LONDON — Everyone likes a bit of excitment on holiday. But for those bold travelers 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 Adrenaline Rush. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. 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' harbor beneath you? This is just the case at the Macau Tower, the world's second highest bungee jump, dropping 765 feet (233 meters) from a platform around the tower. The views are incredible, but also terrifying. You're dropping a few feet from a steel tower with cars driving beneath you and 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 the perimeter of the tower on the rim, but with a harness and without needing a leap of faith. They also offer a Tower Climb.
2. Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp near Kathmandu, Nepal
One of the most popular adrenaline treks among VirtualTourist members is the trip to Mount Everest Base Camp. While making it to Everest Base Camp definitely requires some training and planning beforehand, few experiences can top the view from the Nepalese side, which is at an altitude of 17,598 ft. (5,364 m). A VT member suggests The Upper Mustang Trek, particularly the portion above Chele, if you want really adrenaline vertigo inducing excitement. Some travelers also consider trekking the Annapurna Circuit, and members of VirtualTourist can advise you about whether or not you should trek on your own, with a guide or porter, or with an organized group. Each of these means a different experience and pace.
3. Running with the Bulls - Pamplona, Spain
A national tradition that became an international sensation, the Running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill that many adrenaline junkies include on their bucket lists. Popularized by Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises, the Running of the Bulls occurs during the San Fermin Festival, which runs each year from July 6 to 14, celebrating San Fermin, the patron saint of Navarra. The actual "Running of the Bulls" occurs every morning of the week and serves a distinct purpose - the bulls must get from outside the city to the bullring. Just being a spectator to this event is an adrenaline rush!
4. Zip lining in Costa Rica
The jungles and animals of Costa Rica are a thrill in themselves, 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 a unique way to see ecology, botany, and animals up close in the wild. Zip-lines are increasingly popular and can be found throughout Costa Rica, but some of the best areas to find them are Monteverde, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio.
5. Surfing Tavarua Island, Fiji
For those who want their adrenaline on the water, few spots in the world are as remote and filled with guaranteed great waves like 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 unique 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 yard ride right off the island.
6. Heli-skiing in Valdez, Alaska
Many of us think skiing is risky enough as 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 organizers promise six runs a day and roll over runs. If you only get to 5 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.
7. Ledge jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand has long been a hot spot for adrenaline junkies and extreme sports enthusiasts. A great spot for both is Queenstown, New Zealand where visitors can experience the Ledge Urban Bungy. 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 Bungy. Be warned, it has a 'runway' so you gain a bit of speed, and the unique harness allows jumpers to do flips, twists, and other such stunts. At 1312 ft. (400m) above Queenstown, this activity is not for the faint at heart!
8. Paraglide above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
Multiple VirtualTourist members suggested getting a thrill while on the road by seeing your location from up above - way up above! In Switzerland, one VT member departed Interlaken, which is already quite high at 1870 ft. (570 m), by van and drove up to the village of Beatenburg at 4,400 ft. (1320 m). 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 even more adventurous, you can paraglide from the top of Schilthorn, which is 9744 ft. (2,970 m) high and was featured in a James Bond film.
9. White Water Rafting in Africa
Multiple VirtualTourist members suggested whitewater 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 attempt 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 will probably never do them again, it was an experience of a lifetime!
10. 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, Utah. Rappelling is best described as controlled descent down a rock face using a rope, commonly seen on the cover of Patagonia catalogs, and a favorite of daredevils all over Utah. St. George is conveniently located in the middle of many amazing rock formations 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. St. George is a playground for adrenaline junkies with outstanding mountain biking, ATV trails, and an abundance of rock climbing. (Editing by Paul Casciato)