If you sat everyone down and told them to make a list of the top ten places they wanted to visit during their lifetime, there would be certain places that were prevalent throughout the list, despite the background of those making the list. The following are a few of those that would appear almost uniformly. Following are the top ten places to see before you die
10: Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park The Philippines
Amongst the many World Heritage Sites that exist in the Philippines, this is one of the must see one. The natural and navigable underground river flows for 8.2km and is believed to be the longest in the world. The river is beneath St Paul, a stunning limestone mountain, so named due to one of the peaks resembling the dome of the famous Roman cathedral. A centre of biodiversity, it is little wonder that so many tourists flock here every year.
9: Ha Long Bay Vietnam
Located in Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province is the magnificent scenery if Ha Long bay. Famed the world over for its water, mountains, caves, grottos and clouds, the bay is actually the centre of a larger area that includes Bai Tu Long to the north east and the islands of Cat Ba to the south west. Recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, it has been called one of nature’s greatest wonders.
8: Angkor Wat Cambodia
Angkor Wat is one of over a dozen magnificent temples that are located in the bustling ancient metropolis that is Angkor, and served as the Khmer Empire’s capital between the 9th and 15th centuries. Illustrated scenes from the epic poems Mahabharata and Ramayana, that are also sacred Hindu texts, exist inside Angkor Wat and while it has the same tonnage of rock as the great pyramid of Cheops, it is the intricate carvings that bring millions to visit Angkor Wat.
7: The Golden Pavilion Japan
Out of the hundreds of temples within Japan, this one, with its stunning golden exterior, is the most recognisable of all. When the light hits it, it has been described as the resembling the most beautiful of jewellery boxes. Destroyed by fire in 1950 by a disturbed Buddhist novice who burnt it to the ground, it had risen like a phoenix from the ashes within 5 years and this mythological bird has pride of place on its roof.
6: Galápagos Islands Ecuador
You think Galápagos Islands you think giant tortoises, and these are without a doubt the main attraction. These unique and conspicuous relics of wildlife from times gone by fascinated Darwin back in 1835 and have changed little since then. There are 14 large islands and numerous smaller ones that make up this fascinating archipelago, which spans the equator and on which tourism, sadly, is starting to take its toll.
5: Santorini Greece
One of the Cycladic islands, Santorini was created by a volcano erupting, and folklore determined that many believe it to be the island of Atlantis. It’s a remarkable island with a landscape that encompasses rock formations, tiny white washed villages and gorgeous beaches. There are even relics of ancient Roman times including theatres, markets and baths. A series of islands rather than a singular one, Santorini is an unspoilt paradise waiting to be explored.
4: Serengeti Africa
Every year, a primal drama that is one of survival is played out on an epic scale on the Serengeti plains. Around 1.5m wildebeest, as well as hundreds and thousands of gazelles and zebra make a 300 mile pilgrimage here to meet up with lions, hyenas and cheetahs to create the largest natural migration in the world. To experience this up close and personal in a once in a lifetime event that shouldn’t be missed.
3: Teotihuacán Mexico
With a towering presence over a deserted city, the pyramids of the Sun and Moon stand in majestic silence against the Mexican skyline. The ghost city of Teotihuacán once boasted around 200,000 residents and why it was abandoned so abruptly in AD 750 is still a mystery. These pyramids and the temples that accompanied them came century’s later courtesy of the Aztecs, and are always greeted with jaw dropping awe
2: The Taj Mahal India
This enormous mausoleum dates back to the 1600′s and a time when it is hard to believe they could create such a thing of beauty. Far from being one large building, it is a series of smaller ones that come together to create the instantly recognisable landmark known across the world. With its distinctive white dome and embellishments throughout, it remains one of the worlds most beautiful, and recognisable structures.
1: The Grand Canyon USA
For many, the Grand Canyon is the epitome of the fierceness and loveliness of nature. This famous of all gorges is a mile deep, almost 18 miles wide and is 277 miles in length. The craggy north rim gives the most breathtaking views, but the south rim is infinitely more accessible. The glass bottomed walkway is not for the faint hearted; with the mighty Colorado River raging below this is one of nature’s greatest treasures.