10 is more manageable, right?
You’ve heard all the motivational quotes. The world is big, you must explore, travel is the greatest gift – and you may even have a coffee mug or two saying so. Beneath it all, the world is big, travel really is brilliant, but some places just aren’t all that exciting. Sorry. There are plenty of places on earth you can happily go without ever seeing.
But at the same time, there really are sights which can change your life, or your perspective and life wouldn’t feel complete without seeing them. Sure, there’s a top 50, and 100’s more, but these are the places where the views are as stunning as the attractions themselves, and history is unmatched. In pop culture terms, these 10 tourist attractions really are essential before you die, and hey 10 is more manageable, right?…
You don’t need to be crazy rich to enjoy one of the most moving experiences found anywhere, in fact the best parts of this one are free. Seeing the nighttime light show at Gardens By The Bay is enough to bring you happy tears, as plant life sings while lights dance and music plays. Stunning is the only fair word. Arrive just before 7:45PM or 8:45PM to catch the stunning shows. The city of Singapore and Marina Bay Sands certainly don’t disappoint as a backdrop…
There aren’t many places where you feel history come alive, but this is one of them. From the roar of the crowds to the growl of exotic animals, the Colosseum is a place where you can touch history and sense it too. You can go into the basement, putting your feet where gladiators once stood and after it’s all over, you’re in central Rome. For the best viewing experiences you’ll definitely want to book a guided tour and get there early.
Machu Picchu – Andes, Peru
Breathtaking is a totally overused word in travel, but this may be the spot that originally coined the phrase. High in the Andes mountains, miles from beautiful Cuzco and nearby valleys, this elevated temple leaves you wondering just how it could’ve possibly been built. It doesn’t matter which way you look, because every viewpoint is absurdly beautiful and inspiring. If you are going, be sure to read up on the new regulations introduced this year.
On ‘An Idiot Abroad’, Karl Pilkington once remarked that Shah Jahan must have felt extreme guilt for how he treated his wife Mumtaz Mahal while she was living, because building something this ornate to commemorate her death is extreme, to say the least. However you wish to think about its inception, seeing the Taj Mahal first hand is more exciting than you could possibly imagine, as the boundless symmetry, manicured gardens and viewpoints wash over you. After 2018’s restoration, 2019 could be the perfect year to visit, or 2020 if you want to play it safe. There’s still a bit of work going on…
America the beautiful really doesn’t get any more gorgeous than the Grand Canyon. It doesn’t matter if you’re stopping by after debauchery in Las Vegas, Nevada or a spa break in Sedona, Arizona; all that matters is that you go. Any vantage point will make you feel vulnerable and every view will make you realize the power of the world. You can’t say you’ve truly lived until you’ve taken a breath at the edge of this true marvel of the natural world. And sunset – just wow.
How many times can you take in life from 300 B.C. in such pristine glory? Jordan is safe, Jordan is beautiful and Petra is so rewarding in every sense. Al-Khazneh is one of the many layers of the vast archaeological digs which make any visitor sit back with bewilderment, but it’s the entire experience which sets this above many of the rest. You’re in gorgeous desert with orange, red and yellow sand, you’re exploring an amazing country and you’re connecting the dots, when you realize that Petra fell to the Romans. It’s the story of mankind…
Christ The Redeemer – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Christ The Redeemer is just a great excuse to visit Rio, but the vantage point totally justifies any wait you experience to get up there. With sweeping views and yet another head scratching “how did they build this”, it’s impossible not to enjoy your time atop this mountain peak in the sunshine. It looks awesome in movies, but it’s even better in person and when you get down there’s always a refreshing caipirinha in front of the sea to look forward to. Rio is magic.
Much like Christ The Redeemer, this is just a great excuse to visit an amazing city. Sydney is one of the most addictive cities on the planet, with a buzz for all things fun, food and sunshine. Water taxis make every neighborhood a fun adventure, and few buildings build excitement quite like the Sydney Opera House. Stroll through Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, take in the botanical gardens and then nail the obligatory selfie with this unique architectural gem. Ideally, with the Sydney Harbor Bridge in frame.
Like many places on this list, the actual attraction is only part of the story. Taking a “junk boat” out into the beautiful bays of Vietnam is spectacular and Halong Bay is no exception, no matter how over toured it is. Each beautiful limestone rock face juxtaposed against green sea will light up your face, but the best part is that you’re in Vietnam. If you can, try to rent a private, or semi private small junk boat and spend at least a night or two cruising, which allows you to hit smaller caves and unseen gems of this remarkable part of the world. Oh, and if you love coffee, it doesn’t get better.
The Great Wall – Beijing, China
The world has an increasing number of walls, but none or few are ever referred to as “great”. With a length of 13,171 miles, China’s great wall is more spectacular than great, and if you’re lucky enough to see it you’ll know why. Thanks to jaw dropping terrain, the Great Wall would be a sight worth seeing even if there was no wall at all, but add in the cool build and it’s sensational. With so many visitors, this is an attraction to hire a private guide with insider knowledge of where people aren’t.