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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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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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Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain
A visit to Granada, Spain isn't complete without a stop at the Alhambra. The Moorish architecture, robust gardens, and stunning views of Granada combine to make a truly memorable experience. Start your day with a tour of the Generalife Gardens....
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Mathura Road, Opposite Dargah Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Delhi 110013, India
Look familiar? The Taj Mahal continued the tradition of architecture that began largely with Humayan's Tomb in Delhi. Made from red sandstone (like much of Delhi's famous landmarks), the tomb was built in 1562. Go inside the tomb for a look at the...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This 1st-century wonder will take your breath away. Not only is it one of the city's most ancient sites, it's been in continuous use for centuries. Originally built as a private temple, today it is a Catholic church and the resting place of...
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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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Reykjavík, Iceland
We got to Reykjavik on a rainy night, and the first thing I saw and heard was a lot of people in the street partying and Cher's "Believe" blasting from some club, loud enough to hear it everywhere. I though then that this place was crazy, but then...
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1 Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand

Bangkok’s most iconic site is a massive palace complex that served as the royal residence until 1925. Of its many buildings, the one with the most architectural interest is Chakri Mahaprasat. It was designed in 1882 by British...

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Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien, Austria
The Habsburgs were, generally speaking, lovers of art and many of the works of the Kunsthistorisches Museum come from their collections. While the grandiose interior alone may be reason enough to visit, the collections here are outstanding. The...
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Stephansplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
In the heart of Vienna sits St. Stephen's Cathedral. Built in the late 12th century, it's a grand piece of beauty borrowing both from the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture. Unlike St. Vitus in Prague, St. Stephen's shimmers with light...
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Khumjung 56000, Nepal
Going to Mount Everest is an experience that will leave you in awe of how big everything is in the Himalaya. Sleeping at 16,000+ feet is without a doubt a highlight not to be missed when in Tibet. Make sure you are reasonably fit and spend many...
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Sjøgata 21, 9008 Tromsø, Norway
But bring a change of underwear (or two), as "the night" in Tromsø lasts from November 21 until January 21, with the short dawn bringing stunning light conditions. Despite the dark, the town is alive with festivals and cultural events, with an...
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Jordan
Dark-haired, dark-eyed, dark-skinned men ride horses up and down the path that leads to Petra‘s Siq, the mile-long entrance to the ancient city. I walk the stretch of the archeological park, clambering up hills and and rocks for better views of...
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Viale della Stazione di Ostia Antica, 00119 Roma RM, Italy
Hop on the commuter train at Lido Station (next to the Piramide Metro stop) and make the 25-minute trip to Ostia Antica, Rome's ancient port town and administrative center. The teeming city of up to 100,000 residents is relatively well preserved...
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Aswan Governorate, Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Giza are very impressive and rightfully earn their wonder of the world title. But then there's Abu Simbel. The site has, well, personality. Ramses II is present at every turn, as is his wife Nefertari. Four giant likenesses...
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Osman Ben Affan St, Doursoumian bldg, P.O.Box 11-4215, بعلبك، Lebanon
I went to Lebanon in spring to visit friends. But also because in the back of my head I thought, "This might be the last time that I'll be able to safely see Lebanon intact for a while." While car bombs had gone off in Beirut in recent weeks, and...
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Built of mud and adobe, Chan Chan—the nine-square-mile former capital of the Chimú empire (850–1470)—was the most expansive city of its time. Wander along pathways with a guide to see wall reliefs that depict creatures from the nearby Pacific. You...
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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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Delos, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
Delos is an ancient Greek city near Mykonos that holds mythological significance as the sunny birthplace of Appollo and Artemis. A guided tour explains ancient metropolitan life and there is also a museum that displays excavated artifacts found...
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80045 Pompeii, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
We were offered the chance to visit Pompeii or Herculaneum when we docked at Sorrento. People rave about Pompeii because it's absolutely huge and gives you a great sense of just how sophisticated Roman civilisation was. Herculaneum, by contrast,...
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Sevagram, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh 471606, India
Minutes after taking this picture, I was invited to join these women in to leave offerings at the temples of Kajuraho. They spoke no English, I spoke no Hindi (except what I could manage with a phrase book) but we understood each other. I Ended up...
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Carretera Merida-Campeche Km. 78, 97890 Uxmal, Yuc., Mexico
Overshadowed by its larger and more well-known cousins, Palenque and Chichén-Itzá, Uxmal ("Oosh-mahl") is the ruins of an ancient Maya city located near present-day Campeche. In its heyday, Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatan...
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88 Route de La Goulette, Site archéologique de Carthage, Tunisia
January is a lovely time to visit the Roman ruins at Carthage. Fewer people. Cooler temperatures. And, if you are lucky, beautiful blue skies over the adjacent sea. While the ruins themselves are quite small (especially in comparison to Pompeii or...
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B1/163, Assi ghat, Shivala, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005, India
Varanasi is a city of beautiful chaos. Located on the banks of the Ganges River, it's one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and also one of the holiest. The river is the pulse of the city and it's worth setting your alarm...
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Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the greatest sites of Anuradhapura. Take a walk around at sunset and pray with local people surrounding the big bodhi tree. It is the best place for people seeking meditation in Sri Lanka.
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Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv-Yafo
For a nice calm break from the modern pace of Tel Aviv, spend some time in Old Jaffa. You can walk along the Mediterranean beach and get here. Some nice little artisan shops can be found in the nooks and crannies.
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Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Plovdiv is a busy modern urban city at first glance. It’s the second most populated city in Bulgaria, built in an area populated since 6.000 BC according to experts. The visitor may find plenty of accommodation options here, as well as many...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Delphi 330 54, Greece
The belly button of the world lies eighty miles northwest of Athens, where the southern slope of Mount Parnassus, cut deeply by cascades feeding the River Pleistos, drops precipitously into the Gulf of Corinth. High above the ravine in a cleft...
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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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661 Tri Mit Rd, Khwaeng Talat Noi, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand
Wat Traimit Wittayarama, the Royal Temple in Bangkok, houses the Golden Buddha—the world's largest gold seated Buddha. At the top, a series of bells can be rung for good luck. These bells surround a giant metal kettle where you can throw...
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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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People's Square, Huangpu, China, 200000
Yu Garden - This is the traditional Chinese garden, a very large garden. The feel is very zen. Again, I went there in pouring rain, but still very pretty. There are other major sights that you should go once in Shanghai: 1. The Cheng Huang Temple...
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Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)
Aircraft contrails in the sky over Lawkananda Pagoda in Sittwe, Myanmar.
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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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58 Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Don't skip Temple of Literature when you visit Hanoi, especially if it is during the time of the New Year Celebrations. This is when students and their families will come and pay a visit and calligraphists will assemble outside the temple and...
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phường 11, Vũng Tàu, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Vietnam
Cao Dao Temple in Vietnam
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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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2 Sanam Chai Rd, แขวงพระบรมมหาราชวัง Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
When I reached this place, I thought that it would be a perfect shot for the symbols of Bangkok, when I could also ban a tuk-tuk on the photo... After a few minutes waiting I had the chance to capture this... btw - the King's Temple or Wat Phra...
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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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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 Near corner...
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1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
This complex of Taoist religious buildings was constructed in the early 15th century under the Yongle Emperor, who also commissioned the Forbidden City, just to the north. The temple's central building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a...
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Erasmus, Bronkhorstspruit, 1020, South Africa
I travelled to the Nanhua Buddhist temple in Bronkhorstspruit, expecting to take a tour around and see something different. Peace, calm and serenity are some of the enlightened characteristics I experienced here. Aside from the main temple, the...