7 adventures for all wild-hearts in 2017

Photographer Chris Burkard documents pro surfers at work in the icy waters of Lofoten, Norway.
Photo: SmugMug YouTube screengrab

If adventure is your middle name, read on.

If it isn't, just read on and live vicariously.

Last year, we told you to go ice swimming in Finland's frigid waters or join Redbull's insane diving series.

This year, we bring you seven adventures that our contributors on Instagram shared with us in 2016.

Their stories, your itineraries. Put it on your bucket list for 2017.

Have any adventures to share? Tag us @asiaone.travel or hashtag #asiaonetravelsnaps

1. Go ice-caving in Austria

Stand among the icy giants of Halle der Circe in the Eiskogelhöhle Cave, the highest-lying cave accessible to tourists.

The gateway to the once-elusive cave is nestled in Mount Eiskogel, among the rocky highlands of Salzburg, Austria.

Cavers must make a 2,100m ascent to the entrance, before gaining entry into Titanenhalle. According to caver and explorer Peter Gedei, crampons and other mountaineering gear are needed to navigate the icy subterranean world here.

When to visit: January to February

2. Surf in the Arctic

Who says you can't surf in cold water?

Every year, more than 1,000 brave souls descend upon the remote village of Unstad, Lofoten in northern Norway to surf.

Instead of board shorts and coconut-creamed tans, surfers emerge from their campers in wet-suits, neoprene hoods, gloves and boots.

Most come for the annual Lofoten Masters - an arctic surfing competition in the Norwegian Sea, which sees surfers riding waves at temperatures as low as 3°C.

Located within the Arctic Circle, this northern-most surf spot is in a league of its own. The region experiences the midnight sun during chilly summers from May to July. The best times to see the northern lights are from September to March.

When to visit:

May to July (Midnight sun)

September to March (Northern Lights)

3. Paraglide in India

If you're not afraid of heights, head over to Billing in India's northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

At 2,600m above sea level, the region is blessed with the perfect conditions and large meadows for paragliding or hang-gliding activities. Billing has even hosted the world cup championships for paragliding.

The hilly village is in the town of Bir where a large Tibetan community resides. It's also 50km and a three-hour drive away from Dharamshala, the home of the Dalai Lama and the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration.

When to visit: March to May and October to November

4. Trek in Rub' al Khali

Rub' al Khali, or The Empty Quarter, is the world's largest contiguous sand desert. At 650,000sqkm, the vast desert extends across Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

It is also the world's largest erg, an area characterised by wind-swept sand dunes. Temperatures can go as high as 55°C here, and the hyper arid climate means it hardly ever rains.

Travellers can opt for a four-wheeled drive tour over the sand dunes. For a more authentic experience, there are packages which include camel riding services too.

When to visit: October to March

5. Dive between continental plates

The Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland, is a crack between the American and Eurasian continental plates.

At certain sections of the fissure, divers can even reach out and touch the plates at the same time. As with all tectonic plate movements, the plates here drift apart about 2cm every year.

Water temperatures here are at 2°C to 4°C year round and have a visibility of more than 100m. Glacial melt from the nearby Langjokull Glacier is filtered through underground volcanic rocks before emerging a century later at Thingvellir Lake.

When to visit: All year

6. Try deep water soloing in Krabi

Deep water soloing is a form of free rock climbing where climbers scale boulders high above a deep body of water.

Without ropes or gear, climbers fall straight into the water if they lose their grip.

The beaches around Krabi in southern Thailand is a rock climbing mecca for deep water solo enthusiasts. Limestone cliffs jut out around Tonsai and Railay beaches and can be accessed by boat.

When to visit: November to March

7. Cliff diving in Boracay

Forget pristine beaches or snorkelling. If you're in Boracay, try getting a day trip to Ariel's Point.

While cliff diving or bridge jumping may be illegal in many public places, this sunny spot in the Philippines has turned it into a world-renowned tourist site.

Dive boards range from a height of 3m up to 15m. No guts? The folks at Ariel's Point have a bar stocked with booze, guaranteed to give you a little liquid courage to take your mind off the edge.

When to visit: November to May

debwong@sph.com.sg

 

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