Top 10 Travel Bucket List
From ancient ruins to wild safaris - and everything in-between
Travel is one of the best way of expanding the mind and learning about new places and experiencing foreign cultures. Here is my personal list of top destinations I want to travel to in the near future.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
Top of my list of places to visit is the ancient lost city of the Incas, which has captivated visitors with its magnificent setting and amazing preservation for decades. People who have travelled the world say this is one of the most amazing places to visit. You can take the easy route by train or the more authentic route by foot, which takes two to four days. If you want to stay overnight there are limited options – the best hotel is the Orient Express-managed Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. It’s pricey, but its proximity to the ruins makes it the perfect location.
2. Venice, Italy
If you have not been yet then put this on the top of your list – it is a unique place. You’ll never forget your first cruise up the Grand Canal. The timeless splendour of the city’s canals, piazzas, old churches and palazzos, makes Venice one of the most impressive places in the world. Italy’s other must-see places are Florence, Rome, the Amalfi coast, Portofino, and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Sardinia. Recommended hotels: Danieli Hotel and the Hotel Gritti Palace.
3. Taj Mahal, India
One of the most visited sites in the world, the white marble monument built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtay Mahal, who died in childbirth in 1631. The beautifully walled, manicured gardens surrounding the Taj Mahal, which forms the centrepiece as the river Yamuna flows majestically behind, with the city of Agra in the background, make it a place to behold. Built as a symbol of love, it has an aura of calm and serenity – despite the many tourists – which leaves a memorable impression. Highly recommended: From the guestrooms of Oberoi Amarvilas Agra you can see the Taj Mahal – truly stunning!
It is difficult to recommend just one place in China but if I had to it would be the city of Shanghai – it is like something from outer space – much more impressive than even the likes of downtown New York! We visited China eight years ago for three weeks and here is a list of the highlights: the Forbidden City in Beijing; The Great Wall of China; the immensity of the Terracotta Army in Xian; cruising down the Yangtze river and seeing the three Gorges; flying into Guilin and seeing the stunning landscape that looks magical from the sky, and visiting Hong Kong for the first time – impressive! Recommended: The Four Seasons in Shanghai.
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman city close to modern-day Naples in the south of Italy. It is one of the most visited ruins in the world with more than 2.5 million visitors per year. Pompeii was destroyed and buried under 4-6 metres of ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which killed between 10,000 and 20,000 of its residents. What makes Pompeii unique is how well-preserved the mundane aspects of Roman life – still evident today – were maintained beneath the volcanic ash.
5. Halong Bay, Vietnam
We visited here last year as part of a cruise we did around Vietnam and Cambodia – it was the highlight of the trip to Vietnam. The bay is famous for its scenic ocean karst and is often included in lists of natural wonders of the world. The bay’s floating villages draw a lot of attention and don’t be surprised if a two-year-old hops on your tour boat to sell you some fruit – it happened to us! Locals have been living in these floating houses for generations, as fishing is still the villagers’ main income. Some communities offer reasonably priced accommodation to guests but I certainly would not recommend it!
6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Unfortunately we did not make it here on our visit to Cambodia – but we will be back! Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple in the world. Built in the early 12th century it is the best-preserved temple at the site and the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. It has become the main symbol of Cambodia, appearing on the national flag, and the country’s number one tourist attraction. Stretching over some 400 square kilometres, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park – which incorporates the temples – was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992.
7. Rain forest in Costa Rica
We travelled to Costa Rica in 2010 and loved it. We visited San Jose National Park and took an aerial tram tour over an expansive private nature preserve on Costa Rica’s Atlantic coast. You will discover plants and life forms in the forest treetops, usually hidden from the human eye, experiencing a little-seen world of intense beauty and extraordinary biological diversity.
8. The Pyramids in Egypt
Still pretty high up on my travel bucket list are the pyramids. There are about eighty pyramids known today from ancient Egypt. The three largest and best-preserved are those built at Giza at the beginning of the Old Kingdom. When we visit Egypt, I also want to see Cairo, Luxor and cruise the Nile – maybe we will make it there this year!
9. Iguazu Falls
We visited these spectacular falls on our trip through Brazil and Argentina last winter. Iguazu is a series of more than 275 separate waterfalls strung along 230-feet-high cliffs on both sides of a narrow gorge. We stayed on the Brazilian side in the Hotel das Cataratas. I recommend an overnight stay, as all the tour buses leave at 17.00 hrs and you have the National Park literally to yourself. If your trip coincides with a full moon take a walk to the falls at night, for a memorable experience.
Recommended: Hotel das Cataratas
Last but by no means least any bucket list worth its salt has to have a safari trip on it. I would once have been very hesitant about being in the jungle with lots of dangerous wild animals wandering around but, having experienced it, I would highly recommend it as one of the most profound experiences I have had on a travel adventure. We saw four of the big five – lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo, missing out on the leopard – during our three-day stay at Shanwari Game Reserve. We ate Christmas dinner that year in the wild and tracked a pride of lionesses on the hunt, until our jeep got a puncture – and that was not funny! But we lived to tell the tale.