This week’s gallery is the Bucket List to end all bucket lists. Paste Travel is highlighting seven of the most iconic travel destinations around the world. From the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef, these sites are the stuff of travel dreams.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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Angkor Archaeological Park, just outside Siem Reap in Cambodia, is home to some of the most impressive temples in the world. The 154-square-mile complex is also a UNESCO World Heritage site that houses the remains of former Khmer capitals dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Among the most famous sites there are Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple with its 216 stone faces.
Photo by Maxim B., CC BY-SA 2.0
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The Taj Mahal is one of the most magnificent works of architecture of all time. It is both a monument of love and a mausoleum. The massive white marble complex was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1631 and 1648 in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. To see it in person is awe-inspiring. The Taj Mahal is located in Agra and is one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area.
Photo by Ronald Woan, CC BY-NC 2.0
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Perched 8,000 feet high in the Andes mountains of Peru, Machu Picchu houses what is left of an ancient city of the Inca Empire. The remains were hidden away from the world until 1911, which is why it has been dubbed the Lost City of the Incas. Much is still unknown about this UNESCO World Heritage site, but some researchers now believe it served as a retreat for the elite. The site dates as far back as 1430 AD and features classical Inca architecture. Daily visitors are limited and it's not the easiest site to reach, but it's a must see.
Photo by Fred Murphy, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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The Serengeti National Park is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. The large conservation area covers more than 11,500 square miles and is located in Tanzania. It's famous for its postcard-worthy landscapes and array of wildlife that migrate through the park like zebra and wildebeests. The park's other wildlife include giraffes, hippopotami, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinos and many more. The Serengeti region is also one of the oldest ecosystems in the world and is home to two Biosphere Reserves, as well as two World Heritage sites. Visitors come to the area to witness the wildlife in its natural habitat via jeep safari and hot air balloon.
Photo by Leon F. Cabeiro, CC BY 2.0
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The Great Wall of China is a staple on most bucket lists. The ancient series of fortifications stretches from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west for an estimated distance of more than 13,000 miles. There are a variety of options when it comes to visiting the wall. You can see highly restored portions just a short day trip from Beijing or spend a few days hiking unrestored portions. Knowing what you're hoping to see will help you determine where to head.
Photo by Tom Davidson, CC BY-NC 2.0
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The Great Barrier Reef covers some 133,000 square miles off Queensland, Australia and is home to nearly 3,000 individual reefs and hundreds of islands. This UNESCO World Heritage site is also officially the largest coral reef system in the world. It's bucket list-worthy for its stunning natural beauty, as well as the impressive variety of marine life that call it home. Visitors can take it all in via a variety of activities form scuba diving and snorkeling to tours aboard glass-bottom boat cruises and helicopters.
Photo by FarbenfroheWunderwelt, CC BY-ND 2.0
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Immediately upon arriving in the ancient Nabataean capital of Petra it's apparent why it's known as the Rose City. Located in Jordan between the Dead and Red seas, this UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to the 6th century BC. This archeological site includes breathtaking ruins featuring rock-cut architecture carved into the sandstone surroundings, which are commonly explored by foot or four-legged animal like camel or donkey.
Photo by Javier Losa, CC BY 2.0