Where to go in November 2014: The Best November Travel Experiences

Which ones will you add to your bucketlist?

Where to go in November

For all other months, go here: The Best Travel Experiences

The ultimate travel inspiration list for independent and adventure travel, including: the best outdoor treks, adrenaline list, cultural experiences, animal encounters, JUST PLAIN CRAZY and more…

November is the best edition of monthly travel experiences yet with travel experiences that push the limits, engage with authentic culture, encounter animals in the wild, participate in the most iconic athletic challenges and find pure bliss. Everyone has different tolerances for risk, so please check safety conditions and plan appropriately.

November brings the dry season to Southeast Asia and Central America to kickoff the seasons in those iconic backpacking destinations and ushering in festival season. Antarctica, Patagonia and New Zealand enjoy spring fever and as the Middle East gets a break from sizzling temperatures, the far north begins to freeze over allowing some interesting animal encounters. Featured experiences are the lantern festival in Thailand (there are several), Scuba diving cenotes and underground rivers in Mexico, The largest tribal gathering in India and tracking wolves in Yellowstone Park.

You can find links to some of the best travel blogs, experts who have been there and official information sites to make your research easier. This is an evolving list and I am always looking for fresh and exciting experiences to add, so let me know any amazing things you’ve heard about and your favorites so I can make sure they stay on the list.

Just Plain Crazy November Experiences (Don’t Try This at Home)

Sak Yant Tattoo, Nakhon Chai Si, Thailand – These Tattoos Bring Magical Powers:

Get the same hand-pounded Sak Yant tattoo unique to your aura that protected Thai warriors in battle 2000 years ago. Buddhist monks read a subject’s aura and bestow a Sak Yant tattoo to protect the bearer. Monks have administered these tattoos for more than 2000 years, traditionally to provide warriors with protection in battle. Today, the monks tattoo more than warriors. November brings cooler weather without holiday tourists. Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

Giza, Egypt – Go Inside Egypt’s Pyramids Normally Closed to the Public:

Secure special permits to enter chambers of ancient kings within ancient structures thought to channel metaphysical power. Climb inside the ghostly chambers of kings in the great pyramids thought to channel metaphysical power. Some tour operators can arrange permits to areas normally closed to the public, including inside the Sphinx enclosure, and the Niussere Sun Temple at Abu Gurab. The scorching heat subsides in November making it a perfect time to visit the great pyramids. For a truly unique experience, you can float down the Nile on a traditional wooden Felucca. Inside Egypt’s Red Pyramid

South Pole Station, Antarctica – The Ice Marathon to the South Pole: (Nov 18th, 2014)

If competing in a marathon to the South Pole isn’t challenging enough for you, try the 100k ultramarathon two days later. One of the most extreme and brutally challenging endeavors on the planet, the Antarctic Ice Marathon is a true test of strength. Only an exclusive group of athletes complete this race. The event includes a half-marathon as well as a 100k ultramarathon (on Nov.20th), for those who want more. While you’re there, Explore the Icebergs of Antarctica

Skyjump Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand’s Tallest Jump:

Hurl yourself off the tallest building in New Zealand and plummet 58 stories to the ground on New Zealand’s tallest jump. Crazy Kiwis! Auckland’s cable controlled base jump starts from the top of the Sky Tower in the center of Auckland. You can also walk along the edge of the tower to get an exhilarating 360-degree view of Auckland. Freakin Out! Experiencing Auckland’s Skywalk

Holloch Cave, Muotha Valley, Switzerland – Live Underneath the Swiss Alps:

Want to see what it feels like to live in a cave? Extended tours of the Hölloch Caves, one of the longest cave complexes in the world. Stay underground for up to 3 days! Go spelunking or simply exploring in this mysterious underworld. For the ultimate experience, take a three-day trip and stay overnight at a bouviac. Longer tours are offered from November to March.

Where to go in November: The November Adrenaline List

Riviera Maya, Mexico – Scuba Diving Cenotes in the Maya Underworld:

Rappel, kayak or scuba dive into a maze of cenotes and underground rivers that are said to trap the souls of the ancient Maya in the underworld. An ancient meteor turned Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula into honeycomb of caverns, cenotes (sinkholes) and underground rivers allowing you to scuba dive areas like Dos Ojos. Cenotes offer a plethora of adventure activities including kayaking, rappelling and zip-lining into the underworld.

St Lucia Estuary, South Africa – The Wildest Kayak Safari:

Kayak one of the wildest estuaries on earth past crocodiles, sharks, and the most dangerous animals in Africa… Hippos! November overlaps the egg laying season of both loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles (try a midnight tour to see them) and breeding season for Humpback whales offshore. St Lucia Kayak Safari

Turrialba, Whitewater Rafting Costa Rica – The Best of Costa Rica’s Whitewater:

Pacuare River is Costa Rica’s premier rafting river combining challenging rapids with stunning primary rainforest teeming with wildlife. The World Rafting Championships were even held there in 2011, and National Geographic ranks the Pacuare as one of the best whitewater rafting spots in the world. Enjoy 18 miles of adventure with chances to swim and see local culture. Rafting Turrialba Costa Rica

Skydive Dubai, UAE – Get High in Dubai:

The best view of Dubai’s futuristic skyline is from the air at terminal velocity or from the top of the world’s tallest building. November brings a welcome escape from the sweltering summer temperatures to this Arabian wonderland and a clearer view of the Dubai skyline from the top of Burj Khalifa. Skydivers in Dubai get the view of the famous palm islands approaching them in free-fall.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – The Fastest Everything in Abu Dhabi:

The fastest everything in Abu Dhabi- the fastest roller coaster at the largest indoor park during the Grand Prix (Nov 21-23, 2014) The fastest roller coaster in the largest indoor park during the Grand Prix. Ferrari World is home to the Formula Rossa roller coaster that goes 150 mph. Visit during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Nov. 21-23rd, 2014) to get your speed fix!

Where to Go in November for the Best Cultural Experiences

Bagan, Myanmar – Find Keys and Hidden Passageways to These Sunrise Spots in Bagan:

Enjoy the spiritual sunrise over the temples of Bagan the way it was intended. Marco Polo called Bagan “one of the finest sites in the world,” and this capital city of the ancient Burmese kingdom is surreal to explore. So large that you are bound to feel like you are ‘discovering’ them for the first time. Tourism has arrived in Burma, though, and sunrise spots are extremely crowded. It is hard to believe that these 4000 temples are like Russian matryoshka dolls protecting massive Buddha statues.

Sana’a, Yemen – Explore One of the World’s Oldest Cities:

Sana’a in Yemen combines tradition, religion, culture and stunning architecture. Since its beginnings more than 2,500 years ago, this religious city has grown to include roughly 103 mosques amidst 6,000 houses – all build with ingeniously intricate brickwork. I know what you’re thinking… Yemen – Is it Safe?  What to see in Yemen

Lopburi Monkey Festival, Thailand – Join The Monkey Buffet:

(Usually the last Sunday in November) Spark a feeding frenzy as “Monkey City” honors these cheeky guardians of the ancient temples and ruins with over 8,000 lbs of food during the annual Monkey Buffet Festival. Lopburi hosts numerous monkey-related events and festivities as children dance in monkey costumes. A word of warning: these urban monkeys really like shiny objects. Visiting Lopburi, Monkey Capital

Hairy Crab Season, Shanghai, China – Eat a Hairy Crab from a Vending Machine in Shanghai:

Join the voracious frenzy for the brief hairy crab season when these delicacies are sold live from vending machines across Shanghai. One of the most spectacular culinary experiences is the hairy crab in Shanghai. It is prized for the female crab roe which ripen in the 9th lunar month (around November) and believed to have a cooling effect on the body. Tis’ the Season for Hairy Crab in Shanghai

Where to Go in November for the Best Festivals and Competitions

Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand – Send your Sins to the Heavens in a Luminous Offering to Lord Buddha:

(Nov 5-7, 2014) Gather with thousands of hopeful devotees and release a flickering lantern to drift peacefully into the heavens in a luminous offering to Lord Buddha. This celebration is meant to cleanse the spirit of bad luck by sending lights to Buddha. Watch in wonder while thousands of lights drift peacefully overhead. If you are wondering where the lanterns go, they are made of rice paper and the animals eat them once they fall back to Earth. The holiday of Yi Peng is celebrated in Chiang Mai November 5-7, 2014. For additional understanding, tourists can attend the Yeepeng International Festival on November 8, 2014 where you can also get the photo op every traveler wants. Tickets can be found here. For more info, check out:  Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals in Thailand

Pushkar, India – The Camel Beauty Pageant in Rajasthan:

(Oct. 26th – Nov. 6th, 2014) Catch the ‘camel beauty pageant’ and ‘longest mustache’ competition at India’s largest tribal gathering in Rajasthan. Held under the full moon, The Pushkar Camel Fair is one of the world’s largest camel fairs. Camel herders, horsemen, nomads, and traders travel up to three weeks to sell their wares and participate in traditional and contemporary practices such as camel races, a ‘longest mustache’ competition, or a foreigners vs. locals cricket match. Stay until Nov. 6th to see thousands of devotees bathe in the Pushkar Lake for Kartik Poornima. The Epic Scale of the Annual Pushkar Camel Fair

Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt – Half Marathon in the Shadow of Mount Sinai:

(Nov. 7th, 2014) Runners in the Sharm el Sheikh Half Marathon scale sand dunes and race alongside the coral reefs and breezy mangroves of the Red Sea. Destination athletes will love this one! The course runs through Ras Muhammad National Park, known as one of the most beautiful and interesting driving and diving sites in the world.

Isla de Janitzio, Mexico – Dia de los Muertos:

(Oct. 31st – Nov 2nd, 2014) Join locals on the Island of Janitzio, Mexico for Day of the Dead celebration involving duck hunting… Using spears! The hunted ducks are prepared with whitefish from the lake and local chilies for traditional fare. The following day involves an altar decorating contest, a butterfly net dance, and a beautiful procession of torches.

Where to Go in November for the Best Outdoor Adventure

Vietnam – Bike Across Vietnam:

Plunge into the intoxicating culture shock of Vietnam by bicycle. You are sure to question everything you thought you knew. November is the start of the dry season and the perfect time to start a cycling adventure in this awesome country. Ditch the tourist tracks and head out by bicycle. The Ho Chi Minh Highway is a challenge, varying in elevation and terrain, but absolutely worth the effort to see beautiful beaches, lush green landscapes, and off-road adventure opportunities. Southern Vietnam Getaways

Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand – Blackwater Kayak to the Best Rivers in Northern Thailand:

Blackwater Kayak Tham Lod cave 600m then follow rivers carving vertical caverns through the lushest jungles of Thailand. The cave is completely dark inside, so you will need a guide and a flashlight to explore. 2-day wilderness kayaking trips navigate the best whitewater rivers in Northern Thailand and camp streamside overnight.

Sayulita, Mexico – The World’s Best Surf Safari for Women:

Soak up the warm weather and bohemian vibe of Sayulita, Mexico. This beach town has an impressive range of adventures, including: snorkeling, fishing, horseback riding, rainforest tours, stand up paddle boarding, and a bustling art scene. Sayulita is an off the beaten path surfer’s paradise warm waters and a bohemian vibe as you learn to surf in the ‘world’s best surf safari for women.’ Find out why Lindsay is Salivating over Sayulita Mexico

Halong Bay, Vietnam – Hop Aboard a Junk Boat Where Dragons Descend into the Sea:

Drift lazily aboard a junk boat past endless karst pinnacles rising from an emerald sea and explore grottos and caves by kayak. Cruising Halong Bay is one of the world’s extraordinary boat journeys and options for climbing, kayaking and exploring hidden caves and grottos abound. November is the first month the rains let up and it cools off, January brings drizzle. How to Choose a Junk Boat Cruise of Halong Bay

Seychelles – Find an Island to Yourself on Seychelles:

Sail translucent waters to a dizzying array of exotic islands of Seychelles. The only way to visit most of the Seychelles is by boat. Navigating these translucent waters can be challenging with the numerous fringing reefs, so barefoot cruising options may be more your style. October is a calmer transition month for trade winds allowing a more relaxed experience. Islands to Visit in Seychelles

Patagonia, Chile – Find Out Why Patagonia is so Special:

Fill your water bottle from glacial streams on trails past luminescent lakes to the spectacular granite spires of Cordillera del Paine. The “W” circuit in Torres del Paine put Patagonia on the map for a good reason. The trail winds alongside luminescent glacial lakes to vistas in the shadow of spectacular granite spires of the Cordillera del Paine peaks that glow bright red at sunrise. The warmest season is December through February when Patagonia basks in the midnight sun. Tips on Hiking Torres del Paine

Where to Go in November for the Best Animal Encounters

Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, USA – Track Wolves in Yellowstone:

Hear the footsteps of the lone wolf tracking his prey in the ghostly calm of snow-covered Yellowstone Park in the wintertime. The eerie, ghostly calm of winter is the perfect time to join an expedition tracking wolves through Yellowstone Park. Winter brings these reclusive creatures out during the day when the prey is easier to spot. The best months for wolf tracking is late October through March.

Chobe National Park, Kasane, Botswana – The Calving Months of Botswana’s Kalahari Elephants:

Watch from a houseboat as baby kalahari elephants find their way in the world in one of Africa’s best national reserves. Kalahari Elephants are the largest elephants and Chobe National Park in northern Botswana is home to one of the largest surviving herds of Kalahari Elephants, and high concentrations of wild game on the planet. November and December are the calving months in Botswana. Take a traditional safari or travel by boat to see the elephants and other animals up close in the rivers. The Animals of Africa’s Chobe River

Christmas Island, Australia – Don’t Get Caught in the Red Crab Migration:

Don’t get stuck in the path of tens of millions of red crabs emerging from the forests of Christmas Island to find the coastline. Once a year in late October, over 40 million bright red crabs emerge from the forest to find the coastline for mating. The flood of crabs strangles traffic and park rangers set up fences and funnels for safe “crab crossings.” The sight of the ground moving with red legs is spectacular. And freaky!

Penguins, Antarctica – Penguin Mating Season:

Curious how hilariously awkward penguins get it on? Spring fever in Antarctica makes these birds giddy with excitement. November brings spring fever to penguins across Antarctica as they scuttle around and play in the snow and excitedly mate ahead of the short summer. How to Cruise to Antarctica

Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Alaska – Witness the Bald Eagle Feeding Frenzy:

Bald eagles migrate in abundance to a spot on the Chilkat River where percolating warm water attracts the last of the spawning salmon. The “alluvial fan reservoir” is a natural phenomenon along the Haines Highway between miles 18 and 24 provides the main viewing area for eagle watchers in late fall and winter and the high concentrations of eagles last from October through February.

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