of the rocky islands are untouched by man.

While you could stay in the largest city, Torshavan, and travel by sea or land to different nature sites, you’ll get the best experience staying in one of the secluded villages surrounded by the sea.

33. Waitomo’s Glow Worm Caves, New Zealand

Waitomo Cave Interior dark except for thousands of glowing worms hanging from the cave's ceiling

This destination almost seems too magical to be real, let alone natural.

However, in these New Zealand caves, thousands of glow worms illuminate the walls in a mysterious and otherworldly way.

The attraction is now very easy to get to, and boat tours can be taken in the cave. A visitor’s center is even set up by the entrance for information on the site and more.

This site is known as worth visiting, with even locals touting the natural beauty.

When you want to get a little more adventurous, you can try out one of the activity packages which include rock climbing and rafting.

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There you have it, 33 unforgettable adventures to add to your bucket list.

What’s left now but to book your trip, plan your journey and bon voyage my dear adventurer.