63 bucket list ideas for the ultimate backpacker

63 bucket list ideas for the ultimate backpacker

We asked a bunch of our favourite travel bloggers for some of the off-the-beaten-path highlights of their travels so far, and have formed a list of 63 bucket list ideas for the ultimate backpacker. If you are looking to bulk up your log of 100 things to do before you die, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’ve already done most of them or are just getting started on your adventures, it’s time to put your backpacking skills to the test! Here are 63 bucket list ideas you might like to try:

1. Searching for waterfalls in Laos

bucket list ideas - waterfall in Laos

We advise you strongly, to ignore the advice offered by 90’s pop sensations TLC, and DO go chasing waterfalls. Especially when in stunning Laos.

Suggestion and image by:@TeeJayHughes

2. Gaze at the natural beauty of Benagil Sea Cave

bucket list ideas - Benagil sea caves

There are a series of stunning caves around this section of Portuguese coastline but this one probably takes the cake.

Suggestion and image by: @lola.photography

3. Fleishhacker Pool Ruins in San Francisco

Bucket List Ideas - Fleishhacker Pool Ruins

Quirky San Francisco never disappoints when it comes to off-the-beaten-path finds. Stunning graffiti in a creepy abandoned pool. Yep!

Image by: Marc Tarlock

4. Scale Mount Massada, Israel

Bucket List Ideas - mount massada

A historical site for people of different faiths, the Dead Sea is a natural phenomenon. And looking down on it from the stunning Mount Massada ain’t half bad either.

Suggestion and image by: @PatchinPixels

5. Sail down the Amazon from Manaus to Roraima

Bucket List Ideas - Amazon

One of the best ways to see such a vast and luscious country, deep in its natural heart. Just make sure to steer clear of any piranha!

Suggestion and image by: Gaía Passarelli

6. Soaking in an outdoor bath in Ohakune, New Zealand

Bucket List Ideas - outdoor bath in Ohakune

Sometimes you’ve just got to fend for yourselves, but you’ll be glad you did once your cosy fire (that you build yourself) is up and roaring.

Suggestion and image by: Kinging-It

7. Watch the sun set atop Table Mountain, Cape Town

bucket list ideas - table mountain cape town

On most “things to do in Cape Town” lists you’ll find Table Mountain. It’s just too good to leave off the list. Just do it, okay?

Suggestion and image by: @PatchinPixels

8. Ride along Thakhek Loop in Laos

bucket list ideas - thakhek loop

If you google Thakhek Loop, almost all of the entries that come up first are wanderlust inducing accounts of people who have taken a scooter or Motorbike along the legendary route. Write it on your list. Right now!

Suggested by: @Garry_Astle image: Jon Gazzignato

9. Treasure hunt at Brooklyn Flea

bucket list ideas - treasure hunt at the Brooklyn flea

The Big Apple is full of amazing things to do, but an absolute MUST is Brooklyn Flea. It’s one of the best flea markets in New York City, and operates year round, offering a giant selection of vintage and creative vendors, as well as scrumptious street food.

Image: dumbonyc

10. Test out the games at Moscow’s Arcade Museum

bucket list ideas - moscow arcade games museum

You can actually play the machines! Get to know the games children of the Cold War played, long before Pac-man and Street-Fighter existed

Suggested by: Fernanda Castelo Branco image: jedman

11. Feel the rhythm at La Bomba De Tiempo in Buenos Aires

bucket list ideas - la bomba de tiempo

A percussion ensemble that specialises in improvisation, based on the particular signs and cues they are given by their director. Every show is different, so if you’re heading to Argentina, GO SEE ONE!

Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina

12. Be illuminated at the Waitomo glow worm Caves in New Zealand

bucket list ideas - waitomo glow worm caves

The glow worms are only the size of mosquitoes but perform beautiful light shows in the caves. Tours are available, and well worth it.

Suggested by: @advtrsalexis image: 2il org

13. Road tripping through Morocco

bucket list ideas - morocco road trip

When thinking of epic road trips, Morocco might not be the first place to spring to mind but trust our good friend Tee Jay when he assures you, it’s worth it.

Suggested by:@TeeJayHughes image: @boscoppa

14. Volcano trekking across Java, Indonesia

bucket list ideas - volcano trekking

For most people, any volcano would be enough. Now put that volcano in one of the most beautiful island regions on earth? Case closed!

Suggestion and  image by: @JohannaWhitaker

15. Sampling cereal cocktails in London

bucket list ideas - cereal cocktails

Imagine every cereal in existence all under one roof. Now imagine you get to create delectable concoctions of sugary delight and douse them with 36+ types of milk! Cereal Killer Cafe is as delicious as it sounds. Hint: try the one with the Twinkie at the bottom.

Image: Rosa G.

16. Relax in a beach hammock in Puerto Rico

bucket list ideas - beach hammock

Tie those hammocks to some trees and get to relaxin’. You’re welcome.

Image: @boscoppa

17. Contemplate life at a Forest Monastery

bucket list ideas - forest monastery

Every seasoned traveller will tell you one of the most important things to remember while trotting the globe is to schedule in some time for meditation and reflection.

Suggestion and image by:@TeeJayHughes

18. Brace yourself for a cuteness overload at the Melbourne Penguin Parade

bucket list ideas - penguin parade

It costs a bit of cash to get in, but seeing masses of little penguins waddle their way from the shore to their natural shelters for the night is a heart-stopping sight.

Ken and Nyetta

19. Learn the history of Great Zimbabwe

bucket list ideas - zimbabwe history

A ruined city in the hills, Great Zimbabwe is a historic treasure. Believed to once be a royal palace, it’s now a stunning relic dating back as far as the 11th Century!

Suggestion and image by: @RTWBarefoot

20. Cycle from hostel to hostel in the Catalonia Pyrenees

bucket list ideas - catalonia

Nothing says freedom quite like a two-wheeled journey, especially when it’s in one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the world. Plus, your accommodation follows your path! Win win win!

Suggested by: @IntrepidEscape Image: Guillén Pérez

21. See Iguaçu Falls under a full moon

bucket list ideas - Iguacu falls

We do love a good waterfall, and Iguaçu Falls are Brazil’s kingpin. We have it on good local authority that witnessing the falls by moonlight is something your eyes and heart won’t ever forget.

Suggestion and image by: @PatchinPixels

22. Taste the majesty of Tacos el Gordo in Las Vegas

bucket list ideas - tacos in las vegas

Most people head for the strip when in Vegas, but we kid you not, Tacos el Gordo might be the greatest kept Mexican food secret in the USA. (Prove us wrong in the comments below, we dare you!)

Image: Michael Saechang

23. Conquer Kings Canyon, Australia

bucket list ideas - kings canyon

With climbs steep enough to be named “Heart Attack Hill” by locals, Kings Canyon is not for the faint of heart. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of some phenomenal wildlife, such as zebra finches and peregrine falcons!

Suggestion and Image by: @agirlwhowanders

24. River punting in Cambridge, UK

bucket list ideas - river punting

A little touristy to those spending more time in the UK, but don’t let that fool you. Many visitors never venture out of London, but it’s definitely worth doing for a peaceful aquatic floating session around one of the all-time historic universities.

Image: Punting Cambridge

25. Diving with sharks in South Africa

Bucket List Ideas - diving with sharks

Jumping straight in with the mother of all adrenaline challenges. In some parts of South Africa you can swim with these beautiful creatures without a cage! Eeeek!

Suggested by: @JohannaWhitaker Image: @mytravelfever

26. Grabbing a “dirty” soda in Utah, USA

bucket list ideas - dirty soda

Where in the world can you find a cocktail bar that specialises in weird and wonderful SODA cocktails instead of using alcohol? Why America of course! Utah more specifically.

Image: @clouse_taylor

27. Traversing the Vietnamese countryside on a scooter

bucket list ideas - vietnamese countryside

Scooters are a way of life is Southeast Asia, so it’s got to be experienced at least once by all who call themselves backpackers. And what a stunning backdrop.

Suggestion and image by: Kinging-It

28. Hike up to see Lagoinha do Leste, Florioanopolis, Brazil

bucket list ideas - lagoinha de leste

You know that picture everyone who visits Brazil takes that makes your burst with jealous rage? Yeah, it’s worth it, trust us.

Suggestion and image by: @Lovelyforliving

29. Read your way to pure bliss at The Long Room in Dublin

bucket list ideas - long room in dublin

200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books are housed in the Old Library. It makes for a thrilling and intellectually stimulating experience on the Emerald Isle.

image: jemartin03

30. Try not to scream at Lisbon’s Doll Hospital

bucket list ideas - doll hospital

Terrifyingly wonderful. Make sure to check out the museum that may or may not be straight out of your nightmares.

Image: R.E. Barber Photography

31. Channel your voodoo vibes at Abomey in Benin

bucket list ideas - voodoo in Abomey

This African settlement is home to voodoo temples and the Royal Palaces of Abomey, which are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Suggestion and image by: @RTWBarefoot

32. Chow down in Phu Quoc

bucket list ideas - Phu Quoc

Suggestion and image by: @alannahmcewan

Rent a motorbike and get cruising around the Vietnamese island. You’ll definitely have your fill of yummy seafood and ultimate beach chills.

33. Let the Northern Lights guide you

bucket list ideas - northern lights

Yeah we know, it’s on lots of peoples’ lists, but seriously, no amount of Instagram photos and daydreaming can make up for experiencing the real thing.

Suggestion by: Komm wir machen das einfach image: @boscoppa

34. Volunteer with Hands On Manilla

bucket list ideas - volunteering in the philippines

Always in need of hard workers there’s plenty to do, including helping to restore schools in small villages with the Tellus Brigada Eskwela project.

Suggestion and image by: @KH_Travels

35. Venture your way to Møns Klint in Denmark

bucket list ideas - mons klint

Nature doing incredible nature things. Møns Klint is a 6 kilometre stretch of Danish cliffs, formed from chalk and packing a giant photogenic punch. Peace and tranquillity abound.

image: News Oresund

36. Be inspired by Warsaw’s street art

bucket list ideas - warsaw street art

Poland’s capital has some of the most amazing and inspiring street art in the world. Like most cities, the art is always changing and springing up in different places. The city really is an ever-changing canvas.

image: Paul Sableman

37. Pitch in with the YMCA in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

bucket list ideas - ymca in phnom penh

Our friends KH Travels shared their experience: “We were thrust into becoming full time teachers for a school of children with basic to no English skills. Fun but exhausting.”

Suggestion and image by: @KH_Travels

38. Reflect at the Berlin Wall Memorial

bucket list ideas - berlin wall memorial

A powerful reminder of Berlin’s history, it’s the only place where you get a feel for what the wall was actually like. There are brass plaques to mark where all the tunnels were, and how many people escaped or died through them. Sobering and important.

Suggestion and image by: @emma.v.martell

39. Explore Kazakhstan’s Ship Cemetery

bucket list ideas - ship cemetery

The Aral Sea used to be one of the four largest lakes in the world, but nowadays serves as a collection of grounded ruins of old ships. It’s haunting, beautiful, and frightening all at the same time.

Image: Mr Hicks46

40. Cook authentic sfoglini in Bologna

bucket list ideas - sfoligni

One of the best things about travelling the world is learning new skills. Give a traveller some pasta, they eat for a day. Teach a traveller to cook authentic Italian food in Italy however…

Suggestion and image by: Debbie Corrano

41. Visit every US National Park

bucket list ideas - US national parks

This one is a mammoth but certainly can be done. The USA has some of the most stunning natural beauty in the world, and their vast National Parks are any outdoor adventure-lovers’ dream.

Suggestion and image by: @Karynleigh89

42. Witness the reverence of Jerusalem

bucket list ideas - jerusalem

No matter what religion you belong to, if any at all, there’s no denying the powerful reverence in the air at perhaps the world’s holiest city. The history and the culture here are powerful.

Suggested by: @PatchinPixels image: SarahTz

43. Test your nerve at the Tokyo Parasite Museum

bucket list ideas - tokyo parasite museum

Oh Japan, we love you so much. There’s nothing quite like learning about the parasites of the world in Japan’s capital. Try not to get grossed out!

image: Guilhem Vellut

44. Stay in Amsterdam’s Lake Hostel

bucket list - lake hostel

Amsterdam has a hell of a lot to see, but off-the-beaten-path is the quaint Lucky Lake Hostel. They’re all about being a bit different, with their colourful cabins, skinny dip-friendly lake and yellow breakfast bus!

45. The abandoned Dreamland, Japan

bucket list ideas - Dreamland

Now we’re certainly not condoning and breaking and entering here. All we’re saying is that it’s scary, thrilling, and those who have been there have some incredible photos…

image: Time Travel Turtle

46. Bask in the quirkiness at Chicago’s Oz Park

bucket list ideas - Oz park

Chicago is a land of great art, delicious food and sporting triumphs. But did you know there’s a peaceful little park, dedicated to the Wizard of Oz?

Image: aaronHwarren

47. Chill out at Sweden’s Ice Bar

bucket list ideas - ice bar in Sweden

Puns aside, this place is legit. The furniture is made of ice. The glasses are made of ice. The ice is made of ice. It’s a wintery marvel.

Image: Benjamin Horn

48. Snooze on a giant hammock in the Philippines

bucket list ideas - giant hammock

 

This one really doesn’t need an explanation. If this isn’t on your bucket list ideas, SORT IT OUT! 😉

Suggested by: @ICEscobar_ image: @aldrinrulics

49. Summon creative vibes at Wilton’s Music Hall, London

bucket list ideas - wilton's music hall

Originally opened back in 1859, Wilton’s was built as a music hall, and now serves as a space for all sorts of performing artists and creators to send their art into the world.

image: Tom Page

50. Three words: Erotic Museum, Barcelona

bucket list ideas - erotic museum barcelona

From ancient times to the modern day, enjoy their collection on human sexuality!

Image: Michael M

51. Lend a hand in the Ben Tre province of Vietnam

bucket list ideas - volunteering in ben tre

“We worked with a very small local school in the middle of nowhere, staying and eating with locals, picking fresh coconuts straight from the trees.” Doesn’t get more authentic than that!

Suggestion and image by: @KH_Travels

52. Kayaking trip on the island of El Nido, Philippines

Bucket List Ideas - kayaking in el nido

Scenery really doesn’t get much more picturesque than the exquisite El Nido. It’s perfect for any adventure lovers looking to escape the madness of city life.

Suggestion and image by:@TeeJayHughes

53. Discover London’s neon paradise

bucket list ideas - neon paradise

The British capital is home to God’s Own Junkyard, a café specialising in delicious tea and cake, and illuminated by some of the most creative and inspiring neon artwork and signage you’ll ever see. Truly a London gem.

Suggestion and image by: @emma.v.martell

54. Swim in Coron, Philippines

bucket list ideas - swim in coron

Sometimes you just need to kick back and have a swim. So why not get away from the chlorine and melt away your stress in Asia’s cleanest lake (Kayanhan), of one of the insane beaches?

Suggestion and image by: @mabuhaymilesss

55. Experience a traditional Finnish sauna in Rovaniemi

bucket list ideas - finnish sauna

Looking after yourself on the road is vital. Why not treat yourself to a little YOU time and give those pores a hell of a good time.

Suggestion and image by: Carla Boechat

56. Complete the Rickshaw Run across India

bucket list ideas - rickshaw in india

Seriously, what could be better?! Often the route (which changes a lot) will take participants through Nepal, Rajasthan, Kerala and Meghalaya. Grab a team of fellow adventurers and get going!

Suggested by: @kristinewanders image: Peter Vasard

57. Wander around Trakai Island Castle in Lithuania

bucket list ideas - trakai island castle

Let’s break it down. There’s a jaw dropping 14th Century castle, floating on a beautiful little island, in the middle of a Lithuanian lake. Yeah let’s be doing that.

Suggestion and image by: @travelgeektara

58. Find the Puerto Princesa Underground River

bucket list idea - underground river

You’ll never forget your experience at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Philippines). Gorgeous natural caves, wildlife and rock formations make this gem an exploration dreamland for backpackers.

Suggestion and image by: @mabuhaymilesss

59. Float in the Dead Sea

bucket list ideas - float on the dead sea

The Dead Sea is so salty that you naturally float in it! What on earth?! While journeying to the Holy Land, it’s definitely worth swinging by for a dip (and a float).

Suggestion and image by: @PatchinPixels

60. Trek through the mountains of Munnar, India

bucket list ideas - trekking in munnar

“Doing it without a tour guide meant we had acres of tea leaf plantations to ourselves. We were invited to join locals for dinner and chai along the way were able to go at our own pace.”

Suggestion and image by: @KH_Travels

61. Fly down the world’s tallest tunnel slide in London

Who wouldn’t want to hurtle towards the Earth from 114.5 metres in the air! The things adrenaline makes us do…

62. Get lost in the tube stations of Moscow

bucket list - tube station in moscow

Have you SEEN the tube stations of Moscow? Absolutely incredible places in which most people would love to get lost for a little while.

Suggestion by: Fernanda Castelo Branco imagePolyrus

63. Celebrate love in Bangalore

bucket list ideas - celebrate love

One of the happiest experiences on earth is dressing in traditional clothing and attending an Indian wedding. Trust us.

Suggestion and image by: These 2 Germans

 

Did we miss anything? Tell us your bucket list items in the comments below!

 

Massive thanks to all our wonderful travelling friends for suggesting ideas for this article! Check out some similar posts:

 

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41 Responses to “63 bucket list ideas for the ultimate backpacker”

  1. Why wouldn’t you have visit every Canadian national park instead of US. They are all free in Canada this year due to centennial. Lonely Planet, natural geo and frommers all recommend Canada as the destination of 2017. Free parks all year.

  2. Visit the glacial waterfalls of Jiuzhaigou in China, perfect clear waters and atunning scenery. Need to get there early to see the near perfect symetric reflection of the scenery in the crystal clear waters.

  3. Nothing about Nepal? That’s a shame. I’m back off there in September 17. Not just for the H word, but the south this time, to look after elephants.

  4. The blue moon guest house in Koh Kong, Cambodia, runs an overnight boat trip to the rainforests. You eat the fish they caught, go on a nighttime boat trip to see the water light up and sleep in hammocks outside. Completely surreal and incredible!

  5. If in Japan take a quick detour from Tokyo to Hakone. They have these pirate ship style boats which glide along on lake Ashi and the fun part is to and spot Mount Fuji …. incredible! Not to mention the onsen baths which surround the area.

    • Richard (Australia) Reply

      Hakone’s nice, but it’s hardly off the beaten track. It’s the most popular park out of Tokyo, with thousands of people every weekend

  6. Not one post about Mexico? There are so many wonderful archeological sites like; Teotihuacán in Mexico City, Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Tulum and Coba in Tulum, Tajín in Veracruz, Palenque in Chiapas, Monte Albán in Oaxaca. You can visit the breath taking Huasteca Potosina, Edward James’ Surrealist Garden in San Luis Potosí. You can also find Bioluminescence in the Manialtepec lagoon in Oaxaca. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán. Stunning cotton-candy pink lakes called Las Coloradas in Yucatán… I can literally go on and on about places to visit, don’t get me started on the food! Seriously! Not one place in beautiful Mexico? #vivamexicocabrones

  7. Hi Danielle,

    Wilderness camping in Yellowstone National Park was one of the best things we ever did as was dog sledding across Greenland on a two day expedition. How do we submit ideas to be featured like those above?

    All are amazing! Thanks for a great read.

  8. So glad to see Phu Quoc got a mention – one of my all time favourite islands to visit and as you said the best thing to do is rent a bike and go exploring!

  9. Visit highest hostel in the world in Dubai – At The Top! On 66th floor with palm Jumeirah view (handmade island) !

  10. Rent a scooter in Chiang Mai and take the 700+ windy turn road to Pai! Just try not to get a Pai tattoo (AKA crashing your 2 wheeled scooting death machine and getting some gnarly scars/tats)

  11. Cereal cafe in London…? Seriously? That list is trying to be too hipster.
    How are places / things to do in say Rome, Florence, Paris not on the list….?
    Tut, tut

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