Travel, it’s often said, broadens the mind. That’s undoubtedly true; visiting new places brings new experiences and knowledge no matter where in the world we travel. There are, however, some places that can do more than that. They can fill us with awe and lead us to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the great beauty of our planet. An eastbound journey around the world, for example, could take in dozens of amazing locations, each unique and unforgettable.
The following few are just a sample of those ‘must-see’ destinations that await anyone heading off on a journey of exploration.
The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The last-remaining of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt have stood for over 4,000 years as a massive testament to man’s engineering and architectural ingenuity. With the tallest at over 480 feet tall, these massive structures dominate the landscape. Located just outside of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, the Great Pyramids of Giza are easily accessible for any visitor to the region.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Completed in 2010, the Burj Khalifa, standing over 2,700 feet tall, proudly announced its towering presence as the world’s tallest building. Viewing platforms are placed at various heights and the views are spectacular. Dubai is widely acknowledged as the most vibrant and exciting emirate of the United Arab Emirates and the views from the Burj Khalifa’s viewing platforms show clearly how Dubai has transformed itself into a modern, prosperous, hi-tech state. The Burj Khalifa is the perfect symbol for Dubai’s world-class status.
The Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh, India
Known the world over as the mausoleum dedicated to love, The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan in tribute to his beloved wife, who died during childbirth. An incredible amount of time, labour and artistry went into the construction of the Taj Mahal, and visitors today can’t fail to be impressed by this world-famous labour of love. The Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra, in Uttar Pradesh State. It can be very easily accessed by taxi from anywhere in the city.
Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
This magnificently ornate 18th-century former royal residence is a dazzling sight to behold for any visitor. The blend of Italian Renaissance and traditional Thai Buddhist architecture is unique and stunningly beautiful. In the grounds of the palace, stands Thailand’s most revered religious centre: The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The palace grounds and temple complex are opened to the public, and important royal and religious ceremonial events also take place in the various halls. No trip to Southeast Asia would be complete without a visit to Bangkok’s Grand Palace.
Mount Fuji, Japan
At over 12,000 feet, Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. A dormant volcano, it’s famous for its almost perfectly symmetrical shape. Not only is Mount Fuji a spectacular site to view from miles around, it’s also a relatively easy climb in summer. No special climbing skills are required, but hiking experience, proper clothing and a reasonable level of fitness are essential. There are rest stations with basic accommodation available at several locations on the slopes. Many people make the climb and time it to arrive at the summit in time to see a spectacular sunrise from the highest point in Japan. Mount Fuji is located conveniently close to Tokyo, and getting there by train from the city is straightforward.
Monument Valley, USA
Continuing eastward across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean brings us to the United States, which is home to more than a few places of striking beauty. One particular location, however, that for many visitors is not only beautiful but also mystical and magical is Monument Valley. Spectacular sandstone rock formations have made Monument Valley a popular place to visit. Straddling the state borders of Arizona and Utah and belonging to the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley is not only visually stunning, it’s a place of great spiritual significance. Accommodation, including camping facilities, can be found outside the park and guided tours and drive-through are available.
There has never been a better time to experience the world’s ‘must see’ places. Great travel deals and multi stop flights are always available with a little bit of searching, and many of us have more time and money with which to explore the world’s greatest treasures than any previous generations ever had. A round-the-world trip could easily include many more destinations, but a visit to at least one of the above destinations is sure to provide an unforgettable and deeply rewarding experience.