Cities locked down and borders closed have got us thinking about our bucket lists in a whole new light. Sure, our minds have wandered to golden sands, sunrises and sets, trekking and traversing the globe, and so often these fantasies are rendered in sepia tones. 

But lately, it’s the after dark activities which have held the most appeal; proper escapism, away from crowds and calamity, sounds about right to us. Being cooped up in the house for months on end has led to a craving for vast, expansive open spaces, for seeing the stars, and for partying with like minded folk here for a good time, not for a long one.

When all this is said and done, and responsible travel is once again permitted, we’re ticking off these 9 of the world’s best after dark activities from the IDEAL bucketlist.

SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

Seeing the Northern Lights in either the Northern Hemisphere (Alaska, Iceland, and Northern Canada, Norway, Sweden or Finland), or the Southern Hemisphere (New Zealand and Tasmania) is a once a lifetime experience. Many cite Norway as the best place to see the Aurora Borealis, due to its long nights; from September to March, the country’s north is dark for around 20 hours!

STARGAZE IN THE ATACAMA DESERT

Stargaze in the Atacama Desert, Chile, where you can see stars, galaxies and other extraterrestrial objects from an almost light-pollution-free sky, with no clouds. The oldest desert on Earth, the Atacama remains comparatively mild all year round, making it one of the best deserts to visit for nighttime stargazing. 

HIT THE VEGAS STRIP

Viva Las Vegas! Whether you’re appalled by such ostentatious displays of capitalism, or you find the spectacle totally thrilling, a visit to Vegas in full swing is certainly an experience. Hitting the strip provides drama and delirium, make no mistake, but if you don’t fancy taking a plane to the States, this is one you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, too, online at platforms like Unibet online poker.

SEE PETRA BY NIGHT

Jordan’s ancient city of Petra is stunning in the day, sure, but when seeing the incredible site which sits between the Red and Dead sea, you’ll find that night time is the right time, for sure.

During daytime hours, it gets seriously crowded and hot, hot, hot but at night, the temperature drops somewhat and the spectacle of Petra’s walls rendered red by the light of hundreds of candles begins.

TAKE THE BIOLUMINESCENCE KAYAK TOUR IN FLORIDA

Take the bioluminescence kayak tour in Florida, in Meritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and witness the magic of lights under your paddles. This totally natural phenomenon, where water glows and sometimes even casts a shadow, is best viewed in Florida from Mid June through September. Prepare to be amazed.

TAKE A CANDLELIT TOUR OF SANTA CATALINA MONASTERY

Go to Arequipa, Peru, for a candlelit tour at Santa Catalina monastery. Starting twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays after the sun sets, this fascinating 20’000 square metre complex is best seen as the nuns would have done centuries ago; at night via the flickering light of a flame. Even if you’re an atheist, you’ll sense something spiritual here.

GO FLOODLIT SKIING IN NASSFELD

Skiing in the dark, along the floodlit slopes, is one of the most thrilling, adrenaline raising but strangely calming experiences the world has to offer. Seeing the mountains bathed in moonlight, with silence all around, would soothe even the most restless soul. Perhaps the best place to do this on the planet is Nassfeld, in Austria.

GO ON NIGHT SAFARI, SINGAPORE

Singapore’s Night Safari is the world’s first nocturnal zoo, and the best safari park in the world to appreciate nocturnal animals which usually sleep during the day. Here, you’ll see (if you’re lucky!) 2500 creatures of the night from the comfort of a forty minute tram ride, but the highlight must be the zoo’s leopard walking trail, one of four such routes in the park. 

HIT THE NIGHT MARKETS OF BANGKOK

The food of Thailand is arguably the world’s most complex and diverse (and if you ask us, the most delicious, too!) and if you want to enjoy it to its full potential, Bangkok’s night markets are as good a place to start as any. 

Alive with activity, hustle, bustle and a miasma of competing aromas, Talad Rod Fai Ratchada (often referred to as the Train Market) is the biggest and most versatile of its kind. Open every night, from around 6pm until late, don’t leave before trying (or at least, seeing!) the latest Thai foodie craze for ‘giant food’; yep, that’s Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong and other classics, all in super size. 

While you’re here and hungry, check out our 5 IDEAL tips for eating out in Bangkok that you need to know. Let us know your favourite dish sometime!