9 Places to See Before You Die


This post is by Uttoran Sen from Travel Tamed

There are many great places to travel in the world and witness with your own eyes, but there are some which are almost required to see firsthand.

These are places which almost everyone has seen in the history books, along with various television shows. Most often they are featured as locations for the plots of many a popular story, television show or movie.

Travel is becoming more affordable as the number of cheap international flights increase, making it easier than ever to get out and see the world.

It will be hard to choose only nine places to see before you die, since which ones are a better sight is a matter of opinion. However, we will give it a try and start out with nine places to see before you die.

Top 9 Places to See Before You die

9. The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon
Photo: krandolph

While you might think this would be mostly for those in the United States, the Grand Canyon is truly a sight to behold. This is a steep canyon carved over the tens of thousands of years by the Colorado River.

Pictures do not truly do justice to the sheer size of the Grand Canyon. Being able to stand near the edge and see the huge rock walls which span for well over 200 miles.

8. The Great Wall of China


Being the first structure ever constructed by man to be visible from space, this is certainly a must see. When you stand on the Great Wall, looking down towards the horizon and seeing that it stretches beyond, it can be hard to imagine that this was built by human hands.

Being over 5,000 miles long, this truly is a marvel to behold. It is hard to imagine just how much labor went into the construction, and if you plan the proper tour, you will even see some of the many statues contained inside.

Each of these terracotta statues are life sized, and individually numbered. It is estimated that inside the Great Wall of China there are around 8,000 of these statues earning them the name Terracotta Army.

7. Easter Island


This small island in the Pacific isn’t very interesting by itself. The ancient culture used up all the trees before vanishing, possibly to aid in the construction of the many 13 foot tall statues that line the island.

Not much is known about why or who created them, and while we have seen pictures they just don’t convey the sheer size of these 10-14 ton behemoths.

It has been speculated that the peoples responsible for these statues left when the island was running out of resources. They have been a focus of study for quite a long time, and have inspired some truly unique stories.

6. Venice


The canal streets of Venice Italy are truly unique in the world, and to see firsthand just how people go about their daily lives is an interesting experience.

The city was built on over 100 small islands, which made travel by boat a necessity. With such easy access to sea trade routes, it is easy to see how this great city became known as an industrial center.

Taking a guided tour down the many canal streets is a truly unique experience which cannot be replicated. Every faucet of modern living as we know it will be different when your roads are canals.

5. The Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal
Photo: sprague7

This huge mausoleum was built in the 1600’s at a time when most people would not have thought it possible to create such a magnificent place. While many people might think that this is one huge building, it is actually made up of many smaller structures, which all add up to make the place truly beautiful when viewed by the naked eye.

The large white dome is a world renowned landmark and although people have tried to replicate the look, it just isn’t the same. Even from afar this is truly a sight to behold, but what is even more spectacular are the decorations on the buildings themselves.

Calligraphy carved into the side and many small adornments that were painstakingly handcrafted have held up to the test of time, and even by today’s standards considered very impressive.

To this day much effort is put into maintaining, both the Taj Mahal itself, and the grounds surrounding the area so that you are surely to not be disappointed.

4. Angkor Wat


The name of this place means “city temple” and this exactly what it is. Located in Cambodia, Angkor Wat is an example of what truly marvelous structures can be created without the aid of technology.

The large statues carved inside the structure itself is what most people think of when hearing the name, but seeing the great temple from afar truly is impressive.

For anyone wanting to see great examples of architecture, Angkor Wat has to be high on their list. As there is so much to take in, you would be wise to schedule a guided tour so that you are sure not to miss out on the more interesting aspects of the city temples design.

3. The Great Barrier Reef


The largest living coral reef in the world is actually made up of many smaller reefs which span for over 1600 miles. The large abundance of colorful sea life make this a real hotspot for divers worldwide. If you are lucky enough to view this spectacle from the air you will see just how large this reef really is.

Reefs are composed of millions of tiny creatures, so one of this size would take untold ages to be able to form as it has.

2. Petra, Jordan


No one really knows just who built this great city in the mountain walls. The very large entry ways which can be over 14 feet tall have inspired many tales of a city inhabited by giants. It is estimated that the city itself is well over 3,000 years old, and served many purposes over it’s ancient history.

It has been reported to be a capital, caravan trading post, as well as a temple of sorts and has been ruled by several different cultures.

The hardness of the stone must have made construction of the ancient city a project that spanned over multiple generations.

1. Great Pyramid of Giza


The Great Pyramid of Giza has been chosen for number one as it is one of the most widely known ancient structures in existence.

It was built precisely to match the geographic directions of the compass, proving that mankind could indeed manipulate numbers back in ancient times to create great marvels of engineering.

While all of the other pyramids have a recorded history, and are proven to serve as a tomb, the Great Pyramids reason for being built is largely unknown. The top of the pyramid is missing though many believe from ancient writings that it was a huge piece of gold that would shine from the horizon.

When looking at pictures, you have to envision that many centuries of erosion and vandalism have changed the way this site looks. The outer walls were made of highly polished stone, which make some scientists believe that it would shine bright enough at parts of the day to have been visible from orbit around the Earth itself.

I must admit that the order of these great sites to behold is based on personal preference, but this does not mean that these are not must see places before you die. The many photographs available truly do not let you behold and feel the presence of these unique places around the world.


How many of these places have you seen?

What would be on your list of places to see before you die?

Need more inspiration? Check out 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, the second edition.


BIO: Uttoran Sen is a travel enthusiast and a blogger since 2005, check him out on his travel blog or catch up with him on twitter and facebook.

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62 Comments on “9 Places to See Before You Die”

  1. I haven’t see none of these… time to get kickin.

    • thanks for your comments Sarah Wu,
      am with you, i have not seen any of these myself. Though my writing team has visited all of them and hence it was possible to compile the list.

      Taj Mahal is on top of my list to visit, because it is also the closest. Would like to see “Angkor Wat” soon, always wanted to, due to the temples. I love those rock carvings anyway, so Petra is always on my list. Among other places, i guess any one would like to visit Venice, take a ride on the gondolas, it would be amazing.

      It is hard to choose, i just hope in time, i make a visit to all of those.

  2. Usually when it comes to these lists of places you should see before you die, they always pick places I’ve never gone to. Surprisingly I’ve been to three (Grand Canyon, Venice and The Louvre). Of course a lot of people might argue there’s a lot more out there than this. But this is certainly a good start.

    • thanks Alouise for your comments,
      good to know that you have visited 3 of the above mentioned places already. am sure you will soon cover them all.

  3. Not a good way to begin the weekend – depressed because I have only been to two of these places. Just let me get a coffee, then I’ll reread and instead of being depressed will be inspired and determined to see the rest!

    • @islandmomma, thanks for your comment,
      don’t be too depressed, sooner or later you will get to visit them all. I have covered almost all of India, yet the only place from India that i put on this list, is also the only one that i have yet to visit.

      I remember when i wrote the ten top beaches article on my blog, i was deeply depressed because i wanted to visit them right away.

  4. All except the Grand Canyon, Angkor Wat and Easter Island. The last two are high on my list of future spots to explore :).

    • @Sophie, thanks for your comment,
      great to know that you have visited most of the places, keep us updated when you visit the rest of it.

    • if you go to the grand canyon you have have to see antelope canyon goggle it the most beautiful place I’ve ever been

  5. Nicely listed! I’ve got at least one more to add: Macchu Picchu. I’ve seen many beautiful places, and this old Inca settlement in Peru one is high on my ‘amazing things I’ve seen’ list. A magical place.

    • @Ellen, thanks for your comment,
      glad you liked the list.

      yes, Macchu Picchu, would be a great place to visit. I hope some day i will visit it too,

  6. Two down (Louvre and Venice, several times each, do I get more points?), eight to go… Could be worse. (to be honest I doubt I’ll ever get to see the 10, but who knows)

    • @David, thanks for your comments,
      great to know that you have visited two of the places already, surely everyone wants to make a return trip to the places they like most.

  7. Wow. I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen none of them!

    • @Dorothy, thanks for your comment,
      don’t think from the point of view of what you have not seen, but what is still left on the list and how much more you can explore,

  8. Top 10 Places to See Before You Die…

    A list of top 10 places to see before you die around the world including Grand Canyon, Angkor Wat, Great Barrier Reef, Great Wall of China, Petra and Easter Island…

  9. Only two (Venice and Louvre) and I would add the Mayan sites of Yucatan (especially Uxmal) and Iguazu falls on the Argentinian side especially.

    • @Akafix, thanks for your comments,
      it is great to know that you have visited two of the ten places already. Thanks for suggesting your favorite places, the list seems to keep increasing all the time.

  10. When I was in India I intended visiting the Taj Mahal but I met up with a young man who was horrified that I wanted to see a place built ‘by cruelty and blood’ he explained that the craftsmen who built it had their hands cut off so they couldn’t replicate the work. Put me right off, something so beautiful stands as monument to the suffering of those poor people.

    • This is tragic. I never knew about this. Makes you think twice.

    • @Vicki Edmunds, thanks for your comment,
      unfortunately, it is true. And it is, after all, the grave of Mumtaz Mahal. But all things agreed, it is still one of the most beautiful structures available in the present day earth.

  11. Great list – I hope I’ll get to see them all someday. Of those you list, I’ve only been to the Grand Canyon and the Louvre, but feel very lucky that I have. Awesome places.

    • thanks Cathy Sweeney for your comment,
      glad you liked the list, also good to know that you have been to two of the places already.

  12. Adventuress

    I’ve been to five of these: Grand Canyon, Louvre, Venice, Giza, Petra

    With regards to the top of the Great Pyramid missing – that’s inaccurate. In my most recent trip to Egypt (2009), the top of the pyramid was actually displayed at the foot of the pyramid. They found it among the debris.

    • thanks Adventuress for your comment,
      if you had put your name in the name field, i could have addressed you better,

      excellent that you have been to the 5 places already, am sure you will cover the rest of them soon,

  13. Petra seems so hot right now! I keep hearing about it. I’d love to check it out. I’ve been to some of the places on this list, including Angkor Wat, the GBR and the Grand Canyon, and agree they are amazing destinations.

    • thanks Leslie for your comment, and i agree that everyone keeps talking about Petra so much these days, feels like visiting it right away.

      • Beverly

        Petra was a marvelous experience and I am so glad we made it there before we have to turn in our traveling shoes. Keep in mind that Petra is limestone. It’s weather beaten and getting worse. It will no doubt be gone by natural causes within 50-100 years. (If i’m wrong, somebody please corret this.) Go before it’s too late.

  14. This his is a great list! We have only been to three of these places so far, there is so much more to see in the world :-) … Our list is never-ending!!

    • thanks Globetrottergirls for your comment, and yes, there is always so much more to visit, perhaps next time will come up with a list of top 50 or something…

      Good though the list is never ending, always something new to look foreword to,

  15. All great choices! We’re feeling quite good having visited all of the above except the Great Wall… they all live up to hype too. Especially Easter Island and Venice

    • thanks Cam for your comments, they very well live up to the hype :)
      So, The great wall of China is your next spot? Let us know about your travel once you have visited it,

  16. Wow! Excellent list! Now I have to start saving a million dollars and start a nomad trip to these places. My favorites are – The Great Barrier Reef and The Louvre. I have a great fascination with art. and I’ve always been in love with the beach and the sea.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • thanks Bocas Del Toro for your comments, i love the beaches too, nothing better than a relaxing holiday to some peaceful beach. Andaman in India is my favorite when it comes to untouched beaches…

  17. Nice job. It’s hard to pick just 10 places, but this is a great list. I’m lucky enough to have seen 9 of them (still missing Easter Island). I agree that Macchu Picchu would be a great addition, but otherwise I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better list.

    • thanks Bob Riel for your comment, am glad you found this list good.
      Yeah, there can be a few more additions to it, the one that you mention was on my mind too, but it is hard to remove any that are already on the list. Next time i just need to make a longer list.

  18. I would love to see the Grand Canyon simply because it’s so close to me and I still not have seen it!

    • Oh. Don’t you hate it when you have so many great places like that close to you that you haven’t seen but everyone else has!! You can do it.

    • thanks Joya for your comments,
      It is ok to leave the close ones for later visiting, because you can always visit them when you want to or when you have free time.

  19. Lisa Rosas

    I have been lucky enough to have traveled to 2 of those places (Louvre and Venice). I am sad I have not yet been to the Grand Canyon because I live in the USA and right next door. One day I will get there. Living in California I think that The Sierra’s are a wonderful destination. I love camping and if anyone travels here, you should head to Yosemite, Sequoia, King’s Canyon, Mammoth..any of those places. They are absolutely gorgeous! For crazy backpackers…John Muir Trail (JMT) or the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I hope to be able to do those trips in my lifetime. Maybe not a Top 10 but up there.

    Last Year I read a book called “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond. He has done extensive research on Easter Island and the statues there. He explains how and why the statues were built and what happened to the people. If anyone is interested in it I suggest you read the book. It is very good.

    • @Lisa Rosas, thanks for your comments. It is a good idea to leave the close destinations for the later travel, they can be easily covered when ever you want… but the far ones need more planning, so good to know that you have already traveled the distance and visited 2 of the 10 mentioned on the list.

      Also, thanks for recommending the book on Easter Islands, will try to get it from the library if available.

  20. 5 out of 10! I’m very pleased with my efforts. I’ll try to make the other 5 before I’m 40 :)

    • Something to work towards!

    • @Runaway Brit, excellent work. Good for me, am just 25… so will visit a lot more places before i hit 40 or more. After that i will start writing more on senior travel perhaps…

  21. Where is Nepal dude ????? This list is incomplete without the majestic Everest and the Annapurna Range..

    • @Jaya, i was planning to write a separate article on mountains, actually if you notice, there are no beaches mentioned as well… because mountains/beaches etc. falls in a separate category. It is hard to make these lists because ten is a very small number when you try to cover the entire world.

      However, Nepal is a great place to visit, next time will make a longer list and include all the recommendations on it.

  22. Easter island? Wouldnt even feature on my top 50.

    • To each his own

    • @shane i just read a comment, a few comments before yours. That comment was made by Lisa Rosas, she has recommended me a book on Easter Islands. So, as Caz said it herself, “To each his own”.

  23. Hey !!!
    Were is Parthenon and Acropolis ?

  24. hey you forgot MACCHU PICCHU!!!!!! NAZCA LINES!!!!! AMAZONE RAIN FOREST!!!!!! PERU & BRASIL!!!! IGUAZU FALLS!!!!! also rome!

  25. Great list, thanks for sharing these some amazing places all of which feature on our 100 places to visit before you die.

  26. chittaranjan saha

    I already visit one ofthe place.

  27. [...] 10 places to see before you die. (I’ve been to two of these) 10 tips for a financial fresh start (thank you, Suze Orman!) 10 most powerful rock ballads of all time. [...]

  28. Im surprised the list doesnt include Himalayas…Something whose beauty cannot be described using any vocabulory of any known language

  29. Kasuni Samara

    wooow…what a beautiful world. Sri Lanka….A land Like no other.
    Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.

    Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.

    This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!

  30. Great collection of must see tourist places and i would like to visit these places once in my lifetime.

  31. […] ytravelblog.comPetra is another destination that encourages you to continue learning in your twenties. You can learn all about their rock-cut architecture before you’re old enough to worry about the architecture in your own home. […]

  32. I am more into nature, rather than building :). I’ve been to Venice more than 10 times and I’ve seen the Pyramids as well. My visit to the Pyramids lasted 1h or so and it was a huge dissapoiment. Not much to see honestly and many people around you just asking for money. I’d take that down from the list honestly. I agree with Venice. I would add either Galapagos (I didn’t see it) or Socotra Island (I have visited it).

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