Everyone likes a bit of excitement on holiday. But for those bold travellers who enjoy testing their limits with exhilarating stunts, rides and thrills, the members and editors of VirtualTourist (www.virtualtourist.com) have compiled a list of their top 10 spots to get an adrenalin rush.
Bungee jumping at the Macau Tower, China
Most bungees are built into gorges or natural settings, so how about jumping off a man-made structure into a booming metropolis’s harbour? This is the case at the Macau Tower, the world’s second highest bungee jump, dropping 233m from a platform around the tower. The views are incredible, but also terrifying. You’re dropping from a steel tower with cars driving beneath you – it’s enough to terrify even the most confident daredevil. If you get up there and aren’t ready to jump, the tower has other offerings. They provide skywalks so you can walk around the tower on the rim, but with a harness and without leaping. They also offer a tower climb. Climbers do a 100m ascent to the tower’s summit at 338m.
Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp near Kathmandu, Nepal
One of the most popular adrenalin treks among VirtualTourist members is the trip to Mount Everest Base Camp. While making it to the base camp requires training and planning, few experiences can top the view from the Nepalese side, which is at an altitude of 5 364m. One member suggests The Upper Mustang Trek, particularly the portion above Chele, if you want vertigo. Some travellers consider trekking the Annapurna Circuit and members of VirtualTourist can advise you about whether you should trek on your own, with a guide or porter or an organised group. Each of these is a different experience and pace.
Running with the bulls – Pamplona, Spain
Running with the bulls is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill many adrenalin junkies include on their bucket lists. Popularised by Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, the event occurs during the San Fermin Festival from July 6 to 14, which celebrates the patron saint of Navarra. The actual running of the bulls occurs every week morning and serves a distinct purpose – the bulls must get from outside the city to the bullring. Just being a spectator, is an adrenalin rush!
Zip lining in Costa Rica
The jungles and animals of Costa Rica are a thrill, but the vantage point and excitement of a zip line takes the entire experience to another level. A zip line, becoming more and more popular in tropical resorts, combines a series of cables and platforms at different heights that allow visitors to travel through the rainforest canopy and over rivers and water features safely. While they are a total adrenalin rush, they also serve as an unusual way to see ecology, botany and animals up close in the wild. Zip lines are becoming increasingly popular and can be found throughout Costa Rica, but some of the best areas to find them are Monteverde, Arenal and Manuel Antonio.
Surfing Tavarua Island, Fiji
For those who want their adrenalin on the water, few spots in the world are as remote and filled with guaranteed great waves as Fiji. Tavarua Island, a heart-shaped spot located off the Western coast of Fiji near Momi, is an island resort encircled by coral reefs and the one-of-a-kind wave breaks that accompany them. You’ll need to take a boat out to some of them, but then you’re set for the ride of your life. The fantastic surf spots near Tavarua include the notorious Cloudbreak and Restaurants, a 200-300-metre ride right off the island.
Heli-skiing in Valdez, Alaska
Many of us think skiing is risky enough as it is, but if you’d like to turn up the volume heli-skiing is becoming more popular than ever. One spot growing in popularity is Valdez, Alaska, which is incredibly vertical and local organisers promise six runs a day and roll over runs. If you only get to five runs one day, you can ski seven runs the next day. The season in Valdez runs from early February to the second week of May, but it is suggested to get there earlier – once other North American areas close in April, many serious skiers start flocking to Alaska.
Ledge jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand has long been a hot spot for adrenalin junkies and extreme sports enthusiasts. A great spot for both is Queenstown where visitors can experience the ledge urban bungee. After taking the skyline gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, you can luge down concrete tracks, hike the mountain-top trails or jump from the ledge urban bungee. Be warned, it has a runway so you gain a bit of speed and the harness allows jumpers to do flips, twists and other such stunts. At 400m above Queenstown, this activity is not for the faint-hearted!
Paraglide above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
Several VirtualTourist members suggested getting a thrill while on the road by seeing your location from above – way above! In Switzerland, one VT member left Interlaken, which is already quite high at 570m, by van and drove up to the village of Beatenburg at 1 320m. Taking off from a meadow high above Interlaken, paragliding provides thrills and unparalleled views of Lake Brienz, Lake Thun and the town below. For those who are more adventurous, you can paraglide from the top of Schilthorn, which is 2 970m high and was featured in a James Bond film.
White-water rafting in Africa
Several VirtualTourist members suggested white-water rafting in different areas of Africa for an extreme thrill. One popular spot is on the Zambezi, just downriver from Victoria Falls along the border of Zimbabwe. This area has Grade 5/V white rapids and the best time to try them is from July to January. Another member suggested the rapids along the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda – also Grade 5 white-water rapids – although she said she would probably never do them again, it was an experience of a lifetime!
Rappelling in St George, Utah
A few of our previous suggestions will have you attached to a rope, but none probably as risky as rappelling and canyoneering in St George. Rappelling is best described as controlled descent down a rockface using a rope, commonly seen on the cover of Patagonia catalogues and a favourite of daredevils all over Utah. St George is located in the middle of amazing rock formation areas including Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park and slot canyons, making this the area where “canyoneering” or hiking, climbing, and rappelling in narrow slot canyons, was born. It’s a playground for adrenalin junkies with outstanding mountain biking, ATV trails and an abundance of rock climbing. – Reuters