Amazing Angkor Wat

Tour Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s complex of ancient temples built by Khmer kings over 6 centuries. Marvel at an architectural site that rivals the wonders of China’s Great Wall and Peru's Machu Picchu.

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Himeji-jo
Himeji-jo

Himeji-jo

Himeji-jo
Called "White Egret Castle" for its supposed resemblance to a white bird taking flight, Himeji-jo is a perfect archetypal example of Japanese architecture dating back to 1333. The castle is actually a complex of 83 buildings that make up one of the most advanced defensive structures of 14th-century Japan.
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Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons  

Futarasan Shrine

Futarasan Shrine

Shrines and Temples of Nikko: Futarasan Shrine
Built in 767, the Shinto shrine Futarasan has a collection of over 130 swords that are considered national treasures. Mount Nikko, where the shrine stands, is believed to be the home of Shinto and Buddhist deities and has been where many monks received their religious training.
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Wally Gobetz, flickr  

Yakushima

Yakushima

Yakushima
The island of Yakushima was designated a World Heritage Site because it is home to a remnant of ancient forest. It also happens to be the largest nesting ground in the North Pacific for loggerhead sea turtles, an endangered species.
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Chris Harber, flickr  

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and Its Cultural Landscape
On Honshu Island, a collection of mountains and deep river valleys make up the archaeological remains of the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine. This mine produced silver between the 16th and 20th centuries, and in the 17th century produced a third of the world's silver.
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Yama 1009, Wikimedia Commons  

Kimpu Shrine

Kimpu Shrine

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
Due to the role they played in the fusion of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs, the sacred sites of Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan were named one of Japan’s World Heritage sites. Located along the pilgrimage routes in the forests of the Kii Mountains, the sacred sites are visited by up to 15 million hikers each year.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons  

Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara Islands
More than 30 islands make up the Ogasawara Islands, which are the home to 195 endangered bird species and 441 native plants. With its subtropical forests, the islands have been nicknamed the "Galapagos of the Orient."
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OgasawaraEnglishClub, Wikitravel Creative Commons  

Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji
Kinkaku-ji, or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is just one of 17 locations that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The original temple was built in 1397 as a villa, and then converted into a temple. Unfortunately, it burned down in 1950; the temple standing today was built as a replica in 1955.
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Keith Pomakis, Wikimedia Commons  

Shirakami-Sanchi

Shirakami-Sanchi

Shirakami-Sanchi
The ancient beech forest of Shirakami-Sanchi is one of the last of its kind in East Asia, and is undisturbed with no trails or manmade structures. Rare birds such as the black woodpecker and golden eagle live among the forest's numerous waterfalls and steep valleys.
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Hidetsugu Tonomura, flickr  

The Horyu-ji Temple

The Horyu-ji Temple

Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
The Horyu-ji Temple, one of the Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji area, was the first historic place listed as a Japanese World Heritage Site. Considered the world's oldest wooden structure, its full name is Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law. The temple houses 38 national treasures along with a vast collection of Japanese art.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons  

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
Isolated from the rest of the world, the historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama cultivated mulberry trees and raised silkworms to survive. The architecture of the homes is the only example of its kind in Japan, with its steep thatched roofs allowing the houses to withstand the area's heavy snowfalls.
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Bergmann, Wikimedia Commons  

Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park
The name of the Shiretoko National Park is derived from a word meaning "end of the Earth." The description is fitting since the park is accessible only by foot or boat, making it one of the most remote regions in Japan.
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Thinkstock  

Naha Shuri Castle

Naha Shuri Castle

Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu
Shuri Castle in the city of Naha was the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. In the 1945 Battle of Okinawa it was destroyed, then rebuilt in 1992 on the original site thanks to historical records and photographs.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons  

Genbaku Dome

Genbaku Dome

Hiroshima Peace Memorial: Genbaku Dome
The only building left standing in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb exploded in 1945, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial honors the more than 70,000 people who were killed -- and the additional 70,000 who were injured -- by the blast. The ruin serves as a reminder of the importance of peaceful negotiation.
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SElefant, Wikimedia Commons  

Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi
The historic gardens and temples of Hiraizumi are devoted to the ideals of Pure Land Buddhism -- the area represents the pure land of Buddha where believers hope to visit after death.
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ReijiYamashina, Wikimedia Commons  

Kasuga Grand Shrine

Kasuga Grand Shrine

Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara: Kasuga Shrine
Kasuga Grand Shrine, located in the city of Nara, is known for its many bronze lanterns that fill the interior, as well as the more than 1,000 stone lanterns that line the path to the temple.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons   

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, built on a pier in the water, looks as if it is floating. It was built this way so visitors to the shrine could pass through the gate and be cleansed before setting foot on the sacred island of Itsukushima.
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Spiegel, flickr  

Wet Tropics of Queensland
Wet Tropics of Queensland

Wet Tropics of Queensland

Wet Tropics of Queensland
Plunge into the sights and sounds of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia. This 280-mile stretch of wet tropical rainforest holds plenty of natural wonders. Among them is Wallaman Falls, Australia’s highest waterfall.
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Getty Images  

Australian Convict Site Port Arthur

Australian Convict Site Port Arthur

Australian Convict Sites
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the British Empire shipped 166,000 men, women and children (as young as 9) to Australia -- some for serious crimes, others for petty offenses or for expressing political dissent. Convict sites like Port Arthur (pictured here) were the end of the road.
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Thinkstock  

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

Fraser Island
Ah, sun, surf and sand. Head to Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, which stretches more than 75 miles along Queensland’s southern coast. Park your 4-wheeler on the beach and get in some surfing (if you want to take on “Shark Alley”). On the safer side, check out the island’s sand cliffs, rainforests and freshwater lakes -- they won’t bite.
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Getty Images   

Purnululu National Park, Australia

Purnululu National Park, Australia

Purnululu National Park
Ready, set, hike. In Western Australia’s Purnululu National Park, 2 hikers head toward the Bungle Bungle Range. This series of quartz sandstone mountain ranges -- what some have called Australia’s Grand Canyon -- eroded over a period of 20 million years; today, the ranges look like beehive-shaped cones.
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Getty Images  

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef
Pucker up! In the Great Barrier Reef -- the world’s largest coral reef system -- you’ll encounter your share of colorful friends. Here, a diver shares a moment with a potato cod (an endangered, native fish in Australia) found beneath one of the reef’s best known dive sites, Cod Hole.
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Thinkstock  

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
It’s one of Australia’s most iconic images -- Ayers Rock. This spectacular sandstone rock formation, more than 1,000 feet high, is yours to see at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, located in Australia’s Northern Territory.
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Corey Leopold, Wikimedia Commons  

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island
Penguins, penguins everywhere. Four types breed on this Australian island halfway between Australia and Antarctica. Macquarie Island was discovered by seal hunters in 1810 (who soon wiped out the island’s seal population). But the penguins have endured -- helped by the lack of permanent human settlement and the island’s relative seclusion.
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llwarren, Wikimedia Commons  

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park
A hiker takes in the view at Kakadu National Park. The area (about the size of Slovenia) has been continuously inhabited by the Aboriginal people for more than 40,000 years. Cave paintings and rock carvings attest to this astonishingly long track record.
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Getty Images  

Gondwana Rainforest

Gondwana Rainforest

Gondwana Rainforest
Australia is also home to lush rainforests. The Gondwana Rainforests, which stretch along Australia’s New South Wales-Queensland border, showcase the world’s most extensive area of subtropical rainforest. The habitat is home to more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species.
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Andrea Schaffer, flickr  

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is known for its prime location, at the tip of a peninsula that glides into Sydney Harbour. As one of the 20th century’s great architectural works, the building's centerpiece is 3 groups of interlocking “shells” that make up its distinctive roof.
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bdearth, flickr  

Greater Blue Mountains Area

Greater Blue Mountains Area

Greater Blue Mountains Area
You’re looking at the Greater Blue Mountain Area’s most striking feature: the 3 Sisters. These sandstone rock formations, formed over time by erosion, tower over a valley in a mountainous region -- twice the size of Brunei -- that includes plateaus, cliffs, rivers, lakes and swamps.
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Thinkstock  

Australian Fossil Mammal Sites

Australian Fossil Mammal Sites

Australian Fossil Mammal Sites
View the extraordinary evolution of mammals over 20 million years at Australia’s 2 greatest fossil sites: Riversleigh and Naracoorte Caves National Park. Both are located in eastern Australia, and are among the world’s 10 greatest fossil sites. Here’s the skeleton of a marsupial lion, which died off 46,000 years ago.
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Karora, Wikimedia Commons  

Ningaloo Coast

Ningaloo Coast

Ningaloo Coast
A whale shark cruises the waters off Ningaloo Coast -- the remote western coast of Australia. The area’s star attraction is its reef, which spans more than 160 miles. Along with its famed whale sharks, Ningaloo Reef is home to hundreds of species of fish, coral, mollusk and other marine life.
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Jae, flickr   

Tasmanian Wilderness

Tasmanian Wilderness

Tasmanian Wilderness
Australia’s Tasmanian Wilderness is one of the last great expanses of temperate rainforest in the world. Deep in the wilderness is Franklin River, which offers some of Australia’s best wild river rafting.
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ToniFish, flickr  

Shark Bay, Western Australia

Shark Bay, Western Australia

Shark Bay, Western Australia
These tar-looking things -- known as stromatolites -- are among the oldest forms of life on Earth. They can be found at Shark Bay, Australia’s most westerly point. The bay also showcases the world’s largest known area of seagrass (flowering plants), as well as a significant number of dugong (sea cows).
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Robert Young, flickr