5 World Wonders Worth Visiting

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Taj Mahal, World Wonder

The Taj Mahal, completed in the 1600's, a World Wonder.

The first World Wonder I ever saw was Machu Picchu in Peru, in September 2007. Exploring the grounds and the in-tact remains of temples was a special adventure and education. After that visit, I knew I had to experience more of the World Wonders.

Here are five World Wonders I visited during the past 13 months of travel, plus two other sites I saw that I think should be recognized as well. See Wikipedia for a detailed list of World Wonders).

World Wonders I saw this year

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 1653 AD.

The Taj Mahal is a tomb built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife who bore him 14 children. The building cost is estimated at 32 million rupees in the 1600′s, or equivalent to $1 billion, according to one calculation on Quora. Contrary to what’s shown in the Slumdog Millionaire movie, you don’t have to leave your shoes outside the Taj. Your entrance fee includes a pair of red cloth covers to put over your shoes. Entrance fee: 750 Indian rupees ($15).

2. Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Istanbul, Turkey, 537 AD.

Originally as a basilica in the 500′s and converted to a mosque in the 1400′s. It was especially interesting to see mosaics of biblical scenes in a mosque. The building didn’t look impressive to me from the outside, but I was stunned when I stepped inside. The grandness felt similar to St. Peter’s basilica at the Vatican, but in a mosque.  Admission cost: 20 Turkish lira ($12).

3. The Colosseum (Colosseo), Rome

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy, 80 AD.

Completed in 60 AD, the Colosseum is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering and seats 50,000 spectators. Unlike some of the other world wonders which are buffered from cars or nearby congestion, the Colosseum is right downtown and surrounded by busy streets. Admission fee: 15.50 Euros ($21)

4. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt.

Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt, 2540 BC.

The Pyramids of Giza is the only remaining structure from the list of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built in 2560 BC, it’s about 140 metres tall. It’s hard to tell the height of the building from my photo, but each stone is 2-3 feet hight. Entrance fee: 60 Egyptian pounds ($11) to enter grounds (includes the Sphinx), 100 Egyptian pounds to enter the Great Pyramid.

5. Petra, Jordan

Treasury at Petra, Jordan.

Treasury at Petra, Jordan, 1200 BC.

Walking by tombs carved into rock faces and the walking through the rose-coloured canyon to the Treasury is an experience in itself. You aren’t allowed to go inside the Treasury, but during my evening visit, it rained and the night guide let us sit inside the Treasury. Admission fee: 50/55/60 Jordan dinars for a 1/2/3 day pass ($75, $80, $90) if you’re staying at least 1 night in Jordan, else admission is 90 JD ($135).

6. World Wonder finalist – Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 12th century.

Built in the 12th century, started as a Hindu temple but later became Buddhist in the 13th century. complex of wats (temples). The entire Angkor archeological site is 400km2 and to get to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, you need either vehicle or tuk tuk. Sections of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie was filmed at Bayon. Entry fee: 20/40/60 USD for 1/3/7 day pass.

7. World Wonder finalist – Dead Sea, Jordan/Israel

Floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan.

Floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan.

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth’s surface at 425m below sea level. Israel is on the west bank, and can be seen from the shore of Jordan on the east bank. The Dead Sea has incoming rivers, but no outgoing rivers so as water evaporates, salt and other minerals are left behind. Entry fee: 15 Jordan dinars ($22) for the public beach.

>> Which World Wonders have you seen? Which one do you want to see next?


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  • Shivani

    All the wonders of the World are amazing and everyone must see them. They depict the real picture of beauty and gracefulness and adds natural flavor of each country. Excellent blog!! Really Nice pictures.We provide information on travel places from Pune, be it beaches, hill stations. Check the link mentioned in the signature for more information.

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    Shivani

    http://punefirst.com/travel/

  • http://machworld.co MACH

    Yes, really good list. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.escapehunter.com/ Escape Hunter

    The fine details on the Taj Mahal are amazing!

  • Mathew Duong

    Amazing pictures.Hope I will visit all of them in my life. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  • 4wd Rental Australia

    Wow! In 5 Wonders I love Taj mahal , because its a symbol of Love, Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • http://www.aussie4wdhire.com/4wd-hire-alice-springs.htm 4wd Hire Alice Springs

    Wow really an amazing post including all the wonderful places but i have only visited Taj Mahal before.

  • http://backpacking-travel-blog.com/ Samuel & Audrey

    You hit up a lot of world wonders in one year! I’m hoping to check off some of these soon.

  • http://www.aussiecampervans.com/campervan-rental-brisbane.html Campervan Rental in Brisbane

    I am very happy your trip was wonderful. These all places are so amazing to visit in the world. Taj Mahal and Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt are my favourite places.
     

  • http://www.moneyreasons.com/ Don

    Wow, you have a pretty incredible 2011 year.  Some day I hope to be able to travel abroad more! 

    Sadly, I didn’t realize that the Taj Mahal was built as a tomb…  I thought it was some elaborate castle that existed in India…  Imagine my surprise when I read what it’s real purpose was for!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      I didn’t know the Taj was a tomb either, especially because it’s white, which I associate with palaces and castles as well. The Pyramids were also tombs too. Thanks for stopping by Don!

      - Lily

  • Cee Howard

     I’m so glad your trip was wonderful for you and those of us who read your posts. Nearly 40 years have passed since mine to Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, and so often it comes to mind. Some gifts do keep on giving. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    C Howard, Baton Rouge, La. USA 

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Thanks for your beautiful comment, Cee. I’ll always remember this round-the-world trip too. There were many special moments, plus I have over 17,000 photos to remember it by! :)

      - Lily

      • Don

        Didnt u go Nepal?

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  • http://www.GreenGlobalTravel.com/ Bret @ Green Global Travel

    Wow, that’s an amazing year worth of travel sites! Egypt, India, Jordan and Turkey are all on our list of must-see places. Hoping we’ll get to at least a few of them in 2012. 

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Good luck with your 2012 travels, they were all worth seeing and surprisingly, most of them don’t even cost much to enter! Let me know if I might be able to help with any trip planning.

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/eurotriptips Marie-Eve Vallieres

    Amazing year it was, 2011! As much as India scares me, I’d love to see the Taj Mahal. Maybe one day :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Marie,

      India is a bit overwhelming – you can always consider doing a small group tour with G Adventures or Intrepid, that way you have a local guiding your stay plus meet other travellers to share the culture-shock with ;)

      - Lily

  • http://www.atravelguide.info/ California traveler

    So glad to see the mention of Machu Picchu. Peru has a lot to offer! The Nazca Lines are close and I hope you got to see them as well?  http://www.atravelguide.info/2011/12/peru-adventure-wilderness-history.html

  • https://aweinclusive.com Michaela

    It’s amazing to think that these type of structures are still available for our enjoyment.  They are indeed wonders and I found  myself holding my breath while scrolling through your pictures.   

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      I agree with you – it’s such a privilege to walk into and see these magnificent structures. It’s amazing to think I was looking at, or touching, something that was built thousands of years ago.

      - Lily

  • Anonymous

    I took a picture in front of a giant turkey in Boscobel, Wisconsin proclaiming the town the turkey capitol of the state. I keep voting for the giant turkey to be named as one of the world wonders, but it has yet to make the list.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousBiz Amanda Williams

    Wow, what a great year you’ve had! Out of these, I’ve only seen to Colosseum in person. I think I’d most like to see the Hagia Sofia (can’t WAIT to make it to Istanbul someday), Angkor Wat, and Petra. They all look so amazing in every photo I’ve seen!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hagia Sofia didn’t look that impressive to me from the outside, but I’m glad I went inside anyway because I was blown away. Angkor and Petra are both bucket list worthy experiences! If you have time and interest you can watch the first Tomb Raider movie, has a number of scenes filmed at Angkor; and Indiana Jones and the last Crusade has a scene with Petra where they’re entering tomb. I watched these movies right before I did my visits and it kind of added to the excitement :)

      - Lily

  • Rica

    I’ve been to the Angkor Wat and just walking around inside was an out of body experience. I even had to lie down on the ground to feel “one” with the gods :) The rice terraces here in the Philippines are amaaazing as well. You can never BELIEVE that it’s man-made once you see it. It’s HUGE and absolutely breathtaking. I would love to see the Treasury at Petra and the Colosseo one day.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Rica,

      I’ve heard so many great things about the Philippines, including the rice terraces and beaches/diving. Philippines is one of the top 10 countries that’s next on my travel list. I might be asking you for tips in the future :)

      - Lily

      • Rica

        No problem, Lily!

  • http://inspiringtravellers.com/ Andrea and John

    Wow – you’ve seen heaps! Have been to a few of those but am still dying to see the pyramids…

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      The one I’m dying to see the most is Aurora Borealis. I’m also curious about how Christ the Redeemer made it on the same list as Petra, the Great Wall and the Pyramids!

      - Lily

  • http://www.so-many-places.com/ Kim

    Beautiful!  Now which one was your favorite?

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Kim,

      Good question! I think the Pyramids was the most anticipated and definitely lived up to expectations, but most memorable is probably one of the temples at Angkor Wat. I had my first “time stood still” moment there.

      - Lily

  • Anonymous

    i’ve only seen Hagia sofia & the coliseum off your list… also saw Pisa & ephesus

    the pyramids look so flipping impressive!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Pisa is still on my list! Now that you bring it up, I’m wishing I had made a stop there while I was close by in Florence, Italy! 

      - Lily

  • http://www.thetravelchica.com/ Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    Impressive!  I’ll have to look at the list and see if I have any for this past year.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tazimd Tazim Damji

    The one I most want to see on your list is the Hagia Sophia—wrote a paper on it in an Art History class. I didn’t do much travelling outside of the USA this year (I’m from Canada). 

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Wow, what an interesting piece to write about. I just saw on your Google+ profile you’re an art historian, how interesting! I would love to learn more about art history, especially biblical art. If I might be able to help plan a trip to Turkey one day, just let me know :)

      - Lily