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Live The Bucket List with Meraki

25 Bucket List Travel Experiences For Couples

By Charlotte Smith

We’ve taken inspiration from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Guides, top travel magazines, our network of influencers and travel trend reports from our family of brands to bring you the ultimate travel bucket list across the 7 Meraki Travel destinations.

Each bucket list experience can be ticked off with one of our unforgettable holidays. And the best bit, you can tailor and book our holidays online with just a few clicks of a button. Prefer small independent hotels? Upgrade to our character/boutique properties. Keen to sample the local delicacies? Add our Foodie experiences. Looking for R&R at the end of a busy trip? Our optional beach breaks have been designed with you in mind. It really is that easy.

Warning! Reading this list will make you want to book a holiday which is dangerously good for your health and happiness.


INDIA

1. Watching sunrise over the Taj Mahal

Sunrise over the Taj MahalTaj Mahal, Agra, India

No surprises, straight in with one of the headline 7 wonders of the world. Visiting the Taj Mahal is an incredible experience and everyone who visits say it’s colossal size, glistening white facade and heart-breakingly romantic story exceed all expectations. Add to that a sunrise and this really is a bucket list experience.

2. Wandering the pink streets of Jaipur

Jaipur India Jaipur, India

Originally painted pink in 1876 to impress the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria, Jaipur; India’s ‘pink city’, is packed with bucket list attractions. Spend a day visiting the iconic Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal palace and Jaipur’s star attraction - the City Palace. Explore the maze of courtyards, buildings and gardens and marvel at the alluring blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. From the palace, head to the Jantar Mantar and admire the impressive collection of astronomical instruments - many of which are still used today. 

3. Visit the Golden Temple

The Golden Temple India Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

To enter the inner sanctum of the Golden Temple – the heart of the Sikh faith – means to touch the very soul of India. Witness for yourself this incredible building made from white marble, copper gilt and covered with gold leaf where volunteers feed 35,000 people every day Stop to eat if you’re hungry!

4. Spotting wild tigers in Madhya Pradesh

Tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park, IndiaTiger in Bandhavgarh National Park, India

Imagine for a moment, staring into the eyes of a wild tiger. Tick this bucket list experience off with our Ultimate Tigers itinerary where you’ll visit not just one but two of Madhya Pradesh’s best tiger reserves. Whilst on safari with an experienced naturalist, look out for those famous black and orange stripes through the forest shrubbery. Other common wildlife that reside here include sloth bears, deer, wild boars and birds, and if you’re lucky, leopards have been known to be spotted too.

5. Float along Kerala’s backwaters on an overnight houseboat

Houseboat floating along Alleppey Backwaters, India Houseboat, Alleppey, India

If floating along Kerala’s famous backwaters in style isn’t on your travel bucket list, it should be. During a romantic overnight journey aboard a houseboat along Vembanad Lake, meet the villagers who have built their livelihood on these thriving shores - purchase fresh prawns from the fishermen, watch the farmers nurture their crops and sample palm wine from the toddy tappers who clamber up and down the coconut trees.

SOUTH AFRICA

6. Culture and cookery in Bo Kaap

Colourful Houses in Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

Discover the cultural and culinary traditions of one of Africa’s oldest communities - the Cape Malays - on a walking tour of Bo-Kaap, a heritage protected area of bright colourful houses, cobbled streets and historic mosques located on the slopes of Signal Hill. Visit the community empowerment project, the popular spice shop and the Bo-Kaap Museum before being taken to the home of local resident - Zainie. Zainie will teach you some of her favourite dishes - samosas, roti and chicken or vegetable curry. And yes - you’ll get to taste it too!

7. Hop-on hop-off wine tram through the Cape Winelands

Wine Tram in Franschhoek, South Africa Wine Tram, Franschhoek, South Africa

Enjoy beautiful scenery, warm hospitality, delicious food and fine wines with the hop-on hop-off Wine Tram. Starting in Franschhoek Village, take a loop tour of the picturesque wine estates. Whenever somewhere takes your fancy, hop off and enjoy a wine tasting, a cellar tour or a relaxing amble through the vineyards.

8. Road trip along the Garden Route

Garden Route, South Africa Garden Route, South Africa

Driving along the Garden Route is one of the best ways to experience South Africa. The 186 miles of stunning scenery is a road trip of a lifetime. One of South Africa’s most famous self-drive itineraries thanks to its diverse landscape, here you will encounter nature at its best – waterfalls, rivers, forests and mountains that weave into open plains. This combined with picture perfect coastlines and sweeping sand beaches makes it one of our favourite travel bucket list experiences.

9. Kruger National Park safari

Two lions in Kruger National ParkSafari, Kruger National Park

Game drives and bush walks are the perfect way to encounter the abundance of wildlife that can be spotted in Kruger as well as the spectacular flora and fauna. Look out for the Big Five: lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo with many more mammals, reptiles and birds surrounding you. An experienced guide will give you insights into the daily activities of these majestic animals so you can truly enjoy your safari experience.

10. Relaxing on the shores of Mauritius

Mauritius islandsMauritius

The ultimate romantic getaway, this idyllic island nation is world-famous for its pristine beaches and sapphire lagoons. With swathes of white-sand at every turn, you won’t struggle to find a secluded spot to lay down and soak up some sun with a cocktail in hand. If you’re feeling energetic, embark on a wild adventure in the rainforest or delve beneath the waves to snorkel with the colourful sea life. 

11. ‘Flight of Angels’ helicopter ride over Victoria Falls

View of Victoria Falls from aboveView from above, Victoria Falls

David Livingstone described Victoria Falls as “a sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight”. The ‘Flight of Angels’, then, seems a pretty apt name for this exhilarating helicopter tour over one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and a 7 wonder. As you take flight, marvel at the splendour of a UNESCO world heritage sight in all its roaring glory and soar over the Zambezi River and surrounding National Park - truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

CANADA

12. Whale watching in Vancouver

Whale Watching in VancouverWhale watching, Vancouver, Canada

Witness mighty whales making their majestic way through the Pacific Ocean as you navigate through the marine-life-ridden shores of the Gulf Islands region. Be prepared to see Humpback whales, porpoises, sea lions, seals, bald eagles and other wildlife – an expert guide will be your spotter and share their breadth of knowledge with you on these mystical creatures.

13. Railing through the Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer

On-board the Rocky Mountaineer trainAboard the Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Bringing 5-star service to the wildest corners of Canada, the Rocky Mountaineer is a one-of-a-kind rail journey that should be on any seasoned travellers bucket list. Think glass-domed carriages carving gushing canyons, hulking mountains and great big glaciers, all amidst the never-ending verdure of enchanting fir forests. Jump on at the skyscraper skyline of Vancouver and travel east or begin your journey in Jasper’s endlessly wild expanse and make your way west. Jam packed with two days of jaw-dropping panoramas, height of luxury service and a sprinkling of bear, moose and elk watching you’ll be in for a treat.

14. Visit Lake Louise in Banff National Park

Lake Louise and surrounding mountains, Banff, Canada Lake Louise, Banff, Canada

When it comes to Instagram-worthy landscapes, Lake Louise is hard to beat. It’s the type of scenery you’re used to seeing on postcards - a dazzling lake framed by soaring mountains - but nothing quite compares to experiencing it for yourself. The area is a haven for wildlife too, with the chance to see one of nature’s most fascinating creatures - the grizzly bear. Hiking trails around the lake and in the mountains are plentiful, and there’s also the opportunity to go biking, horse riding and canoeing. And for those who want to take a more laid-back approach to sightseeing, picturesque picnic spots, gondola rides and historic tea houses invite you to take a well-earned rest and admire the views.

CHINA

15. Hike the Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong

Hiking The Dragon's Back, Hong KongDragon's Back hike, Hong Kong, China

Hailed by TIME Magazine as Asia’s best urban hike, this classic trail – over the undulating ridges of the Dragon’s Back – is the best way to discover a more serene side to Hong Kong, in fact, you may be surprised to learn that 75% of Hong Kong territory is green. From mountain ledges and sheltered forest trails to the white sands of Tai Long Wan Bay, hikes in Hong Kong just don’t get better. But far from difficult, this 10km trek takes a leisurely three hours to complete, which gives you ample time to enjoy the abundant views. And an hour or two at the beach allows you time to catch your breath and soak in some rays, or rent a surfboard and discover why this spot as been dubbed ‘Big Wave Bay’.

16. Walk the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, BeijingThe Great Wall of China, Beijing

Stretching sinuously across China at a staggering length of 21,196 km, the Great Wall is nothing short of a wonder. And one of the 7 Wonders of the World it is. This is one for the bucket-list, a man-made structure that is both majestic and monumental, this is the longest wall on earth and an attraction that is definitely worthy of the hype. Take a walk along the almighty Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, with a guide to tell you all the fascinating history.

17. Stroll through the Summer Palace

Summer Palace, Beijing, China Summer Palace, Beijing, China

Discover the symbolic beauty of Beijing’s Summer Palace - the largest and most well preserved imperial garden in the whole country. Pretty impressive, right? Spend your time strolling through the natural landscape, which by the way is full of some very beautiful cultural buildings and set within a luscious landscape of hills and open water. You might struggle deciding which feature to take in first but one thing’s for sure, you’ll be well on your way to ticking yet another UNESCO heritage site off your bucket list!

18. Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Army, Xian, ChinaTerracotta Army, Xian, China

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, dubbed as the best archaeological find of the 20th century, provides one of the greatest insights into ancient China that we have to date. Explore the three pits that make up this museum, recapturing the formidable army led under Emperor Qin Shi Huang with life-like features and weapons which had been buried underground for over 2,000 years after being discovered in 1974.

19. Li River Cruise in Guilin

View of Li River, GuilinLi River, Guilin

Towering karst peaks? Tick. Sleepy fishing villages? Tick. One of the most staggeringly beautiful waterways in the world? Double tick. A cruise down Li River’s tranquil waters – towards Yangshuo’s bright lights and bustling old town – offers a wonderful contrast to the big cityscapes of China.

KENYA

20. Hot Air Balloon over the Maasai Mara

Hot air balloons over the Maasai Mara in KenyaHot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara, Kenya

Could anything be more romantic and bucket list worthy than soaring the skies in a hot air balloon watching wildlife graze beneath you in the Maasai Mara? Watch the sun peak through the horizon and wildlife starting their day as you float effortlessly across the savannah - this is true serenity. Drifting wherever the air current takes you, depending on the season, witness herds of antelope and lionesses stealthily stalking wildebeest.

TANZANIA

21. Watch the great migration in the Serengeti

The Great Migration in the Serengeti The Great Migration

Travel between June and October to witness one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural spectacles as millions of wildebeest and zebra travel north in search of green pastures in the Maasai Mara. Whilst the Great Migration can be seen from both parks, the Serengeti offers a more exclusive experience, with less tourists and safari vehicles on the roads. There’s an abundance of other year-round residents including the Big Five and your guide will know the best places to spot big cats snoozing in the long grass, elephants and buffalo taking a drink and giraffes chomping through leaves.

22. Snorkelling in Zanzibar

Underwater fish in Zanzibar Zanzibar, TanzaniaUnder the sapphire waters of Zanzibar lies an abundance of aquatic life in the majestic Indian Ocean. Spend a day at Menai Bay Conservation area located on the island’s southwestern peninsula and explore the diverse marine life in a traditional dhow where you’ll visit the fishing grounds and beyond. Dive into the deep blue on a guided snorkelling trip and dig into a tasty Swahili barbeque where delicious seafood is caught fresh from the ocean.

SRI LANKA

23. Train through tea plantations for Nuwara Eliya

Train Journey to Nuwara Eliya with tea plantations, Sri LankaTrain to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Experience views of lush green tea fields, misty mountains and picturesque valleys from the open windows of an authentic Sri Lankan train. Constructed by the British to transport tea from the hill country estates to Colombo Port and bring imported goods inland during the 19th Century, this train journey is now considered one of the most scenic in the world. And it’s not just the scenery that makes this journey so special; you’ll receive first-class service from the on-board crew in the special air-conditioned carriage and a tasty High Tea or lunch.

24. Climb Sigiriya Rock

View of Sigiriya RockSigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka

No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without visiting the famous Sigiriya Rock. This imposing rock fortress rises out of the jungle-clad plains and is a spectacular sight to behold from the ground. Even more impressive are the panoramic views from the top. To reach the flat-top summit you’ll need to climb a series of hair-raising stair cases, passing beautiful frescoes and a huge pair of lion’s paws. Take the time to explore the water gardens, terraces and canals too. You’ll soon see why this ancient citadel is an UNESCO World Heritage site and often hailed as the finest examples of ancient architecture and engineering.

25. Spot leopards and elephants in Yala National Park

Elephants in Yala National Park, Sri LankaSafari, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular wildlife hotspots - and for good reason. It’s home to a high population of leopards, and safaris tend to focus on the forests and rocky outcrops where these stealthy big cats like to hunt. You’ll also have the chance to see a variety of other animals including elephants, sloth bears, deer, jackals and peacocks. Bird-watchers won’t be disappointed either with more than 215 species to look out for. When you’re not wildlife-spotting, take the time to soak up the stunning scenery. Yala is home to some of Sri Lanka’s most unspoilt natural landscapes - it really is a nature-lover’s dream.



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