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

Where to go in October

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

The Ultimate Travel Inspiration for Independent and Adventure Travel: The Best Outdoor Treks, Adrenaline List, Cultural Experiences, Animal Encounters, JUST PLAIN CRAZY and more…

October is the best edition of monthly travel experiences yet with the craziest experiences, best outdoor adventures, the adrenaline list, the best cultural encounters and more.

October brings crisp air and the smell of fallen leaves to the Northern Hemisphere and relief in the form of cooler temperatures to the earth’s most sweltering regions. Highlighted experiences this month include the World’s Largest Hot Air Balloon Festival, Sandboarding in Namibia, some unique and even bizarre cultural experiences in India and walk in the footsteps of ancient philosophers on some of the scariest treks in China. Enjoy…

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

  • Northwest India – Drink Opium Tea with the Rabari Tribe: With development and modernization, Rabaris have shifted from a traditionally nomadic tribe to more a more settled lifestyle. The woman are world-famous for their intricate embroidery skills and the men subsist on shepherding. Before heading out to the hills each morning, men gather to drink opium tea. It’s illegal in India but lawmakers turn a blind eye. Join a home-stay to participate in this exclusive ceremony. Offbeat Rajasthan
  • Wadi Rum, Jordan – Base Jump The Valley of the Moon: The setting sun turns the endless craggy cliffs of Jordan’s largest wadi a myriad of hues and brings alive the Bedouin culture. You can climb or base jump from Mount Um Dami nearby to catch a glimpse of the Red Sea and the Saudi Arabian boarder. The famous Jordanian twin runners, Dima and Lama Hattab, organize races in the area. Base Jump Wadi Rum
  • Cairns, Australia – Survive The Crocodile Trophy: (Oct 18-26, 2014) The “Crocodile Trophy,” is billed as the toughest bike race in the world, 477 miles through debilitating heat and the most croc-infested areas of Australia. Survive the fatigue and muscle craps to earn a free beer for dinner. Sign up here
  • Khoms, Libya – Leptis Magna Roman Ruins: Founded in 1000 BC, Leptis Magna is the most preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean, The sands of time have protected this spectacular site in Libya. It was later established as a free community, where the Emperor Augustus had limited influence. The active archeological site continues to produce, ancient mosaics and architecture. This was a hot spot during the 2011 Libyan civil war, so check safety conditions (Obviously!)

Where to go in October: The October Adrenaline List

  • Borneo, Malaysia – Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon: (Oct. 18-19th, 2014) The imposing granite spires of Mount Kinabalu reach into the roof of Borneo. The Climbathon was originally meant to train rapid rescue teams when Sabah Park became inaccessible during inclement weather. It has expanded to an internationally recognized climbing race, drawing athletes from all over the world.
  • Swakopmund, Namibia – Sandboard the Skeleton Coast Dunes: Some of the tallest sand dunes on the planet exist off the skeleton coast of Africa near Swakopmund, Namibia. You can slide headfirst or standing up like a snowboard speeds up to 50 MPH.
  • Burketown, Australia – Hang Glide the ‘Morning Glories:’ This wondrous October phenomenon churns up thermals and unmatched gliding conditions in Queensland. These clouds roll across the sky in the morning bringing thermals that have levitated gliders on flights of over 400 miles. How and where morning glories form
  • Kona, Hawaii – Ironman World Championships: (October 11, 2014) Participate or just watch the championship of the most iconic endurance race on the planet. This race was born from an unsettled debate among superathletes in different sports who decided the only solution was to complete the 3 most grueling endurance races back-to-back. The Official Ironman Site

Where to Go in October for the Best Cultural Experiences

  • Shibam, Yemen – The Mud Manhattan of Ancient Arabia: The city of Shibam has existed for 1,700 years and its buildings are made completely of mud brick. The buildings blend into their surroundings and rise to an impressive 5-11 stories high.  It’s one of a kind architecture earned it the title of UNESCO. I know what you’re thinking… Yemen – Is it Safe?  What to see in Yemen
  • Amritsar, India – Diwali at the Golden Temple: (Oct. 23rd, 2014) Find a prime rooftop overlooking endless pilgrims flocking to the Golden Temple in Amritsar for the Diwali “Festival of Lights.” Massive feeding halls provide chapati to hungry pilgrims. For a truly authentic insider experience, buy a Dastaar to wear while volunteering to help wash dishes.
  • Budapest, Hungary – Take a Dip in the Extravagant Medicinal Baths of Budapest: Whether you favor Buda of Pest, you will fall in love with the tree-lined café culture and antiquity of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Szechenyi is the largest of the medicinal baths in Europe and fed by the world’s largest thermal water cave system. October brings the best weather of the year to this city.


Where to Go in October for the Best Competitions and Festivals

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA – How to Ride in the Basket at the World’s Largest Balloon Event: (October 4-12, 2014) Ascend into the a sea of over 500 of the most extravagant hot air balloons during the world’s largest balloon event in Albuquerque. Professional balloon pilots show off their precision flying abilities to be the first to grab a set of car keys attached to a tall pole. Here’s how you can book flight in one of the balloons: How to Ride in the Balloon Fiesta
  • Vivo d’Orcia, Italy – Palio del Boscaiolo: During the second and third weekends in October, this tiny town hosts a mushroom and chestnut festival, during which the entire population divides into two teams for a woodcutting and furniture-making competition with antique saws. At the end, everyone sits on the newly made seats to eat delicious local cuisine.
  • Umbria, Italy – Join a Traditional Italian Olive Harvest: Gather olives with locals in the green heart of Italy, isolated in the hills of central Italy where life still revolves around harvest time. Enjoy gorgeous scenery in this area as you walk, mountain bike, or take a trip by horse. Ask ahead but most let you take half of your haul home as liquid gold (fresh pressed olive oil). Visiting Umbria
  • Chicago, United States – The Great Chicago Fire Festival: (Oct. 4th, 2014) Be a part of the inaugural year of this festival which celebrates diversity and the spirit of renewal following the 1871 fire that devastated Chicago. Events will be held in different neighborhoods, culminating in an epic procession along the Chicago River with music, acrobatics, and ‘wild mechanical objects,’ (according to the festival website). This event promises to kick off with a big bang!
  • Derry, Ireland – Banks of the Foyle Halloween Festival: (Oct. 26th – Nov. 3rd) Join the country’s largest Halloween festival! This epic week-long festival or fright includes fireworks, world-class bands, a fashion show. Costumes are required and bartenders don’t serve the party poopers!


Where to Go in October for the Most Unusual Experiences

  • Rajasthan, India – Elephant Rush Hour in the Land of Kings: Experience Rajasthan as royalty did years ago, by elephant! These gigantic, spiritually significant animals will lead you on a leisurely stroll through beautiful palaces and ancient carved temples. Admire the famous pink hue of Jaipur or stop by Pushkar Lake, a sacred body of water for Hindus.
  • County Antrim, Ireland – Giant’s Causeway: Local legend says a giant built this extraordinary causeway out of hexagonal stones to get to Scotland. Whatever you believe, the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is one of the most bizarre natural wonders in the world. Its picturesque cliffs draw artists from around the world. Skip the high tourist season and visit in October.
  • Natal, Brazil – Dune Buggy to Hidden Lagoons: Drive your own all-terrain dune buggy over 100-miles of untouched beaches. You will have to float it on makeshift wooden rafts hidden lagoons, and the more secluded spots along Brazil’s coast, so you may want to splurge for the good insurance. You can find excellent spots to pull over and picnic or snorkel the coral reefs.


Where to Go in October for the Best Outdoor Adventure

  • Hunan Province, China – The Avatar Floating Forests of Zhangjiajie: Step straight onto the set of ‘Avatar’ as 3000 gravity-defying karst spires dot the misty Zhangjiajie forest in Hunan. Forests of majestic quartz-sandstone rock formations have captivated ancient artists and  draw present-day nature-lovers. Recognized for its uniqueness, there is no other place like this in the world. Visit the Zhangjiajiei Avatar Forest
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – Road Trip an Autumn Wonderland: Brush fallen leaves aside in your wake of crisp mountain air as you drive among vibrant treetops of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stay at a mountain cabin tucked into the fall foliage and watch old movies in front of the fireplace. The friendliest mountain folk surface around harvest time to show off pumpkins, wild jams and corn mazes along the nostalgic country roads.
  • Reunion Island – A Geothermal Hike in Paradise: Trek though thrilling canyons and lava tunnels to scenic vistas on over 600 miles of trails snake through exceptional volcanic geology gives the island an extraordinary range of landscapes.
  • Anhui Province, China – Find ‘Buddha’s Light’ in the Footsteps of Ancient Philosophers: Follow the twisted path of Ancient philosophers among the gnarled pines clinging impossibly to the sheer cliffs of Huangshan Mountain. Folds of clouds hug the highest peaks of the range nearly 200 days of the year. Climb staircases of more than 60,000 steps carved into the mountains. Catch the mystical phenomenon of ‘Buddha’s Light’ which appears as a halo on the shadow of the observer’s head.

Where to Go in October for the Best Animal Encounters

  • Churchill, Canada – Watch Polar Bears in the Wild: Take a tundra vehicle or stay in a wilderness lodge along the polar bear’s migration route to spot these magnificent mammals in their natural habitat. Churchill is one of the only places in the world to see them up close and October and November are the best months to go!
  • Michoacan, Mexico – Miracle Monarch Migration: For a brief time in late October, a billion monarch butterflies cover the trees of Michoacan, Mexico in an orange shimmering carpet. The trek south for winter exceeds the lifespan of the butterflies, making it literally the journey of a lifetime. A smaller number of butterflies also migrate to the coast of California near Pacific Grove. Monarch Butterfly Migration Maps
  • Macquarie Island, Australia – Join NASA for the Elephant Seal Breeding: 75,000 of these odd and remarkable creatures converge on this Macquarie Island between Australia and Antarctica to fight to the death and breed, NASA researchers conduct a yearly census on October 15th. Macquarie is also a World Heritage Site for its unique geology. Information about Macquarie Island


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The myWanderlist Best Travel Experiences for Other Months


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