There is so much beauty to experience in this world that our bucket lists only get longer and longer every year. And to make your list even longer, here are 10 places to see before you kick the bucket!
1. Batanes, Philippines
Batanes is an island province located on the Northern tip of the Philippine archipelago. It is the country’s smallest province, as well as its northernmost. The rolling hills, steep cliffs and gem toned blue waters of Batanes make for a scenery that is hard to beat. Even in a country like the Philippines where unspoiled natural areas are a dime a dozen, Batanes stands out from the crowd. Travelling to Batanes, which used to be classified as a missionary route, has become easier because bigger airlines now offer flights on a regular basis.
2. Yosemite National Park, U.S.A.
When people think about travelling to the U.S. thoughts about bright lights, big cities, and all night partying come to mind. But did you know that the United States, the 4th largest country in the world by land mass, has some of the most scenic drives and best national parks on God’s green earth? One such park is the Yosemite National Park, a nature reserve with miles and miles of scenic landscape. Known for its deep granite cliffs, waterfalls and the largest concentration of giant sequoias in the world, 95% of the park is classified as wilderness. It also has great biodiversity.
3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent ruins of the Khmer Empire and its capital from the 9th century through the 15th century. The largest of these ruins is the Angkor Wat or “Capital Temple”, the largest religious monument in the world. The complex is surrounded by a body of water with the central structure found in the middle of the complex, surrounded by wilderness. At first a Hindu, and then later a Buddhist temple, it is a testament to Khmer architecture and has become a symbol for Cambodia itself. Prepare to be wowed by the intricacy of the building, which some believe was created over night by a divine architect.
4. Benagil Sea Cave, Algarve, Portugal
This sea cave in Algarve creates a picture that could launch a thousand bucket lists. The water itself is a delicious bright turquoise, enough to entice any sun worshipper, but Mother Nature has truly outdone herself by carving out a cave from the cliffs and developing a sea shore underneath the dome-shaped enclosure. This magnificent cave can be accessed via boat from the main island of Benagil. It is best to go there during the low tide.
5. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest park in Croatia and one of the oldest national parks in all of Southeastern Europe. It is as if the waters in this area intended to create this wonder of nature. Granted a UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979, it is the water that runs through chalk and limestone that continues to deposit travertine barriers thereby creating natural dams that have developed into lakes, caves and waterfalls. Visiting the Plitvice lakes is a bucket list destination simply because it allows you a preview of the geological processes that have shaped the planet we live on.
6. Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil
The unique sand formation of Lençóis Maranhenses is an otherworldly sight that looks like it was plucked straight out of a science fiction novel. Lençóis Maranhenses, translates to “bed sheets of Maranhao” because the sand resembles linen on clotheslines being blown by the wind. During the dry season (from October to November), sand is blown and pushed toward the shoreline, creating dunes. These dunes then become filled with water during the rainy season that lasts from January to June of every year. The seasons radically transform the landscape, lending even more magic to the national park.
7. Provence, France
Provence is a vision. Azure seas, rich cultural history and world renowned art, Provence offers endless postcard perfect photo-ops at every corner. The best time to visit and really enjoy the scenery is during spring. In the summers, the picturesque beaches attract too many travelers, which can make it difficult to get around the area. The winters, although mild, can be rainy. September to October is a great time to go, minus the crowds. When in Provence, expect beautiful flowers, fine wine, good food and a lot of great fun.
8. Surigao del Sur, Philippines
Another treasure from the Philippines, the province is bucket-list-worthy for the Enchanted River, a lagoon-river cloaked in legend and mystery, and Lanuza which is arguably one of the best surf spots in the Philippines. The Enchanted River opens to Hinatuan Bay and is the entry point for a number of unexplored underwater caves. Its curious combination of colors and some local folklore make it truly enchanting. It is said that the river is guarded by fairies and the local fishermen swear that the fish in the river cannot be caught by any means.
9. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
Iguazu National Park straddles the boarders of both Argentina and Brazil. The Iguazu River forms a physical boundary between the two South American countries. The park boasts of 275 individual drops that are all supplied by the Iguazu River. A semicircular waterfall that is 260ft high is at the heart of the national park. The sub-tropical forests that surround these waterfalls are incredibly diverse. They house jaguars, tapirs, giant anteaters and ocelots and some 2,000 species of vascular plants.
10. Hang Son Doong, Vietnam
Hang Son Doong or “Mountain River Cave”, is the largest known cave in the world. Located near the Laos–Vietnam border, this cave is located within the Phon Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the Quang Binh Province of Vietnam. It is a sight to behold. The cave is 660ft high, 500ft wide and 3 miles long, has its own river, jungle and its own climate. The first guided tour was offered in 2013 and cost as much as $3,000 per person.