THE GREAT WALL, CHINA
Start and end your year with a trip to the Great Wall that few have ever experienced. You will commence your journey from the mountainous region of Jinshanling. Although further from Beijing than the more popular Great Wall gateways, you will soon realize the rewards as the much less visited section of the wall blends itself spectacularly to the peaks and valleys of the landscape. Reaching the summit of the first peak, you are granted a view of an expansive valley where the wall makes a dramatic curve to accommodate the unique terrain. Drums sound and Shaolin monks celebrate as you reach the bottom of the valley and a banquet has been laid out just for your arrival. A private dinner on the Great Wall surrounded by picturesque mountains – talk about ringing in the New Year with style.
MAASAI SAFARI, KENYA
Bring in the New Year as an honorary member of the Maasai and experience Africa from the eyes of a culture steeped in the traditions of the warrior. Begin your journey at the Saruni Mara Hotel where you will be greeted by your Maasai guide. Spend the day enthralled by the lifestyle of the people and take in the textiles, artwork and ornate beadwork that the Maasai are renowned for. On New Year’s Eve, head out on safari by foot or by 4×4 and traverse the Kenyan wilderness with the first-hand knowledge and experience that only your personal Maasai guide can offer – truly an experience that will linger on your mind throughout the New Year.
MAORI TRIBE, NEW ZEALAND
Leave behind the fireworks and celebrate the way the indigenous people of New Zealand have for hundreds of years. With Auckland as a starting point, you will settle in at the five-star boutique hotel Mollies. Take in the hotel’s magnificent harbour view before your expert guide collects you for a full-day tour of Tamaki Makaurau, the Maori region that surrounds Auckland. You will visit Pa (or Maori) sites where tribes once resided in fortified village and hear a haunting tale about the Legend of Rangitoto Island. Most significantly, you will visit the historic point where the first Polynesian canoe landed to discover New Zealand. The day culminates on the beaches of Tamaki Makaurau where your New Year is brought in amidst a Maori traditional ceremony.
NORTHERN LIGHTS, SWEDEN
Nature’s very own fireworks display is a tailor-made alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve celebration. A mere 100-miles south of the Arctic Circle, the town of Luleå and its surroundings of virgin forests and unspoiled wilderness is the ideal spot for viewing the Northern Lights during the winter months. As midnight approaches on New Year’s Eve, the air cools and sky clears to establish the ideal condition for you to embark on private helicopter over the nearby Brandö forest. Amidst the eerie stillness of the night you can awe at nature’s most spectacular light show, accentuated only by its own reflection on the mirror finish of the frozen Lake Skabram.
THE DANI TRIBE, WEST PAPUA
This New Year’s Eve, escape your comfort zone and partake in a completely immersive experience to connect with your primeval roots. The Dani Tribe of West Papua, once Neolithic warriors turned subsistence farmers, retain much of their traditional way of life; penis gourds, animal bone piercings are an instantly recognisable feature of the tribes dress. You will stay in the heart of the village and make your home in a traditional oval Dani hut. Your days will be spent sampling the local cuisine, sago making and learning the art of the bow and arrow. With your new found skills, try your hand at hunting and contribute to the grand pig feast to take place on New Year’s Eve. With age old tribal customs that have stood the test of time, make this New Year’s Eve an utterly unique experience.