The world's most dangerous hike ⛰️



Jack's Flight Club ✈️ Travel News & Inspiration

Selamat Tahun Baru, JFC-ers,

Or should we say, "Happy New Year"! No, you’ve not been transported back to January. This week, we’re celebrating New Year around the world.

Wednesday marked Nyepi in the Balinese Saka calendar. The usually buzzing island celebrated with 24 hours of peace and tranquillity where everything just stops. Flights stopped, shops closed, ATMs powered down. Following these rituals helps the Balinese start the year afresh and wards off any evil spirits.

Elsewhere, we’re wishing Nowruz Mubarak to those who celebrated the Persian New Year on Monday. From Turkey to China and everywhere in between, families gathered to feast on fish and rice, sing, dance, and parade through the streets to mark the beginning of spring. Festivities last 13 days, the end of which is marked by picnicking with family and friends to mark Sizdah Bedar.

And finally, last night’s new crescent moon signalled the beginning of the month of Ramadan. As well as fasting during daylight hours, Muslims tend to place an extra emphasis on charity, kindness and patience during this time. To all those celebrating, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak!

Best wishes and happy travels,



Dream Extreme

When thrill-seeking Flight Finder Lauren isn’t tearing up the slopes or swimming with sharks, she’s always looking for the next adrenaline rush. "But surely finding insane flight deals does the job?", you might ask. Apparently not. The woman is insatiable.

What Lauren calls her "to-do list", most of us would probably turn green at the thought of. But, dear readers, we shall let you decide. Here are just a few of her "Top ten craziest thrills from around the world"

Devil’s Pool - Victoria Falls, Zambia

Take a dip on the edge of the third-largest waterfall on the planet, with over 500 million litres of water rushing past every minute.

Located practically in the middle of the mile-wide falls, visitors have been braving the waters of Devil’s Pool for years—with the help of local guides, of course.

Despite the ridiculous height of 350ft, the pool is actually relatively safe, providing you’re a decent swimmer.

Although…just to spice things up, you do have the added danger of hungry hippos and stealthy crocs lurking up stream, but your guide should be keeping an eye out for those before you become a midday snack.

Since the pool isn’t anywhere near the river bank, you’ll need to take a boat tour to Livingstone Island and then wade downstream to reach it. You can book the boat tour alone, which starts from £100, and then opt in to include the swim anytime from August–December.

The world’s "most dangerous" hike - Mount Huashan, China

Traversing around a sheer cliff face with a 7000ft drop may sound like something reserved for professionals…but not at Mount Huashan! As long as you’re under 55 years old and over 4ft11, you’ve got the green light for this treacherous hiking trail.

Just be warned, although no official statistics have been released, this one is rumoured to have a death-toll hitting the hundreds.

Consisting of rickety planks and crooked iron stairs, it’s all down to you to safely navigate the route with the help of a small harness and 2 carabiners.

Originally installed over 700 years ago by a Taoist priest, most planks have since been renovated by the government, who sadistically decided to keep them at a measly 1ft wide.

Until recently, the plank walk used to be a two-way thing! This meant hikers faced inevitable stand-offs where one of you needed to unclip your carabiner and crawl around the other.

Thankfully, these high-intensity crossings are no more since the update to a one-way route. Although, with hundreds of tourists flocking to the walk every day, it’s still pretty terrifying.

General admission to the mountain is £20, and those mandatory carabiners will set you back another £5. The total trekking time is around 3–5 hours, and we’d advise going between May and October. It gets pretty chilly in the winter, and you certainly don’t want numb fingers when you’re trying to reattach your harness.

Hell Hole Caves - Santa Cruz, California

Ahh spelunking, everyone's favourite subterranean, claustrophobia-inducing pastime. And…with a friendly name like Hell Hole, what could possibly go wrong?

Not to be confused with the other Hell Hole in West Virginia (who knew there were so many?!), this complex cave system is far more secretive.

Hidden in the Wilder Ranch State Park, the narrow entry shaft is easily missed. So, here’s a guide if you’re crazy enough to go looking for it.

CC image courtesy of B Heliker on Flickr

Once you’ve wriggled inside, the daylight fades and the floor immediately steepens. Ahead are a series of endless passages, some barely 1.5ft wide.

We hope you’ve got a good sense of direction, because this is one suuuper disorientating labyrinth.

The most popular ‘room’, if you can find it, is one called the Hall of Faces. Aptly decorated with a collection of sinister clay masks, likely made by previous explorers or the monsters from The Descent (who knows?).

But…before reaching the demonic face room, you’ll have to overcome a bunch of other passages with equally appealing names, such as ‘the man-trap chute’ and ‘the birthing canal’.

Oh, and did we forget to mention the spiders?!

Read more…

Well, if the mere idea of all that hasn’t turned you white as a sheet, you’ll probably want to check out the rest of Lauren’s Top Ten. Good on you, you mad folks.

For the rest of us, how about a nice, relaxing look at the best destinations for book lovers?


Around The States In 50 Editions

Each week in 2023, we’ll be going on a whirlwind tour of a different randomly selected US state. This week, we’re heading to Michigan.

Track three on Sufjan Steven’s Album ‘Michigan’ is called ‘For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti’. It had never occurred to us until today that there was actually a town in Michigan called Paradise. And yet there it is, right on the banks of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, only a 5-hour drive from Hell (plenty more evocative place names where those came from).

The Upper Peninsula, or UP as the locals call it, is one of the most beautiful parts of the state, and real big for summer getaways. From above, Les Cheneaux Islands on Lake Huron look straight out of a Caribbean tourist brochure, with turquoise waters and golden sands.

After a hard day paddleboarding and kayaking around the islands, you can dry off with a hike along the trails on Government Island. The land here is publicly owned, so you can set up camp for the night and toast marshmallows over an open fire–so long as you leave no trace that you were ever there.

While you’re on Lake Huron, "The Jewel of the Great Lakes", Mackinac Island, is a must. Like a step back in time, people there travel between the historic inns and fortifications by horse and carriage (not mandatory, but feels way fancier than a bicycle). The views from Arch Rock are pretty sweet, too, but the island is well-known for one thing even sweeter–its fudge.

The UP winters can be harsh, but only then do you get the full glory of Michigan’s ice caves. The Eben Caves are easy to reach on a 2-mile route trip trail, or if you want to live on the edge, trek across the frozen bay of Lake Superior to Grand Island Ice Caves. The second option is only safe in the depths of a freezing winter, meaning you’ll really have to wrap up and kit yourself out with snow shoes.

Elsewhere in The Great Lake State, Sleeping Bear Dunes are the draw of the Lower Peninsula. You’d never know from the panoramic views and serene sunsets over Lake Michigan that you’re less than an hour’s drive from Traverse City. And that’s exactly where you want to be if you enjoy a glass of vino!

Surprisingly, the area’s latitude puts it in the 45th parallel along with Piedmont in Italy and Bordeaux in France–combine that with the bays offering protection from the elements, and you’ve got yourself a wine region. Luckily, you don’t have to pick a designated driver, because there are wine tours aplenty. A full day on the grapes can get a little hard, though, so we suggest mixing it up with a wine and beer tour.

Whether you know it or not, we’ve all had a little contact with some of Michigan’s greatest creations at some point in our lives. Rice Crispies, Coco Pops, and Frosties alike will want to pay their respects to the home of cereal, Battle Creek, while pizza fans should keep a look-out for the herd of bison at Domino’s Farms. Yes, Domino’s Pizza now has a farm.

And of course, then there’s the state’s most famous son, Henry Ford. The Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, and the Ford Rouge Factory tour serve up a whole load of national history and classic cars dating back over 100 years. And there’s even a spot of air travel in there on the off-chance you’re into that sort of thing (doubtful, we know).

So, in the words of Sufjan Stevens, Say Yes to M!ch!gan!


Pick Of The Clicks

All the important (or silly, or strange) travel news from across the web this week.

Beware passport office strikes! From 3 April to 5 May, passport office workers across the UK will be on strike, which will likely lead to weeks of processing delays in the run up to summer.

2023's happiest countries in the world have just been named, and there are no prizes for guessing who tops the list. As usual, Scandinavia and Finland are right up there with the best.

The rest of us aren't doing so badly, though, with USA, UK and Ireland all appearing in the top 20. Good work, team!

The Big Apple is rebranding, and the people have a lot to say on the matter. The iconic 'I ❤️ NYC' is retiring, so surely the city will need something innovative and exciting to take it forward? Well... not so much.

More good news for train enthusiasts, as Germany's €49 monthly train ticket is set to launch on 1 May. The pass will cover all regional trains, metro networks, trams and buses across the country, as well as trains to Basel in Switzerland and Salzburg in Austria.

And finally, TikTok may indeed have all the answers. One passenger flying from New York to Abu Dhabi was given extra legroom and special treatment from cabin crew after using a trick he'd learnt on the social media platform.

All it cost him was a bit of kindness... and $130 in Starbucks vouchers.