7 Specific Places I Will Visit (Asia)
Yes, I will. Not “dream of visiting” or “would love to go to”. I will. Definitely. I might not go to one or all of them this year, the next, or in ten years, but I will definitely get to it in this lifetime.
Ta Prohm (ប្រាសាទតាព្រហ្ម) /Rajavihara (រាជវិហារ)
Anyone who has seen Lara Croft: Tomb Raider will know what I am talking about. Watch this clip from the movie to refresh your memory (or if you haven’t seen it, indulge). When I first watched the movie over a decade ago, I immediately fell in love with the temple. It was years later that I learned it was a real place and not a studio set. I was ecstatic.
According to Angkor scholar Maurice Glaize, of the distinctive trees around the temple:
“On every side, in fantastic over-scale, the trunks of the silk-cotton trees soar skywards under a shadowy green canopy, their long spreading skirts trailing the ground and their endless roots coiling more like reptiles than plants.”
Check out the 360-degree aerial panorama here, as well.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (湖南张家界国家森林公园)
This is China’s first national forest park and home of the biggest and tallest outdoor elevator, and the fantastic stone pillars that inspired the floating islands you see on James Cameron’s Avatar. In fact, one of the pillars has been named “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”.
Ao Phang Nga National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติอ่าวพังงา)
When I think of Thailand, three things come to mind: lady boys, The Hangover 2, and Khao Tapu/Ko Tapu. Ko Tapu is a tall islet that peaks at 20 meters above sea level near a pair of islands called Khao Phing Kan. I have always wanted to see this towering natural wonder in person. Ko Tapu has been dubbed as “James Bond Island” after featuring in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Rainforest Canopy Walkway
This place is located in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Borneo, specifically in Sabah, Malaysia. The “tree friendly” walkway (meaning steel cables are not directly rigged onto the trees) is 300 meters long and suspended 30 meters above the forest floor. It has multiple viewing platforms and access to the forest canopy, perfect for nature photography.
Sagano Bamboo Forest (嵯峨野竹林)
Growing up, I was a big fan of anime. Rurouni Kenshin was one of my top favorites. So when I learned of this place and saw photos, something resonated. I feel that when I get to see this bamboo forest, I will be brought back to my childhood and the carefree times when nothing mattered to me but art, nature, and a bit of faux-history of Japan.
“The sound of the wind in this bamboo forest has been voted as one of “one hundred must-be-preserved sounds of Japan” by the Japanese government. Back in the 1870s when Edison was looking for a good bamboo as a material of a filament for his early light bulb, the governor of Kyoto recommended two sources for bamboo, this being one of them. Edison used the other one. *“
Mount Hua (華山)
Seriously. Look at that. A temple at the top of a mountain–all you need to do is close your eyes, meditate, and feel one with the world. Why not?
Taj Mahal (ताज महल)
Everyone knows the story of the Taj Mahal. In a nutshell, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built this majestic white marble mausoleum in honor of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal. A visit to this World Heritage Site will be my homage to the hopeless romantic in me.