A brave new dawn has risen over the realm of adventure travel, as more and more of us seek out the Great Unknown.
It’s out with the inane and in with the intrepid, as travellers head off-radar in pursuit of a life less ordinary.
In the spirit of the moment, here are six of our best deliciously different trips. Comfort zone: consider yourself smashed.
Tube down Palomina River, Colombia
Picture this: you’re floating downstream on the Palomino River, your inflatable ring pulling you gently along with the current. The Caribbean sun cuts through the rainforest overhead, as you crack open a beer and drink in the remote countryside scenery. Chilled yet immersive, tubing is one of the finest ways to get under the skin of Colombia’s lush tropical landscape. You simply go with the flow and forge your own path – a million miles from the tourist hordes.
Climb to the Kuang Si Falls, Laos
The Kuang Si Falls is a major attraction near the charming Laos town of Luang Prabang. But not many people approach it in the way that we do – by taking a three-hour hike to the source. The climb up through thick jungle terrain is no mean feat. But it makes the labyrinth of terraced basins that stretch out from the falls an even more worthy prize. Cool off in the azure pools that form around the 50-metre cascading drop, for a wild swim like no other. Bask in the turquoise waters, and toast to being alive.
Swim with seals, South Africa
Bye-bye, dolphins. For a wildlife encounter that’s rather less mainstream, try swimming with the seals of South Africa. These friendly creatures are known as “the dogs of the ocean” thanks to their playful exuberance; they’re just itching to swim alongside you. Paddling around them in Plettenberg Bay – accompanied by an experienced dive master – is one of those pinch-myself moments. Dive right in, for a unique and deeply moving experience.
Canyon the Bohinj Valley, Slovenia
Clamber your way over giant boulders, abseil down waterfalls and slide through narrow mountain gullies. Canyoning is not for the fainthearted, but it takes you right off-track on a rollercoaster ride of hidden delights. And Slovenia’s Bohinj Valley – with its maze of remote and beautiful ravines – is a brilliant place to get acquainted with the sport. Leap off rocks and swim through clear alpine streams, for an exhilarating voyage of discovery that will have you buzzing for hours afterwards.
Trek the Dragon’s Back trail, Hong Kong
Frenetic Hong Kong is a whirlwind of energy and pace. But just a few kilometres out of the city lies the Dragon’s Back trail, a spinal ridge of green coastal peaks that emulate the shape of a dragon. This glorious eight-kilometre ramble meanders through bamboo groves and remote stretches of coastline overlooking the South China Sea. Crowned Asia’s best urban trek by Time magazine, it’s extraordinary both in terms of the scenery (don’t miss the skyline at Shek O Peninsula) and for the wild escapism it captures: even so close to the smoke.
Boat Amazonia by night, Peru
The dynamic of the Amazon changes at night. Behavioural patterns of jungle life subtly shift, as nocturnal animals come out to play and your senses become more attuned in the darkness. There’s no better place to capture this heightened state of awareness than with a night-time boat ride on Madre de Dios River, in the depths of Peru. Soak in the noctural chorus of wildlife as you float along on a traditional Amazonian boat, the stars of the wilderness paving your way.
Images: Flash Pack and Shutterstock