Written by: Lily Gregory
Live life to the fullest and experience as many cultures and see as many sites as possible — at least that’s what I learned from watching “Eat Pray Love.” After seeing the film I was inspired to travel and take in as much culture as I could. When I was a young girl, I always dreamed of traveling: to see giraffes and elephants roam free, taste the mouthwatering cuisine in France, have a different pen pal in every country.
Now, years later, I finally started living out my dream. I’ve experienced new cultures and cuisine in Europe, surfed the North Shore in Hawaii and became friends with complete strangers in Texas. When preparing for a trip, I plan and research my destination. I’m going to take an Asia cruise this summer, and have already mapped out must-see landmarks and booked exciting excursions to try.
1. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Asia is home to some of the world’s most iconic and spiritual places ever recorded in history and features more World Heritage Sites than anywhere else in the world.
- The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and is the largest man-made structure in the world.
- The Taj Mahal is the highlight of India and one of the most beautiful structures in the world.
- Ayutthaya is a beautiful city and was once the ancient capital of Thailand from 1350-1767 AD. Visitors flock here every year to wander the ruins and gaze at the city’s beauty. The most-visited attraction is the sandstone head of an ancient Buddha statue. A nearby tree grew around it, crushing the statue’s body but mysteriously leaving the head.
2. Take a Ride With the Elephants
In the lush tropical jungle of Maesa Valley rests the largest elephant camp in northern Thailand. Experience the adventure of a lifetime and ride the back of an elephant through the thick jungle. You will encounter waterfalls, streams, and various jungle life. The surroundings are truly breathtaking, with many shades of greens and fresh waters. Read all about travel in Thailand including stories from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Koh Phangan!)
3. Explore the Angkor Temples in Cambodia
Also a World Heritage Site, Angkor is often mistaken as a single temple. In fact, it is made up of hundreds of temple sites scattered across a 600-square-mile area. One of the most famous temples is the vine-strangled bricks of Ta Prohm, which has been featured in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and eerily similar to the monkey jungle in “The Jungle Book.” The Angkor Temples are truly a sight to be seen, with archeological wonders and Buddha statues throughout. Read all about travel in Cambodia including stories from Siem Reap and Angkor Wat!
4. See Majestic Mt Fuji
Marvel in the beauty of Mt Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain. The snow-capped mountain has been worshipped and gazed upon by people for centuries and immortalized in works of art.
5. Shop at the Floating Markets in Bangkok
The Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak will offer a unique shopping experience. Weave between stilted houses and vendors selling fresh, exotic produce from canoes. This Thai spot is very popular among tourists. Your taste buds will salivate in anticipation of all the colorful fruits, vegetables, sweets and meats lining the Floating Market.
Lily is a freelance writer who lives in California.
One thought on “Authentic Asia: 5 Things to See and Do”
The floating markets in Bankok are subsidized by the gov’t in order to keep them open. Its really just a tourist trap, that said It is cool (if over priced for what they sell) There’s also a much larger floating market (and also a snake market) in Cambodia I’ve been to as long as its on your list.
Also with the elephant riding, I havent actually done it, but from what I’ve heard you have to be very selective about where you go (if you are concerned with humane treatment of animals.) Yes for people its a wonderful experience but also of these animal attractions are humanly questionable at best… I’d reverse that point as the Thailand Islands are WAY more appealing than elephant rides.