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Thursday, September 4, 2008

5 Obscene Vacations Chismillionaire style- $1 Million Plus

While many Americans are taking "staycations" this summer, here are some lavish trips that you can at least dream about going on one day.

A loose interpretation of Phileas Fogg's famous journey around the world, this remake by The Leading Hotels of the World stars you and a guest traveling east on a private jet from London to New York.

Over the course of 28 days (not 80), you will visit Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Jaipur, Udaipur, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Honolulu, San Francisco, and Chicago and stay in some of the world's ultra-lux pads like the Prince's Suite at the Rambagh Palace (pictured) in Jaipur.

But the hefty $1 million price tag affords a lot more than fancy sheets. Travelers can take a hot-air balloon ride over the Dubai desert, have cocktails aboard the Taj yacht on the Arabian sea, drive through Udaipur in a vintage car, take a private tour of the Gem Palace in Jaipur, helicopter over Hong Kong and partake in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in Tokyo.

Like the rest of the trips featured here, this vacation is completely customizable and can be booked at any time.

If skipping around the world sounds a little too tiring, the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi (pictured) has an all-out package that places a premium on rest and relaxation.

For a cool million, two travelers can fly first class from any international destination serviced by Etihad Airlines to Abu Dhabi and stay for an all-inclusive week in the Emirates Palace's Palace Suite.

For the duration of your seven-night stay, a chauffeur driven Maybach will be at your disposal in addition to a private jet should you choose to take a day trip. Possible jaunts include flying to Iran to create your own Persian carpet or dipping your toes in the Dead Sea in Jordan. The more adventuresome might opt to head over to Bahrain to go deep sea diving for pearls. (Any pearls you uncover can be fashioned into jewelry at your request.)

In addition to bragging rights, parting gifts include a pearl necklace by Robert Wan and a selection from Holland & Holland Sporting Guns.

One million dollars in India will get you the royal treatment, literally. On this holiday, you're welcomed as a royal visitor by the maharajahs and will partake in noble pastimes, like watching elephant polo on the palace lawn and exclusive dance performances in a private temple.

Over the course of two weeks, adventure seekers can opt to safari among tigers in Ranthambhore National Park (pictured) or take a hot air balloon flight along the Narmada River, then cruise in a superyacht in the Andaman Islands during some downtime and dine at sunset by the Taj Mahal.

But this vacation is not all fun and games; there will also be a specially arranged Hindu festival on the river where you can cleanse your sins and an opportunity to have a private visit with the Dalai Lama.

Seeing the Seven Wonders of the World

If you want to get the most bang for your million bucks then taking in all Seven Natural Wonders of the World is a good way to go.

For starters, climb aboard a private jet heading to the Arctic North of Sweden, then travel by helicopter, and then dog sled (pictured) to a private ice-palace to see the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. From there it's off to Zambia in Africa for a private helicopter tour of Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. Rest in a private colonial estate and take in an African safari on horseback while you're there.

Then it's back on the jet destined for Nepal, where a helicopter is waiting to offer a bird's eye view of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Catch your breath over lunch with Buddhist monks at the Tengboche Monastery before flying on to Australia, where you can snorkel or deep sea dive along the Great Barrier Reef.

Before heading back to American soil to cruise the Grand Canyon, a few optional stops include Fiji and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Then it's down to Mexico, to see the remote Paricutin Volcano by horse-back. Your final stop is Brazil's infamous Rio de Janeiro. Circle the famed Christ the Redeemer statue by helicopter with fireworks celebrating your arrival, then collapse on a private island in Agua Dos Reis.

For many, Japan is not considered the first-choice destination during the month of February, but this $200,000 trip takes advantage of a rare assemblage of animals, such as eagles and snow monkeys, that thrive on the mountains of Japan's main island, Honshu in the winter.

With the help of a guide, you will take a pilgrimage to Mount Fuji and see endangered red-crowned cranes in a ritual courtship dance, Japanese macaque monkeys playing in hot springs and white whooper swans cruising in the mountain lakes.

Thrill seekers can also heli-ski in the remote mountains of Honshu and then relax in a luxurious setting and get pampered by geishas.