50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE (#9 Is Really amazing)

1. GET LOST FOR WORDS AT THE GRAND CANYON

After pondering the Grand Canyon for the first time most visitors are stunned into silence. The problem isn’t lack of words. It’s just that the canyon is so vast and so deep, that the vista stretches so far across your line of vision. The facts are similarly mind-boggling: it is around 277 miles long and one mile deep. Think of it like a mountain range upside down. The abruptness of the drop is bizarre and, for some, unnerving. But the Grand Canyon is like that: it picks you up and takes you out of your comfort zone, dropping you back just that little bit changed.
If a guidebook tells you that something is “impossible to describe”, it usually means the writer can’t be bothered to describe it – with one exception.
Fotolia: Galyna Andrushko

2. WALK THE SIQ TO PETRA, JORDAN

The fabled site of Petra is simply awe-inspiring. This rock-carved Nabataean city has entranced travellers for centuries with its ornate facades and classical architecture. Perhaps the most magical views lies at the end of the Siq, a dramatic natural gorge that’s still the main entrance. Here, you emerge from the bizarrely eroded cliffs onto an extraordinary view: the famous facade of Petra’s Treasury looming before you.
 

3. THROW YOURSELF INTO LIVERPOOL’S NIGHTLIFE, ENGLAND

Forget any preconceptions you may have about bar crawling in Liverpool. The reality is as far from fake tans, big hair and silly scally stereotypes as you can get – this scene is creative, convivial and bursting with joie de vivre. Countless great drinking holes pepper the city, and you could happily spend a lifetime sampling them all. Make for Seel Street, in the Ropewalks quarter, and the über-arty Baltic Triangle, the apogee of this organic after-dark and the blossoming home of Liverpool’s creative and digital media scene. Intimate, bare-brick gin and whiskey joints, craft beer and killer cocktails await.
This is Britain’s Good Times Central. Come for a bottle and stay all night. In fact, move to Liverpool – it’s that good.

4. GET BLOWN AWAY BY THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

Snaking across the dusty hills of northeast China, the Great Wall is an unforgettable sight. It’s impossible not to be blown away by this 7m-high, 7m-thick fortification. Take at least a day to walk between its battlements, shunning hawkers and tourists for less-visited sections where you clamber up unrestored stairs and through crumbling towers. Yet even after you’ve seen, touched and walked the wall, it’s still hard to believe this was built by simple human endeavour.

5. SAIL THE WHITSUNDAYS, AUSTRALIA

There’s a distinct feeling of déjà vu cruising in a sailboat among the Whitsunday Islands. Presently it comes to you: you’ve been here many times, in your lottery fantasies. This tropical idyll of turquoise seas lapping ivory sands against a backdrop of dense green foliage is ingrained in our imagination. Life on board here becomes sybaritically simple. A shower is as easy as diving into the surrounding water, and your bed is the deck of the boat or the sand on the beach.

6. VISIT THE TAJ BY MOONLIGHT, INDIA

There’s no such thing as an unflattering angle of the Taj Mahal, the world’s most beautiful building, commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife. But the love and sadness embodied by the Taj are never more palpable than during the full moon, when the complex is opened at night. At this time, visitors are hushed into silence by the building’s ethereal form, rising melancholically from the riverbank yet seemingly shimmering with life.

7. SEE THE FLORAL WAVE OF CHERRY BLOSSOMS, JAPAN

In Japan, spring sees the country gradually coated in a light pink shade, soft petals slowly clustering on their branches as if puffed through by some benevolent underground spirit. Thesakura- zensen, or cherry blossom front, flushes like a floral wave that laps the country from south to north and is followed ardently by the Japanese. Among the best places to see it are Kiyomizu-tera in Kyoto, Tokyo’s Ueno Park or the castles in Osaka or Himeji, all of which are lent a dreamlike air by the arrival of the blossom each spring.

A lesson about fragile beauty that must be treasured and contemplated.

8. TRAVERSE THE SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA

The immaculate white expanse of the Salar de Uyuni is one of Bolivia’s most extraordinary attractions. This is the largest salt lake in the world, capped by a thick, hard crust of salt, easily capable of supporting the weight of a car. It’s perhaps best seen after a heavy rainfall, when the Salar transforms into an immense mirror, reflecting the sky and the surrounding snowcapped peaks so pristinely that at times the horizon disappears and the mountains seem like islands floating in the sky.

9. EXPLORE THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR

The utter indifference that most of the animals of the Galápagos Islands show to humans suggests that they knew all along they’d be the ones to change humanity’s perception of itself for ever. It was, after all, this famous menagerie that started the cogs turning in Charles Darwin’s mind. With each island, new animal oddities reveal themselves – giant tortoises, canoodling waved albatrosses, lumbering land iguanas and Darwin’s finches, to name but a few – each a key player in the world’s most celebrated workshop of evolution.
You feel like a privileged gatecrasher, one who’s allowed an up-close look at a long-kept secret: the mechanics of life on Earth.

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