Top 5 wonders of the world
There are many epic places to see in the world, but we don’t all have the time or the resources to see every single one. Cox & Kings lets us in on which ones we definitely cannot miss.
Taj Mahal, India
Perhaps the most obvious on the list, the Taj Mahal in Agra is incomparable to any other iconic sight. Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz Mahal, work commenced in 1632 and took 21 years to complete. Today, it is the ultimate ode to romance. Over 3 million travellers have visited the Unesco world heritage site, which has been described as a ‘teardrop on the face of eternity’.
Established in about 312BC as a capital city for the Nabateans, the fortress of Petra is still an impressive sight to see. A natural and narrow passage through the high-walled stone cliffs called the Siq leads to the impressive Treasury building (Al Khazneh), a well-preserved and remarkable structure carved into the sandstone wall. Other attractions include the amphitheatre and the ‘Street of Facades’ – a walkway lined with more than 40 stunning tombs. With its history and impressive sights, is easy to see why the ‘rose city’ is the most visited attraction in Jordan.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Roughly translated as ‘descending dragon bay’, local legend tells of dragons defending Halong Bay from invaders, spitting out jewels and jade that turned into more than 1,600 towering limestone karsts. The best way to explore is via traditional junk boat, sailing tranquilly through the karsts and spotting islands in the shape of elephants (Voi Islet) and monkeys (Khi Islet) among others. You can also uncover large caves inside many of the islands, and experience the local fishing villages that rely on the bay for livelihood.
Red Square, Russia
Admittedly we’re cheating a little here, as visiting Red Square in Moscow ticks off a number of notable attractions. The first is the square itself; historically a marketplace, it is now where all official ceremonies are held and where all major roads in Moscow begin. It also separates the Kremlin, the impressive royal citadel and home of the Russian president, and St Basil’s cathedral – a colourful and distinctive church built in 1555, which can now be explored as a museum.
From the ninth to the 13th century, Pagan (Bagan) was the capital city of the Kingdom of Pagan, and more than 10,000 Buddhist temples were constructed along the plains. Nowadays there are more than 2,200 pagodas that dot the landscape seemingly as far as the eye can see. There are a number of famous stupas, including the Ananda temple – built in 1105AD and with spires gilded in gold. It takes well over a day to uncover all of Pagan’s historic secrets – but the best way to appreciate the scale of this ancient city is via hot air balloon.
Cox & Kings has a range of tours for single travellers that visit the above sights.