After recently digging through 15,000 of my travel pictures over the last 2 years, I decided to write a post on the most incredible things I’ve seen on my journey around the world thus far.
I’m not going to lie, it was pretty difficult to choose my “favorite” 10 things, because everything is amazingly unique it its own way. I narrowed the list down by remembering which of these landmarks/natural wonders put the biggest butterflies in my stomach when I first laid eyes on it. And even when I still look at these photos today, those butterflies remain in my stomach.
This list will definitely need to be updated as I continue to travel the world and discover new territories.
But in any regard, here are the 10 most incredible things that I have seen on planet earth (in no particular order):
1) Great Wall of China (Beijing, China)
I was lucky enough to explore the Wall during a 24-hour layover that I had in Beijing. It was more incredible and mind-blowing that I imagined it to be. What amazed me the most is that the Wall is still in great condition (at least the part that I saw), after being built thousands and thousands of years ago. All I could think about when I was on the Wall was how many people it took to build and how many lives were lost during the construction period of this 21,196km Wall (13,171 miles). If you have the option for a 24 hour layover in Beijing, then take it because you can see one of the 7 Wonders of the World!
2) The Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
The fact that it is still standing after all the battles and natural disasters that took place over the last 2,000 years is insane. I think the most fascinating thing that I learned about the Colosseum is that it can hold over 50,000 people inside. Holding this many people is considered a HUGE stadium by today’s standards, and this building was built in 70 AD! How could this have been possible?
The Colosseum was my favorite part of Rome, and is pulling my leg to go back one more time.
3) Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
If you are traveling around SouthEast Asia, then it is utterly important to make a stop in Siem Reap, Cambodia!
This city is home to the largest preindustrial city in the world, with over 1,000 temples from the 12th Century, and of course the famous Angkor Wat. I’ve never seen so much detail and creativity carved into stone rock before like these ancient people did to these temples. Angkor Wat is absolutely massive and it took me hours to explore (I could have stayed there all day). Make sure to wake up during sunrise because that’s the best time see it! There are also over 1,000 other Angkor style temples that are located within 100 kilometers of Angkor Wat, so you’ve gotta explore around the entire area to see some other magnificent temples.
4) The Burj Khalifa (Dubai, UAE)
I first laid eyes on it when I was on the plane ride flying into Dubai and I got so excited that I nearly jumped out of my seat. I don’t understand how something of this size was built by humans and not aliens. The Burj is so tall that it can be seen from 60 miles away in any direction. Moreover, I felt like I could see my home in Arizona from the observation deck on the top.
The Burj is just something that you need to see and feel yourself, so you can get a sense of its massive presence.
5) The Western Wall (Jerusalem, Israel)
I was born and raised Jewish, so words can’t describe how amazing it was to see one of the focal points of my religion. Once again, I couldn’t understand how this wall is still standing (since 19 BCE) after all the destruction that has occurred in this city. I remember sitting there for hours and just trying to imagine all of this history that took place in this exact spot. One of the coolest parts (for me) was that I was able to write down a wish on a piece of paper and put it into the cracks of the walls. I can’t wait to get back there!
6) La Sagrada Família (Barcelona, Spain)
It sounds ignorant to say this, but I had only heard the name of La Sagrada Família before my trip to Barcelona. I had no idea what it was all about. But, that’s why I love to travel- so I can learn and discover new things about the world!
In any regard, La Sagrada Família is a stunningly beautiful Roman Catholic Church that is full of details and surprises. The artist who designed it, Antoni Gaudí, first took initiative in 1883 and this church is STILL not complete to this day. That just shows how insanely detailed it is. My jaw was already dropped after seeing it from the outside, but the interior is a thousand times more incredible. I spent 2 hours inside in complete silence and in pure amazement. Every millimeter of this Church is done with 100% proficiency.
7) Niagara Falls (USA/Canada border)
It is actually made up of 3 waterfalls that straddle the border of Canada and the United States. A visit to Niagra falls isn’t complete until you do the Maid of the Mist tour, where you and a group of people will ride on a boat that inches closer and closer to the falls. Once you get within reaching distance, the loud sound of the water will sting your ears and the massive size of the Falls will feel a lot more real. The most mind-blowing fact that I learned is that more than 6 million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute. Can you wrap your brain around that? I sure can’t!
8) The Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey)
It has served as an important monument for both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires throughout history. At the time when I visited, the Hagia was the first mosque that I’d ever seen so I was completely amazed by the architecture from the outside. However, it wasn’t until I walked inside until I realized where the treasure is located. The interior has been untouched for centuries, spanning over 2 floors and a giant dome in the middle. The design isn’t crazy decorated like I originally imagined, but rather a simple and elegant which made it feel more authentic. I could actually see the ancient paint and detail chipping off the walls. It was such a great experience.
9) The Parthenon (Athens, Greece)
The hike up to the top is blissful, where I saw many old Greek ruins and buildings, and the views from the top is breathtaking. Once I got up to the top, I could see all of Athens white buildings clashing up against the royal blue Mediterranean Sea. It was unfortunate that I wasn’t allowed to go inside the Parthenon (no one is allowed), but I got close enough that I could see the detail of the huge blocks that were stacked on top of each other when it was constructed. The Parthenon is truly one-of-a-kind and it will always be one of the most magnificent things I have seen.
10) The Grand Canyon (Northern Arizona, USA)
Being from the state of Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon at least 5 times in my life, I can honestly say that it doesn’t have the same effect on me as it does most people (it’s virtually in my back yard). However, The Grand Canyon is nothing short of bizarre and it still amazes me every time I see it. I have a hard time believing that it is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and has a depth of 6,000 feet (1,800 meters). Oh, and also the fact that it was formed 70 MILLION years ago. The Grand Canyon is nature at it’s finest! Pictures just don’t do justice..
What are the most incredible things You’ve seen in the world?