Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam
Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets and was established as a historical and cultural National Landscape site in 1962 under the Cultural Heritage Law. Forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. This site’s outstanding scenic beauty has been noted by Patricia Schultz as one of the spots in the famed tome “1000 places to see before you die”.
Santorini is one of the most popular destinations of Greece and is known as the home of one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Santorini to discover the famous submerged caldera, the volcano’s crater, which is situated today in the middle of a 32 square miles basin of water. Around the basin, hanging on surrounding cliffs one can admire some of the most beautiful traditional villages of the Cyclades. The lively colors of the white Cycladic houses and blue painted roofs contrast stunningly against the black volcanic rocks rising from sea.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, a lost Inca city in the Andes, is considered one of the world’s truly unforgettable sights. It is very remote, fringed by two fierce-looking craggy peaks and is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its magnificent architecture which was built in glorious harmony with the surrounding landscape. In the relatively short space of a hundred years (14th – 15th century) the Incas went from a little-known highland tribe to the greatest empire ever seen in the Americas. Their empire extended more than 3000 miles from north to south, from Ecuador down to modern-day Bolivia and Chile. Most historians believe that Machu Picchu was abandoned in an orderly fashion. Much of Machu Picchu’s history remains a riddle but it’s highly likely that the whole site was built and then abandoned in less than 100 years. There are no traces of either pre-Inca settlements or post-conquest occupation.