Take a leaf out of Indy’s book and don’t bother following maps to buried treasure; “X never, ever marks the spot.” Instead, let us do the leg work as you delve into this prized possession of a trip, spanning 12 days. You’ll have to plunge your way down white-water rapids and climb the 350m (1,144ft) ancient Temple of Doom fortress at Sigiriya to get your hands on any plunder. On your less active days, you can teach the local kids all about the adventures of a part-time archaeologist when you visit a rural Sri Lankan school, and fend for yourself by cooking up some local delicacies at a cooking class – don’t fret, it won’t be eyeball soup and chilled monkey brains.
Despite the 2,000-odd years of history, the magnificent ancient city of Petra is known by many simply as the place where Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989) ends. We can’t blame Mr Spielberg for taking a shine to the city’s totally singular entrance gate but Petra, and Jordan as a whole, has so much more to offer. Our trip features two days in Petra, plenty of time for hazy flashbacks of your Indy-watching youth, but also spends a couple of days in another Hollywood favourite – Wadi Rum. This otherworldly red desert has welcomed John Wick, the giant sand worms of Dune (2021) and various Star Wars heroes over the years. We’ll explore it’s rocky expanse via 4×4 and spend a night in a cosy desert camp – now that’s an adventure.
Make sure your rival doesn’t get there first with this Amazonian adventure. Start your eight-day trip by immersing yourself in the architecture of Quito and scouting out adventure companions over a Pilsener, Ecuador’s favourite beer. There’ll be no need to commandeer a horse when you head out into Cotopaxi National Park – you’ll be provided with one when you’re introduced to the Chagra cowboy culture of the Ecuadorian highlanders. A stay at Kuyana Amazon Lodge won’t see you sword fighting dangerous pursuers on rickety bridges, but you will trek through the rainforest alongside the Jatunyacu River – one of the main tributaries of the Amazon.
Unlike Dr Jones, the only thing you’ll be fighting in Egypt is your desire not to leave. Get lost in the wonders of handcrafted souvenirs and rich spices at the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar in Cairo, before meeting potential lifelong friends (like Sallah) outside the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza – the largest being the last surviving marvel of the Ancient World. Remembering that, “This… this is history,” unleash the archaeology professor in you when you visit the Temple of Karnak. Ramses V will also be waiting for you at the Valley of the Kings, so it’s safe to say that you’ll definitely be in possession of some rare and precious memories with this Egyptian experience.
From it’s crown-jewel palaces and temples to its bustling spice markets, there isn’t a city on Earth more suitable for Dr Jones to be chased through than Istanbul. That’s where our story begins, as we explore the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and various spice markets – it won’t be hard to imagine yourself opening a secret door in Topkapi Palace, or blending in with the crowd in the Grand Bazaar. Indy would love everything about this trip – there’s the ancient archeological sites of Aspendos, Perge and Hattusas, the otherworldly rock formations of Cappadocia and the underground city of Kaymakli. Just don’t tell him that there are snakes in Turkey.