Top 5 Gap Year Destinations


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by Dieudonnée Soh

Your (metaphorical) graduation cap is up in the air and your little red book is in hand. If you’re thinking of adding some new passport stamps to your collection, here’s a list of countries you ought to visit for a gap year.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 3.33.01 pm#1 – Thailand

Possessing over a hundred exotic islands, Thailand is heaven on earth for the beach-bound boys and babes.

For those who crave more than the sandy white beaches of Phuket, explore the luxurious residence of Thailand’s royalty, the Grand Palace, or the captivating sacred sites in Chiangmai. After all that, you can also head down to experience the bustling city life of Bangkok, where shopping, sales and street food await you and your wallet!

Did you know?

Though elephant trekking is a popular activity in Thailand, the backs of these gentle giants actually can’t support the weight of humans! The Elephant Nature Park in Thailand now acts as a sanctuary for rescued abused elephants.

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#2 – New Zealand

If you love having your feet off the ground, New Zealand is the perfect getaway for adrenaline junkies!

Ready for a scream? Throw yourself out of a cable car and bungy jump 134 metres above the Nevis river in Queenstown, or go for a wild, wet ride while white-water rafting down the Rangitikei river. If you want to kick things up a notch, then go up several notches and toss yourself out of a plane (safely) with tandem skydiving!

Did you know?

There are about seven sheep to every one New Zealander!

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#3 – South Africa

NAAAAANTS INGONYAMA BAGITHI BABA. (The lyrics actually mean: ‘Here comes a lion, Father.’)

Want to get up close and personal with wildlife or hunt down dinner like your ancestors? Well, the latter is now illegal in Africa, but you can still be one with nature and its creatures without harming them or yourself. Go on a safari with the Hluhluwe & Imfolozi National Park, zipline between the massive canopies at Tsitsikamma National Park and for the real daredevils, try cage diving with Great White Sharks and kayaking with crocs!

Did you know?

South Africa has 11 official languages; Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

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#4 – Ghana

Want to do something a little more significant? Spend a year in Ghana and get involved in building a school for children.

You’ve just finished your education, but many go without that privilege. Raleign International offers you a chance to give back to the global community. You never know how much of a difference one extra classroom could make in the lives of many.

Did you know?

The Ghana Empire was built on trade in salt and gold, which is why British merchants later called it the Gold Coast.

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#5 – Nepal

The trip here will be tough and treacherous, but it’ll all be worth it when you soak in the Nepalese culture.

Here, you can tackle two immense challenges; climbing Mt. Everest, or teaching English to children between ages six and 17. Whichever you decide, the experience will surely enrich your life and bring you to greater heights, metaphorically or literally.

Did you know?

You greet each other in Nepal by putting your palms together, bowing and saying ‘Namaste’. No more awkward hand shakes!

(images credited to their respective owners)