1. Ride a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia boasts of a unique landscape and is one of the most famous places in the world to experience a hot air balloon ride. One of the biggest attractions of the region, the ride takes you over the ‘fair chimney’ rock formations in Gerome, a small town in Cappadocia. This trip is not for the late risers, as you need to be there before sunrise.
2. Drive down the Pamir Highway in Central Asia
Certainly not for the weak hearted; the M41, commonly known as the Pamir Highway, is a road that traverses along the Pamir mountains through Central Asian countries. It starts at Termiz in Uzbekistan and ends at Kara-Balta, to the west of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.
3. Stay in a Yurt with the nomads in Kazakhstan
A ‘Yurt’ is an ancient dwelling used by the nomads of Central Asia as their home. They have been a distinctive feature of the region for more than 3000 years, and is made of a felt cover which lies on a wooden circular frame.
4. Visit the Pangong Lake in Ladakh, India
Pangong Tso, meaning ‘long, narrow, enchanted lake’ in Tibetan language, is a lake flowing between India and Tibet. To reach Pangong Tso, one has to drive down from Leh, through a rough and dangerous mountainous road. An Inner Line Permit is needed to visit this lake, as it lies on the India-China Line of Actual Control.
5. Take a dip in the Kaindy Lake, Kazakhstan
Kaindy, roughly translates to ‘landslide lake’ in English, is a 400m long lake located about 130 kms away from the capital city, Almaty in Kazakhstan. An enormous landslide resulted in the formation of this lake in 1911. The route to this lake has amazing scenic views of the Chilik Valley.
6. Enjoy a camel caravan at the beach of Essaouira, Morocco
Situated on the Atlantic coast, Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan economic region near Marrakesh. The winters are the best time to visit this place, as it tends to get crowded during the summers because of the locals who throng to the pristine beaches.
7. Watch the sunset at Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan
Famous as a resort town, the Cholpon-Ata is a vacation abode of wealthy Kazakhs and Russians. One has to to take a taxi from Bishkek and the journey to the town takes about 3-4 hours. Large and small sanatoriums, hotels and guesthouses have been constructed to accommodate the tourists.
8. Try not to burn your feet at the Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan
Commonly known as the ‘Door to Hell’, Derveze, a village in Turkmenistan, is located in the Karakum Desert. Because of the vast natural gas deposits underneath, it has been burning continuously since it was lit by the Soviet engineers in 1971.
9. Dare to swim in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan
The 10th largest lake in the world (by volume), Issyk Kul means ‘hot lake’ in Kyrgyz language. It is called so, because even though it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the lake never freezes.
10. Witness the Milky Way over Tibet
Tibet is one of the few countries in the world which has remained unaffected by the onslaught of tourists. The vast swathes of nature has remained untouched by man so far. Here, you can clearly see the Milky Way with the humongous Mt. Everest in the background. Witnessing this spectacle would surely leave you spellbound.