12 Must See Destinations in 2013
Maybe you’re facing right now the truth: you definitely need to have a vacation but you don’t know where, yet. You’re undecided and you want to make the perfect choice. But which one is the perfect one?
It definitely has to be a special place because it’s not just an ordinary trip; it’s that perfect time you get to spend far away from the urban jungle and from your grumpy boss.
Here’s when we come to help you with some suggestions, 12 in fact, one for every month of the year. So, let’s begin:
Batu Caves, Malaysia
In the heart of a hill, at only 13 kilometers away from Kuala Lampur, Batu Caves are a series of caves dug in a 400 million years old limestone. 400 meters long and 100 meters high, the three caves form the renowned Hindu temple outside India and an unsettling spiritual experience.
To get to the first cave- “the Cathedral”, you must climb 272 steps among women who carry milk bottles (gift for Murugan god) and macaque monkeys. The interior is worth the effort: there are altars with flowers everywhere and on the opposite side of the cave, the ceiling opens up as a shell through which the sun makes its way and you can see the crowns of the trees from atop of the hill.
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
A complete tour of Pearl Harbor is about $40 and is just the first stop from a trail characterized by one single word: “adventure”. Starting from the famous American military base along the south coastline of the Hawaiian O’ahu Island, you will find the crater of the Diamond Head volcano as you walk down the famous Waikiki beach.
If you’re a morning g person you can go and climb it and after that visit one of the most beautiful pineapple plantations in the world.
At first impression, Volendam is just a fish town with colored houses perched along the lake Ijssel (also named “the Ijssel Sea” because it was taken by damming by the North Sea). Surprisingly, for a former fisherman town, its worldwide popularity placed it immediately after Amsterdam in the top of the Holland touristic symbols.
The two million tourists that annually step on the footprints of some celebrities like Walt Disney, Renoir, Clark Gable or Elizabeth Taylor, come to Volendam to take pictures of themselves dressed with traditional Holland costumes in one of the dozens of the photo workshops. The most popular one is Foto de Boer which has 10.000 clients a year and the weirdest visit they got was from a tribe of cannibals from Papua New Guinea.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
How would it be if when taking a bus full of tourists you are welcomed by an old, unshaved shy and smiling man? “Welcome to Belfast ladies and gentlemen. I’m a former IRA member and I am your guide for today”.
The town you will be shown is market by the bloody past of the war between the Protestants and the Catholics. Belfast still wears its scars after its former cruel faith. There are some that you will be able to see but there are others that are covered in political and social paintings.
On a small map, five points describe an imaginary circle which contains some of the most spectacular places in the world.
Named “the Golden Circle”, the most popular touristic circuit of Iceland includes: the biggest waterfall in Europe, the oldest geyser in the world, the valley formed by Eurasians and North-America tectonic plate movement, an iceberg and an aquamarine lake located in the heart of a volcanic crater. All can be admired in less than a day.
Ten billion dollars were invested since 2002 in the little Singaporean island to create a touristic “high-tech” resort. Among the attractions there are: a 4D Magix cinema, Underwater World, the biggest aquatic complex in the world and holograms and pyrotechnic shows named Magical Sentosa and Songs of the Sea. These last two gather over 2.000 viewers on the beach, every night.
Are you ready to pay €420 a night to feel like a …luxury felon? Then plead “guilty” and spend one weekend in the former Finnish jail Katajanokka. The “cells” feature expensive furniture and plasma TVs, the restaurant in the basement (named thematic “the Convict”) serves food in plates and cups made out of tin. You are also offered a menu from which you can choose the house specialties: a “Criminal Trial”, a “Sentence of four, eight or twelve people”, or a “Guilty Verdict”. If you only want a snack try an appetizer “Bread with water” and the desert of the house “Chocolate handcuffs”.
Every year, 20.000 tourists walk on the cobbled streets of the Danish HelsingØr town (“Elsinor” in English)- the inspirational source of Shakespeare for “Hamlet, the prince of Denmark”. Every august, the street theatre festival gathers troops who are putting on stage the play of “Great Will” right inside the castle of Hamlet: Kronborg. Among the actors who have performed here is also the famous Jude Law.
Surrounded at North, East and West by tall mountains and at South by the deep waters of Sagami Golf, the ways to arrive to Kamakura were, for centuries, six narrow paths (for a man and a horse) dug deep into the heart of the mountain.
The paths take you to the five Zen Buddhist temples in the region, but the capital of the first shogunate is more famous for something else: on the 16th of September the predecessors of the samurais are showing their mastery in handling the bow and the arrows, competing in 1187 cavalry exercises, everything under the eyes of thousands of tourists.
Loch Ness, Scotland
In august 2009, Jason Cooke, a 25 years-old English man, offered the entire world the first proof that the monster of Loch Ness really exists: an image captured on Google earth of “a gigantic marine animal” exactly in the lake from Highlands area. To take advantage of the glory of the monster affectionately named “Nessie”, the Scottish people created “Loch Ness Beer Festival”.
During the Loy Krathong- Lights Festival, along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, there are released pots made out of banana leaves. On these pots you must leave in all your feeling that you don’t want in your life anymore such as: sadness, suffering, regrets or mistakes. All will be taken by the water and you will receive in exchange serenity, according to the Thai people’s belief. The festival gathers annually thousands of tourists willing to see richness mixed with poverty in the capital of Thailand under the light of the November full moon.
50 kilometers away from the border between Italy and Austria, in the Dolomites Alps, Cortina d’Ampezzo is the most exclusive Italian mountain resort, and the “Perl of the crown” is the oldest “albergo” in the area – “Ancora”, ranked for years among the top 11 hotels in Italy.
During Christmas, a room costs €1.290 a night and you can book no less than seven nights, this taking you to, at least, €10.000. This resort was visited by the president Nixon, the Queen of Belgium, Princess Maria de Savoia and many other famous people.