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As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to start thinking about next year’s hot bucket list destinations and to start planning your upcoming travel adventures.

Zanzibar

Dream a little of dream of powdery champagne sands, shimmering turquoise waters that blend seamlessly into the cloudless sky, and silhouettes of wooden fishing boats that glow under the orange and red hues of fiery sunsets. Zanzibar may look like it’s been plucked from the pages of a glossy magazine but trust us, it’s real.

In Zanzibar, time slows down and you can do as much or as little as you want. Explore the fragrant spice plantations that pepper the jungle-covered landscape or discover the sea turtles, dolphins and colourful tropical fish that brighten up the coral-filled underwater world.

Take some time to get lost in the capital’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Town, where patterned fabrics spill out of market stalls onto a myriad of narrow lanes that are dotted with a complex fusion of Indian, Swahili, Arab and European architecture.

Image courtesy of Manta Resort Pemba Island

Where to Stay: 
The Manta Resort Pemba Island where you can literally sleep with the fishes in a partly submerged hotel suite that offers underwater views of passing trumpet fish, bat fish and squid from the bedroom.

Top Tip: Book a table at The Rock restaurant and experience a one-of-a-kind dining experience perched on a coral outcrop just off the shores of Michanwi Pingwe beach. Accessible on foot at low tide and by boat at high tide, this 12-table eatery serves fresh seafood dishes harvested from the reefs around the restaurant and then flavoured with local spices.

The Scottish Highlands

If you’re looking to leave the rest of the world behind to discover genuine solitude, the Scottish Highlands may just be the bucket list place you’re looking for. Think misty mornings, wild coastline and waves of purple thistles rippling across majestic mountainsides and pathing the way to towering medieval castles. At the heart of it all, Loch Ness – home to the mythical Loch Ness Monster.

The Scottish Highlands really are an adventure lover’s playground with fishing, sea kayaking, white-water rafting, gorge walking and Munro bagging (successfully reaching the summit of a mountain over 3,000ft) all available to keep active souls happy.

Where to  Stay: Queen Victoria once said that she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’ than Inverlochy Castle. Located at the foot of Ben Nevis and surrounded by highland peaks, Inverlochy Castle Hotel is the kind of place where you can sip whisky by a roaring fire in the Great Hall and dine on a champagne afternoon tea of finger sandwiches and freshly made scones.

Top Tip: Renowned as one of the greatest train journies in the world, most will not know the Jacobite steam locomotive by its real name, instead referring to it as the Hogwarts Express and the gateway to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Starting at Ben Nevis, the 84m round trip takes riders through some of the Scottish Highland’s most spectacular scenery.

Komodo

Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that make up Indonesia. Home to a population of more than 4,000 Komodo dragon monitor lizards (the world’s largest lizard), stepping foot on the volcanic black sands and into the rusty-red volcanic hills of this rugged habitat is for daring travellers.

Komodo National Park protects the island’s Komodo dragon population and is also home to rusa deer, water buffalo, horses, wild boar and crab-eating macaque. Search hard enough and you may stumble across the park’s Pink Beach, which is often regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world because of its blush-coloured sands.

Where to Stay: Take your adventure up a gear and set sail on Aman Voyages’ junk-boat around enchanting Komodo island with a dedicated crew on hand 24-hours a day.

Top Tip: If you’re staying in Bali, book a helicopter tour of Komodo island (about two hours away) to take in the sheer magnificence of the Jurassic Park-esque landscape from above.

Alaska

Unique experiences abound in Alaska, you just have to look for them. From encountering a grizzly bear in the wild to gazing at the Northern Lights and hiking a gigantic glacier, it’s easy to lose your heart to Alaska.

Discover epic snowy scenes with winter bucket list activities like heliskiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice climbing and snowshoeing, while during the warmer months, animals including brown bears, deer fawns and moose come out of hibernation.

Where to Stay: Located 100m away from the nearest road, the luxury cabins at Ultima Thule Lodge are perfect for those seeking peace and quiet. The lodge offers private flights to pristine hiking or skiing locations and is surrounded by miles of untouched wilderness.

Top Tips: The best time to visit Alaska is from July to early September when the grizzly bears can be spotted feeding on salmon from streams and rivers.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock (unless otherwise stated).

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