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Top ten things to do before you die

Top ten things to do before you die

There is so much out there and so little time. Skyscanner columnist Nick presents his top ten list of must see and do activities before you embark on your final journey…

everest.JPG**Go to Everest base camp**

Okay, so it might not be quite the same as getting to the top of the world, but it’s a lot closer than most manage. These treks, whilst not in the mountaineering category, are pretty physically demanding so you will need to be in shape. They generally last about three weeks and within that, there is time built in for sightseeing and acclimatising to the altitude. Base camp itself is around 17,500 feet, so be prepared to have your breath taken away both physically and metaphorically, as you gaze at the highest mountain on earth.

See a live volcano

Hawaii’s Big Island is one of the few places on earth where you can get up close to an active volcano and with a bit of luck, see molten lava flowing past. Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been continuously erupting since 1983 producing between 250, 000 to 650,000 cubic metres of lava every day. The area is well set up for tourists with a Kilauea visitor centre and rangers who can offer advice. And after that, you can go and pretend to be Magnum somewhere.

Visit Petra in Jordan

Petra is considered to be one of the Wonders of the World and is the result of labours by the Nabataeans, an Arab people who settled in Southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. The "Rose City", as it is sometimes termed, attracts visitors from all over the world to admire the intricately carved structures which are hidden in this mountainous region. Indeed the city was not known in the Western world until 1812, when a Swiss explorer found the place and it has amazed its visitors ever since – one of whom was Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Ski the Vallée Blanche

Anyone interested in skiing will have heard of the Vallée Blanche in Chamonix. This famous 20km off-piste run has a number of variations from "La Vraie" (the easiest route to ski) to the tougher "Grand Envers" which has sustained slopes of between 40 and 45 degrees. If the skiing is not challenging enough in itself, there’s also a precipitous ridge or "arête" to negotiate before you start, so unless you are confident on a mountain, a guide is definitely recommended.

great.barrier.reef.JPG**Dive the Great Barrier Reef**

You can learn to scuba dive in just a few days and then a world of opportunities opens up to you. Australia’s Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea is one of the diving highlights in the world, and whilst diving snobs might mutter about it being overrun with tourists out of Cairns, if you venture further afield then the diving remains world class. For anyone interested in the underwater world, this experience is an absolute must.

Visit Antarctica

Not many people can claim to have done this, and whilst it might not be everyone’s idea of a holiday, who knows how long the ice caps will be around. Cruises depart from Ushuaia in Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, and from here you will set sail for one of the most remote places on earth. You will see seals, penguins, icebergs and glaciers and the boats will usually have an onboard scientist to answer any of your questions. A lot of distance is covered at sea, so not one to consider for landlubbers.

Gorillas in Uganda

Gorillas are now carefully protected in Uganda after years of poaching. Thankfully someone realised that they are worth a great deal more alive than dead, and the prices of a gorilla trek are reflected in this. Aside from well off, you’ll also need to be physically fit for this one since there is potentially a lot of jungle walking through tough terrain. Equally, there is no guarantee of seeing the gorillas since naturally they move around, but experienced guides offer you the best chance of a thrilling experience with the largest primate in the world.

Trek to Macchu Picchu

The 45km Inca trail in Peru is a jungle hike to the sacred Inca city of Macchu Picchu. In recent years it has become more popular, so the authorities have limited the number of people allowed on the trail each day to about 500. As such, if you want to do it, then it is advisable to book well in advance. If you are lucky enough to do the four day trek, then you are rewarded with a stunning glimpse into Incan life five hundred years ago.

A balloon ride over the Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is probably the most famous game reserve in Africa, and to see dawn come up over the area is one I can recommend. The balloon rides are expensive, but as far as "once in a lifetimes" go it’s definitely worth it. You get to see the wildlife from a unique perspective, and whilst the burners make a bit of noise now and again, the rest of the time you are virtually silent. A champagne breakfast usually concludes the experience and gives you a chance to reflect on what you’ve seen.

transiberian.train.JPG**Experience the Trans-Siberian railway**

This is one of the great train journeys of the world, and you can feel like a modern day Genghis Khan as you make the epic trip from Russia to China. There are a number of permutations depending on how much time you have, but for tourists with a month to spare, a multi-stop trip in places like Altai, Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar offers the opportunity to see something of the incredibly remote countries you will encounter during the 7000km journey.