Escape from terrible 2016
2016 has been horrible in many ways. Globally, the world has had to deal with Brexit and the death of Harambe, and locally, we’ve had to deal with all the cat deaths, human deaths, cocaine smugglers, and child-hungry uncles in Yishun, to say the least. Life just isn’t worth living anymore – It’s better to fuel our bodies with so much adrenaline that we enter oblivion.
So in the attempt to get rid of the terrible aftertaste that is 2016, to escape to a reality where we engage in extreme activities under the guise of adventure when we just want to die, here are 10 places to go for the perfect escape:
1. Zip horrible memories away at the longest zipline, El Monstruo in Puerto Rico
When you want to whisk yourself away from the pain of those 99 problems, the longest zipline in human creation is your best bet. At 2.5km long with speeds that go up to 150km/h, your adrenaline will be pumping you into oblivion. Compared to facing the ugh-ness of 2016, it’s not a bad alternative at all.
It also helps that you feel like Superman, who sadly doesn’t exist in real life, out on a casual cruise over the wildlife – flying across jungle, streams, mountains, and a bird’s eye view of the entire terrain.
Tip: To reach super speeds, make sure you get the most aerodynamic posture possible.
2. Walk the plank 2155m above sea level at Mount Hua, China
Hiking up one the most dangerous of China’s 5 Great Mountains isn’t enough. No, we have to do it on one-foot wide planks, secured only by flimsy metal staples and questionable wooden planks, just like how the imperial and local pilgrims completed their pilgrimages during the 13th century – the only pass that granted them access to the summit.
Don’t worry about dying though, because you’re given two hooks and a harness to make sure that you don’t fall off the face of the mountain. Unless you’re foolish enough to unhook both hooks at once or take ambitious leaps, you’re pretty much safe.
Despite the questionable safety of the trail made from flimsy-looking planks secured with single staples at times, the unobstructed view is one to behold, especially when you’re this close to untouched nature.
Read about our trip to Huashan here!.
3. Crocodile bungee jumping in South Africa
Bungee jumping alone isn’t going to be enough when we think about the human stupidity behind Harambe’s death, so bungee jumping 111m into crocodile infested waters doesn’t seem like too bad an idea to rid yourself of all the world’s self-perpetuating problems. Would rather die by crocodile than by murder.
Fact: a woman’s bungee cord snapped and she fell into crocodile-infested waters in South Africa, but she survived. We hope 2017 survives the nonsense from 2016, too.
Find out more here.
4. Pakistan bridge made of rotting wood planks
We’re used to commercial flights – taking planes to get over mountainous, unwalkable regions, or giant bodies of water. But for the people living in the Gilgit-Baltisan region of Northern Pakistan, the only means of travel was walking across mountain passes like the Hussaini Hanging Bridge. As one of the scariest bridges in the world, maintenance only comes in the form of rebuilding when the old bridge fails. That’s why you see two bridges along the same route.
Interestingly, the bridge has become a new tourist magnet, so you won’t be the only ‘crazy tourist’ trying to take a selfie crossing this rickety thing – just don’t fall over when you’re snapping a shot of your best angle.
5. 2nd highest bungee jump off a building in Macau
We have varying bungee jumps here, because how scary a bungee jump is, is dependent on what you could potentially land into. Regular bungee jumps over water aren’t as intimidating, because you won’t die if you plunge into water that’s deep enough. Jumping off into crocodile infested water still gives you a chance of survival, but landing into concrete pretty much confirms the end of your life.
In Macau, you get to do just that – leap off the world’s second highest bungee jump, and land metres from the concrete ground below. It helps that the scenery is beautiful – not that you’re going to be paying much attention to it, with an even more breath-taking 233m jump.
Find out more about Macau’s bungee jump here.
6. Diving with great whites in Australia, Neptune Islands
Fun Fact: You won’t find great whites in aquariums, and the only way to see one is while cage diving.
You’ll get to see Great Whites up to 6m long that frequent the Neptunes. Besides the ethereal experience of seeing these marvels up close, the Neptunes are also a haven for New Zealand fur seals and Australian sea lions.
Source Australian Sea Lion
This is how viewing other habitats should be – humans in cages visiting the animals. So if you wish to get closer to the shark, and decide to swim out of your cage into his enclosure, we won’t have zookeepers to take the shark down.
7. Mountain biking in Bolivia’s Death Road, most dangerous road in the world
Besides the famous Machu Picchu, South America is also home to the aptly-named ‘Death Road’, the most dangerous road in the world. Armed with a 3600m descent, it claims 300 lives a year. But the scenery and experience of being the edge of the mountain still draws tourists. Dotted with snow-covered peaks, grazing alpacas, cute villages and a drug check-post, this will get beginners and expert bikers alike a serious adrenaline rush they’ll never forget.
8. Wing-walking in the UK – walk on plane wings
Sitting in the passenger seat is too mainstream, and just like kids who pop themselves out of convertibles, wing-walking gets you the wind-in-your-hair, sun-in-your-face experience, only far more extreme. This is one of the safer activities in this list, complete with a super secure harness and a training programme for you to learn essential hand signals to communicate with your pilot.
Find out more about windwalking here.
9. Sandboard down an active volcano, Nicaragua
Snowboarding down a snow slope is fun – it’s chilly, the ice is soft, and you can make snow angels with bae. But if you’re bae-less and fearless, then it’s probably better to hit the volcanic slopes of Cerro Negro, Nicaragua. Cerro Negro has erupted 20 times since 1850, most recently in 1999, so if you’re a real thrill-seeker, this is the volcano for you. Unlike regular sandboarding, you’re not gliding down soft, fine sand. This stuff is volcanic rock – coarse, hot volcanic rock.
To get to the slopes, you’ll have to go an arduous hike for about an hour and a half to the 500m summit. Then take the sled or board down at speeds of up to 48km/h.
Tip: Wear clothing that covers your skin, because falling on this gravel-like volcanic rock with your bare skin is going to hurt.
Find out more about Snowboarding in Nicaragua here.
10. Pool of Death, Queen’s Bath Kauai, Hawaii
Located on the northern shore of Kaua’i in Princeville, Hawaii, Queen’s Bath is also known as the Death Pool. It’s a sinkhole surrounded by rock, and we all know what kind of waves hug Hawaii’s shores. Water levels within the pool can drop drastically, and if you’re not a skilled, careful swimmer who knows the pool, there’s a higher chance that you won’t be able to return from the depths of the ocean once you fall in.
So far, seven people have drowned after being swept away by unexpected waves. It’s the calmest in summer – perfect for people who just want to test the waters. In winter though, the waves are extra rough and extra unpredictable, so unless you want to drown, we strongly advise against standing near the water.
2016 was bad, 2017 will be better
Despite the madness that transpired in 2016, it was a year full of lessons and realisations. As we embark on the new year, we hope that we won’t regret the things that we have and haven’t done. We’ve included places around the world for serious adrenaline-pumped adventure, but we really do only live once, so be careful on your wanderlust adventures.
Final note: Crocodile bungee jumping may sound cool, and jumping into the pool of death might be fun, but please take necessary safety measures, because even insurance doesn’t cover this – they’ll lose too much money.