NOTE: This trip was inspired by our 8-day Treasures of Vietnam trip.
Stretching 1,650 km from north to south, Vietnam is packed full of wonderful sights and experiences that are not to be missed. Because of this, coming up with an itinerary that fits such an array of beauty and culture into just a week or so can seem pretty daunting. But if you’re short on time and don’t have much annual leave, you don’t need to worry.
We’ve compiled a handy seven-day guide for your whistle-stop tour of Northern Vietnam.
From big cities brimming with foodie fun, to landscapes so surreal they will blow your mind, Northern Vietnam sure won’t disappoint.
Day 1: Sapa
We start in Sapa – our northernmost location, close to the border with China. This region is home to many indigenous hill tribes and is well known for its hiking.
Selimiye Mosque, a masterpiece of Mimar Sinan’s mastery period as well as Ottaman-Islamic civilization, is admired for new meanings attributed to its structure and its architecture
It is rumored that Prophet Muhammad appeared in a dream to Ottoman Sultan Selim II and pointed to Edirne to build the Selimiye Mosque; thus, Selim ordered the structure to be built in Kavak Square.
It took six years to construct the Selimiye Mosque, which was designed by Mimar Sinan. He called this work of art, which he built for the 11th Ottoman Sultan Selim II, “My masterpiece.” It is unsurpassed in terms of architectural and aesthetic value and was built at a time when Turkish-Islamic civilization had reached its peak in the Ottoman Empire. The historic mosque is admired by visitors and art historians and has tremendous significance.
The village where I live – Saltaire, near Bradford, West Yorkshire – is a former Victorian mill town, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. (A while ago I wrote a post about Saltaire and the weaving industry, with lots of photos of the village.)
When the woollen industry was at its height, thousands of people arrived in Yorkshire and Lancashire from India and Pakistan to work in the mills. After the woollen industry died in the 80s, the immigrants and their families remained, and Bradford now has one of the highest populations of people of Asian descent in the UK. It’s thanks to an Asian neighbour that I now know how to make the best lamb pilau, and it’s thanks to her, too, that I was introduced to the fabulous world of Bollywood.
Are you ready to explore nature? It’s something of an official pastime in Alaska, particularly in the summer.
Alaskans, though, are a curious lot — even beyond hiking up one more hill or rafting down one more river. It’s a big world “Outside” and learning about a region’s cultural heritage helps bring us closer to the people who live there. That’s part of the mission behind the United Nations’ educational, scientific and cultural organization, or UNESCO, World Heritage sites.
There are more than 1,000 designated sites around the world, divided into natural sites and cultural sites. If you are looking for an “ultimate bucket list” for travel destinations, this might be a good place to start.
Alaska only has one designated site, but it’s a doozy. In fact, the site spans the border into Canada.
We’re more than ready to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with a little adventure and travel, and luckily for all of us, Jody Robbins has outlined her top five picks for summer destinations. So, go ahead and pack up the kids and get ready to explore!
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Alberta was once a stomping ground for over 40 species of dinosaurs dating back 85 million years, and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s most significant fossil beds. You can roam the grounds, just as these jurassic giants once did on self-guided tours, but die hard dino fans who want to dig deeper into the prehistoric past do well with interpretive tours such as the Centrosaurus Quarry hike or Explorer’s Bus. No visit to the Canadian Badlands is complete until you’ve moseyed into the saloon at the Patricia Hotel.
The country boasts some seriously beautiful landmarks and countryside.
It’s no surprise that Italy has been a firm favourite for holidaymakers for decades. The weather is sunny, the food is famously delicious, and there’s plenty to do whether you’re after a cultural getaway or a beach break.
Plus, you don’t need to break the bank for a visit – there are plenty of cheap flights on offer, not to mention the wide array of budget-friendly accommodation that’s available.
Whether you’re a looking to explore Rome and see its iconic landmarks, want to sample that famous Italian cuisine, or simply feel like basking in the glorious sunshine on the Amalfi Coast, the country has some seriously amazing locations worth checking out on your trip.
London’s largest painted ceiling is undergoing a major transformation.
The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, part of Maritime Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is being conserved for the first time since the 1950s. This means that visitors can get closer to the ceiling of the Painted Hall than ever before — and that even conservators who know the paintings very well are discovering the details of the artwork.
“It’s a pretty amazing and weird experience,” Will Palin, director of conservation at the Old Royal Naval College, told ABC News. “When the scaffolding first went up it was very disorientating because, of course, they were never meant to be seen this close. ”
We take a look at the best sights and activities you won’t want to miss…
If you’re looking for somewhere that has spectacular natural landscape, bustling cities, a breathtaking coast and picturesque little towns, then Sweden might be your ideal holiday destination.
It’s not just the stunning backdrops that are giving us major wanderlust – there’s plenty to see and do across the country.
Whether you want to watch the Northern Lights above a beautiful national park, fancy exploring Stockholm or paying a visit to the world-famous ABBA museum, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the wide array of activities to try and landmarks to see.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve rounded up our top picks of the best things to see and do in this stunning country – as well as the cheapest flights and great budget hotels.
4 Reasons that the Southern Italian City is undeserving of its reputation
Naples is the city that everyone loves to hate. Whether because of the crime problems or the waste management issues, Naples has soared to the top of many travelers ‘cities to avoid’ list.
That reputation is not wholly deserved nor is Naples a city to be avoided just because there are some problems. The major problem with Naples is that even though it sits in the center of many historic and beautiful locations, the city and its inhabitants just can’t seem to decide what they want to be.
There is a major crime problem. Organized crime controls much of the working of the government in southern Italy and that has caused the pollution problem.
On the weekend of June 9th-11th Switzerland will hold its second annual World Heritage Days event, a great chance to explore the country’s 11 Unesco-protected sites.
During the three-day event each of these spectacular places will offer special events and activities to help visitors discover more about their history, including free guided tours, free entry to various museums and family-friendly activities.
For further details of events at each site, visit whes.ch. In the meantime, let’s just appreciate the beauty and awesomeness of these 11 incredible places.
1. Bern’s Old Town. With parts dating from the 12th century, the medieval centre of Switzerland’s capital city comprises 6km of limestone buildings and covered walkways – the Lauben – as well as one-off gems such as the Zytglogge, a 16th century mechanical clock.
Tourists in Florence were hit with a wet warning by the city’s mayor yesterday as part of a crackdown to restore ‘decorum’ at historic sites.
Visitors to Florence’s Santa Croce basilica were ordered to stop snacking on the steps before a squad of street cleaners hosed them down. The move has been introduced to prevent people picnicking at the Renaissance jewel, as growing numbers of tourists have led to trails of rubbish lining the streets.
“By washing the steps every lunchtime we hope they will be too wet for tourists to lounge on, but we also hope the cleaning will encourage tourists to treat them with more respect,” a city spokeswoman said. “We don’t aim to hose down the tourists themselves.”
From art installations to music and dance, Paphos has become a holiday hotspot. We discover the European City of Culture 2017
Paphos is having something of a moment. A striking geometric marble installation towering over the Mediterranean and a bronze figure clinging to the rocks are clues that there is going to be more to this holiday than sea and sun-loungers. These two sculptures are part of Paphos’s ‘Signs In Time And Space’ project, which is just one of the art events created to celebrate the city’s status – alongside Aarhus in Denmark – as European Capital of Culture for 2017.
Paphos’s historic architecture and vibrant contemporary art scene are being enhanced with a huge line-up of cultural happenings, which makes now a better time than ever to visit.
Thanks to the rise of cheap flights and even cheaper beer, we’re taking more trips away than ever before (see Instagram for the heavily-hashtagged proof). But if you’ve found yourself arriving at your destination only to be surrounded by people from the exact town you left, it can feel like you’ve never left at all.
To help you avoid Groundhog Day: International Edition, we’ve done a round-the-world recce. Below you’ll find the best places to visit in 2017, both overseas for those who want to experience some culture (or, y’know, sunshine), and at home for those who just can’t get on board with a 1:1 exchange rate. Happy trails.
Best For: Foodies
Fancy swapping your chow mein for something more… interesting?
One word – variety. And France has heaps of it. This beguiling country is both sleepy and captivating with snippets to satisfy everyone. It’s near impossible to imagine France without thinking of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in Paris or the famous golden sands of the French Riviera. But France has oh so much more than meets the eye. With that in mind, we wanted to share our favourite towns and villages in France, that will hopefully add an extra layer for you to explore on your next adventures. Not only are these towns and villages easy on the eye, but they’re all totally unique from each other. So whatever your taste, you’ll find something new. And if you’re looking for a cosy abode to match, check out our portfolio of villas in France.
Heads up, history buffs! Gyeongsangbuk-do is the perfect destination for you.
GYEONGJU-SI, South Korea – For a lot of people, the bustling cities of Seoul and Incheon are usually top of mind whenever they think of paying a visit to South Korea.
While getting lost in a big city can be a romantic prospect, if you’re looking to get away from the stressful and busy city life, then Gyeongsangbuk-do is the perfect alternative. The province is rich in heritage sites and the perfect place for history buffs to immerse themselves in South Korea’s vibrant past and learn about Bhuddist culture.
Here are some places in and around the cities of Pohang and Gyeongju in Gyeongsangbuk-do that you should definitely check out:
Pohang Homigot Sunrise Square
The Homigot Sunrise Square is located at the tail of the tiger (the Korean Peninsula).
If we ever finally get around to launching a mission to another planet, it will take between three months and a year to get to Mars. Proxima Centauri, the closest star with exoplanets in the habitable zone, is over four light-years away.
Suffice to it say the chance of anyone reading this to actually set foot on an alien world is basically zero.
Fortunately for intrepid explorers, our own planet is full of odd corners with bizarre geological formations and unusual plant and animal life. Many of these exotic locales have inspired fantastic worlds in our favorite speculative fiction, while others seem like they sprang out of our wildest imaginations.
If you’d like to experience a far-off planet orbiting a distant star, you might start with one of these fascinating — and sometimes dangerous — spots here on Earth.
Masada made the news recently—but not for the usual reasons. The extraordinary archaeological site and iconic symbol of Jewish freedom has most recently received publicity because U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to land his helicopter on top of it, but was denied permission to do so. West of the Dead Sea, Masada is a flat-topped mountain in the Judean Desert. Trump had been hoping to visit and make a speech at the UNESCO World Heritage site during his recent trip to Israel. Upon learning that he could not land his helicopter on Masada’s summit, he chose to forgo the excursion entirely, which is unfortunate because Masada is well worth the visit.
King Herod the Great built a lavish palace on Masada’s summit in the first century B.C.E.
In 1956 the newly elected president of Brazil, Juscelino Kubitschek, spoke with the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer: “I am going to build a new capital for this country and I want you to help me,” he said. With that, Oscar Niemeyer became the planner and chief architect of Brazil’s new capital. In April of 1960, Brasilia, the purpose-built modernist city in the middle of the highland jungles of Brazil, became the country’s capital. More than 25 of the monumental and government buildings in Brasilia were ultimately designed by Oscar Niemeyer. UNESCO made Brasilia a World Heritage Site in 1987 due to its modernist architecture and premeditated urban planning. Here’s our grand tour of Oscar Niemeyer modernist architecture in Brasilia.
Modernist Architecture of Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia, Brazil