Showing posts with label my travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label my travel. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2011

World's Most Secret Islands

We turned up 10 dreamy islands unknown to the average U.S. traveler. 
By Jamie Moore
Looking for the perfect place to get away from it all? We searched the world and turned up 10 dreamy islands unknown to the average U.S. traveler. These little patches of unspoiled paradise, from the Great Lakes to the South China Sea, are relatively affordable and easy to get to. And the idea of getting stranded on any one of them would be, well, absolutely OK with us.

Madeline Island
Location: Lake Superior, just off Wisconsin
Size: 14 miles long by three miles wide
Population: 300 year-round; 2,500 in summer

Midwesterners need not go far for a secluded island paradise. Part of Wisconsin's Apostle Islands archipelago, Madeline has many trappings of a tropical oasis—sandy beaches, sailing charters, sea caves, cliff-jumping, and even stand-up paddleboarding. No wonder the population swells in summer. Visit in winter and you can make first tracks on a dogsled or see ice caves.

Island time
Kayak to sea caves, historical lighthouses, and a century-old shipwreck with Adventure Vacations or Living Adventure. Raise a glass to live music at the quirky Tom's Burned Down Cafe. Don't miss locally caught trout on The Pub Restaurant & Wine Bar's beachfront patio.

Getting here
Board the Madeline Island Car Ferry (25 minutes) at Bayfield. You can also walk onto the ferry and rent a bike or moped from the island's Motion to Go. In winter (mid-January through February), arrive by air-propelled wind sled or drive the ice road.

Location: U.S. Atlantic Coast, just off Virginia
Size: Three miles long by one mile wide
Population: 727

This little island 12 miles off of northern Virginia is one of the last isolated fishing villages left on the Chesapeake Bay. Out here it's a completely different world. Locals speak in a thick accent that sounds like a cross between Elizabethan English and the Old South. They drive golf carts on the virtually carless island. And the salty Tangier watermen still carry on the centuries-old tradition of harvesting crabs in the bay.

Island time
During a waterman tour, a Tangier captain teaches you how to pull crab pots. Try the incredible crab bisque and crab cakes made by wives of watermen at Fisherman's Corner Restaurant. Rent a free kayak at the Tangier History Museum and Interpretive Cultural Center and follow the island's water trails.

Getting here
Three seasonal ferries (one to one-and-a-half hours) and two year-round ferries (45 minutes) link the island with mainland Virginia and Maryland. There's also a small Tangier Island Airport.

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

Location: Eastern Caribbean,Bahamas Out Islands
Size: Less than two square miles
Population: 80

A tiny link in the chain of Exuma Cays, this gem lies 250 miles off the coast of Florida in the Bahamas' famously clear turquoise waters. Many of the Exhumas are private (Johnny Depp owns one) or ultraexclusive, but Staniel Cay is an exception. Here, you can stay in a cottage on stilts over the ocean for only $165 per night. Everything but the price seems top-shelf.

Island time
Go for the all-inclusive package ($176 per person per night) at Staniel Cay Yacht Club—the island's only lodging—and get a waterfront cottage, all meals, and your own 13-foot Boston Whaler during your stay. Cruise to a deserted beach or see the swimming pigs at Major Cay. Snorkel at Thunderball Grotto, a hollowed-out island and the filming location for James Bond's Thunderball.

Getting here
The yacht club arranges shared charter flights (two-and-a-half hours) from Ft.Lauderdale on Watermakers Air starting at $200 per person one-way.

Fernando De Noronha
Location: Western Atlantic, 220 miles off Brazil's coast
Size: Seven square miles
Population: 3,012
Peaks of a submerged mountain range rise up out of the sea to form this beautiful Brazilian 21-island archipelago. The largest island is the only one populated, but throngs of vacationers never clog its perfect coves of white-sand beaches. The government restricts tourism to 420 visitors at a time. Yes, this is the kind of place you want to (and can) be left to your own devices with a little motorbike: There's just one traffic light.

Island time
Two major ocean currents meet here, making it one of the world's best places to see a diverse range of marine life while snorkeling or scuba diving. All visitors stay in small pousadas whose owners take a personal interest in guests—a bit like having your own valet.

Getting here
Fly from Natal (70 minutes) or Recife (100 minutes), two Brazilian cities accessed by direct flights from major U.S. airports. Save with a Brazil air pass.

Mighty seaside cliffs. Rugged mountain ridges. Moorland peninsulas. It's a picture-perfect Scottish scene in the Inner Hebrides islands. Filled with abundant wildlife and dramatic scenery, Mull is one of Scotland's best places for seeing whales (April through September) and for spotting the white-tailed eagle, the U.K.'s largest bird of prey. Hike the coastal and glen trails or the more challenging peaks with views of neighboring islands Iona and Staffa.

Island time
Wilderness Scotland has hike-and-stay packages with the Tiroran House Hotel that include breakfast and dinner for less than $200 per person per night. In the colorful port of Tobermory, dig into fish-and-chips or the fresh scallops (a Prince Charles favorite) at the Fisherman's Pier Fish & Chip Van. Wash it down with a visit to Tobermory's malt whisky distillery.

Getting here
On the mainland, take a CalMac car ferry from Oban to Craignure (40 minutes), from Kilchoan to Tobermory (35 minutes), or from Lochaline to Fishnish (15 minutes).

One of the last rural holdouts in Singapore, Pulau Ubin ("Granite Island") near Changi Point is a freeze-frame of Malay kampong village life in the 1960s. Thatched-roof homes sit among forested rolling hills and abandoned granite quarries. Fishermen live on kelongs, old wooden fishing houses built on stilts over the water. It's a soul-soothing escape from the highly urbanized buzz on the nearby mainland.

Island time
Experience village life, thick forests, and the occasional monkey or wild pig from the seat of a rented bicycle or on a walking tour. The island is known for its great seafood restaurants, and the steamed crab is divine. See interesting low-tide marine life at Chek Jawa or hit the sandy beach at East Coast Park. For a kampong-style stay, ride to Celestial Resort. Rooms start at less than $100 per night.

Getting here
At the Changi Point Ferry Terminal near Changi Village, take the 10-minute bumboat ride that departs once there are 12 passengers.

One of 44 islands between Phuket and Krabi, Koh Yao Yai ("Big Long Island") is the largest but not the most developed. Here, where mass tourism hasn't taken hold, locals earn a modest living by fishing, rice farming, and working the rubber plantation. You can stretch out on footprint-free sand and really feel like you're staking out an undiscovered place. Since your dollar goes further in Thailand than most destinations, the island is quite affordable.

Island time
See local life on a bike ride. Or rent a long-tail boat and go island-hopping to Khai Nok and Khai Nai for great snorkeling. Elixir Resort and Koh Yao Yai Village run various types of tours and have private thatched-roof bungalows furnished in old Thai style.

Getting here
Fly into Phuket International Airport. Nearby ferries (60 minutes) and public speedboats (30 minutes) operate from piers in Phuket. Multiday Journeys Within tours start in Phuket, stopping in Koh Yao Yai and Krabi.

With waters tinted the purest shades of blue and mountains covered in every hue of green, Kosrae is a speck in the vast sea between Hawaii and Guam. This lush spot just north of the equator enchants with cloud forests, mangroves, waterfalls, and soft, sandy beaches. On Kosrae locals still follow traditions of carving and canoe-building. Look out to sea and you'll likely find fishermen and women working from a canoe or locals practicing for annual canoe races.

Island time
Dive or snorkel among some of the world's last remaining pristine fringe reefs, a sunken pirate ship, a wooden whaler, and planes from WWII. Explore haunting 13th-century ruins, or paddle an outrigger canoe through mangroves. At Kosrae Village eco-lodge and dive resort, you can sleep in a private cottage on a sandy beach for $119 to $169 per night.

Getting here
Continental (which is merging with United) flies to Kosrae. The airline is part of the Star Alliance, which sells a Micronesia Airpass with great savings if you want to visit multiple islands.

Off France's west coast, this charming vacation haven is connected to La Rochelle by a two-mile bridge. You'd think a place this accessible to Europe's population would be jammed with commercialism. Instead, the majority of Île de Ré is protected. Vineyards, forests, dunes, and salt marshes, where fleur de sel is still gathered using traditional methods, are all part of nature reserves. Although the population spikes in summer, there's still a quiet simplicity soaked up in the understated style you'd expect from the French on holiday.

Island time
Absolutely flat terrain and more than 60 miles of well-used bike paths have prevented an automobile invasion on this popular island. Rent a bicycle and cruise to natural, unannounced beaches and across pungent salt marshes. Stop and buy a basket of oysters from an oyster farmer, or explore one of 10 villages.

Getting there
Catch a TGV high-speed train from Paris (three hours) to La Rochelle and connect with a bus or taxi to the island.

This easygoing island, tucked between the B.C. mainland and Vancouver Island, is the quintessential snapshot of West Coast life. Its residents—free-spirited artists and musicians, retired millionaires, and organic farmers—have abandoned the fast track to build lives rich in community and natural beauty. Get a glimpse on an artisan studio tour, which takes you to a lavender farm, a cheese shop, a jewelry maker, and more.

Island time
Wander down to the Ganges dock for fresh crab ($10). Explore coastal tidepools at Ruckle Park or swim at Vesuvius Beach. Pick up local produce at the Saturday Market and take it to Salt Spring Vineyards for a picnic with your wine tasting. Splurge on a stay at the Hastings House or find excellent value at Salt Spring Inn (less than $100 per night), which overlooks the main village and harbor.

Getting here
Harbour Air and Salt Spring Air seaplanes fly to the island (30 minutes) from downtown Vancouver. Salt Spring Air also flies from Vancouver International Airport. B.C. Ferries connects from the Vancouver area (one-and-a-half to three hours)

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Monday, October 31, 2011

10 Great Mountain Towns

By Jamie Moore (Yahoo Travel)

Lucerne, Switzerland

This picturesque Swiss Alps city is like a model-train set come to life. Medieval-style homes and shops with flower boxes line cobblestoned streets. The wooden 14th-century Chapel Bridge (Kapllbrücke) spans the Reuss River flowing through the town's crystal-clear Lake Lucerne. And in the backdrop, little red cog railway cars climb the steep Mt. Pilatus.

Do: Take the cog railway up to Mt. Pilatus for lunch or for a hike at what feels like the top of the world. There are also high ropes courses, zip-lines, tubing slides, and summer toboggan runs here. Return by train and boat or by gondola and bus to the historic Old Town, a pedestrian-only shopping area where you can stroll narrow, winding streets to the Hermès shop. Splurge at Max Chocolatier, or save by hitting the impressive chocolate aisle at a local grocery store.

Riobamba, Ecuador

Like many cities in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Riobamba lives in the shadow of a sleeping giant. Clouds wisp at the tip of the inactive Chimborazo volcano, Ecuador's highest point, while native llama, alpaca, and vicuña graze in the protected habitat below. You'll see why some call Riobamba the Sultan of the Andes when you explore the colonial city center's cathedrals and museums.

Do: Shop for handicrafts at the Saturday market on the streets northeast of Parque de la Concepción. Try the market's snow cones (raspados) made from blocks of ice transported from the glacier by mules, a local tradition. Another favorite is the zigzagging Chiva Express train ride up a 45-degree pitch called Devil's Nose. Latin Trails will take you to the train or on an ice-harvest adventure.

Girdwood, Alaska

Next to the state's largest ski resort, just outside Anchorage, Girdwood was originally called "Glacier City" for the colossal icy peaks that surround it. Calving glaciers thunder into the Prince William Sound, and humpback whales play in nearby Kenai Fjords National Park. Set amid this idyllic valley's rugged beauty is one of Alaska's most productive and still active placer gold mines, Crow Creek Mine, where you can pan for gold.

Do: Find adventure and great photo ops year-round on a guided glacier hike or ice-climbing trek. A trip to the top on Alyeska Resort's aerial tram nets you a splurge-worthy dinner destination: Seven Glaciers Restaurant. The town's best cinnamon rolls are at The Bake Shop near the base of the ski hill.

Bled, Slovenia

Not far from the Austrian border, Bled in the Julien Alps has all the elements of a classic fairy tale: a clifftop castle, frosted peaks, an emerald lake, a church steeple, a wishing bell, and a signature sweet treat. This alpine town even sits at the edge of a dark forest (Triglav National Park) with a waterfall and mountains known for legends of the Zlatorog, the golden-horned chamois that is said to live here.

Do: Hike up to the 1,000-year-old Bled Castle, where you can bottle wine in the cellar, indulge in the herbal gallery's aroma, or stay for a meal with a view. Visit Bled Island in Bled Lake by rowing a boat or hitching a ride on a local gondola-like pletna, then ring the famous church bell. Don't miss the town's signature cream cake (kremna rezina) at Slascicarna Smon.

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games introduced the world to this ski town's stunning beauty and cosmopolitan allure. At the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, icy blue streams gurgle through the pedestrian village. Boutique shops, lively pubs, and restaurant patios open onto great people-watching thoroughfares, where you can take in high fashion and sexy foreign accents in one delicious shot.

Do: Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola from Whistler to Blackcomb, or soak in the outdoor hydrotherapy baths at Scandinave Spa. In winter you can try the Sliding Centre's skeleton and bobsleigh runs—reaching speeds of up to 135 kilometers per hour—or race the luge track from spring through fall. At the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre cafe, sample traditional bannock fry bread and salmon chowder. Hit Zog's Dogs food cart for cinnamon BeaverTails or bratwurst and poutine (a mix of fries, cheese curds, and gravy).

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe is the quintessential New England village. In a fertile valley between the Green Mountains' peaks, this quaint town of 4,500 is a throwback to all things wholesome. The historical Main Street area is home to a general store, a malt shop, and even a mercantile with fresh handmade fudge. Head to the surrounding countryside for a grazing tour of Vermont's farm treats.

Do: You can stop in for free samples year-round at Laughing Moon Chocolates on Main Street or at Cold Hollow Cider Mill and Ben & Jerry's in the Waterbury area. Harrison's Restaurant & Bar, a popular watering hole in a historical Main Street basement, is like the Cheers of Stowe. Browse Stowe Craft & Design for handmade items, including great furniture for mountain retreats.

Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand

This South Island lake town, away from the crowds of its popular Queenstown neighbor, sits in a glacier-carved basin near the edge of Mt. Aspiring National Park's Southern Alps. Mountains rise out of Lake Wanaka, vineyards drape the hillsides, and tiny islands harbor uninhabited sanctuaries for the flightless buff weka bird. It's no wonder the laid-back Kiwi vibe has such a stronghold here.

Do: Relax with a local beer and a slice of pizza at Kai Whaka Pai, which has the best view in town. Eco Wanaka boat tours take you to Moa Wahu Island to see the native weka. At Cinema Paradiso you can watch movies in comfy old couches and eat warm homemade cookies during the intermission. Experience the scenery from an open-air Vintage Tigermoth flight with goggles and a leather helmet or on a canyoning trip in a wetsuit, helmet, and booties.

Taos, New Mexico

This Southwestern town, in a high desert valley, is a study in contrasts. Rich blue skies meet an arid countryside dotted with adobe dwellings and the Taos Pueblo village. The Sangre de Cristo Range towers majestically above the desert floor. And the Rio Grande's whitewater cuts a deep gorge in red sandstone below. Is it any wonder Georgia O'Keeffe, D.H. Lawrence, and countless others have been inspired here?

Do: Find kitschy kachina dolls, baskets, pottery, and other treasures at Robert Cafazzo's Two Graces Gallery, Curios and Bookstore in Ranchos de Taos. Sip a local specialty—the Buddha Margarita—during Taos Inn's Adobe Bar happy hour from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For dinner, don't miss El Meze, a restaurant that puts a Spanish/Moorish twist on traditional local cuisine.

Gyalthang, Yunnan Province, China

Set among Himalayan snowcaps, this ancient rural town near the Tibetan border is a hidden highland utopia. Here in Gyalthang (Jiantang Town), renamed after the fictional land of Shangri-La in 2001, locals live simple, long lives far from the influence of the outside world. Shaggy yaks drag plows through rich soil, and the sound of chanting floats out of Tibetan monasteries. Just outside town, pastures open up to alpine lakes, gorges, and swift rivers fed by mountain snow.

Do: Shop for colorful scarves, blankets, and local handicrafts in Old Town, or stop at Bhuskar's Kitchen for authentic Tibetan and Indian/Nepalese food. View seekers can climb the local Shika Mountain or take a cable-car ride to the top. Songtsam Retreat leads excursions to Pudacuo National Park, home to 100 endangered species.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Gold seekers founded this Victorian mining town in 1859, and many of the original buildings that housed hotels, dance halls, and saloons still stand. The new occupants—quirky boutiques, restaurants, outfitters, and microbreweries—capture Breckenridge's pioneering spirit and down-to-earth character. It's an unpretentious Rocky Mountain high 90 miles west of Denver.

Do: Meet local sled dogs in their off-season and hop on a dogcart for a backcountry tour. Check out the whimsical, handmade clothing at Magical Scraps. Try Breckenridge Brewery, the Breckenridge Distillery, or the Blue River Bistro for drinks. For dinner, indulge in locally sourced cuisine in a historical Victorian house at Hearthstone Restaurant. Lucha's breakfast burritos are legendary.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The 20 Best Views in the World

beautiful scenery
Beautiful Scenery

Fortunately for us, a great view can happen at any place and at any moment: a sunset over an empty field, an unexpected panorama from the top of an office building, the morning sun on a crowded street. There are some classic views, however, that are certainly worth a trip. As a travel writer, I am lucky to behold a number of spectacular sights, but the following ones I'll remember for a very long time.

1. The Grand Canyon from the South Rim
People come from all over the world to take in this vista, which at sunset resembles an impressionistic painting brought to life. Hopi Point, on the West Rim Drive, extends far out into the canyon and is an excellent vantage point among many. Try to visit during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October, when the weather is milder and the park is less crowded.

2. Hong Kong Island from Kowloon
Hong Kong Island is clustered with dizzying neon-lit skyscrapers, and the view from the Kowloon Peninsula across Victoria Harbour is straight out of a science-fiction film. This dense urban scene is especially impressive every evening at 8, when it promptly erupts into a laser light show!

3. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
This remarkable bay between the island of Phuket and the Thai mainland is dotted with hundreds of tall limestone formations that rise hundreds of feet from the sea. Ten thousand years ago, you could walk among these towers; now only their tops are visible, like the skyline of a sunken city.

4. Manhattan from the top of Rockefeller Plaza
The Empire State Building has some very serious competition when it comes to sweeping views of Manhattan. I now prefer the relatively new Top of the Rock Observation Deck in Rockefeller Center, mostly for its incredible panorama of Central Park to the north. Look hard and you can spot Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

5. Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus strait, Turkey
The Bosphorus strait, which runs squarely through the middle of Istanbul, famously divides Europe and Asia. Both sides of the city slope down to the water like an urban valley. The view from Galata Bridge includes several of the city incredible mosques, whose graceful domes and towering minarets are the stuff of fairytales.

6. The Ngorongoro Crater from North Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world largest calderas, which are formed when volcanoes explode and collapse upon themselves. The result is an elevated plateau perfectly ringed with tall mountains. From this hotel, the caldera spreads out below like a vast natural basin, and to know that it�s teeming with elephants, lions and wildebeest is especially exciting.

7. St. Paul from Waterloo Bridge, London
Waterloo Bridge, which has been around in various guises since the early 19th century and has inspired all manner of songs and poems, is cannily situated on a bend of the Thames that affords one of the best views in London. Looking east toward the city, St. Paul Cathedral (the dome of which recalls the U.S. Capitol) sits like a graceful dowager queen in the midst of cranes and skyscrapers.

8. The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands
Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is vastly overrated; it incredibly windy, and rushing traffic is just steps away. You are much better off heading up to the Marin Headlands (particularly Hawk Hill) and taking in the view from a calm park bench, with the Bay, the bridge, the city and the blue Pacific spread out far below.

9. Machu Picchu, Peru
Perched on a mountain ridge high above the Urumba Valley in central Peru, this remarkable Incan city is surrounded on three sides by steep valleys, giving visitors the distinct impression that they are hovering in air. The fact that the ruins are frequently draped in a light cloud layer only adds to the thrilling vertigo of the place.

10. The Yucatan Peninsula from the top of Chichen Itza, Mexico
It 365 steps to the top of El Castillo, the main temple of this sprawling Mayan city, but the view from the top is well worth it. The soft green expanse of Yucatan jungle stretching out in every direction is truly mesmerizing. And with a good pair of binoculars, you can spot distant ruins rising up from the canopy.

11. Florence from the loggia of Villa San Michele, Italy
The town of Fiesole, perched on a hillside northeast of Florence, was where wealthy Florentines chose to escape the heat and humidity of the Arno River Valley in the gardens of their lavish villas. The Villa San Michele was constructed in the 15th century and is now a famous hotel. A loggia (open-sided gallery) runs along one side of the building, from which you can look out across the entire city of Florence, an expanse of terra-cotta roofs dominated by the great dome of its 14th-century cathedral. The view, which has changed little in 500 years, offers a kind of time travel back to the world of the High Renaissance.

12. Paris from the Pont des Arts, France
A pedestrian bridge across the Seine, the Pont des Arts is at the epicenter of Paris. On the right bank is the Cour Carr of the Louvre; on the left, the Institut de France; directly upstream is the far of Notre Dame Cathedral. Standing on the bridge, the great art historian Kenneth Clark famously remarked: What is civilization? I do not know. But I think I can recognize it when I see it: and I am looking at it now."

13. The medina of Fes from the Palais Jamai, Morocco
The ancient walled city of Fes is dramatically sited in a bowl of hills. From the Palais Jamai (now a hotel) you gaze down on the white and beige roofs of the medieval medina, a vast warren of alleys and courtyards in which it is all too easy to become hopelessly lost. At is center are the green-tiled roofs of the University of Al-Karaouine, founded in 859 and the oldest university in the world.

14. Annapurna from Sarankot, Nepal
The Himalayas are unlike any other mountains on earth: They are simply much bigger and grander. Arguments rage about which is the most unforgettable view: The Kangshung Face of Everest in Tibet; K2 from the snout of the Baltoro Glacier; Kanchenjunga across the tea terraces of Darjeeling. The list is endless. The first time I saw the Himalayas in all their incomparable splendor was from the village of Sarankot, 5,000 feet up in the foothills of Nepal. It is a famous panoramic view of immense peaks, dominated by the 26,000-foot Annapurna massif. And to this day, it remains my most indelible memory.

15. Sydney Harbour from Taronga Zoo, Australia
Which is the most spectacular harbor in the world: Rio, Hong Kong or Sydney? It si hard to say, but on a sunny day, the view from Taronga Zoo across a yacht-strewn expanse of blue water to the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the towers of downtown Sydney certainly takes the cake.

16. The Potala Palace from across the Lhasa River, Tibet
Throughout the 19th century, Lhasa was the most mysterious city in the world, a magnet for intrepid European travelers. Today, it is a Chinese regional capital, increasingly swamped by shoddy and depressing concrete buildings. At its heart, however, the magnificent Potala Palace, the winter residence of Tibet Dalai Lamas, is still as extraordinary as ever. Its 13 stories are terraced 400 feet up the side of Marpo Ria, contain more than 1,000 rooms and have walls 16 feet thick. There are few more remarkable and impressive structures on earth.

17. The Parthenon from Mount Lycabettus, Athens, Greece
Athens is not a particularly beautiful city, but every time you turn a corner and catch a glimpse of the Parthenon, high on the Acropolis, your spirits are instantly lifted. The most stirring view is not from down in the city itself, however, but from the top of 900-foot Mount Lycabettus, one of the isolated limestone peaks that rise from the Plain of Attica. It is possible to walk to the summit through pine trees from Kolonaki, Athens chicest residential district.

18. The Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
Nicknamed Kodak Gap, of the Lemaire Channel extends for seven miles between the Antarctic Peninsula and Booth Island. Snowcapped 3,000-foot peaks rise almost vertically from a sea littered with ice floes. For some reason, the water usually has a mirror-like surface, and the reflections, especially in December and January at the time of the midnight sun, are almost psychedelic.

19. The City Palace from the Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
The Lake Palace, apparently afloat in the middle of Lake Pichola, is an image familiar from innumerable photography books and India Tourist Board posters. But the view the other way, from the Lake Palace to the city of Udaipur, is equally, if not more, extraordinary. The colossal City Palace, a mass of golden stone rising from the sapphire waters of the lake, was a scene beloved by 18th- and 19th-century European watercolorists.

20. The temples of Bagan, Myanmar
Dotted across a plain beside the Irrawaddy River in central Myanmar, the ruins of Bagan cover 16 square miles. Dozens of immense stupas and temples rise from the red, dusty soil, all that remains of a major city sacked by the Mongol Kublai Khan. The scene at sunrise is unforgettably romantic.

By Andrew Harper

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