MORE THAN JUST HISTORICAL ATTRACTIONS, WORLD HERITAGE SITES ARE CULTURAL TREASURES HANDED DOWN FROM ONE GENERATION TO ANOTHER. IN ASIA ALONE, THERE ARE 151 PROPERTIES RECOGNIZED BY THE UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION (UNESCO). THESE UNIQUE MARVELS ARE A SOURCE OF AMAZEMENT FOR THOSE HOPING TO FIND INSPIRATION IN THEIR TRAVELS.
THE GREAT WALL – CHINA
Built by China’s first emperor in 220 BC, the Great Wall of China is the iconic landmark of one of the world’s oldest civilizations. This marvelous feat of military engineering sought to protect the land from invaders with its length that spans more than 20,000 kilometers. Construction of the wall took centuries to complete, eventually ending during the Ming Dynasty.
Spend a full day walking along the Mutianyu section of the wall, which is less crowded than the popular Badaling section, located north of the capital Beijing.
Visit the Great Wall of China at any time, but do avoid major public holidays when local tourists flock the area.
KOGURYO TOMBS – NORTH KOREA
The Koguryo Kingdom thrived in ancient Korea as one of the greatest kingdoms in the peninsula. Inside some of the tombs are fantastic wall paintings that depicted the Koguryo culture that is now extinct. Thick green grass covers the monumental mounds during summer, while wintertime brings in the immaculate snow to the complex.
For an easier time touring the Koguryo Tombs, head to China’s Jinlin and Liaoning Provinces where some of the tombs are located.
Archaeologists named the Tomb of the General, found in Ji’an City in China, as the Pyramid of the East because it resembles the ones in Egypt.
TUBBATAHA REEFS NATURAL PARK – PHILIPPINES
Truly a diver’s dream destination, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines is the epitome of a pristine coral sanctuary. Covering more than 100,000 hectares, the reefs serve as a habitat for numerous marine species. Exploring the park gives you an ample serving of colorful and awesome underwater scenes.
Tubbataha Reefs include islets and beaches that are breeding grounds for turtles and birds.
Avoid the seasonal monsoons in the Philippines from June to November when Palawan’s waters become very rough.
RED FORT COMPLEX – INDIA
The Red Fort in India is testament to the magnificent building skills of the mighty Mughals. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan, the complex is a fine example of a Mughal structure. Combining elements of Hindu, Timurid and Persian architecture, the Red Fort is easily recognizable due to its enclosing walls made from red sandstone.
Continue your tour of the complex and drop by the haunted Salimgarh Fort that was used as a prison by the Mughals and the British later on.
India’s Prime Minister addresses the nation from the Red Fort during Independence Day in August 15.
HA LONG BAY – VIETNAM
Serving as the perfect day trip from Hanoi, Ha Long Bay paints a splendid picture with its limestone karts of all shapes and sizes. Legend has it that the magical seascape was formed when a mythical mountain dragon plunged into the gulf. The sight of the emerald waters adds to the lovely calm that surrounds Ha Long Bay.
Overnight cruises are popular among honeymooners visiting Ha Long Bay.
November is the best time to visit as it brings sunny days and clear skies for a more rewarding experience.