This year, forget about buying presents to your loved ones, instead of that, surprise them with the best experience gifts to make this year a memorable one.

Because traveling creates forever memories and provides you with life-changing experiences that money can’t buy.  That’s why we have created the ultimate list of the most mind-blowing experience gifts for this year.

For travel lovers, adventure seekers, foodies and also for those who are seeking a bit of everything, keep reading and you’ll find some impressive experience gifts to surprise any adventurer or even for you to get inspiration.

Top 21 revolutionary experience gifts

Sleep on a cruise in Halong Bay.

Aerial from Halong Bay in Vietnam

Located in Vietnam, Halong Bay has been recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders in the World. You have probably seen pictures of this place before, but that doesn’t mean that you will only be able to admire it from the front page of a travel magazine, you can actually enjoy this beautiful landscape from inside. Imagine cruising the emerald waters that surround some unique limestone formations on board of a junk boat for two magical days.

Part of the experience is also exploring the hidden natural caves on a kayak, taking some Vietnamese cooking classes to master the most traditional Vietnamese dishes, watching the sunrise as you practice some Thai Chi.

Does it sound like a magical experience? Because, we can assure you, that it is. This is without any doubt, a once in a lifetime experience. If you would like to enjoy the same experience that we had, you can book your tour with Rosa Boutique a 4-star cruise.

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments in the world as it is one of the most famous temples in the complex of Angkor. The temples in the complex of Angkor have been also renowned for its endless fascinating features and originality, and that is one of the many reasons for having been chosen to be the setting of many famous movies like Tomb Raider or Indiana Johns, so you might even be familiar with some of them.

The experience will be completed by hiring a tuk-tuk to visit the most renowned temples one day, and on the second day,  waking up before the sunrise to be able to get there and witness the daily phenomenon that attracts millions of people every year.

The moment the sun begins to illuminate the temple of Angkor Wat is absolutely magical and the reflection that creates on the water is what people come to capture in their photographs.

You can easily plan this by yourself or also book a different kind of tours here. The magnificence of this place will captivate you since the moment you step into it and without any doubt once in a lifetime experience.

Hike the Annapurnas.

Trekking the Annapurnas

I doubt you can find adventure experience gifts better than this one. It is a truly impressive hike on the top of the world, walking through some little villages in the mountain, flanked by some of the biggest mountains of the world. Every day the landscape is different and breathtaking, going through valleys, villages with several 7000 meters peak looking over you.

You can do this all by yourself (as we did), you don’t really need a guide or a porter and the average cost per day was 14$ between food, accommodation, and everything.

It does require a bit of preparation to truly enjoy it, although not much. With enough time, anybody can do this. I met some elderly people at the very top, proving that anybody with determination and time can enjoy this wonderful experience.

Dive with Thresher Sharks in The Philippines. 

tresher shark

On one of the main islands of the Philippines, Cebu, you’ll find one of the best spots for divers. It is easy to access since Cebu is one of the main airports and Skyscanner has many cheap flights.

This special type of shark is rarely found and one of the best places to do so is on the island of Malapascua in the Philippines. The experience begins with a boat ride with your instructor, while you enjoy the pleasant breeze and the stunning views.

Once you get to the spot, get ready to jump on one of the most special diving experiences you could ever have. As you keep descending in the water, you begin to see the amazing underworld and its habitants, some of them more curious than others.

Once you have reached the sightseen spot, you will be able to see how the thresher sharks ascend to the cleaning station where you will be able to see the beauty of this animal very close.  In Malapascua, you will find a wide option of diving schools where you will be able to take diving courses, either if you want to get more qualified, or if you just want to meet this creature you can book a trip to the underwater world with a diving school.

Swim with whale sharks in Mexico or The Philippines.

Whale Shark

This gigantic and gentle animal is the biggest shark in the world so imagine what it could be swimming with whale sharks.  Let’s clarify, that this experience represents no risk of being eaten. Despite its size, whale sharks are no threat to humans at all. The moment you are diving, and one of these majestic animals bumps into you, it is one of the most special underwater experience you could ever have.

The way they gently swim and its distinctive spotted skin creates an unforgettable experience. There aren’t many places in the world where you can have this once in a lifetime experience, and it is also important to do it in a respectful and noninvasive way, always in their natural environment. Be informed where you want to do this, otherwise, you could be promoting irresponsible practices that represent a threat to these animals.

Our favorite place to do it is Donsol or Puerto Princesa in the Philippines as it the animal is in its habitat and you can only spot them when it is the migration season.

Another popular option is in Cancun in Mexico, where you can even book in advance here.

Vietnam by motorbike guide

Delve into the purest and traditional beauty of Vietnam by renting a motorbike and driving off the beaten track. Get into wild roads surrounded by the greenery scene of Vietnam’s speechless landscapes. Experience the rich Vietnamese culture through your five senses, tasting its delicatessen, listening to their stories about years of history,  see some of the most beautiful ancient cities where colorful lanterns dress the streets and the astonished rice terraces that are characteristic of the country.

Smell the fresh and pure air in the mountains of the north of the country. Feel the warmth of Vietnamese people since the moment you enter the country. If you want to live a once in a lifetime experience with the 5 senses, this is your one.

Visit the unique Gardens by the bay in Singapore.

Singapore Itinerary gardens by the bay

This is one of the most original and futuristic green parks in Singapore which offers different attractions. Enjoy the views visiting the skywalk over the gardens and experience the enormous greenhouse…

You can also find the highest waterfall ever made by men and it is indeed quite impressive. Not only the design will blow out your mind but also, at night, there is a light show happening.

A festival of lights and music gather together people from all around the world to enjoy this experience. Gardens by the Bay represents an emblematic attraction in the green city of Singapore and a once in a lifetime experience. You can even pre-book your experience here

Visit an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand.

If you are an animal lover this is one of the experience gifts you will never forget. There is something magical about these mammals and the best way to feel it is by spending one day in an elephant sanctuary.

This day normally consists on receiving a bit of information about what they do and why they do it, introducing the animals, then you can feed the elephants, have a bath with them and look after them.

In these places, they really look after them making sure they are safe. We recommend to do it in Khao Sok National Park, we had the best time there meeting this handsome in the picture.

Eat in the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong.

Delicious Dim Sum

Michelin- starred restaurants are often thought to be unaffordable for everybody, but that is not the case of Tim Ho Wan. This one is pretty cheap, and by cheap, we mean, delicious dim sum for less than 3$. This is the second cheapest Michelin Stared restaurant in the world specialized in dim sum.

Not only dim sum is super delicious, but the rest of the menu also is mouthwatering and you can eat for less than 15 $. This is one of the best experience gifts for foodies. If you are wondering what else you can do in Hong Kong, you can check it in our post here.

Wine tasting in Spain

Venezia Carnival mask

Live from inside one of the most famous and magic carnivals in the world for its years of tradition. All the streets are flooded with masked people and celebrations.

Most of the events take place in the emblematic St.Mark´s Square. This is a magic moment to visit Venice and live one of the most ancients and magical traditions and makes great experience gifts for photographers.

You can do a 1.5 hours tour where you can learn about Casanova and the Venice carnival

Watch the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Northern lights in Iceland

There is so much to see and do in this wonderful and complete country, being the Northern Lights one of the most magical experience gifts ever.

There is no darkness from mid-April until mid-August. Thus, in this period of time, no Northern Lights can be observed. The Northern Lights season is from late August to mid-April. However, from late September to late March, it is dark after 6 pm, it is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

There are many options to watch them and can easily be seen from Reykjavik. You can do it for 40$, leaving on a bus from Reykjavik here.

Meet the gigantic turtles in Prison Island in Zanzibar.

Algabra turtles

If you want to meet this enormous turtles then you should head to Prison Island, reachable by boat from Stone Town. These endangered Algaba turtles live in the Turtle Sanctuary, where they take care of them.

This is only one of the thousand reasons to visit the heavenly island of Zanzibar. You can find many more reasons in this complete travel guide to Zanzibar. Visiting the island is a great opportunity to meet these funny ones and mesmerized by the paradise surrounding the island.

Get a sacred tattoo in Bangkok.

Monk in Thailand

One of the reasons to get a tattoo is to have something special and meaningful, that is why some people take the opportunity to get a Sak Yak tattoo in Bangkok. These tattoos are believed to be magic tattoos with blessings made with bamboo in different geometrical shapes, each of them has its own meaning. Tattoos can only be administered by certain monks who have the power to do so.

They are so special for its meaning and the way they are created. To find out more about what to do in Thailand, click here to access the full travel guide.

Swim with turtles in one of the hidden gems of the Philippines.

turtle

Port Barton, offers its visitants a getaway from the civilized modern world and gets them into the pleasure of the basics and tranquility. A small little village with a stunning long beach and a lush jungle where you can trek to the waterfalls, lie on the beach or get on board to do an island hopping to discover some hidden gems only reachable by boat.

One of the island hopping spots will bring you to the hidden spot where you can swim with these beautiful animals while snorkeling surrounded by virgin islands and impressive corals.

Explore London on a hot tub boat through the canals.

HotTug London

Up for a different experience? Visiting the canals of London on a HotTug is definitively something different! You can have 90 minutes to get down the most historic canals and enjoy some buzz if you’d like to. If you ask me, then this is once in a lifetime experience.

Get a Thai cooking class in Thailand.

Learning how to cook local food

Become a master chef of one of the most important and renowned cuisines in the world. Everybody knows how delicious Thai cuisine is so how about taking some classes and become a pro in Thai recipes?

Get ready to improve your cooking skills as you open up to a whole new world of tastes combinations. This is one of the favorite experience gifts for food lovers and anyone ready to try something different. You can book your cooking class here with an excellent and skilled chef.

Get lost in a virgin island in Cambodia.

Koh Rong is one of the most beautiful places to visit in CAmbodia

Forget about traffic and people and get yourself immerse in the quietness and beauty of a virgin island. With only a few accommodations and few chances of bumping into lots of people, Coconut Beach in Koh Rong Island is one of those dream places. Crystal clear water, white sand, and nature surrounding this idyllic picture. This is the perfect experience gift for those who love to relax on a quiet beach, spending the whole day on your swimming suit and witness some unforgettable sunrises.

A stunning place where to stay a couple of days to chill on this dreamy island is Coconut Beach Bungalows. 

Celebrate the festival of lights in Thailand.

Festival of Light Thailand

This famous traditional celebration in Thailand is called Loy Krathong. People gather together to get a candle inside a lotus-shaped basket and to put them into the river. Also, in the north of the country, there is another light festival called Yi Peng.

Here people bring sky lanterns with a light inside and release them in the sky with the best wishes. A magical once in a lifetime experience.

Sleep in the Thar Desert in India.

In camel through Thar Desert

For those seeking a different kind of experience gifts, this one is one of a kind.

The Thar is not the typical desert you have in your mind with the vast dunes and nothing else around. There is some vegetation, mostly herbaceous or stunted scrub.

Normally you will spend a full day. You will have the option to ride a camel through the desert with one of the specialized agencies. They will prepare you a freshly cooked meal just in front on the way to the camp.

There are several options for all budgets, from pretty basic to some more in comfort. It can be nothing more than a blanket under a massive starred sky or a fancy tent. Either way is such a pure and beautiful connection with nature.

Spend a weekend in the magical Disneyland Paris.

Spectacle in Disneyland

Either if you are an adult or a kid, Disneyland is always a great plan.

The number of spectacles, attractions, restaurants, and sights, make this a place where is impossible to get bored and where magic is always present.

From the adrenaline in the space mountain to the delightful experience in the Ratatouille restaurant, Disneyland Paris promise to be one of the best experience gifts ever!

Book here your one day ticket from 50$ per person!

If you want to go for the full experience, there is no better (and expensive but amazing) hotel than the Disneyland hotel, the only one which is just in front of the park

Go snowboarding in the Alps.

Alps in Austria

If you are looking for something different with an adventure touch and in contact with nature, our top choice would be this one.

There are so many good options between France, Austria, and Switzerland. Charming villages between deep valleys, some of them only accessible via train.

If you are lucky, you could have plenty of powder, magnificent slopes and modern lift service.

Some of our favorites are the Ski Circus in Austria, Alp d’Huez in France and Zermatt in Switzerland.

Conclusion

Experiences are always remembered and make the hell of a gift! Plus think it this way: It can also mean a gift to yourself!

And remember:

Travel experiences is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

Which one is your favourite?!- You can book almost any experience around the world from here!

Need inspiration for your next experience?

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21 EXPERIENCES INFOGRAPHIC