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10 epic bucket list experiences to inspire your adventures

These must-do activities in the region and beyond promise exhilarating adventures and cherished memories to last a lifetime

When it comes to travel bucket lists, the more items you tick off, the longer it seems to get! Especially in this part of the world, unique adventures await around every corner, from viewing record-breaking architectural marvels from new perspectives to completely immersing in surreal natural phenomena. So if you're looking to inspire your future travels, we've compiled our top must-have experiences to add to your bucket list.

Go skydiving in Dubai

It is often said that Dubai was designed to be best viewed from the skies. For an exhilarating bird's-eye view of the emirate, nothing beats the thrill of skydiving. Offered at two locations – Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai desert – in tandem with expert instructors, this breathtaking free-fall allows you to see the emirate from an entirely different perspective.

See the last remaining wonder of the ancient world in Cairo

Egypt's ancient treasures are beyond fascinating. With its majestic monuments steeped in history and the meandering Nile – the country's very lifeblood – experiences abound throughout. Undoubtedly, it's Cairo's inextricable link to the Pyramids of Giza that draws millions of visitors from all around the world. Built as massive tombs for the pharaohs, these 4000-year-old structures stand proud as the last remaining wonder of the ancient world, making them a must-see.

Wander around an ancient village in Al Baha

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is dotted with several charming ancient villages, offering a captivating glimpse into the country's rich history. One such venue is Thee Ain Heritage Village, a 400-year-old settlement in Al Baha made up of more than four dozen stone houses perched atop a hill. Exploring this off-the-beaten-path locale entails a fair amount of walking and climbing, as visitors navigate the carefully paved stone corridors that wind through the village. The well-preserved ruins are surrounded by crops, including bananas, lemon, basil, and palm trees, with the picturesque Thee Ain River meandering nearby.

Embark on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

An image that has now become synonymous with holidays in Türkiye, it's easy to see the appeal of a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. The sheer sight of dozens of balloons taking flight is surreal. It is especially magical at sunrise, when visitors can see Cappadocia's rugged, almost-lunar landscape transform, as the sun's first rays hit the cave-like dwellings and rock-hewn structures below.

Go beneath the waves of the Red Sea

The unique position of the Red Sea in the heart of the Middle East shields it from strong ocean currents, resulting in clear, warm waters that foster exceptional underwater life. This truly remarkable ecosystem shelters over 300 species of coral and 2,100 species of fish, many of which are exclusive to this region. A snorkelling or scuba diving adventure, particularly along the coasts of Egypt or Saudi Arabia, offers the chance to encounter the likes of dolphins, dugongs, turtles, mantas, sharks and more.

Hike one of the Middle East's longest trails in Wadi Rum

The otherworldly setting of Jordan's Wadi Rum, with its iconic red dunes, is seemingly more at home on Mars than on Earth. One of the best ways to explore this unique terrain is by trekking through the dunes – following in the footsteps of countless generations of nomads, traders and pilgrims who walked these paths for centuries. The newly unveiled 120-kilometre Wadi Rum Trail has been captivating hikers since it opened last year. Promising a breathtaking journey through the sandstone heartlands and lesser-known expanses of Wadi Rum, it is the Middle East's only long-distance hiking trail to integrate rock climbing into its main route, offering opportunities to conquer five mountains along the way.

Float on the lowest point on Earth in Jordan

Yet another Jordan wonder, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth. Situated 430 metres below sea level, it is also the lowest body of water on the planet's surface. Its high salinity – nearly 10 times that of the oceans – adds to the water's unique density, making your body feel remarkably buoyant. This means that you do not need expert swimming skills to enjoy its warm waters and can effortlessly float on its surface.

Take a boat ride through the longest cave in the Middle East in Beirut

About 18 kilometres north of Beirut lies the Middle East's longest cave system. Made up of two interconnected limestone caves, Jeita Grotto boasts one of the world's most fascinating

formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Accessible on foot, the upper grotto offers a remarkable display of natural formations. However, the lower grotto, which remained undiscovered until 1836 despite being inhabited in prehistoric times, can only be explored via a boat ride. It makes for an enthralling adventure, with the echoing sounds of rushing water slowly fading into complete silence as you venture deeper into the cave.

Catch the Big Five in the Serengeti

Amid the sweeping plains of the Serengeti, one of the greatest wildlife-watching destinations unfolds. From migrating wildebeest following the planet's ancient rhythms to predators stealthily stalking their prey, the park offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness nature in all its magnificence. Across the 14,763-square-kilometre Serengeti National Park, safari goers have the chance to encounter not just the Big Five but also cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, zebras, giraffes, gazelles and more. And with over 500 species of birds, it's also a paradise for birdwatchers.

Get lost in Morocco's blue city of Chefchaouen

Nestled amidst the mountains, Morocco's famous blue city, Chefchaouen, is a haven for walkers. Marked by labyrinthine alleys and traditional homes bathed in blue, the entire city evokes an unreal ambience for visitors. Meandering through its winding pathways allows the chance to mingle with the friendly locals, who will warmly invite you in to taste freshly baked bread or flavourful tagines, providing a truly immersive experience.


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