It’s illegal to be LGBT in 70+ countries. Some of these countries hold the most incredible wonders, brightest adventures, and most sought after travel experiences. We believe that all people, regardless of their identities, deserve to see the beauty and wonder of the world. We’ve written at length about why we choose to travel to anti-LGBT destinations, but I’ll briefly summarize our feelings by saying this if local people have first-hand experience with LGBT people they’re more likely to think favorably of our community. People cannot be expected to accept that which they have no positive experiences. That being said, not every traveler wants to be an activist and you shouldn’t have to be. Traveling with a group is always safer in high-risk countries because it allows you to blend with a crowd and gives you direct contact with bilingual people in case there are any complications. Which is why we put together this list of incredible experiences LGBT people can enjoy on the next holiday.
Hike to the Treasury in Petra
Jordan might be a lesser-known travel destination but it is emerging as a true powerhouse in recent years. At this point, everyone has seen the stunning photos taken on the hill from above the Treasury on Instagram. A night spent sipping tea at a desert camp with the Bedouin people followed by a hike to the Ancient City of Petra. You can imagine that would be the highlight of visiting Jordan. This UNESCO World Heritage Site looks like it’s been ripped straight from the pages of an Aladdin fairytale book. With the camels, gorgeous carpets, and beautiful sandstone colored buildings. However, if you ask anyone who’s been there what their favorite part is and everyone will tell you the people. There’s really nothing more magical than that.
Spot the Big 5 in the Serengeti
Have you thought about visiting Tanzania yet? We’ve all watched the magic of the Serengeti through the eyes of the National Geographic Channel for years. Everything from the lions hunting for prey to the vultures cleaning up the mess was documented for us. However, there is no substitute for being right in the middle of it all. With the rhino growing closer and closer to extinction the time is now to go see these majestic animals. Just in case you didn’t know the big five includes the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino all five can be found in the Serengeti.
Haggle for goods at the Medina of Fez
The Medina in Fez is a swirling center of hectic chaos that has not changed for centuries. Your senses will but absolutely overloaded in all ways when you visit Morocco but the Fez is the peak of that beautiful chaos. When you think you simply can not take anymore you’ll pop up to a rooftop terrace to sip tea overlooking everything. Fez is bright, it is colorful and it’s loud but there is an energy there that is nearly unmatched. Once you’ve had your tea, navigate the narrow streets and negotiate a good price on something for the home. Don’t take it easy, these merchants are seasoned veterans and drive a hard bargain. Getting a good deal here is a notch in your traveler belt you can proudly claim forever.
Visit the Splendor of the Taj Mahal
A visit to India undeniably belongs in a prominent place on all travel bucket lists. While the whole country is spotted with beautifully unique cities any trip would be incomplete without making a stop at the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a physical gift symbolizing an emperor’s deep love and appreciation for his wife. The Taj Mahal complex is very large with massive gardens and outbuildings but the mausoleum is the highlight. It is an architectural blend of Persian, Islamic and Indian design. The Taj Mahal and its surrounding complex are one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. It is worth noting that while there are efforts being made to protect the Taj, pollution is harshly affecting the stunning white marble.
Marvel at the wonder that is the Pyramids of Giza
Only one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World still exists. That wonder is, of course, the Pyramids of Giza. The pyramids are located on the outskirts of the bustling metropolitan city of Cairo. In fact, you can see the skyline from the Pyramids, a crazy blend of old and new. A visit to Egypt just is not complete without taking time to kiss the Sphinx. Built almost 5000 years ago the Pyramids of Giza are a truly exceptional architectural feat. While there are still many theories on exactly how and who built the Pyramids there is no doubt it belongs on every travel bucket list. Seeing the way the dust kicks up off the camels’ hooves as they pass through the desert is truly any photographer or travelers’ dream.
Tour the historic walls of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Russia
Close your eyes and picture your self visiting Russia. There’s a really good chance you pictured the colors, patterns, and shapes of St. Basils Cathedral. Located at the southern end of the famed Red Square. St Basil’s Cathedral has become Russia’s most iconic building. A UNESCO World Heritage site that was ordered to be built by Ivan the Terrible in 1561. The interior of the cathedral is smaller and more compact one might expect. However, while visiting the ornately decorated nine chaples you will often find choral groups singing.
Explore the Magnificent Petronas Towers in Malaysia
Malaysia was home to the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004. Located in Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Towers are still the tallest twin towers in the world. To get a birds-eye view you can buy a ticket to go inside or view this stunning architectural feat from the ground. On the 41st floor, you can walk the sky bridge, the highest of its kind. From there you’ll keep traveling upwards to the 86th-floor viewing platform where you’ll see the whole city. Built by an Argentinian architect there is a distinct touch of Islamic influence. With five tiers of the building representing the five pillars of Islam. Make time on your visit to Malaysia to check it out in the evening, they are truly stunning lit up at night.
Snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef
The world’s second-largest coral reef is located in Belize. No matter if you are an expert scuba diver or snorkeling for the first time, Belize is right for you. There are over 500 species of fish that call this reef home. If you are interested in becoming PADI certified this is a great destination to do so. If snorkeling is more your speed, you can expect to spend lazy days under the sun spotting more sea life than imaginable. If you’re looking for a Caribbean destination Belize is a great option.
Trek with Gorillas in Uganda
Be prepared to get a little sweaty and dirty on this adventure in Uganda. You’ll be hiking though the thick mountains of Uganda looking for the mountain gorillas. With nothing between you and these massive animals, your anticipation will be building with every step. While there is no barrier between you and the gorillas they are very familiar with humans. Take the time to observe them with their families in their most natural habitat. When you’re packing for this one don’t forget to pack some patience. Even with an experienced guide, it can take hours to track the gorillas down.