Those of us who love adventure travel are familiar with the saying, “it’s the journey, not the destination”. Whether it’s walking with camels in the Australian desert, traversing Costa Rica by raft, kayaking in the Antarctic or trekking in the Himalayas, “getting there” is all part of the adventure. As is where our travellers sleep each night.
From sleeping in a traditional Japanese ryokan, staying in a treehouse in South Africa for a true ‘bush feeling’ or spending the night at a striking campsite in the heart of Australia’s outback. If you're looking to sleep somewhere more inspiring than the four walls of a hotel on your next trip, this list offers exciting 'alternative’ accommodations set in beautifully unique places when travelling with World Expeditions.
Stargaze from Martian Dome Tents | Wadi Rum, Jordan
You'll feel like you're a world away sleeping under a blanket of stars in a futuristic dome surrounded by remote sand dunes and rugged mountains. Upgrade from a standard tent to a Martian Dome Tent for luxury and coziness in Jordan’s Wadi Rum, also known as the ‘Valley of the Moon’.
Combining modern style comforts with an authentic desert experience, the living quarters of each dome tent feature individual air-conditioning, a private bathroom, hot water as well as a separate viewing terrace.
• STAY THERE: Jordan Highlights >
Hop aboard a traditional Dhoni | Maldives
Imagine days sleeping onboard a traditional Dhoni in the Maldives cruising between far-flung atolls and reefs by day, stopping to swim or snorkel in the translucent waters and then spending the evenings moored off a different island.
Resembling a traditional Arab sailing vessel and handcrafted locally from coconut palm timber, our Dhoni’s have been converted into live-onboard cruise boats with plenty of room for relaxing and watching the world go by. There’s also ample opportunity to meet the locals of small settlements or enjoy a fresh seafood barbecue on pristine uninhabited beaches.
• STAY THERE: Maldives Dhoni Cruise >
Traditional ryokan inns | Japan
At first, you'll encounter something of a bull-in-a-China-shop feel, but this reaction normalises as you immerse in this delicate environment of spaces and displayed heirlooms. The traditional style accommodation of a ryokan means sleeping on a futon bedding laid out on tatami floors.
The warming hospitality of the local innkeepers combined with the countryside atmosphere and the exceptional Japanese dinner makes the experience extra special.
• STAY THERE: Backroads of Japan >
Sleep comfortably under mighty Himalayan peaks | Everest and Annapurna, Nepal
Wired for a trekking adventure but want the luxury of putting your feet up after a long day's hike? Experience warmth, privacy and superb views at our exclusive Nepal eco camps – it wins out on sustainability for a back to nature experience that doesn't spare on your comfort. Plus our fully serviced camping based treks support local communities at every level of the operation, including our porters who are provided with a good working wage, insurance, trekking gear, food and accommodation.
Featuring standing height tents, off-the-ground beds, clean mattresses and pillows, heated dining areas for meals and 'downtime' and western-style toilets, with many also fitted with hot showers. Watch the video below to take a virtual tour of our private Nepal campsites.
Camping high in the clouds is truly a style of travel worth experiencing!
• STAY THERE: Annapurna and Everest treks >
Overnight in a treehouse | South Africa
Set in a beautiful game-rich area, spending a night in a treehouse in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve offers a true ‘bush feeling’ that gets you away from it all without sparing on your comfort.
Reaching up into the trees, the wooden structure comes with a game-viewing platform and a top deck with a bed, as well as an enclosed outside bathroom and shower. The treehouse can sleep a maximum of two guests, however it does need to be pre-booked due to high demand. With a bed and a view to be remembered, it's perfect for fearless romantics.
• STAY THERE: Kruger Walking Safari >
Experience award-winning desert comfort | Larapinta, Australia
The multi-award-winning semi-permanent eco camps provide easy and uninterrupted access to nature, a feeling of solitude and an expanded sense of the vastness of Australia's unique desert plains. It's a perfect retreat for walkers exploring the outback on the iconic Larapinta Trail.
Enjoy the comfort of beds, walk-in ‘safari-style’ tents, large floor-to-ceiling windows for you to soak in the magnificent views, hot showers and charging port facilities. Aimed to deliver previously unavailable levels of comfort to trekkers in a climate known for its extreme temperatures, its new sustainable technologies are used with structures designed to allow the land to recover during the off-season, maintaining the idyllic natural setting of these wilderness sites.
These campsites continue to set the standard, having won three times at the Northern Territory Tourism Brolga Award for Ecotourism (in 2016, 2017 and 2019).
• STAY THERE: Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort >
Once-in-a-lifetime ice camping | Antarctica Peninsula
A voyage into the Antarctic's otherworldly environments puts you among breathtaking frozen landscapes, rugged icy coastlines, stunning coves and islands and abundant wildlife. So why not make camp here like a polar explorer? A night out on the ice is a popular experience that will create memories to last a lifetime.
You'll stay in special wind and waterproof tents, high-quality polar sleeping bags, comfortable mattresses and field equipment are provided to protect you from the elements at night.
Our active base camp Antarctica Peninsula voyages also offers an experience of the Antarctic wilderness like no other with zodiac cruising and optional kayaking, snowshoeing, mountaineering and hiking activities.
• STAY THERE: Base camp journeys to the Antarctic Peninsula >
Live like a nomad in a traditional ger | Mongolia
Take a step back in time and into the shoes of local nomads in West Mongolia as you experience one of the last few wildernesses on earth. Marvel at unique and untouched features such as windswept sand dunes, ancient dinosaur relics, solid ice formations and of course Mongolia’s famous wild horses.
It is here where you can find the original mobile home: the ‘ger’, a circular tent, is an age-old tradition coming from the Mongolian nomads. Made from a wooden frame and covered by wool felt, which keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer; it is very easy to collapse and re-assemble again.
The first gers are believed to have been put up 2500-3000 years ago and their design has not changed much since then. Our gers are spacious and come with comfortable beds, soft linen and extra blankets for cooler nights. Rather than electrical bulbs, candles illuminate the gers at night.
They offer an excellent opportunity to live as the locals do on the Mongolian Steppe with plenty of interaction with a local family.
• STAY THERE: Mongolia Panorama >
Stay on a floating house | Murray River, South Australia
Step onboard a modern houseboat for a unique way of experiencing Australia’s greatest river, The Murray. Ancient red gum forests, spectacular floodplain wetlands, red ochre-coloured cliffs and meandering creeks are your surrounds.
Each night you can relax in your own double room, enjoy hot showers and take a soak in the top deck spa. You'll be treated after your daily walks with 3 courses of superb Riverland cuisine from a menu designed exclusively by a renowned native food chef. Savour local brews, Riverland wine and Riverland roasted coffee – heavenly!
• STAY THERE: Murray River Walk >
Stay in the world’s first geodesic hotel room | Torres del Paine, Patagonia
The award-winning EcoCamp Patagonia is situated in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and provides the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation, complete with green technology.
Modelled on the traditional Kawesqar hut of the native people, the campsite is a collection of striking, comfortable dome tents. It is perfectly immersed in the wilderness of Torres del Paine, with ceiling windows that allow you to look up at the starry night sky.
• STAY THERE: Torres del Paine Ecocamp >
Open your tent to endless Caribbean sea vistas | Belize
If you're looking for a tropical escape that beholds amazing wildlife and bird watching opportunities, look no further. Stay in a remote tropical marine park fifty-five miles off the shore of the Belize Mainland. Under a canopy of coconut trees, relax in a safari-style beach cabana with endless views of the Caribbean. You'll see why it's a designated World Heritage site.
The secluded and renowned Lighthouse Reef Atoll offers a stunning exploration of Belize's richest coral reefs. Dive in and snorkel the Barrier Reef depths and famous Blue Hole, take a paddle by kayak or try your hand at stand up paddleboarding.
You'll sleep in comfortable wall-tent cabanas with wooden floors, a wooden stand light with a kerosene lamp. The beach base camp consists of a central Pavillion, which acts as a social hub, and includes freshwater showers, modern compost toilets and propane-powered refrigeration.
• STAY THERE: Belize Jungle and Reef >
Wilderness camping | Mount Kenya
Many would argue that Mount Kenya is the most visually stunning of Africa’s ice-capped peaks and more dramatic and interesting than the country’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. So when it comes to ‘sleeping out’, it doesn’t get much better than camping under the stars alongside Lake Michaelson, 4000 metres above sea level in Mount Kenya National Park.
Sit around the campfire under the starlit sky and hear the sounds of the African night – whether that is the call of a bush baby or the howl of a hyena – which enhance the whole experience of a wilderness escape.
Our seven-day ascent is an exhilarating trek with stunning alpine views, diverse wildlife and some of the most beautiful campsites in Africa.
• STAY THERE: Mount Kenya Ascent >
Trans Siberian train | Russia, Mongolia and China
Few train journeys on earth conjure up such variety as the Trans Siberian; it has captured the imagination of travellers for decades with the entire rail journey taking 13 years and 4 months to build!
This superb 5000km journey through history traces the classic route from St Petersburg, home to the magnificent Hermitage, to Beijing where iconic attractions abound. Highlights along the way include the Gobi Desert, Lake Baikal in Siberia and the Mongolian Steppe.
Sleeping on the train in the four-berth sleeper compartment is an experience in itself. We also offer an option to upgrade to first-class in a two-berth privates sleeper for the entire journey.
Bring a good book, a chessboard and a bottle of vodka and you're sure to form some memorable friendships while watching the world go by.
• STAY THERE: Trans Siberian Rail Journey >
Trulli House | Puglia, Italy
The distinctive Trullo houses of Italy’s Puglia region are scattered around the intriguing town of Alberobello. While the rooms are minimal they are furnished with the quaint countryside atmosphere and are well located in the heart of the Puglia region.
There are many theories behind the origin of their conical shape design and dry stonewall construction. One theory is that, due to the high taxation on property, the people of Puglia constructed them in this way so they could be quickly dismantled whenever tax inspectors were in the area.
Staying in these compact houses is a unique experience offered on cycling and walking holidays in Puglia with UTracks.
• STAY THERE: Walking in Puglia >