Historically rich and visually stunning Ayutthaya—or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, as it’s officially called—is a well-worn stop on the tourist trail. Buses and trains ferry visitors north from Bangkok day in and day out, discharging passengers with guidebooks in hand to be met by tour guides and taxi drivers hoping for a day’s work.
Tourists all end up wandering the same ruins and temples for the day, then packing up and heading back to the capital. But don’t let that deter you from visiting. There’s a reason so many people flock to Ayutthaya, and it’s an interesting and pleasant way to spend a day or two.Destination:Activities:
Kanchanaburi Province, situated to the west of Bangkok, has surprisingly rugged terrain considering its close proximity to the metropolitan Thai capital. Kanchanaburi is Thailand’s third-largest province, after Nakhon Ratchasima and Chiang Mai, and it contains a plethora of sights, like waterfalls and natural parks. Most visitors head to Kanchanaburi Town, at the eastern edge of the province, which is just 130 kilometers from the Thai capital.
At under three hours by car or bus (and just a four-hour train ride away), Kanchanaburi is a popular destination for visitors who find Bangkok to be too chaotic or who simply want to experience a more rural part of the country without having to go too far.Destination:Activities:
Manassas National Battlefield
On a hazy, hot Sunday, July 21, 1861, many Washingtonians packed up their picnic blankets and lunches and headed to Virginia, to bluffs overlooking a creek known as Bull Run to watch what they believed would be the opening and closing battle of the Civil War.Destination:Activities:
Central Beijing, south of Chang’an Jie
HOURS: Daily 24 hours
METRO: Tian’anmen West or Tian’anmen East (Line 1)
Tian’anmen Square is etched in world history due to the events that unfolded in June of 1989, the effects of which are felt across China to this day.Destination:Activities:
4 Jingshan Qianjie
HOURS: Daily Apr. 1-Oct. 14 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.,
Oct. 15-Mar. 31 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
COST: ¥60 Apr. 1-Oct. 31, ¥40 Nov. 1-Mar. 31
METRO: Tian’anmen West (Line 1)
Probably the most important historic site in Beijing, the Forbidden City lies right in the center of the modern capital, on a central axis from which the rest of the city fans out. With 980 buildings, it is the largest surviving palace complex in the world, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its great historical importance.Destination:Activities:
Monteverde was founded in 1951 by a group of 44 North American Quakers—most from Fairhope, Alabama—who as a matter of conscience had refused to register for the draft. Led by John Campbell and Wilford “Wolf” Guindon, they chose Costa Rica for a new home because it had done away with its army.
They built roads and cleared much of the virgin forest for dairy farming. They decided to make cheese because it was the only product that could be stored and moved to market without spoiling along a muddy oxcart trail.Destination:Activities:
The guns have been largely silent around this four-kilometer strip of land, frequently billed as the most dangerous tourist attraction on earth, which has separated the two Koreas since their fratricidal war ended in 1953 with an uneasy armistice.
In fact, many visitors are surprised by just how quiet and bucolic the whole area looks—a probable result of the threat of conflict limiting the infrastructure-building frenzy that took much of the rest of South Korea by storm. But make no mistake—this potential flashpoint, under an hour’s drive north of Seoul, is a nest of mines, artillery, tunnels, and rigorously guarded fortifications, where opposing armies—the North Koreans on one side, the South Koreans and their U.S. allies on the other—stare each other down on a 24-hour basis.Destination:Activities:
22 Sajik-no, Jongno-gu
HOURS: Mar.-Oct. Wed.-Mon. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Nov.-Feb. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
COST: ₩3,000 adult, ₩1,500 child
SUBWAY: Gyeongbokgung (Line 3)
The grandest of Seoul’s former royal abodes, Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven) has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times since it was first constructed in the 14th century by King Taejo, founder of the Joseon dynasty.Destination:Activities:
Its history, as is much of Antigua’s, is one of constant destruction and reconstruction. The first cathedral built on this site dates to 1545, but its shoddy construction caused its roof to come crashing down during an earthquake in 1583.Destination:Activities:
More commonly known as “El Castillo de San Felipe,” (8 a.m.–5 p.m., $1.50), the fortress also gives its name to a small community on the northern shores of Lake Izabal. The castle was originally built by the Spanish in 1652 in an attempt to deter the activities of pirates, who would come up the Río Dulce to raid supplies. It would later serve as a prison but was finally abandoned and left to deteriorate.
The present fortress was reconstructed in 1956. It’s worth a look around for its thick walls enclosing a maze of small rooms as well as its old cannons. There are some nice lake views, a picnic area, and green grounds.Destination:Activities:
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