Perito Moreno glacier

An article “The world’s most disappointing tourist spots and attractions” by my Twitter pal, TravelRants, provided some great insights and resulted in a lively discussion. It’s clear that our impressions of a certain spot or attraction are often coloured by our state of mind at that moment (e.g. our expectations), the company we’re in or even the weather. The Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pyramids of Giza and the Little Mermaid were amongst those mentioned in the article and in the readers’ comments as ‘most disappointing’.

Anyway, this article got me thinking about the reverse: what were the most impressive tourist attractions I’ve visited, be it a man-made monument or a natural wonder? Thinking about it brought back a slew of wonderful memories. I remember standing in front of the Treasury in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. I was completely bowled over by its majesty – I must’ve stood there for ages in total awe of this rose-coloured monument. Other impressive attractions that came to mind included:

Man-made monuments

Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers
  • Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, U.S.A.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
  • Millau viaduct, France
  • Bayon temple, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Ephesus, Turkey
  • Tikal, Guatemala
  • Chrysler building, New York, U.S.A.

Natural wonders

  • Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil/Paraguay
  • Niagara Falls, U.S.A./Canada
  • Arenal volcano, Costa Rica
  • Torres del Paine NP, Chile
  • Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina
  • Mount Fuji, Japan
  • Milford Sound, New Zealand
  • Bora Bora atoll, French Polynesia
  • Mulu caves, Sarawak, Malaysia
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

I’m curious to know what you think are the most impressive tourist attractions you’ve ever visited. What was it that made them so impressive? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

17 Responses

  • @Melvin: As an inhabitant of Cologne I can’t agree more 🙂

  • I love the Bora Bora islands. Its one of its kind and often known as the paradise on the earth due t its exotic beauty. It is also the most romantic island one can ever go. It is always the beat destination spot for having fun. Snorkeling and diving is the most favorite activity here.

  • In my point of Taj Mahal in India is also impressive master piece. However it is nice post on a nice topic

  • Nice topic! I can relate to a few of your choices (and others I just haven’t seen YET! 😉
    Especially the Sydney Opera House, made a big impression on me. And Milford Sound was beautiful too!
    A few other personal ones that left a mark, were: the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Bryce Canyon for being so fairtail-like, but also Grand Canyon. I know it is huge and touristy, but I saw it from a helicopter and the only thing I can say is: Whaw!
    But there are so many more wonderful places in the world! Thanks for putting up this article and reminding me of the wonderful places I already saw, and that are still out there!

  • I would go with the Kata Tjutas in Australia… Angkor Wat in Cambodia… the Halong Bay in Vietnam… Cologne Cathedral in Germany… the pyramids in Egypt (without even been there) & so many more.

  • Man-made:
    While it’s cliche, I thought Venice was pretty amazing.

    Natural: Bryce Canyon- enjoyed it a lot more than the Grand Canyon because it’s not as imposing. Plus you can go hiking down into the canyon without fear of falling for an uninterrupted mile, which was great for me due to severe acrophobia 🙂

  • Hello Vera, thanks for your comment. Banteay Srei was indeed stunning. The carvings are incredibly intricate. I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon YET but it’s definitely on my list of places to visit! Cheers, Keith

  • I agree a Cambodian temple belongs on the list. My favorite was Banteay Srei (nicknamed the woman’s temple). Golden and delicate compared to the others.
    Ephesus definitely, but also Delphi. It’s mountainside setting sets off its spiritually awesome feeling.
    And while I am in Greece, I’ll add the new Acropolis Museum. Not yet opened, but a marvel of paying homage to the classical site of the Parthenon with a high-tech building.
    Natural wonders–how could you not include the Grand Canyon of the Colorado? Purely awe inspiring. I never tire of it. But I also love Canyon de Chelly in Arizona for its mor human scale.

    Okay, back to work.

  • Wow! That is inspiring. Should make most of us feel like jumping on the next flight to Zambia! Thank you.

  • Following our twitter conversation I promised to post my thoughts here too! My top spot would be Victoria Falls in Livingstone Zambia at full flood. I did feel this was rather biased as I’m Zambian but I really do love the sense of ‘one with nature’ that you get here.

    All senses are overwhelmed – the sound of the water thundering; the sight of the power of water, trees, mist and random alien like people in baggy green rain coats they have just hired; the smell of fresh water and flowers; the feeling of wet mist on your skin, soaking your hair and settling on your lashes; the taste of fresh air and water.

    It’s like another world or rather that you have shut out the manic world we are used to and entered a place of wonder that calms the mind!

  • Thanks Mary for your comment. Ephesus is surely impressive. I’m a big fan of Turkey – there’s so much to explore and see and the people are incredibly friendly and hospitable. I did a roadtrip once in Eastern Turkey, skirting the borders with Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Syria. The statues atop Mt. Nemrud, Mt. Ararat and the walled city of Diyarbakir were truly astounding.

  • Ephesus would be at the top of my list. Pompeii has the name recognition but, Ephesus was much more impressive to me.

  • The Petronas Twin Towers are indeed awesome, and especially so at night when they’re floodlit.

  • The Petronas Towers were awesome, I just loved the structure and my hotel room overlooked it. I want to go back to KL so badly, because I loved Malaysia. I also loved walking over Sydney Harbour Bridge, but I was disappointed with the opera house close up.

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