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18 Places You Need To Visit While You're Young

18 Places You Need to Visit While You're Young

Now before you start scrolling, we wanted to fill you in on a few things…

  • We all know life is short and the trusty Oxford Dictionary defines “young” as having lived or existed for only a short time… So in theory, we’re all “young” and this article applies to people of all ages!
  • This isn’t your average must do list (ticking off the likes of the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, or the Taj Mahal), this is a list with a twist, pulled together by our widely-traveled team here at IVHQ.
  • The best part about this list is you can visit all of these places during your weekends while you volunteer abroad with International Volunteer HQ!

1. Maasai Mara, Kenya

“East Africa is a popular destination for volunteering and almost all IVHQ volunteers in Kenya take advantage of the natural wonders at their feet by going on a safari. On my regular visits to Kenya and Tanzania, I’ve been lucky enough to go on a number of safaris over the years and would rate a safari through the Maasai Mara as a must do for any volunteer traveling to East Africa.”

- Dan Radcliffe (IVHQ Executive Director)

Visit the Maasai Mara as a volunteer in Kenya

Photo: @sarahmstearns via Instagram (Volunteer in Kenya)

2. Monteverde, Costa Rica

“Monteverde AKA the Cloud Forest offers a great break from the hustle and bustle of life in Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose. At some 4,662 feet (1,440 meters) above sea level, having a raincoat is a must as you explore the area. The views are breathtaking and there is plenty of wildlife to see. The area also boasts plenty of adrenaline rushing activities including the highest bungy jump and also the longest zip-line in Latin America.”

- Kirsty Jamieson

Zip lining during an IVHQ weekend in Costa Rica

Photo: Ellen Varoy via Instagram

3. Halong Bay, Vietnam

“Only a short plane away from the IVHQ volunteer program in Ho Chi Minh, Halong Bay comprises of 1,600 islands and inlets, and is one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders! We joined an overnight boat trip, which included visits to numerous floating villages (which are accessible by kayaks), exploring deep inside the incredible Hang Đầu Gỗ caves, and of course enjoying some drinks and Vietnamese food on the deck of our boat as we sailed the bay. An incredible weekend!”

- Jordan McFadyen

Visiting Halong Bay during an IVHQ weekend as a volunteer in Hanoi

Photo: @traveleca via Instagram (Volunteer in Cambodia)

4. Nile River, Uganda

“While visiting our Uganda program in late 2013, I took a day to ‘relax’, and found myself floating calmly down the River Nile…for about 2 minutes. The rest of the ride was heart-pounding whitewater rafting excitement, getting soaked in the Nile River (don’t worry, no crocodiles!), paddling furiously down rapids, and enjoying the beautiful scenery, bird life and river life during the calmer stretches in between. The raft guides are great and very experienced, and the buffet lunch (located on an island in the middle of the river!) is brilliant. The guides pick you up from Kampala in the morning and drop you back off in the evening, where you can catch a bus back to Kitende (where our volunteer accommodation is located). It’s an awesome day, easily done at the beginning or end of your volunteer adventure, or during a weekend in between, and makes for a great memory and story to share with friends and family back home. When else will you White Water Raft on the longest river in the world?!”

- Katie Brayne

White Water rafting down the Nile as a volunteer in Uganda with IVHQ

Photo: @hannaherlitz via Instagram

5. Beijing, China

“A great mix of history and modern life! The history and enormity of Tiananmen square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and of course the Great Wall of China (try go to a higher point of the wall so you get a view of how long it actually is - amazing), the things you can learn about the history of the Chinese Nation in these places is amazing! The modern life of malls and markets (every shopaholics dream destination) mean you can find everything you might need - clothes, souvenirs, trinkets, furniture, rugs, pets and every kind of mobile phone you can imagine! And don’t shy away from bartering and haggling the price, it’s half the fun! Then there is the food - especially Beijing’s night markets where you can step out of your comfort zone and try something new - you will pretty much find every kind of food you can imagine (and some you can’t) for sale.”

- Claire Chambers

Visiting the Great Wall of China during an IVHQ weekend in China

Photo: @nnicole_chann via Instagram (Volunteer in China)

6. Ayutthaya, Thailand

“Just a one hour drive from Bangkok, Ayutthaya is a city rich in culture and archaeological wonders. This ancient capital is a secret paradise for the history buffs among us and boasts a national park full of crumbled ruins, headless Buddhas and sacred Wats. A peaceful escape from Bangkok, Ayutthaya is easily explored by bicycle and is the best way to find quaint local villages and sights not listed in your travel guide. Here, you are guaranteed to find locals with infectious smiles and obvious pride in their ancient royal city.”

- Ashlee Bishop (IVHQ Asia Program Coordinator)

Visit Ayutthaya in Thailand during an IVHQ weekend in Thailand

Photo: @darmawan_nyoman via Instagram

7. Morakot Cave (Emerald Cave), Thailand

“Not to be missed and a highlight of the famous Four Island Tour near Trang. The Emerald Cave is a secret lagoon hidden inside the island of Ko Mook. The only way into this amazing location is to swim 85 meters through an underwater tunnel that opens out into a secret bay with limestone cliffs soaring high above you on all sides!”

- Louise Frame (IVHQ Program Manager)

Visit Morakot Caves during an IVHQ weekend as an IVHQ volunteer in Thailand

Photo: @rafaizman via Instagram

8. Yangshuo, China

“This town located in the northeast of the Guangxi region is surrounded by stunning beauty and is a great place to visit for its visual and sport appeal. Yanshuo is nestled between majestic karst peaks and the Li River. The Li River was considered so stunning that a picture of the river is on the back of the 20 Yuan note. To take advantage of the Yangshuo area, tourists take cruises down the river on bamboo rafts, rent a bike and take off into the country side, check out the network of underground cave, or sit back and enjoy the local Chinese cuisine and festivities. It truly is a top part of the world.”

- Reeve Barnett

Visit Yanhshuo as a volunteer in China with IVHQ

Photo: @mayurguta11111 via Instagram

9. Koh Tao, Thailand

“Located in the Gulf of Thailand, this island has the perfect mix for all looking to experience what Thailand has to offer; all on one small cashew-shaped island. You can visit Koh Tao on a budget or live it up in luxury. The island is perfect for experienced divers, casual snorkelers, and even for those who prefer to stay away from the water - but why would you? The island also offers a more traditional rural Thai feel, as well as some fantastic shops and traditional restaurants. Koh Tao has hundreds of things to do: dive, snorkel, walk, hire a boat, walk some more and then enjoy its Bangkok-like nightlife. The island’s sunset and sunrise are also very tough to beat. This lil island is well worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for time to relax after the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan.”

- William Rowland (IVHQ Africa Program Coordinator)

Visit Koh Tao during an IVHQ weekend in Thailand with IVHQ

Photo: @n1kk1patel via Instagram

10. Bamboo Island, Cambodia

“It’s not just a place from the Legend of Zelda - it’s a small island off the coast of Cambodia, a beautiful boat ride from Ream which is under 4 hours from Phnom Penh. If you’re volunteering in Cambodia, you’re a ferry away from this pristine paradise. The white sand and the turquoise water are enough to draw any beach lover. A great place for snorkeling with plenty of fish to see in the clear water makes this trip well worth a relaxing retreat to the coast. Travel a bit further than the main beach and explore Eden beyond the tourism. This is surely where you’ll find me on a weekend in Cambodia!”

- Brittany Ryan

Visit Bamboo Island in Cambodia during an IVHQ weekend in Cambodia

Photo: @stephanielouisecantelo via Instagram (Volunteer in Cambodia)

11. Huaraz, Peru

“High in the central Peruvian Andes, Huaraz bristles with culture, geographic beauty, remaining true to itself with only the slightest glimmers of tourism persuasion which will inevitability take over. Its location, surroundings and profound beauty has all the beckoning of a tourist hot spot in its adolescence. A weekend trip from Lima, Huaraz’s highlights are the stunning glacial lakes of Laguna 69 and Laguna Paron, as well as the Pastoruri Glacier all within the mountainous region of the Cordilleras Blanca. Huaraz, a special hidden treat for the intrepid traveler.”

- Daniel Sharp

Visit Huaraz, Peru as a volunteer in Peru with IVHQ

Photo: @kamkamgram via Instagram

12. Ilha Grande, Brazil

“It’s close to Rio de Janeiro (and relatively easy to access), but it offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The majority of the island is protected state park (Parque Estadual da Ilha Grande) with ample hiking trails in the native rainforest. Beach dwellers have their choice of snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and diving. The main settlement is a small village, Vila Abrão, in which no cars are allowed - it has unpaved roads for foot-traffic only and guesthouses, restaurants and bars with thatched roofs. Gatherings at night tend to be spent on the docks or beaches as the clubbing scene is left in Rio.”

- Chelsea Green

Visit Ilha Grande in Brazil and an IVHQ volunteer during an IVHQ weekend

Photo: @mirizmendes via Instagram

13. Storms River, South Africa

“A beautiful part of the country located along the Garden Route. Not only is it located in the Tsitsikamma National Park, an amazing coastal reserve, but it’s also home to the famous Otter Trail which begins at the mouth of Storms River. Hiking along the dramatic coastline, rock jumping by waterfalls and swimming in the pitch black pools along the trail is an incredible experience. The Bloukrans bungy jump, the world’s highest bridge bungy, is also close by in the Tsitsikamma area and a must do while there, if you’re an adrenalin junkie! Side note - the bungy jump is seriously high!! I just stood and watched in the jump pod while my brother took the big leap!”

- Jamie-lee Reynolds (IVHQ Programs Manager/IVHQ Africa Program Coordinator)

Visit Storms River during an IVHQ weekend in South Africa

Photo: @untouchedadventures via Instagram

14. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

“The ruins of Angkor in Cambodia are a must-see while you’re young. Getting up before dawn to cycle to Angkor Wat for sunrise is breathtaking and it is one of those places that will give you a travel bug for life. The temples dotted throughout the area are best explored on foot or by peddle-power and being in amongst local people helps to give you an appreciation for different cultures that will shape how you view travel forever. If we keep throwing them at them every week, they’ll start to become a task instead of being something that everyone enjoys doing when they do come up.”

- Ben Brown

Visit the temples of Angor Wat as a volunteer in Cambodia with IVHQ

Photo: @Alexstevensphoto via Instagram

15. Argentina

“I tried to pick something in particular in Argentina that everyone needs to visit but I just couldn’t, there is just too much about it that I love! The vineyard’s of the Uco Valley, the vitality of the nightlife in Buenos Aires, the beauty of the Cordoba Province and the adventure of the ski fields of Patagonia are just some of the amazing experiences available in Argentina. You will want to visit again and again! Oh yeah, and the steak… Amazing.”

- Kate Pilon

Explore Argentina as a volunteer with IVHQ

Photo: @ivhq via Instagram

16. Nusa Lembongan/Ceningan/Penida, Bali

“Whether you have never dived before and want to do an introductory dive, your open water or course or are an experienced and well traveled diver, the dive sites around the three islands of Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida offer some of the most exciting and rewarding diving for IVHQ volunteers in Bali. Combine that with a water temperature which typically doesn’t drop below 20°C and average visibility of 20 to 30 meters and you have an experience not to be missed!”

- Margarete Lua

Visit the island of Lembongan as an IVHQ volunteer in Bali

Photo: @thelembongantraller via Instagram

17. Huacachina, Peru

“While I can’t claim to have ticked Huacachina off my ever expanding Bucket List, I’m a little bit jealous of all the IVHQ volunteers in Peru that have! Desert sand-boarding… Enough said.”

- Ellen Varoy

Visit Huacachina in Peru while you're young with IVHQ

Photo: @amipatel17 via Instagram (Volunteer in Peru)

18. Milford Sound, New Zealand

“To really experience the New Zealand outdoors, it is worthwhile to lose yourself in one of New Zealand’s greatest walks. The Milford Track offers four days of spectacular landscapes, forest-covered valleys, waterfalls, steep fiords and mountain passes and is a must do for volunteers in New Zealand.”

- Lydia van Den Assum

Visit the Milford Sound as an IVHQ volunteer in New Zealand

Photo: @ryanelders via Instagram

If you’re looking to tie together a trip to one of these places with your next IVHQ volunteer overseas program, pop over to our volunteer abroad programs page to pick the perfect program for you!

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