There is travel, and there is travel with insight; experiencing the life-changing moments that help us to comprehend the diversity of wonders in the world. Here are 15 experiences that will lead to those moments of joy and amazement that only a traveller knows.
1. Observe the Ceremony of the Keys – London
For 700 years the Yeomen Warders have locked the doors of the Tower of London every single night in a ritual that is still observed with all traditions in place. Book in advance to witness this moment of living history, as only 40 spectators are permitted to attend.
2. Wander and wonder at the Mezquita, Spain
Spain’s unique blend of Moorish and Christian heritage has gifted us with this gorgeous mosque. It’s a wonder of patterned archways set in an airy hall where serenity reigns supreme, although the soaring cathedral in the centre grandly proclaims the official denomination to be Catholicism.
3. Gossip with an ex Cold War spy, USA
There are countless untold tales of the behind-the-scenes war that was waged between the CIA and KGB. The chance to hear personal stories straight from the horse’s mouth is an inimitable experience that will leave you truly gobsmacked.
4. Ride The Glacier Express, Switzerland
The Glacier Express winds its way through the breathtaking scenery of the Swiss Alps; a journey so heartbreakingly beautiful that it is commonly considered the most famous railway in the world.
5. Record a song at Studio B, Nashville, USA
Elvis fans will adore the chance to record their own demo at Studio B, the birthplace of the Nashville Sound, which saved country music from being completely eclipsed by rock ‘n’ roll. As well as The King himself, Studio B has recorded such big names as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Connie Francis.
6. Visit the Monkey Temple of Nepal
Swayambhunath Temple’s moniker can be attributed to the hundreds of monkeys who call it home. This Kathmandu landmark is an ancient mix of Hindu and Buddhist tradition, and the giant eyes painted on each side of the main stupa are wonderfully fierce.
7. Nosh on a Maori hangi, New Zealand
It is not just a meal, but a social occasion that passes the time while a banquet of meat and vegetables cooks on a bed of hot rocks, all buried beneath the ground. When the feast is dug up, your senses are assaulted by the delicious scents of the long-anticipated meal, and it’s always worth the wait.
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8. Be humbled by a sunset Aarti ceremony, India
As the sun sets on the banks of the Ganges, Hindu priests begin to chant and circle a flame which is said to embody the goddess Ganga. Devotees seek the blessing of the goddess and the purification symbolised by the flame, which they release in their own small representations to float on the waters of the holy river.
9. Meet the locals of Iguazu Falls, South America
Visiting the otherworldly Iguazu Falls is one thing, but meeting the region’s indigenous people adds a different perspective to the experience. Be welcomed into the local community and discover the lifestyle and intriguing legends of the ancient Guaranis.
10. Chat to a Mountie in Banff, Canada
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are almost as iconic as the maple leaf, and the chance to meet one in the flesh is a treat you’ll be bragging about for years to come. A personal account of real-life happenings, rich history and RCMP tradition will be enhanced by the quintessential Canadian photo op – a selfie with a red-coated mountie in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
11. Explore The Imperial Citadel of Vietnam
Centuries old and strewn with detailed carvings, graceful archways and enclosures with enticing names such as ‘The Forbidden Purple City’, the Hue Citadel is best experienced in a private tour in the early morning, before the influx of crowds and heat descends.
12. Dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
This may seem like an old hat, but Insight Gold offer the chance to travel to a less-frequented dive spot on the Great Barrier Reef; an opportunity that can’t be passed up. Snorkelling is an idyllic delight, but scuba diving is like sinking into mesmerising new world of foreign colour and texture.
13. Marvel at Tutankhamen’s Treasure, Egypt
Perhaps the most recognised relic of the ancient Egyptians, King Tut’s funerary mask is displayed in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo amidst the jewels and artefacts that were intended to furnish his palace in the afterlife. Gazing on the gleaming gold of the young pharaoh’s mask is almost guaranteed to evoke a searing wonder at the intricacies of Egypt’s ancient civilisation.
14. Cruise to the base of Niagara Falls, Canada
The waters of Niagara Falls are breathtaking in their might, and cruising to the base of the cascade is overwhelming in both mind and body. Prepare to get soaked in a truly unique deluge.
15. Be awestruck by the world’s largest volcano, Hawaii
Mauna Loa has been erupting for so long that it boggles the mind, and the most recent eruption occurred in 1984. A journey through rustic villages to a sweeping vantage point gives you a true sense of this prehistoric monolith – a mountain so heavy it has depressed the earth’s crust by several kilometres.
All the once-in-a-lifetime moments above can be enjoyed as a part of your Insight Luxury Gold Vacation, which will take your travels to the next level through signature experiences. Get in touch with your local Travel Associates Consultant today; there's plenty more Insights to add to your bucket list!