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The Ultimate Gap Year Bucket List

Written by The Leap on 17 / 08 / 2017

Gap Year Advice

The Ultimate Gap Year Bucket List.

No matter who you are, you all have that one place that you’ve always dreamed of visiting - and a gap year is the perfect chance to tick that box. However, if you’re still looking for inspiration look no further! Here is a list of places and adventures that are a must do on a gap year…

1. Get coated in a sea of colour at the Holi festival, India

Gap Year Bucket List

‘Holi’, also known as ‘The Festival of Colours’ or ‘The Festival of Love’, comes from an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in India and Nepal. It signifies the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and a time to mend broken relationships. The festival itself lasts for a day and a night and is a chance for Hindus to let loose. During the day people take to the streets chucking any sort of coloured paint at each other, including powdered paint, water-balloons and water guns. During the night, everyone dresses up and celebrates in a more civilized way. As social norms regarding age, gender and status are relaxed, the atmosphere is wonderfully carefree and forgiving. Seeing the streets of Deli covered in multi colours definitely deserves a space on your bucket list.

2. Get up close and personal to some of Africa’s most incredible animals at The Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary, and the Giraffe Centre, Kenya

Elephant Sanctuary gap year

Based in Nairobi, the elephant orphanage was set up to protect elephants whose parents had been poached for their ivory. Not surprisingly the orphanage has now achieved world acclaim for its elephant and rhino rehabilitation programmes. You get to come up close to one of the most adorable sights around - the elephants are led into their enclosure wearing blankets, playing with a football and rolling in the mud. Truly a sight for sore eyes.

elephant orphanage volunteering

Just a twenty-minute drive away is the chance to get even closer to another one of Kenya’s most majestic inhabitants, the giraffe. Using small food pellets the giraffes eat out of your hands and even your lips if you’re brave enough! On site is Giraffe Manor where guests can stay overnight and share breakfast with the animals themselves as they stick their long necks through the windows for your leftovers…a bucket list essential.

3. Trek into ancient history, climbing to Machu Picchu, Peru

gap year treking

It is not surprising that this archaeological site is the longest anticipated part of most traveller’s trips. Abandoned during the Spanish Conquest, Machu Picchu is thought to have been built for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti and was hidden from the world until its rediscovery in 1911. Either take the beautiful, four day Inca trail trek, or take the bus to Aguas Calientes. The bus journey is only an hour and a half and the walk two and a half hours. If in South America, Machu Picchu is a must do!

4. Pump up the adrenaline and sandboard in Namibia

gap year sandboarding

Instead of surfing on snow why not test your limits and try it on sand? Sandboarding in Namibia is definitely one to stick on your bucket list. With no experience necessary, boarders can either lie on their belly and bomb down the sandy mountain or tackle the slope standing. Either way, you are sure to pick up some serious speed! To get there, it’s only an hour drive from Namib-Naukluft National Park, or a three and a half hour journey from the capital, Windhoek.

Find out more about Namibia

Take me there...

5. Grab a cool photo op on the Salt Planes of Bolivia

bolivia gap year

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat (over 10,000 square kilometres…wow…). It is located in the Daniel Campos Province of Potosí in the South West of Bolivia. This vast area is exceptionally flat, and with clear skies most days it is simply awe-inspiring. Not only is this the perfect place for a clever play with perspective, but the Salar is also a major breeding ground for Flamingos! The five-hour journey from Potosi or the overnight bus from La Paz is definitely worth it!

6. Relax in a giant hot tub in Iceland

iceland gap year

The Blue Lagoon is just one of Iceland’s astounding geographical features…but definitely one of the coolest (or warmest I should say…). Formed in 1976 during an operation at the nearby geothermal plant, people come from far and wide to bathe in its bright blue waters. The temperature of the Blue Lagoon sits at around 38˚C and the silica mud is thought to be great for the skin! At only £101 for a round trip… this is a necessity!

7. Be at one with nature on a horse safari in South Africa

gap year with horses

Whether you’re a horse whisperer or you’ve never sat on a horse in your life, a horse safari is one for the bucket list. Not only do you get to see more wild animals up close, you also don’t feel like you are imposing on nature, as you would going round in a safari car. You can either do just a day trip or go on a longer trip, camping under the stars each night. You will definitely get to see some of the big five up close!

Check out our South Africa programmes, which include horse safaris!

8. Bring out your inner explorer in Ecuador

gap year in the Amazon

The Amazon rainforest has the highest concentration of animals in one place in the world, and Ecuador offers the cheapest access to this majestic place. With all-inclusive trips you get to explore the Amazon in the best way, staying in Eco lodges each night. The longer you stay and the further away from civilisation you go, the more chance you have of seeing animals like pink dolphins or caimans.

Find out more about Ecuador

Take me there...

9. Dance the night away at the Full Moon Party in Thailand

gap year thailand

The full moon party was started by a group of tourists who decided that the most beautiful moon was in Koh Phangan, so beautiful that it should, therefore, be celebrated. Now there are over 10,000 people who turn up at dusk on the beach and dance the night away. There is music for everyone and food stalls that run throughout the night. Jugglers and flame eaters make appearances too. Overall this will be the party of your gap year if you go!

This gap year bucket list is just a start! There are so many other incredible things to do and places to see and it’s up to you which ones you choose to do…

Have a look at our website to see the trips and programmes we offer!

Find out what type of traveller you are by filling in our What Type of Traveller You Are Quiz and we can point you in the right direction. Simples.

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Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America. All include a mix of projects and adventures. All are supported. All involve team work.

Gap year programs

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