The world we live in is full of beautiful and magnificent things. For those who have the financial and physical means to do so, traveling truly is one of life’s greatest gifts. Though it was difficult to choose among so many incredible options, here are the top 6 travel bucket list ideas everyone should do at least once in a lifetime.
Marvel at Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
Delicate pink cherry blossoms are a lovely sight to behold anywhere, but they’re especially beautiful in Japan’s Meguro River, where over 800 trees release their blossoms into the water each spring. Walking down the riverbanks while gazing upriver, watching the petals shimmer and scatter on the smallest breezes, is truly breathtaking. The Japanese have a word for flower-viewing—Hanami—and call a shower of petals released by a gust of wind hana fubuki, or “flower blown snow”. Nighttime on the rivers is also a wonderful sight to behold, with red and yellow lanterns illuminating the pink canopy overhead. The best time to view these world-famous blossoms is in early- to mid-April.
Explore the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves in New Zealand
If cherry blossoms aren’t your thing, perhaps you’d like to look up at something far different. The glow worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures, each smaller than a pea, radiate a stunning, mysterious blue-green light, possibly in an effort to imitate a starry night sky. Confused prey seeking a way out of the cave fly towards the worms, and become ensnared in the sticky glowing threads that they dangle. What must be a scary experience for a bug is an awesome sight for a human, and guided tours are available for visitors. Most tours will begin at the top of the caves and conclude with a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto.
Swim the Hidden Beach in Mexico
The Hidden Beach is unlike any other “beach” in the world. Concealed beneath a large crater, it can only be accessed by swimming through a long tunnel of water that connects it to the Pacific Ocean. If your swimming isn’t up to scratch, no need to worry; the tunnel is wide enough that kayaking is also an option.
The Hidden Beach was formed when the Mexican government began testing bombs on the beautifully serene Marietas Islands, which were formed thousands of years ago through volcanic activity. After a group of scientists and protesters, led by Jacques Cousteau, began protesting for an end to the testing in the 1960s, the Mexican government declared the area a national park and protected it from hunting, fishing, and development. Over time, waves washing in and out of the crater brought sand along with them until finally, the hidden beach was formed—a reminder that nature can always create beauty out of mankind’s destruction.
See a Ballet in St. Petersburg
Some of the best dancers in the world have graced the stage of the Mariinsky theatre, and the elegance, beauty, and strength of modern performances continue to honor the theatre’s rich legacy. Surprisingly, tickets to a Mariinsky performance are much cheaper than other performances in Western Europe, so there’s no reason to omit this once-in-a-lifetime experience from your bucket list. While you’re in St. Petersburg—once the imperialist capital and home to the Russian Tsars—you might also want to walk the halls of the Hermitage, visit the Catherine Palace, and marvel at Faberge eggs at the Faberge Museum.
Discover the Forbidden City in Beijing
Skip the Great Wall—that’s overdone—and head to Beijing instead to see the Forbidden City. Also known as the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Covering more than 74 hectares, it is the world’s largest palace complex, and even though over 1 million workers were hired to build it, construction still took over 14 years. The Forbidden City’s name is derived from the fact that it was forbidden for anyone to enter without special permission from the Emperor. Now, of course, anyone can step inside the majestic walls and catch a glimpse of the numerous rare treasures and curiosities amassed during more than five centuries of Chinese rule.
Sleep in a Bora Bora Overwater Bungalow
Of course, all this trekking over the place can be exhausting. You may simply want to just lie down somewhere peaceful and take a nap. Take the best nap in the world in Bora Bora, in a bungalow perched right above the crystal-clear waters. Numerous hotels and resorts throughout Bora Bora offer this amazing opportunity, and in some places, glass panels in the floor allow guests to view fish swimming by beneath their feet. Though it might cost a pretty penny, the experience of waking up, dangling your feet in the water while you sip your coffee, and then hopping right off your porch into the ocean might make it all worth it.
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