Bridging the gap between science and tourism, scientific tourism is an increasingly popular travel niche. It brings people from different places and cultures together, enabling them to help advance humanity’s knowledge about the world. Scientific tourism takes a variety of forms, including research projects, eco-volunteering, and scientific expeditions. Here are six unique scientific expeditions that welcome tourists, from conquering Lobuche East in the Himalayas to exploring the geographic North Pole.
1. Volunteering for Island Conservation in the Seychelles
Global Vision International allows eco-conscious travelers to contribute to conservation initiatives in the Seychelles. Participants join a team of international volunteers and assist on priority conservation projects. Visitors can splash through the mangrove forests and seagrass meadows that they work to save. They have a positive impact on the local ecosystem, build their professional networks, and make lifelong friends in one of the world’s most isolated and gorgeous surroundings.
Tourists contribute to one of the longest-running terrestrial and marine data collection efforts. The guests can also visit stunning coral reefs and snorkel alongside tropical fish, turtles, reef shark and eagle rays in this island paradise.
2. Scaling Lobuche East in the Himalayas
Because Everest gets all the attention, the Himalayas are usually considered the playground of Experienced mountaineers and rock climbers. Fortunately, according to Nepal guide and climber Tiffany Lin, Lobuche East is a much more moderate trek than Everest or K2. Lobuche’s summit is feasible for anyone who is reasonably fit but wants to challenge themselves. Under Lin’s guidance, expedition participants meet local villagers and learn about life in one of the most inhospitable environments in the world.
3. Exploring the North Pole
Capable of breaking through ice up to 7 feet thick, Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot is the only luxury passenger ship in the world that can get to the true geographic North Pole. Doubling as a research center for a team of 20 scientists with an onboard laboratory as well as its own helicopter for research, the ship also has five-star accommodation for paying guests.
Le Commandant Charcot is equipped with an onboard environment is devised to enhance and extend the polar experience, with a pastry shop, a pianist, a wellness space, and an art collection. In addition, the vessel’s onboard climatologist and glaciologist are on-hand to teach guests about the development of the climate in the North Pole, formation of the icepack, icebergs, and the frozen sea in all its different states.
4. Conserving Coastline in Thailand
Operated by Global Vision International, the Thailand Coastal Conservation Expedition was established to help protect Thailand’s natural environment. It works to conserve unique habitats and threatened species in the province of Phang Nga. International volunteers live and work together in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. They assist with plastic pollution remediation, turtle conservation, surveys of bird and butterfly populations, and educational efforts.
Phang Nga is renowned among filmmakers for its natural beauty, with vast limestone cliffs jutting out of the deep blue waters. There are spectacular coral reefs and several critically endangered marine species, including the green sea turtle.
5. Managing Wildlife in the Mongolian Steppe
Compared with other Central Asian nations, Mongolia is home to a rich diversity of wildlife. Covering 257 square miles, Ikh Nart Nature Reserve’s grasslands and arid steppe habitats provide a home to numerous threatened species, including the saker falcon, cinereous vultures, and Argali sheep. There are also robust populations of graceful goitered and Mongolian gazelles roaming in huge herds.
This protected national park is managed by local counties on behalf of the Mongolian federal government. However, they need outside resources to provide active stewardship. Earthwatch teams work to improve conservation management policies throughout the reserve, preserving this unique landscape and the many species that depend on it.
Volunteers from across the world are invited to join the Earthwatch team. Participants explore this natural wilderness in a way few people get to experience it, studying and conserving local wildlife.
6. Surveying Snow Leopards in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country bordered by China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In Kyrgyzstan’s remote Tien Shan mountains, travelers from around the world can participate in the challenging and hands-on Biosphere Expedition. They work alongside conservationists from a mobile tented base camp to track the elusive snow leopard on foot and with off-road vehicles.
Biosphere Expeditions’ award-winning scheme empowers ordinary people to protect the planet at this moment of crisis. Tourists can spend their vacation time as wildlife conservation volunteers, learn new skills, travel to remote and beautiful places, and connect with like-minded people from around the world to put conservation travel into action.