We all have a list of things we’d like to see and places we’d like to go before we kick the bucket — what’s yours? Bali? Paris? Kyoto? Kilimanjaro? It all depends, really, on what kind of tourism you are into and what kind of traveller you are.
Me, I have a hard on for history. I like wandering the streets in ancient towns, or standing in something that has been around for thousands of years. It always makes me realise how small our own existence is, how we are just a blip on the radar of the planet, and that we should not take life too seriously.
If time, money and safety were not an issue, these are the Top 10 places I’d go to if I could (in no particular order). To read more about them please click on the link to the original writer/photographer.
Despite nowadays being the alleged hideout of the Taleban, one of the most unsafe places on the planet (many tourists have been kidnapped and killed), and probably a terrible place for a female traveller, Yemen is one of those ancient cities in the Middle East that looks amazing and remains largely untouched by tourism. Must be a very interesting place to visit. Too bad it has so many problems.
… and if I ever made it to Yemen, I’d also go to Socotra — the weidest island on earth, just off of Yemen mainland, just to see these Dragon’s Blood trees.
2. Mt. Nemrut, Turkey
Should have gone while I was in Turkey but ran out of time — these giant stone heads sit on top of Nemrut Mountain and remain somewhat of a mystery. How cool is this? If I ever make it back to Turkey, I’ll do the hike for sure.
3. The Hanging Monastery of Shanxi
Having made five trips to China I probably won’t be going back any time soon. It’s a tough place to travel and often quite stressful, and though the sites are incredible it is not in ANY way, shape or form a relaxing holiday. But this place has been on my list for years, the Hanging Monastery in Shanxi province. Don’t look down!
4. Petra, Jordan
We all saw the Indiana Jones movie where he rides horseback through a beautiful pink gorge and emerges on the other side outside a huge stone temple. That’s Petra and no it is not just a movie set!
5. Yonaguni Island
This tiny island forms part of the Okinawa chain of islands in southern Japan, and not too long ago divers found a strange area of what appears to be an underwater temple or some kind of man-made structure. Can these 90 degree right angles be formed in nature, or is there a deeper story? Advanced diving certification is required — I guess my open water license is not going to suffice.
The tiny kingdom of Bhutan wedged between India and China has extremely strict limits on how many tourists it allows in and a spending requirement per head, which makes it one of the lesser explored countries in Asia. It has fantastic looking temples and architecture set amidst stunning mountains. One day, one day…
But I doubt I’ll make it there before it becomes too ‘mainland-ized’ by China. There is a high speed train there now from Beijing and apparently Tibet is being flooded with Han Chinese. Only a matter of time before it loses some of its charm as it becomes over run.
8. Hot Spring Monkeys in Japan
How cool is this? These monkeys only started going into the hot springs about 50 years ago. Guess they figured out the hot water was a great way to beat the winter. Up in the mountains in Honshu the monkeys spend the winter close to the springs. There are one or two where the monkeys get into the water with you.
9. Hakka Walled Village – Fujian, China
Again, very cool architecture, found in this specific region of China, all made out of mud and wood!
10. Riomaggiore, Italy
(or anywhere in Italy, but Riomaggiore is on the list) Look at these colours! Look how cute! Oh would someone please take me to Italy? I don’t only want to see things in Asia — Europe is also on the list. Italy, Spain, Croatia… one day!
In retrospect it seems most of the places I’d like to see are in the East. But trust me, Europe is definitely a place I want to go too. Maybe there are just too many places to put on one Bucket List. I could go on forever!