When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, English mountaineer George Mallory famously replied, “Because it’s there.” For those of us who need a little more motivation, National Geographic has chosen 15 celebrated places worth the trek or climb. Whether you’re a Sunday stroller or a Sherpa, you’ll find an adventure to match your stamina.
The ultimate reward waiting at the end? An inspiring perspective on the world.
One site in Southeast Asia is among the list. Borobudur. Taking third spot, this temple in Magelang, Central Java. The complex is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 600 Buddha statues. It has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1991.
Natgeo writes in the publication about Borobudur:
BOROBUDUROn the island of Java, Maha-yana Buddhist pilgrims climb the 95-foot-high, multitiered structure (the single largest Buddhist temple on Earth) as a symbolic journey to enlightenment. Apex views of surrounding volcanoes are breathtaking, but the nearly 3,000 bas-reliefs deserve a closer look.
Below is the complete list of National Geographic’s 15 Iconic Adventures Worth the Effort:
1.PERU: MACHU PICCHU
Get a reverse angle on Machu Picchu from the 8,920-foot summit of Huayna Picchu, the looming peak in all those memorable images of the Inca site. Only 200 hikers a day are permitted to make the two-hour round-trip trek. Go slow while descending the notoriously steep “stairs of death” near the top.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM RICHARDSON
2. JORDAN: PETRA
Sculpted from soaring sandstone cliff walls more than two millennia ago, the ancient Nabataean city is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. Hike about 800 steps up to Petra’s massive monastery for top-of-the-rock vistas of the Wadi Arabah desert.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NEIL FARRIN, GETTY IMAGES
3. INDONESIA: BOROBUDUR
On the island of Java, Maha-yana Buddhist pilgrims climb the 95-foot-high, multitiered structure (the single largest Buddhist temple on Earth) as a symbolic journey to enlightenment. Apex views of surrounding volcanoes are breathtaking, but the nearly 3,000 bas-reliefs deserve a closer look.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SIHASAKPRACHUM, GETTY IMAGES
4. GREECE: ACROPOLIS
Crowned by the fifth-century b.c. Parthenon, Athens’s hilltop citadel is the most complete ancient Greek monumental complex still in existence. Walking up takes 15 to 20 minutes. For a less steep climb, enter on the southeast side near the Acropolis Metro stop.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT E. BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES
5. CHINA: GREAT WALL
Built over a period of 2,000 years, the mother of all border walls (made up of multiple segments) is a tangible link to imperial China. Walk in the footsteps of emperors, and see well-preserved Ming dynasty–era watchtowers on the six-mile Jinshanling section, 2.5 hours northeast of Beijing. Start at Zhuanduokou Pass for hikes that can last 1.5 to three hours.
PHOTOGRAPH BY VIEWSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
6. SRI LANKA: SIGIRIYA
Towering 590 feet over the surrounding countryside in central Sri Lanka, the granite monolith known as Lion’s Rock (colossal stone paws still flank the staircase) is capped by the ruins of a fifth-century royal palace. Don’t look down on the vertigo-inducing climb (about 1,200 steps) to the summit
PHOTOGRAPH BY NORA DE ANGELLI
7. CROATIA: PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK
An emerald Eden and UNESCO World Heritage site, Plitvice has 16 terraced lakes linked by boardwalks, streams, and tumbling cascades. Hike through a canyon and a cave to the base of the national park’s tallest (256-foot-drop) waterfall on the six-to-eight-hour north entrance walking tour.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOMCH, GETTY IMAGES
8. KENTUCKY: MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK
Snaking beneath central Kentucky’s hills is the world’s longest known cave system. So far, more than 400 miles have been explored. On the two-hour Domes and Dripstones Tour you’ll go deep—about 280 steps down—into a mammoth underworld of stalactites and stalagmites.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID S. BOYER AND ARLAN R. WIKER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE
9. FRANCE: PROVENCE’S LAVENDER ROUTE
Lavender fields fill a summer walk in Provence’s Lubéron region with color and fragrance. Several hiking routes (called sentiers) wind through the area. Our favorite fields are at Sénanque Abbey, where the monks’ photogenic rows of lavender draw crowds. Go early or late to avoid the tour buses.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM NILSEN
10. MADAGASCAR: AVENUE OF THE BAOBABS
Some two dozen behemoth baobab trees, many towering almost a hundred feet, line this earthen road near the west coast of the island nation of Madagascar. The scene looks straight out of the movie Land of the Lost—and, in fact, these gentle giants, protected since 2007, are 800-year-old survivors of a primordial forest.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT DUTILE
11. LHASA, TIBET: POTALA PALACE
Perched at over 12,000 feet above sea level, the Tibetan architectural masterpiece and former residence of the Dalai Lama is considered the world’s highest altitude ancient palace. Acclimate yourself to the thin air before attempting the more than 400 steps to the top.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DICKY NG
12. JAIPUR, INDIA: AMBER FORT
The imposing 16th-century complex of palaces and temples sits high atop the “hill of eagles” in Rajasthan. A strenuous (there’s an ambulance at the top) 10-minute climb leads up to the fort’s jewel-like mosaics, elaborate courtyards and halls, and the Pink City panorama below.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTIAN HEEB, GETTY IMAGES
13. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE
Unleash your inner Spider-Man on the 1,332-step BridgeClimb, which clambers up ladders and traverses catwalks on Sydney’s signature bridge to reach the upper arch, 440 feet above sea level. Short on time or courage? Go just halfway to the top on the 90-minute BridgeClimb Sampler.
PHOTOGRAPH BY KIM PETERSEN, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
14. PISA, ITALY: LEANING TOWER
Buy time-stamped tickets online to climb 251 steps to the observation deck of Pisa’s gravity-defying bell tower. Completed in 1399, the tower leans imperceptibly less since a 2001 restoration project helped stabilize the building.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SWISSHIPPO, GETTY IMAGES
15.. BERLIN, GERMANY: REICHSTAG
From the spiraling ramp inside the glass dome of Germany’s old-is-new parliament building—about 300 steps up and down, meant to represent the rise of the people over their representatives—peer out on such city landmarks as the Brandenburg Gate. Entry is free, but reservations are required.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHELE BERNASCONI
Indonesia's tourism ministry Arief Yahya said that this encourages his office to make tourism the country’s leading sector and economic core..
“National Geographic readers will be curious to know more about the Borobudur and eventually, the article will increase the number of travelers visiting the temple,” he added.
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