The most visited tourist attraction in Paris, the Eiffel Tower also ranks high on the list of places to visit in France. It’s hard to believe that the structure was dismissed as a monstrosity when it was first unveiled. The iconic tower was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. The tower consists of 18,000 sturdy iron sections (weighing over 10,000 tons) held together by 2.5 million rivets. This innovative structure is now considered a masterful architectural feat and is the most emblematic sight in Paris. From the Jardins du Trocadero and the lawns of the Champs de Mars, there is just the right distance from the Eiffel Tower for a picture-perfect photo-op. Reaching 324 meters in height, the tower was the world’s tallest building until the Empire State Building was erected.
Do you need to enjoy the blue sky and the warm sun ? Miami is a fabulous location to relax. What can you do in Miami? Little Havana, the Cuban district of Miami, isn’t known for its wealth of tourist attractions but more for its distinctive cultural scene. Restaurants and specialty food shops line the streets, and Latin music drifts through the air. Locals socialize in the open spaces. Murals grace the walls of buildings, showing important Cuban figures and scenes of daily life. Calle Ocho is the main thoroughfare running through the district and home to much of the activity, but Little Havana spreads well beyond, into the surrounding streets and avenues. For people-watching, the area offers a great deal of entertainment. And of course, this is the place to come for Cuban cuisine. The Calle Ocho Festival, held in March, is a celebration of Cuban culture and the largest of its kind in the world. Over the years this street festival has expanded to include more Latin American cultures and is now a great way to experience Latin American music and Caribbean cuisine.
Members-only travel club. China is a fascinating place if you are looking for adventure and ancient history feeling. The town of Guilin, in the northeast corner of Guangxi, boasts some of China’s most beautiful countryside and is famous for the Li River, which meander through the town and surrounding karst mountains. While for hundreds of years this unique scenery has attracted poets and artists and has been the subject of countless fairy tales and legends, these days it’s popular with tourists from around the world wanting to see this natural splendor up close. The best way to enjoy the area is to take a cruise along the Li River. The most popular stretch is from Guilin to Yangshuo, where the river meanders peacefully through some 80 kilometers of remarkable rock formations and caves with romantic names such as the Mount of Unique Beauty, Elephant Trunk Hill, and Reed Flute Cave. Depending upon the type of boat used — you can choose from a tourist cruise ship to small bamboo punts — trips can take anywhere from a few hours to multiple days.
Thailand is a a fabulous destination if you are looking for adventure and ancient history feeling. The Phi Phi Islands, also in Krabi, are one of Thailand’s most popular resort areas for a reason. Only Phi Phi Don is inhabited, with day trips available to the surrounding islands. One of the fun spots on Koh Phi Phi is Monkey Beach, where you’ll come face-to-face, literally, with the namesake creatures. You can hire a guide to take you out on a small wooden boat or rent your own kayak. There’s also a small stand where you can buy snacks and fruit shakes, but hang onto your treats. If you leave them unguarded, the monkeys will brazenly dig in and chow down right in front of you. Long Beach is another nice spot on the island; it’s not a secluded place, but is great for watching the sunset. If you’re lucky and the tide is out, it’s a beautiful walk back toward the main part of the island. Tour operators offer packages for snorkeling and diving trips, as well as excursions to the infamous Maya Bay, where the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach was filmed. Because Koh Phi Phi draws so many tourists, there are plenty of tour companies arranging tickets to other beach destinations, such as Phuket, Koh Chang, and Koh Lanta. Though you would hardly know to see it now, Phi Phi Don was one of the areas hit hard by the 2004 tsunami. Guesthouses, restaurants, and markets have been rebuilt and crowds still come in droves to the resort island. There is a small, somber memorial park to honor those who died in the tragedy, yet the resort areas appear otherwise revived.
Indonesia is an incredible location, so much history, a must see. A visit to Tana Toraja in South Sulawesi Province will not only feel like you’ve stepped far back in time, but also offers a look at the richness and diversity of Indonesia’s long-standing cultures. The architectural style of Tongkonan, boat-shaped houses and other buildings, are immediate standouts, but the people are what make this piece of natural paradise so special. They are, by many accounts, the friendliest and most welcoming people you could hope to meet while traveling. The Toraja approach to death is one of reverence and celebration. Funerals are elaborate ceremonies involving plenty of food and traditional dance, and the dead are buried in graves built into surrounding caves. Travelers to the area can visit villages and connect with locals, or trek in the notoriously lush and pristine countryside.
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