Bali alternatives in Indonesia: Lombok, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java; Margot Bigg; News.com.au

Indonesia – Borobudur Temple Compounds

WHILE Bali is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and culturally rich islands in Indonesia, there are plenty of less famous, but equally enchanting, spots in the archipelago that are worth visiting. Whether you are after pink-sand beaches, ancient temples, rainforest hikes, wildlife spotting, or some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities on earth, here are a few places worth considering for your next Indonesian journey, according to the hotel experts at Oyster.com.

LOMBOK

Just east of Bali, Lombok has been a popular tourist destination since the 1980s, and has traditionally been touted as a low-key, unspoilt alternative to its more popular next door neighbour. It doesn’t get as much rain as Bali, which makes it a good choice during the rainy season, but still features plenty of similar attractions and activities.

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Bản in : Quang Nam works to tap My Son Sanctuary’s tourism potential; VietNam Breaking News

Viet Nam – My Son Sanctuary

Quang Nam (VNA) – Authorities in central Quang Nam province are working to tap the tourism potential of My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO-recognised cultural heritage.

My Son Sanctuary in Duy Xuyen district consists of more than 70 temples dating back to the Champa civilisation between the 4th and 13th centuries AD. It embodies a myriad of historical, cultural, architectural and artistic values and is comparable to famous relic sites in Southeast Asia such as Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Pagan (Myanmar) and Borobudur (Indonesia).

The sanctuary, named a world cultural heritage by UNESCO in 1999, welcomes over 300,000 visitors a year, 70 percent of whom are foreigners.

Deputy Director of the Quang Nam Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Xuan Tinh said My Son is a widespread area of big rivers that were the crossroads of many civilisations, including Champa, in the past.

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5th Transboundary Platform Meeting for the safeguarding of the Lake Ohrid region; Unesco

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Macedonia – Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region

The Fifth Transboundary Platform Meeting on the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” will take place on the 9th and 10th of February 2017.

This fifth meeting is part of a joint European Union and UNESCO initiative in close cooperation with the Albanian and Macedonian authorities to strengthen transboundary cooperation in the management of the Lake Ohrid region’s natural and cultural heritage.

The “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region,” was first inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1979. Initially recognized for its outstanding natural value, the site’s inscription was later extended to reflect the region’s extensive cultural attributes. Lake Ohrid boasts an impressive geological and biological history of two to three million years.

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Chittorgarh Fort, the largest Indian medieval castle!; Deviant World

India – Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Chittorgarh is a city in the Rajasthan state of western India, on the banks of the Berach River. Chittorgarh is home to the Chittorgarh Fort, the largest medieval fort in India and Asia.

Fiercely independent, the fort of Chittor was under siege thrice, and each time they fought bravely. The sacrifice of Rao Jaimal and Patta, two brave army chieftains of Mewar, in the war against the Mughals (1568 AD) was so great that the Mughal Emperor Akbar installed their statues in the fort of Agra. It has also been a land of worship for Meera.

In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Cambodia, Chittorgarh Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History of Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh (garh means fort) was formerly called Chitrakut.

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Skara Brae up for Heritage Site of the Year award; Historic Environment

UK – Heart of Neolithic Orkney

Orkney attraction is the only Scottish site nominated in BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2017.

The prehistoric village of Skara Brae, on Orkney, is the only Scottish visitor attraction in the running to be named Heritage Site of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.

Bestselling author and travel writer, Bill Bryson was tasked by the magazine to nominate his top five heritage sites from across the length and breadth of the country, representing the UK’s historic environment.

Members of the public have until Tuesday 28th February to cast their vote online and choose a winner.

Skara Brae, which forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, is up against strong competition in the Heritage Site of the Year award category.

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The best heritage sites to visit in Puglia; Italy Travel and Life

Italy – Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are regarded as being universally important and ‘belonging to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located’.

When you visit Puglia, a region rich in history and culture,  make sure you take the time to explore one of these sites.

Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte is a perfectly octagnal castle, built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century, is a mystery in that no one really knows why it was built: it wasn’t lived in, it is not near any town, has no moats or other defence structures, although built on top of a hill. It is made up of a central octagonal core containing an inner octagonal courtyard that is surrounded by eight tall, perfectly octagonal towers on each of the eight corners.

 

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Laotian Adventure in Luang Prabang Laos; Lora Chow; Travel4FoodFun.com

Laos – Town of Luang Prabang

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

Luang Prabang is a magical city that served as the royal capital of Laos until 1975. Located at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, this ancient town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Tom and I travel extensively throughout SE Asia and we both believe Luang Prabang is a gem.  In fact, it is now our favorite city in the region! We hope others discover this remarkable location before tourist development dilutes cultural authenticity.

Luang Prabang’s innocence is a double-edge sword.  On one hand, it remains innocent to and holds on to its’ identity.  On the other hand, travel to and around the city can be more challenging.

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Humans are destroying natural World Heritage Sites; Lola Gayle; Steam Register

USA – Yellowstone National Park

WARNING: More than 100 Natural World Heritage Sites are in immediate danger.

Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Yellowstone National Park in the United States are globally recognized as containing some of the Earth’s most valuable natural assets.

Despite this, a new University of Queensland-led study warns that more than a hundred of these sites are being destroyed by the encroachment of humans.

For the study, the international team looked at human pressures on World Heritage Sites such as roads, agriculture, urbanization and industrial infrastructure, along with forest loss, over time. To do this, they used updated data from the Human Footprint project.

They found that our human footprint has experienced a significant increase of 63 percent in Natural World Heritage Sites across all continents except Europe over the past two decades.

 

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World Music and Heritage Views at Jodhpur’s World Sacred Spirit Festival; Saumya Ancheri; Nat Geo Traveller India

India – Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Listen to Persian poetry, throat singers from Mongolia, and Bauls from Bengal.

Travellers from around the world throng to Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, for its sandstone walls, stained-glass panels, and sweeping views of the Blue City. The handsome bastion is a sight to behold but to really feel the fort stir to life, attend a music festival here. The fort hosts two: the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (popularly called RIFF) and the World Sacred Spirit Festival, which takes place from Fri February 17 to Sun February 19, 2017.

Concerts are held at various venues in and around the fort. Start the mornings at Jaswant Thada, an elegant marble cenotaph with tiered gardens next to the fort. Beside its serene lake, listen to Persian poetry performed to classical Iranian music, or melodies plucked on a Chinese lute.

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Ziplining Into a Cave and Other Underground Adventures in Vietnam; Jennifer Arnow; Fodor’s Travel

Viet Nam – Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, located in the Quang Binh province of central Vietnam, is home to many colorful caving adventures. The park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of the oldest karst limestone rock formations in Asia. There are currently 300 known caves and grottoes, but new caves are regularly discovered.

SON DOONG CAVE

The most recent cave to be found is Son Doong cave, discovered in 2009. Son Doong is considered to be the largest cave in the world. More than 3 miles long with ceiling heights over 650 feet, Son Doong cave houses both a subterranean river and a rainforest within its depths. This cave is truly breathtaking, but space to see it is limited. Due to conservation concerns, the Quang Binh province restricts the number of annual visitors, and only one outfitter, Oxalis Adventure Tours, provides tours.

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