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Top 5: Most Popular Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventures

Posted on 2/16/2021 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

The lightning-fast cheetah is one of many species to seek out in the Serengeti on our #1 most popular once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

From spotting the Big 5 in Africa to giving alms to Buddhist monks in Laos or coasting the ancient waters of the Nile, there are some travel experiences that make an adventure truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In this list, we’re counting down our top five once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

1. Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari —13-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Our most popular independent video: Bazaar: Zanzibar

Bazaar: Zanzibar

Explore the colorful traditions, culture, and arts of this island paradise on our post-trip extension.


The legendary plains of the Serengeti teem with one of the densest concentrations of wildlife on Earth, lending them an aura of Africa at its most primitive. Travel to Tanzania and explore this magnificent land on an adventure 95% of travelers rated excellent. Our O.A.T. Trip Experience Leader and expert driver-guides help you seek out the most elusive game—including gazelle, Cape buffalo, and elephant. Sleep under a star-filled African sky during four memorable nights in O.A.T.’s private tented camp in the heart of the Serengeti, and go on game viewing drives in Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, a twelve-mile-wide, 2,000-foot-deep caldera.

In a tight-knit small group, immerse yourself in African culture through rewarding visits to schools and villages, including the Rhotia Primary School which is supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation. Get one-on-one time with local residents during the A Day in the Life Experience with the remarkable Maasai people. You’ll meet with members of the tribe, witness some of their time-honored traditions, and participate in open and honest conversations about various aspects of their culture.

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2. Inside Vietnam —19-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Our most popular traveler-generated film: Inside Vietnam

Inside Vietnam

In this slideshow captured by traveler Ronna K., take a photographic journey through Vietnam, from a cyclo-rickshaw ride in Hanoi to a boat ride along the serene waters of Halong Bay.

Discover the beauty of Vietnam, a nation reborn, on this comprehensive journey traversing the country from north to south. Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping en route to cruise along Halong Bay, explore the ancient city of Hué, witness the idyllic seaside retreat of Nha Trang, and much more. You’ll also enjoy an overnight cruise on a traditional Vietnamese sailboat in Halong Bay—an intimate experience that’s only possible in a small group like ours.

Along the way, you’ll enjoy many personal interactions with the people of Vietnam. Experience A Day in the Life of Tho Ha Village, where you'll venture into the home of the village chief and learn how to make rice paper, and discover what daily life is like in Dalat with a local family for a traditional Home-Hosted Dinner. From the bustling cities to the serene seaside to the lush highlands, Vietnam’s warmth and beauty will amaze you.

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3. Ancient Kingdoms: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam —20-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Our most popular independent video: Tough Trains - Vietnam: The Reunification Express

Tough Trains - Vietnam: The Reunification Express

Follow our host Zay Harding as he rides by rail from Hanoi to Saigon, discovering how this railway has become a symbol of unity.


From the grandeur of Angkor Wat’s temples to the simplicity of life along the Mekong River, this is an adventure like none other. Behold temples and shrines devoted to Buddhist, Hindu, and animist worship; romantic remnants of French Colonial architecture; and gilded palaces that were once graced by royalty. Uncover the glory days of lost empires, and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures that exist today. With a local Trip Experience Leader by your side throughout this adventure, you'll get a uniquely local perspective on Southeast Asia's history and traditions as you explore this fascinating part of the world.

Traveling the Indochina peninsula through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, you’ll connect with locals who will share their homes, markets, and schools with you. In our small group, we'll meet young schoolchildren in a Laotian village, give alms to local Buddhist monks during our A Day in the Life experience, and hear a genocide survivor's touching story at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

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4. Egypt & the Eternal Nile by Private, Classic River-Yacht —16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Our most popular traveler-generated video: Ching & Chuck's Egypt Adventure

Ching & Chuck's Egypt Adventure

Explore bustling Cairo, behold the Giza pyramids, hover over the desert in a hot-air balloon, and more with travelers Chuck and Ching S.

Journey back to the days of the Pharaohs and discover ancient Egypt’s enduring legacy on this grand adventure. From the treasures of King Tut in Cairo to the great temples of Luxor and the remote Valley of the Kings, explore all of the temples and tombs along the Nile. We’ll also drift along its fabled waters with five nights aboard an elegant classic private river-yacht— exclusive to our small group of 8-16 travelers. When we’re not cruising, stay in Egypt’s most palatial, historic hotels, where you will relive the elegance and glamour of the pioneering days of Egyptian travel.

Our small group size means we get to enjoy many personal interactions with the people of Egypt, from modern-day Nubians in Abu Simbel to fishermen on the Nile. Spend a Day in the Life of Besaw Island, an isolated agricultural community, where you'll get to know a local farmer and enjoy lunch in his family's home. Plus, enjoy a Home-Hosted Dinner in the historic city of Aswan, and take part in the culinary traditions and customs of daily life.

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5. Pure New Zealand —16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Our most popular independent film: Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa: New Zealand’s South Island

Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa: New Zealand’s South Island

Join Emmy Award winner Rudy Maxa as he reveals the scenic gems and deep-rooted Maori traditions of New Zealand's South Island.


Travel to New Zealand on this immersive adventure—a place where hot springs contrast with icy glaciers and snowcapped peaks pierce the sky. From Auckland to Queenstown, and all of the adventurous locales in between, we’ll discover this natural paradise. Behold Milford Sound's crystalline fjord from the comfort of an overnight cruise—a newly added feature, and walk among clouds of steam, spouting geysers, and bubbling mud pools in Rotorua's geothermal wonderland.

Throughout our adventure, we’ll discover the Kiwi spirit and the Maori traditions at the heart of the land. During a conversation with Maori people, we’ll learn the history of their oppression and the contemporary issues they continue to face. With a local Trip Experience Leader by our sides, we’ll meet with craftsmen and visit a working sheep farm.

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