Story: Ha Chu
Today’s luxury travelers can enjoy exclusive adventures in the most awe-inspiring destinations in the world (and beyond).
BOLDLY GOING INTO SPACE
Where to go next for the intrepid traveler who has seen everything? If earth is too small, technological breakthroughs and innovative research have opened up outer space as the newest tourism frontier. Given the green light by NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States), private companiessuchas World View, Space Perspective, Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have jumped into the growing high-end marketplace. Their offers range from stratospheric balloon trips to orbital journeys to stays of nearly a week on the International Space Station (ISS).
Thousands of the ultra-wealthy are on waitlists for these surreal experiences, which can cost between USD50,000 and USD55 million. To ensure the safety and feasibility of these cosmic treks, approved companies and centers work with NASA to create training courses. This form of travel looks to skyrocket in the future, bringing humanity and space ever closer.
DINING ON THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Luxury travel in China has always attracted the super-rich and high-end tour operators know how to please their clientele with customized packages, including dining on the wondrous Great Wall. Chinese dishes incorporated into a Western menu are prepared on the spot, conveying not only unique flavors but also a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. Beneath the romantic golden twilight, the intimate experience of a dinner surrounded by endless desert, verdant fields of grass and imposing mountain ranges, is sure to charm anyone.
Capitalizing on that allure, tour operators in Beijing have chosen quiet stretches of the Great Wall to host cocktail parties or opulent dinners. Elite guests are transported in a fleet of BMWs and receive the best care. Packages are often limited to eight diners at a minimum price of USD35,000 per person. All of these factors ensure that the well-heeled patrons will get the most bang for their tourism buck.
CRUISING DOWN THE AMAZON
The Amazon River is part of an awe-inspiring natural tropical museum that spans nine countries and belongs to the largest river basin in the world. Many luxury travelers will not hesitate to pay for a chance to enjoy five-star service on magnificent river cruises through Brazil, Ecuador or vibrant Peru. Contemplating crimson sunsets over the forest while sampling local delicacies from tropical fruits to freshwater fish is an unforgettable experience.
Trips on the Amazon are meant for nature lovers who cherish the opportunity to breathe in the fresh air, watch the graceful dance of marbled hatchetfish in the water and observe the brilliant plumage of long-tailed macaws perched on swaying palm trees. These experiences, which offer a rare chance to escape the bustling flow of urban life, don’t come without a hefty price tag. The average cost to step foot on these grand ships runs from about USD1,000/pax/day up to USD8,000 on the most high-end cruises.
Millions of mountain-climbing enthusiasts dream of touching the roof of the world on Mount Everest. This mountain is considered sacred and travelers need to go through a Puja ceremony with Tibetan Lamas for permission to traverse the trails to the top. A sturdy wallet is also needed alongside good health and excellent skills. Among luxury tour operators, a trip to the peak of Everest can cost between USD30,000 and USD160,000.
The real cost per person soars even higher when factoring in the purchase of mountain- climbing gear, oxygen tanks and other necessities, along with professional guides to ensure safety and lengthy stays to acclimate to the weather and altitude. Many are willing to pay the price for an opportunity to conquer nature as well as themselves. A safer and easier alternative is to sight-see by helicopter for photos and social media check-ins from this timeless destination.