1. Sichuan, China
Located in Sichuan, China is the Leshan Giant Buddha. Carved in to the mountainside, this Buddha measures 233 feet tall. The Giant Buddha was carved in the 8th Century and is one of the largest known Buddha images in the world. While in Sichuan, be sure to stay at the Panda Inn featuring the panda image everywhere including on the walls and the furniture. For added fun, the staff dresses as pandas.
2. Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico
In Las Pozas, there is a surreal landscape of structures created by a wealthy English aristocrat. Edward James wanted to create a fantasyland and chose the jungles of Mexico for his masterpiece. On the 20 acres, he built buildings with names like “House With a Roof Like a Whale” and a staircase to nowhere. Las Pozas translates to the pools in English.
3. Pancake Rocks, New Zealand
Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Pancake Rocks sits on the western edge of Paparoa National Park. Layers of limestone and sandstone gathered on the ocean floor. The sandstone was softer than the limestone, and it began to erode. As this process occurred, rock outcroppings that resembled stacks of pancakes began to form. Of course, this did not happen overnight; the process began 30 million years ago.
4. Mont St. Michel, France
Mont St. Michel is a tidal island. When the tide comes in it is surrounded by water, when the tide recedes it is surrounded by land. The island is located off the coast of Normandy, France. On the island is a Gothic Abbey that housed prisoners during the French Revolution.
5. Icehotel, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Not afraid of a little cold weather? Located approximately 124 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits the Icehotel, but only in the winter months. The hotel is made almost entirely from ice. Here guests sleep on beds made from ice. There is a church, main hall, and bar made from ice. The glasses in the bar are also carved from ice.
6. Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas
Blue holes contain fresh water, seawater, or a mixture of both water types that extend below sea level. The name blue hole comes from bright blue color that can be seen from above the hole. Dean’s Blue Hole located on Bahamas’ Long Island is the deepest in the world. It has a depth of 600 feet.
7. Cancun Underwater Museum, Cancun
In the ocean, just off the coast of Cancun sits the Cancun Underwater Museum. The museum features more than 400 life size sculptures. The underwater sculptures were made from materials to promote the growth of coral. On the sea floor, the sculpture of a man sits on his couch watching television, while schools of fish swim by. This is truly a unique experience.
8. Alberobello, Italy
In 1996, the trulli of Alberobello became a UNESCO World Heritage site. This small town in Italy began in the 14th Century when the Count of Conversano colonized it. Here the homes are trulli. Trulli are dwellings made from limestone and appear cone shaped. When the homes were first built, they were made from interlocking rocks that lacked mortar. Since there was no mortar, they could be moved easily.
9. Ithaa Undersea restaurant, Maldives
Ever wanted to dine with the fish? On the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, there is a Hilton Resort that offers lunch and dinner at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. The restaurant is located 16 feet below sea level. The sides and roof are made of clear glass, allowing guests to be surrounded by sea life as they eat. Be sure to make reservation, because the restaurant only seats 12.
10. Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey
In some places, the Pamukkale Thermal Pools look like fields of cotton balls. The name translates to cotton castle. The thermal pools are filled with natural hot spring waters and cascade down inclines to various tiers. The thermal pools are more than a great way to relax or spend the day swimming. They are breathtakingly beautiful. Do not forget the camera!