Where to go in September 2015: The Best September Travel Experiences

Where to go in September

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

September 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.

September really is the best month to travel. Statistically, the most of the earth is basking in perfect weather and worldwide travel costs almost drop in half from the summer peaks. If you are able to pull yourself from the cubicle to travel, September is the month to go somewhere epic. Highlighted experiences this month are the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls, The bizarre equinox activity at the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza, a cotton castle in Turkey, a Slovenian truffle hunt and the world’s largest rope swing in South Africa. enjoy…


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

  • Barcelona, Spain – Correfoc “Firerun” Festival: (Sept. 24th, 2014) See some of the most spectacular pyrotechnics in the world! At midnight, a procession of fire-breathing dragons, devils, and a pantheon of mythological creatures dance to beating drums. Wear long sleeves and pants to protect from sparks, and check the festival program early in September.
  • Phuket, Thailand – The Vegetarian Festival: (Sept. 23rd – Oct. 3rd, 2014) What better way to celebrate health and sound mind than by abstaining from meat and stimulants, and observing ritualized body mutilation ceremonies? Snack on specially prepared vegetarian street food as you watch the Chinese Thai community climb ladders made of blades, run on hot coals, or bring household gods and offerings to local temples.
  • Baliem Valley, Papua – Stay with Penis Gourd Tribes: Deep in the hills of Papua in one of the last undiscovered wildernesses on earth live fierce tribes relatively isolated from the modern world. Jonny can show you how to visit them but be warned, he has never been the same since. Elaborate festivals happen this time of year with immaculate feasts and traditional war games. A Feast to Remember in Papua
  • Munich, Germany – Oktoberfest: (Sept. 20th – Oct. 5, 2014) Don’t be fooled, this gigantic funfair begins in September and lasts a whopping 16 days. Join roughly 6 million people from all over the world in the most infamous celebration of beer, history, and fun… but mostly beer!
  • Victoria Falls, Zambia – Wade in the Devil’s Pool: Victoria Falls is the most powerful waterfall in the world in the wet season, but in the dry season it can slow to a trickle. This provides the unique opportunity to wade in pools that hang precipitously at the edge of the falls. The Devils Pool at Victoria Falls usually opens around mid-August, so you may want to check conditions here.  How to Swim in the Devil’s Pool

The September Adrenaline List

  • Munich, Germany – River Surfing: A far cry from any ocean, the Eisback River is the world’s most popular river surfing spot, and has been since the 1970s. The constantly frigid temperature of the water, shallow rocks and debris, along with the speed and velocity of the waves make this a dangerous spot, only suitable for the most practiced and daring surfers.
  • Moscow, Russia – Fly to the Edge of Space: Make a reservation starting in September with Zhukovsky Airbase to fly a MiG-29 fighter jet, and go where not many men or women have gone before. This experience of a lifetime is one for thrill-junkies and adventure-seekers alike.
  • Cerocahui, Mexico – Run with the Tarahumara: The Tarahumara are world-famous for being the best long-distance trail runners on the planet (though many of us learned about them through Christopher McDougall’s book, Born to Run). With the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, the Tarahumara retreated to caves and canyons, where they developed an intricate system of trails to communicate. Visit them to pay respect to their longstanding traditions and maybe even run with them! How to Run with the Tarahumara
  • Durban, South Africa – World’s Tallest Rope Swing: Looking for the next great adrenalin rush? First you sign a waiver, just in case, then you are fitted for a harness and taken to the top of a stadium to attach yourself to an enormous rope and JUMP!  The Big Rush Durban
  • Guyana – Survival Training: Back when the show Survivor was actually a competition of survival rather than drama, contestants would train in the jungles of Guyana with Ex-Special Forces guides. The final test is to survive the night alone in the jungle.
  • Iguacu Falls, Argentina – Dry Season Adventure Activities: The dry season at these tremendous falls brings the opening of a multitude of adventure activities. Boat rides into the falls, helicopters, kayaking above the falls (don’t get too close to the edge) Which Side of the Iguacu Falls is Better


Where to Go in September for the Best Cultural Experiences

  • Chichen Itza, Mexico – The Equinox Serpent Descends from the Heavens: (Sept. 23rd, 2014) Channel Indiana Jones and head to Chichen Itza, the glorious urban center of the Mayan Empire from A.D. 750-1200, and the Temple of Kukulkan its crown jewel. The temple contains 365 steps, one for each day of the year. During the autumn equinox, the shadow of the sun creates a stunning illusion of a divine snake descending the temple.
  • San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Mexican Independence Day: (Sept. 16th, 2014) El Grito, or ‘the cry’ as it is called, celebrates Mexico’s Independence Day. The President will call the names of the revolutionary heroes and everyone screams, “Viva Mexico!” The Mexican highlands offer amazing culture, cuisine, and historic architecture. Try delicious worm tacos, on my 10 Most Bizarre Foods List.
  • Cinque Terre, Italy – The Coastline of a Lifetime: Cinque Terre or “Five lands” snakes through medieval coastal towns with dramatic scenery. Five villages connected by a network of trails link vineyards, olive tree groves, and beautiful views. For a unique experience, follow more difficult climbs, wander off the beaten path. September is the best month to miss the heat of the summer with warm water for swimming.  How to Hike the Cinque Terre
  • Tirumala, India – Srivari Brahmotsayam: (Sept. 26th – Aug. 4th, 2014) Looking for an epic festival? This one is for you. Ceremonies continue for nine days, celebrating the great Lord Rama, god of creation. Pilgrims and spiritually curious folks come from all over India and all corners of the globe to join together in reverence. Pro tip: get a darshan. For a crazy Indian experience, check out Drinking Ganges Water in Varanasi
  • Qufu City, China – International Confucius Festival: (Sept. 26-28th, 2014) Qufu is the hometown of the late, great philosopher Confucius and the festival is celebrated on his birthday. He is known in the area for allowing all students an education, regardless of social status. Ancient dance and music are performed in ornate glory to pay tribute to his life.
  • Tibet, China – Potala Palace:


Where to Go in September for the Best Competitions and Festivals

  • Braemar, Scotland – Scottish Highland Games: (Sept. 6th, 2014) The Braemer Gathering has been running for 900 years and attracts roughly 16,000 people; spectators and competitors from all over the world, including members of the Scottish Royal Family. Experience age-old history and epic feats in this small town amidst the Cairngorm Mountains. Other games take place throughout the month.
  • Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia – Attend a Torajan Funeral:
  • Istria, Croatia – Hunt White Truffles: September is truly the greatest month to track down these delicious morsels, and Istria is where you want to be. Celebrations kick off during the second week of the month with the Buzet Subotina Festival, during which an omelet is cooked using 2,000+ eggs and 10kgs of truffles, then shared in the town square.
  • Zurich, Switzerland – Night of Museums: (Sept. 6th, 2014) From 7pm to 2am, 42 or more of the city’s museums will stay open to art-lovers, culture snobs and all insomniacs. The museums are connected by busses and many organize a bar or lounge for people to enjoy.
  • Bohinj, Slovenia – Kravji Bal (Cow Ball): (Sept 20-21st, 2014) The country’s most unique festival celebrates the end of summer and the return of shepherds (and their cow herds) from the high reaches of the alps. Festivities begin with much cheese and butter on Saturday, and reach full swing with the procession of shepherds to traditional folk music on Sunday.


Where to Go in September for the Most Unusual Experiences

  • Michanwi Pingwe Beach, Tanzania – The Rock Restaurant: Only accessible by land at low tide and by sea at high tide, this truly unique restaurant offers the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted. Enjoy a romantic evening for two or a make a fun memory with friends, just don’t pass up this dining experience!
  • Togean Islands, Sulawesi – Live with Sea Gypsies: The Togean Islands are home to one of the most intact airplane wrecks from World War II, B-52 airplane wreck that crashed in the ocean and sank to the bottom almost fully-intact with 3 propellers still on the engines. Some of the last sea gypsies live here, and if you talk to Ali at the Black Marlin, he can bring you to live with his sea gypsy relatives who still freedive the traditional way. It is a completely unreal experience! Check out: Living with Sea Gypsies
  • Pamukkale, Turkey – Cotton Castle and Thermal Pools: Limestone deposits give this region a surreal white, cotton-candy-like look. People travel the world to bathe in the thermal pools, but you can beat the crowds by waiting until September to visit, and arriving when the area opens at 8am. Visiting Pamukkale and Ephesus in Turkey
  • Ecuador – At Fiesta del Yamor, the ‘Community Drink’ has a surprise: Chicha de jora is a traditional corn-based liquor made with the help of human spit. Chicha makers place balls of ground maize in their mouth, allowing enzymes from their spit to break down starch to maltose. The origin of the drink dates back to Incan royalty but the practice can only be found today at traditional festivals. Should this be on my 10 Most Bizarre Foods list?
  • Guanajuato, Mexico – The Mummies of Guanajuato: Visit the Mummies’ Museum to see one of the most amazing collections of bodies preserved from an outbreak in Cholera in 1833. Don’t worry, you can’t get sick from them now, but you might want to take precautions if you have a sensitive stomach. Most grossly fascinating is a mummified mother and child. See the Guanajuato Mummies 


Where to Go in September for the Best Outdoor Adventure

  • Amazon Basin, South America – Stay in an Amazon Jungle Lodge: The mighty Amazon still supports dense junges that grows so prolificly that a sapling can swallow a house in a month. Jungle lodges perched on the riverbanks provide the unique opportunity to sleep in the jungle. Local guides can show you plants with unique properties and medicinal value and night tours are available at most lodges. The best lodges are at least 50-80 km from a large city with fantastic opportunities in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
  • Kruger Park, South Africa – Wilderness Walking Safari: Possibly the best budget safari option in all of Africa is the Kruger wilderness trail. Trained guides with rifles walk with you through the bush and teach you how to survive amongst the wild things. What they teach will likely save your life. Advanced trails are carry everything while easier options involve round trip day hikes from an enclosed camp. How can you do this? Check out: The Best Budget African Safari on the Kruger Walking Safari
  • Whistler, Canada – Paddle the River of Golden Dreams: Offering something to see for everyone, this area is truly stunning. Hop in a canoe or kayak and explore around every beautiful bend. Nature-lovers will enjoy old-growth forests, a multitude of flowers and animals, and snow-capped mountains in the distance. How to Paddle the River of Golden Dreams
  • Loire Valley, France – Fairytale Horse Ride: This World Heritage Site is composed of picturesque traditional towns, picturesque rolling hills, and majestic castles. While galloping along, you might just think you’re in a scene from Cinderella.
  • Navajo Nation Reservation, USA – Monument Valley: These incredible rock formations and panoramic views are icons of the American West. September offers perfect weather for hiking, camping, road-tripping, and otherwise adventuring through this incredible area. You can find the iconic Southwest USA photo location here: GPS (37.1001, -109.9928)  Sherry’s Monument Valley Photography
  • Cape Whale Coast, South Africa – The Southern Right Whale Migration: June to November is whale watching season, but skip summer vacation crowds and go in September. Southern right whales migrate to this area in droves, making it the best place in the world to marvel at these massive mammals (along with dolphins and Great White Sharks) by land, sea or air.
  • Sossusvlei, Namibia – The Sand Dunes of the Skeleton Coast: The dry season brings the best time for game viewing

Photo Credits: Correfoc; Vegetarian; Oktoberfest; Devil Pool; Surfing; mig 29; Taramuhera; big rush; iguacuchicen itza; the cry; Cinque Terra; Confucius; PotalaHighland Games; Toraja; Istria; Zurich; SloveniaZanzibar; Sea Gypsies; Cotton Pool; Cotton Pool 2; GuanjauitoLodge; Kruger; Loire; Monument; Namibia; Whale;


Other Locations:

Perfect for Sept, Oct, Nov: Amazon, Guyana, Mauritius, Xian (China), Papua/Papua New Guinea (Great treks, liveboard scuba trips and aboriginal tribes), Cairns (Australia)

Perfect for Sept, Oct:  Oaxaca, Mexico City, Easter Island, Cusco (Peru), Lima (Peru), Prague (Midnight pub crawl), Munich (Oktoberfest), Cyprus, Turkey, Morocco, Angola, Madagascar, Namibia, Shangahi, Most of Japan (Changing leaves late September), Kumming China, Chengdu China, Beijing China, Most of Indonesia (Komodo Dragons), Sairgao Philippines, Brisbane Australia

Perfect for September Only: New York, Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque, Mexican Highlands (the cry), Iguacu Falls, Krakow Poland (Auschwitz) , Algarve Portugal, Romania (maybe Dracula’s castle), Tunisia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka (attend an exorcism in Sri Lanka, loved that story), Leh/Kashmir India, Korea.

Which is your favorite?  Have an Experience to add or a blog post to include?  Let me know in the comments below:


The myWanderlist Best Travel Experiences for Other Months


Want to read my best travel stories? Here are some good ones:

  • Madain Saleh Saudi Arabia: Hitchhiking to Petra’s twin city
  • Dancing with Corpses: Famadihana- Turning of the Bones in Madagascar: The hidden meaning behind one of the most bizarre ceremonies will surprise you
  • The Secret Lives of Sea Gypsies: My personal experience living with the world’s best divers on the fringes of civilization
  • Volcano Boarding Nicaragua: The extreme sport for the slightly insane?
  • Bagan Temples: Little-known Temples, hidden passageways and secret keys to Photographing the Sunrise at Bagan blissfully devoid of tourists