The Bucket List. Most people have one. Swimming with dolphins? Bungee jumping? Meeting the Queen? Nah, we’re thinking a little crazier. Some people might consider a week abroad resulting in a massive hangover and a sweet new tattoo of their mate’s mum’s face a crazy holiday…
That’s not the kind of crazy we’re thinking. We’re thinking action-packed, heart racing, adrenaline pumping. The kind of adventures you might not want to mention to your mum. The kind of adventures where you might say, ‘yeah I can totally jump off that cliff,’ or ‘uh oh, are you sure you want to swim in there?’ These daring travel destinations couldn’t be farther from the relaxing and healing corners of the world. Heck, check out some of these deadly attractions and you might even lose a limb. The road to adventure can lead in many ways. Though some of the adventures on this list might just lead you straight to the hospital.
From the deadly Snake Island that makes Jurassic Park look like a nice day at the zoo to mountain roads that make scaling Everest seem like a walk in the park, this list of adventurous, dangerous, and downright deadly destinations are not for the faint of heart.
25. Witness nuclear fallout in Pripyat – Ukraine
If testing the boundaries of radiation is your thing, head to the Chernobyl Exclusion zone. In 1986, The Ukrainian city of Pripyat was rendered a ghost town overnight, when one of the nuclear reactors at the nearby Chernobyl plant exploded. 100,000 residents were evacuated for the foreseeable future due to the devastation of radiation.
Despite this, it only took a decade for nature to begin to take back what was once hers. Today, flora and fauna thrive in abundance among the wreckage, and even humans are now invited to briefly visit the fascinating and humbling ruins of a once prosperous suburban town. From above, Pripyat is a mass of dilapidated buildings among a sea of forest. On the ground, it is a fierce reminder of what our planet is capable of when humans are out of the picture.
24. Climb the mother of mountains – Mount Everest, Nepal
The formidable mountain was first sumitted by Edmund Hillary in 1953. Each year thousands flock to the base of Mount Everest to try to scale to her lofty cloud-piercing peak. Unfortunately, the mountain claims the lives of some who test her limits, and quite a lot of the bodies are still there. Just this year a torrent of mountaineers caused a record amount of deaths. Below freezing temperatures, altitude sickness, and falls are oftentimes fatal in the wild.
23. Balance on the Cliffs of Moher – Ireland
Stepping off the beaten path is an intrepid traveler’s usual MO. Yet this is one destination where you’ll want to keep your toes fully on the path. From these cliffs, the views over the Atlantic Ocean are astounding. But tread carefully: high winds, deadly Irish mist and slippery mud underfoot can make things turn dangerous quickly. This is one place where “anything for the ‘gram” should not be your guiding philosophy.
22. Battle the Erta Ale Volcano – Ethiopia
Our planet was born and life fertilized by the ash from volcanoes, and some of these menacing beasts still exist, belching and emitting boiling hot steaming lava across barren badlands. If you’re the kind of person who thinks scaling the rim of a volcano is the perfect vacation, this one’s for you.
The Erta Ale Volcano in Ethiopia is one of the most ferocious. However, it still attracts fearless adventurers bent on battling the steep 14-kilometer climb through tough terrain of steaming lava flows that ignite the feeling of walking in an oven, over sharp-edged igneous rock that threatens to cut boots in half. With perilous tremors and earthquakes, and sulfurous fumes that are enough to make anyone want to turn back, the stakes are high, but the rewards? Breathtakingly stunning.
21. Rest in peace in Death Valley – USA
They don’t call it sparkly rainbow unicorn valley. Death Valley National Park, the hottest, lowest, and driest park in the world, is ultimately stunning and a landscape photographer’s paradise. But the chance to witness the glory is a real challenge. Mother Nature is an unforgiving mule in this corner of the world, and you’ll be subject to some of the harshest elements on Earth. Isolated roads, adverse weather conditions and dangerous terrain make for a challenging environment to conquer and every year visitors perish from heat exhaustion. Do your research and tread carefully, and the views of the rolling dunes and stark landscape will be a worthy reward.
20. Fly through the Valley of Death – Russia
Any place featuring the word ‘death’ is sure to have you on your toes when thinking of visiting. The topography in Russia’s Valley of Death is beautiful, yet extremely dangerous. The very ground emits toxic gases that kill plant life and can easily make less than cautious visitors sick. The area is most famous for Kikhpinych, the resident volcano, set above a valley with the second largest number of geysers in the world. Not one for the regular Joe, the area is generally only accessible by helicopter.
19. Climb Mont Blanc – France
Europe’s highest peak is one of the most challenging and magnificent mountains in the world. Mont Blanc is a true beauty of nature, but climbing her punishing face claims the lives of hundreds each year. Known as the Everest of the Southern Alps, Mont Blanc demands the same level of respect and skill, but due to its ease of accessibility many inexperienced climbers bite of a lot more than they can chew. Blighted with sudden avalanches, hidden crevasses and unpredictable weather, Mont Blanc is one of the deadliest climbs on Earth.
18. Bungee into Villarrica Volcano – Chile
Volcanoes are always dubious territory, what with the possibility of erupting, fire hot smog, and lava at any point. You can go not one, but 50 steps further into peril in Chile, by getting in a chopper, strapping yourself to a bungee rope and plunging into the burning depths of Villarrica.
17. Go whitewater rafting on the border of North Korea – Hantangang River Cheorwon, South Korea
If the threat of being swallowed up by a monstrous whitecap doesn’t inspire enough fear when white water rafting, try it on the Hantangang River in Cheorwon, South Korea. You’ll be chasing adrenaline less than a cat’s whisker away from the North Korean border.
16. Battle unwanted gifts on Christmas Island – Australia
There are two islands on our Earth called Christmas Island, and neither of them is covered in gifts. Not unless you consider giant robber crabs the perfect sentiment. The species is aptly named, as its favourite pastime is stealing off with coconuts and cracking them open in its death grip. That and jumping out of trees at you like a terrifying squirrel with pincers. Thankfully they’re not known for mistaking humans for coconuts. Nevertheless, strolling through a forest full of giant crabs is not the most relaxing pursuit.
15. Cross a rickety bridge in Pakistan – Hussaini Hanging Bridge
Known as the most dangerous bridge in the world, and it’s not the only precarious rope bridge in Pakistan, the Hussaini-Borit Lake bridge has definitely seen better days. Cross the swinging bridge that hovers over the raging river below it if you wish. But be warned: you might end up in a watery grave. The bridge is laboriously long and made from rickety planks that look about as sturdy as a hippo on stilts. So rickety indeed, that it actually washed away in a monsoon in 2011.
It has since been restored as locals use it regularly, though the wood is structurally more sound. It still gives you a thrill hopping over the giant gaps in the slats until you reach safety on the other side.
14. Stroll through the Poison Garden – Alnwick Castle, UK
Alnwick Castle was used in filming the Harry Potter films, and it looks like Professor Sprout left something behind: a deadly garden of poisonous plants. In real life, the Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, considered it extremely boring to have to walk through a regular garden with dull flowers and lacklustre plants. So she turned a forgotten corner of the castle land into The Poison Garden. You can’t get close enough to touch a venomous tentacle, but many people have fainted from the toxic fumes and spores released by the deadly plant life. The Poison Garden is a great way to get kids interested in plant culture and their fascinating properties. Just don’t let them sniff too closely.
13. Ride a bike across Death Road – Bolivia
North Yungas Road, otherwise known affectionately as ‘Death road’ is a 56km stretch of hairpin turns and winding bends that stretch around a mountain in Bolivia. A few hundred adrenaline seekers die every year after getting a little too cocky with the murderous mountain.
12. Avoid Snake Island – Rio
Ilha da Queimada Grande is possibly the closest thing we have to a real-life Jurassic Park. Snake Island, otherwise known as Big Burnt Island, is not the friendliest sounding place. Convenient then that it floats safely out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Banana wielding Brazilians once tried to commandeer the island and turn it into a plantation, but the hissy residents weren’t so pleased about the idea. The human residents stuck around for a short time before claiming they’d had enough of these snakes on this mother flipping island.
Either that or they all met their demise fairly quickly at the mercy of a million deadly snakes. The permanent residents include the deadly golden lancehead pit viper, one of the world’s most dangerous slithery friends. So dangerous indeed that if you got bitten and received anti-venom immediately, you’d still most likely perish. As such, no humans without a nerdy advanced science degree are permitted on the Island. Just as well Bear Grylls doesn’t have one; we’ve already witnessed how ridiculous he looks after a mere bee sting.
11. Bask in the Devil’s Pool – Zambia
Get too close to the edge of this real-life infinity pool and you might just have taken your last bath. Part of Victoria Falls, the Devil’s Pool in Zambia is the highest waterfall in the world. Between mid-August and mid-January, climb in, the water’s fine. Any other time and the pool becomes a drainpipe of death.
10. Try Airkicking in Germany
Airkicking. Sounds pretty self explanatory, right? Airkicking is an invention that basically involves strapping yourself to a human-sized catapult and pummeling stomach or head first into a body of water. It takes 60 liters of water to send you jettisoning to a parabolic orbit into a beverage of your choice. Lake, swimming pool, foam pit, straight into the grave. Up to you.
9. Take a bicycle volcano tour – Hawaii
Another volcano you say? Can I ride a bicycle down the scree? Absolutely you can; hand over $100 and we’ll drive you right to the rim.
There are a few volcano tours in Hawaii, including Kilauea, a steaming crest that has been erupting frequently since 1938. Each one of them comes with a heavy dose of adrenaline. Several deaths and serious injuries have been recorded in the years of activity, although not just from eager tourists losing control of their two-wheelers. The deadly presence of lava haze plays a role as well. It may seem like an innocent white cloud, but it’s essentially a poisonous gas of hydrochloric acid, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide.
8. Balance on a Troll’s Tongue- Norway
Trolltunga, the jaw droppingly high rock in Norway, is known as The Troll’s Tongue. It’s a bit of a hike to the edge of the cliff, but once at the top tourists enjoy a spot of selfie action out on the precipice, soaking in the amazing views. Only be sure to keep one eye on the landscape and the other on the edge, as the wind up there is a cruel trickster. A number of people have fallen off the rock in freak accidents at Trolltunga. There have been images of people doing handstands and hanging from the edge, but don’t let that make you want to try dangling with death. They are all photoshopped.
7. Surf Shipsterns Bluff – Tasmania
Not for the faint of heart, but if you’re a big wave surfer, there’s only one thing at the top of your bucket list and it’s the gargantuan waves at Shipsterns Bluff, lovingly known as ‘Shippies’ to the locals. The waves can reach upwards of 30 feet and are so huge that riders have to be drawn in by jet ski. Shippies waves have claimed the lives of many skilled surfers. But when conditions are on point, it’s the ride of your life.
6. Dive off a cliff in Acapulco – Mexico
Falling off a cliff is the epitome of fun having right? Cliff diving is definitely a practiced skill, a sport where you must have perfect control of your body to prevent you from breaking every bone in your butt when you hit the water. Most people prefer to cliff jump from a reasonable height, but the daredevils in La Quebrada make the highest dive board in your local swimming pool look like a graceful hop into the bath. The 45 meter high cliffs and treacherous waves below must be timed perfectly. Or the scale from 0 – death cranks up pretty fast.
5. Join EPCOT’s Mission: Space – Disney World, Florida
People usually flock to theme parks for the sudden rush of adrenaline they achieve from travelling a blood rushing 0 – 100kph. Or a spot of friendly jump scaring. You’re facing your fears in a safe environment and it’s liberating. Most of the time, the peril just borders on the edge of reality. Occasionally though, some rides succeed in being as dangerous as they are delightful. Surprisingly enough, one of these forces of frenzy is at Disney World. EPCOT’s Mission: Space, has caused numerous casualties over the years due to its centrifugal force aggravating medical issues and causing people to pass out. So much so that it was forced to adopt a ‘safe mode’ to control the havoc.
4. Climb the world’s deadliest mountain – China
Mount Huashan in China is possibly the world’s deadliest hike. To reach the summit of this threatening peak and see the exquisite Taoist temples at the top, you’ll have to climb up narrow steps, toe step wobbling rope bridges, and scale sheer cliff faces with only rusty old chains to grab onto as you sidestep along paths of what can only be described as old, narrow planks of wood held together by mismatched nails and scraps of metal found in a skip. If you’re scared of heights, falling, or just death in general, this is probably not one for you.
3. Try volcano boarding in Nicaragua
Snowboarding? Boring. Prefer to barrel down a steep slope and get blinded by coarse grains of grit in your eye? Try volcano boarding. The ground is harder, grittier, and smellier than soft, inviting snow. Plus there’s always the chance a giant mountain might explode behind you and engulf your body in a billowing cloud of fiery death.
2. Go crocodile bungee jumping in Australia
Australians aren’t known for their cowardly demeanor. Steve Irwin would be proud of anyone daring enough to take on this petrifying pastime. Strap yourself to a bungee cord and sail freely into the arms, or in this case jaws of a croc. There have unfortunately been multiple cases of beheading as chords stretched a little too close to the snap-happy crocodile-infested waters.
1. Dive into a giant sinkhole at Eagles Nest Cave – Florida, United States
Swimming into the depths of the unknown is just child’s play for some adventurous sorts. In a quirky place called Weeki Wachee, best known for its glamorous troupe of real-life mermaids, is Eagles Nest, famed as the “Mount Everest of underwater cave diving.” It’s a giant sinkhole that attracts a bit of friendly poking around a dark, underwater wonderland. At 300 feet deep, it’s one of the most dangerous dive spots in the world and has claimed the lives of 12 people since 1981. The site requires competent cave diving skills and a permit to dive there, but regular swimming is allowed.