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Ancient Ruins and Temples

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Sayaxché, Guatemala
My friend Joan and I were staying at Ni'tun Private Reserve on Lake Petén Itzá near Flores, and planned to visit several Maya sites in the Petén region, but were most excited about visiting Aguateca. What an adventure it was! Our guide Bernie of...
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Getting up in the pre-dawn is not usually on my agenda, but wanting to see the Gran Plaza in Tikal at sunrise was sufficient motivation. I expected at least a handful of others would be similarly motivated, but my expectation was fantastically...
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Atatürk Mh., Artemis Tapınağı, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
The historic city of Ephesus is a must if you are going to Turkey. It is amazing! You walk down worn stone paths that the ancient people once walked. The library is a definite highlight as it was one of the major buildings of the city. I wanted to...
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Ollantaytambo, Peru
Ollantaytambo’s namesake archaeological site is one of the best examples of Incan architecture in the region. It’s easy to spend a half day exploring the temples and other structures there, especially if you factor in time to hike...
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Ürgüp/Göreme/Nevşehir, Turkey
On any tour of Cappadocia in central Turkey, you'll find ruins of cave homes, churches carved inside the cliffs, and outdoor museums like the famous one near Goreme. However, just a short bus ride away is another open air museum with far fewer...
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Tikal, Guatemala
It will give you a jolt to see these crumbling Mayan temples in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle. The limestone rocks have been scraped smooth by archeologists desperate to stave off the jungle vines and mossy dampness and the green undergrowth...
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Mueang Pak, Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30150, Thailand
Though it pains me to say this - prior to traveling to Thailand, I had never heard of Ayutthaya. How could such a historically significant and architecturally fascinating place have completely evaded me?!? In case you're in the same boat as me,...
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Kranggan, Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Go back in time with these partially ruined temples from the 9th century. Celebrating the hindu trinity (Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh, Creator- Sustainer-Destroyer), these temples have seen their cycles of creation and destruction more than once.
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Jendouba, Tunisia
I discovered a couple years ago that if you have a penchant for ancient Roman ruins, it’s far better to go to Tunisia than Italy. The quality of preservation is far superior to many Italian sites and the lack of tourists is more refreshing than...
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Flavijevska ul., 52100, Pula, Croatia
The sixth largest Roman amphitheater still standing today, the Pula Arena is Croatia’s most magnificent classical monument—and reason enough to check out Pula, Istria’s main city. Built in the 1st century C.E. during the rule of...
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Jerash Governorate, Jordan
I'll be honest, the primary reason I went to Jordan was to see Petra. But rather than fly in and out, I decided to spend a week exploring the country. One day I went to the ancient city of Jerash. It was beautiful - well preserved with the avenues...
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Situated not far from Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, the Roman ruins of Volubilis stand as a testament to a culture that changed the world forever. In the fertile area that the ruined city is located, it's difficult to remember you're in Morocco....
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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
While you're in Thailand, be sure to escape the colorful chaos of Bangkok and head toward the historic capital of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best option to get there would be by train and they run frequently from Bangkok's...
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Machu Pichu, Peru
This month marks the hundred-year-anniversary of the "re-discovery" of this Inca citadel by Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu deserves its clichés--'place of a lifetime,' 'bucket-list destination'...'mystical'...'amazing'... Sometimes, it's okay...
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22/, 200 ถนนนครราชสีมา แขวง ดุสิต เขต ดุสิต กรุงเทพมหานคร 10300, Thailand
I come often to this wat, also known as the Marble Temple. It was built by King Rama V in 1899. It’s one of the loveliest in the city, but it’s less crowded with tourists than wats farther south in Bangkok. —Tanongsak “Dtong” Yordwai See all of...
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Puducherry, India
This was a thousand year old temple that is still being built to this day. They built pieces of it in Hawaii than ship it to India.
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Burma’s most important Buddhist temple is layered with tons of gold and adorned with thousands of precious gems. Relics enshrined within the stupa include eight strands of hair that belonged to Siddhartha Gautama. Dress conservatively and be ready...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...
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Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
The secret to having a good time in Bagan has nothing to do with getting there - all that takes is faith in a Burmese pilot and his ancient aircraft, or an unwavering belief that your 13-hour bus ride from Yangon will actually deliver you to the...
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Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Tourists call it the “Monkey Temple,” owing to the clans of rhesus macaque wandering through the grottos and recesses of this ancient shrine. The monkeys climb where they please, siblings squabble, parents scold and protect—a parallel simian...
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Jalan Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia
The temples in Bali, Indonesia are famous for their multi-tiered thatch roofs. This was taken at Pura Taman Ayun in the village of Mengwi. Visitors are not allowed to enter the temples - we could only view from outside the walls. Thankfully the...
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Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab 143401, India
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of...
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ตำบล ป่าอ้อดอนชัย อำเภอเ มืองเชียงราย เชียงราย 57000, Thailand
While there’s no shortage of spectacular temples in Thailand – or Asia for that matter – one of my absolute favorites is without doubt the distinctive Wat Rong Khun. Perhaps better known by the name ‘The White...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
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Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai has around 300 wats, or temples, in and around the city, some of them dating back 700 years. Each is seemingly more ornate than the last and you could spend hours exploring the details and observing the monks that reside there in their...
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Jimbaran, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Bali sometimes gets an unfair review as being an overhyped and overly-touristed exotic destination. On the contrary, my husband and I enjoyed our three weeks there immensely. We divided our time between unassuming, coastal Jimbaran and Ubud (of...
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Jl. Badrawati, Kw. Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
The sunrise at Borobudur is one of those magical experiences that makes us spend so much money on travel. The site of the smoking volcano on the horizon, combined with the brilliant hues and Buddhas on the summit of the temple mountain, make this...
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9หมู่9 ต.สุเทพ อ.เมืองเชียงใหม่ Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
On every trip, I try to ride my motorbike up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a beautiful temple on the top of the mountain just outside of town. The view of the Chiang Mai valley is breathtaking on a clear day. I go to the shrine in the back of the...
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Subhash Chowk Station road malakhera, Alwar, Rajasthan 301406, India
Neelkanth, meaning the blue-throated reincarnation of Lord Shiva, is located inside Sariska National Park, about 45 mins from Amanbagh (http://www.amanresorts.com/amanbagh/home.aspx). It situated on a plateau high in the hills and the drive up...
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Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh 471606, India
For such an amazing place, Khajuraho was surprisingly tourist free. We went early to avoid the heat of the day, and found just a handful of devotees walking the temple grounds. Oh, and don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for the kama sutra...
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Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico
A brilliant work of architecture and astronomy, the Pyramid of Kukulkán at Chichén Itzá is so precisely engineered that on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the sun casts shadows that slither like snakes and seem to descend...
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Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Jaipur is capital and the largest city of the largest state Rajasthan in India. The city is stood at the foot of the sprawling 300 year old hilltop Amber fort just on the outskirt of the city. Jaipur is also called the pink city due to its pink...
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Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
The Taj Mahal is referred to as "the jewel of Muslim art in India,” by UNESCO in its listing on the World Heritage Site registry. The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan  had the truly magnificent white marble...
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Prague 6, Czechia
While farmers’ markets have sprung up all over Prague, the Dejvice Farmers Market that sprawls out near the Dejvická metro station is the most popular because of its location and size, plus its fun fair atmosphere. On Saturday...
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12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris, France
The limited-edition Nikes and kiosk of independent magazines (Corpus, Out of Order, System) at this brilliantly edited multibrand boutique in the upper Marais recall the city’s renowned concept shop Colette. But its abundant natural light, and...
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R. Barbosa do Bocage 5, 2710-567 Sintra, Portugal
Just 45 minutes from Lisbon lies the mystical, castle-filled hilltop town of Sintra, also a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its rich history. One such castle is the Palace of Quinta da Regaleira. Gothic in style, from its outer structure to its...
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Aleja Hermanna Bollea 27, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Mirogaj is the central cemetery of Zagreb. The mortuary, and the impressive arcades with the church of Christ the King made it one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. This is where Dr Franco Tudman, Croatia's first President was laid to...