10 Must-See places before you Die

I’ve often accused people who compose lists of having little to write about, but a mundane list of the 10 “must see places before you die” (recently published in the travel section of a British broadsheet) has prompted me to dash to the computer with my own suggestions. Would you care to add some of your own special places?

Uluru, the world’s largest monolith

A magical place, Uluru, the giant monolith lying in west of Alice Springs, in Outback Australia is a sacred site for local Pitjantjatjara Aborigines who ask that visitors do not climb it.

Aerial of Rangiroa Atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago in Polynesia

I was mesmerised by Rangiroa which I first visited in 1968. One of the world’s largest atolls, it surrounds a vast lagoon filled with marine life from tiny coral  fish to rays and sharks.

Varanasi, sacred Hindu cremation site on the Ganges

Varanasi is considered the Hindu spiritual capital of India. The scenes of cremations along the ghats and of people bathing in the river are one of the world’s great travel experiences.

The Vallee de Mai, on Praslin Island in the Seychelles

On a visit to Praslin, General Gordon of Khartoum described the lush valley as being the closest thing to the Garden of Eden on  Planet Earth. It is famous for the giant coco-de-mer bearing erotic nuts.

The pyramids of Giza. c. 2589–2566 BC

Ancient monuments to a magnificent past, the Great Pyramid and several others are located a short taxi-ride from central Cairo. They are central to Egypt’s rich Pharaonic heritage.

View across the roof of the great souq in Isfahan, Iran

Isfahan which numbers some of the most glorious mosques in Islam was  capital of the Safavid Shahs in 16th century Persia. Even today, it retains much of its glorious past.

The great Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma

The soaring Buddhist stupa in Rangoon has existed for 2,500 years. The crown is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies.  It is best visited at dusk as people come to worship.

Victoria Falls shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe

Awesome is the only description of Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders- where the mile wide Zambesi river plunges into a chasm sending spray 1,300 feet into the air.

The Grand Canal of Venice, Italy.

The magnificent buildings lining its canals attest to the prosperity of Venice as a great maritime entrepôt especially during the Middle Ages. No list is complete without it.

The medieval medina of Fez el-Bali in Morocco

Founded in the 9th century, Fez el-Bali is a living museum whose craftsmen ply trades little changed over time. The zaouia, or shrine of ruler Moulay Idriss II is on the right of the photograph.





About Travels with My Hat

Australian photojournalist and author. Used London as a base for nearly forty years while freelancing in the Middle East, Arabian peninsular, Africa and South Asia. Have written and illustrated more than a dozen books and travel guides. Operates a well regarded religious images stock photo library: www.worldreligions.co.uk. Live in Leura in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
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5 Responses to 10 Must-See places before you Die

  1. Colleen O'Brien says:

    Ah to dream, to travel in the mind to such wonderful destinations and to sample the delights of far away wonders, to travel as such, without the hustle and bustle of modern transport and the crush of so many people along the way, is perhaps to dream the true dream.

  2. Wonderful destinations… and many corners of the world.
    I enjoyed my visits to the Taj Mahal, once by moonlight. On both occasions it was almost deserted, which lent it a particular magic.

  3. Sally Morgan says:

    I would agree with the Vallee de Mai – magical place, brilliant light for photography, but loathe to return in case it has changed.

    • CO says:

      Perhaps not in the case of the Vallee de Mai, but I was last there about 1989 when I did a guide-book on the Seychelles. In order not to be disappointed, it is my policy now to never go back to a place one has loved. A young travel writer disputed this recently saying how she loved to go back, but age/time is the difference. One day, she too will notice change but I doubt the actual nature in this valley will be any different – it’s also a World Heritage site . Thanks.

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