This magnificent monument is the greatest treasure of a Hindu kingdom that once stretched as far as Burma, Laos and southern China. The temple of Angkor Wat is the crowning glory in a complex of more than 1000 temples, shrines and tombs that forms a virtual city of spires in the jungles of northern Cambodia.
2. GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA
One of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts, the Great Barrier Reef is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms and one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Stretching for more than 3000km up the northeastern coast of Australia, it is home to 400 types of coral and 1500 species of fish. Some 30 kinds of whales, dolphins and porpoises have been spotted here, along with six species of sea turtles and 17 kinds of sea snake.
3. MACHU PICCHU, PERU
The mystical Lost City of the Incas is a legendary citadel perched among breathtaking peaks that seem to touch the sky. Machu Picchu was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century. Today, this awe-inspiring ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of tourists daily – many for the world-famous Inca Trail.
4. GREAT WALL OF CHINA, CHINA
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth and wood that stretches across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus from east to west of China. Built over 2,000 years ago to protect the Chinese states and empires against invasions, it is an incredible glimpse into the past of China and its legendary emperors.
In June 2012 China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage reported – after an archaeological survey that took five years to complete – that the wall measures a precise 13,170.69 miles.
5. TAJ MAHAL, INDIA
Standing majestically on the banks of the River Yamuna, India's national treasure is a symbol of love and romance. The Taj Mahal's pure white marble, exquisite ornamentation and precious gemstones make it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. However, once you find out the love story behind its construction its beauty is given a new light. Its name was inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's beloved wife who died during childbirth of their 14th child, and the monument is a tomb that contains her body today.
6. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, USA
Every year, a staggering five million people flock to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon's sweeping views, hike its trails, and hop on a mule for a trip through the vast canyon. Stretching 277 miles from end to end, steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon's floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest and rock dates back 1.8 billion years.
7. COLOSSEUM, ITALY
A majestic presence, never more impressive than when illuminated at night, the Colosseum is Rome's most popular tourist attraction and the largest amphitheatre in the world. This massive 50,000-seat concrete and stone structure built in 70 AD is the site where Gladiators met in mortal combat, and condemned prisoners fought off wild beasts.
8. IGUAZU FALLS, BRAZIL-ARGENTINA
Situated on the border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, Iguazu Falls is one of the great natural wonders of the world and is glimpsed through a stretch of subtropical rainforest forming a 55,000-hectare national park replete with wildlife, including jaguars. Get up-close to these jaw-dropping falls on the Argentina-side and you'll be soaking wet from the spray within minutes, and overwhelmed by the roar of the gushing water. Cross the border to Brazil, meanwhile, for a panoramic shot.
9. ALHAMBRA, SPAIN
The great rosy-gold complex of the Nasrid palace complex, with its chambers and courtyards where kings and their families lived and loved stands silent and ageless, is the most enduring symbol of 800 years of enlightened Moorish rule in medieval Spain. The Alhambra’s fortress towers dominate the Granada skyline from afar, while inside the riches of the extraordinary structure include lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens.
10. AYA SOFYA, TURKEY
Aya Sofya, or Hagia Sophia, was a church, later an imperial mosque, and is now a museum. Built almost 1500 years ago at the request of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, it is most famous for its massive dome and is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520 and still dominates Istanbul's skyline today.
11. FEZ MEDINA, MOROCCO
Originally built in the 9th century, Fez's medina is the medieval heart of Morocco's third-largest city (after Casablanca and Rabat). A twisted network of 9400 alleys and souks too narrow for cars, the enchanting labyrinth dates back more than 1000 years.
12. TWELVE APOSTLES, AUSTRALIA
The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks on the Great Ocean Road along Victoria’s southwest coast in Australia. Despite their name, there are only eight apostles left, but don’t worry, they’re still spectacular. Make a pit stop and take some shots of the apostles on the must-do drive along the breathtaking ocean route of the GOR.
13. PETRA, JORDAN
The fabled "rose red city, half as old as time", is a well-known ancient Nabataean city in the south of Jordan. It was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 due to its breathtaking grandeur and fabulous ruins, and although the entry to the monument is pricey, it offers a lot of photo opportunities, making it worthwhile.
14. TIKAL, GUATEMALA
The ancient city of Tikal is Guatemala's most significant Mayan ruin site, and although archaeologists say it once rivalled Rome in size, population and political clout, less than 10% of its buildings have been excavated. One of the largest archaeological sites in Central America, its pyramid complexes – driven in part by the famous Mayan calendar – are encompassed by a rainforest, making for an unforgettable sunrise.
15. BRITISH MUSEUM, BRITAIN
The Lonely Planet describes the British Museum as "the greatest treasure house of Europe". The 260-year-old institute, which holds such heirlooms as the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and an astonishing collection of mummies, pulls in six million visitors every year.
16. SAGRADA FAMILIA, SPAIN
Despite being approximately 11 years away from completion, the magnificent Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited sites in the world, considered to be the most visited monument in all of Spain and Barcelona's most iconic landmark. Famous modernist architect Antoni Gaudi began construction of the basilica in 1882 and devoted much of his life to it until his death in 1926. Its completion is expected in 2026, 100 years after the architect's death.
17. FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK, NEW ZEALAND
Ancient glaciers, towering cliffs, and countless waterfalls dominate an almost-untouched mountainous corner of the South Island that makes up New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. Along with three neighbouring national parks, it forms the vast Te Wãhipounamu Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, which has been recognised by Unesco for its unique natural features.
18. SANTORINI, GREECE
The perfect location to start an island hopping jaunt, Santorini, also known as Thira, is considered the diamond of the Greek Islands. Its whitewashed buildings with blue doors and picturesque blue-domed churches are nestled atop steep volcanic cliffs that fall sharply to the azure waters.
19. GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR
A small archipelago of islands belonging to Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean, The Galapagos Islands are world-renowned for the unique and fearless wildlife there - much of which was inspiration for Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection.
Giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and different bird species can all be seen and approached for incredible photographs.
20. MUSEUM OF OLD & NEW ART, AUSTRALIA
At just five years old, Australia's most far-out institution is the brainchild of mathematician and art collector David Walsh, who made millions perfecting algorithms that led him to beat casinos. Wanting to give something back to the city where he grew up, he commissioned the museum, where ambitious installations are surrounded by one of the world’s most naturally beautiful settings for any art gallery.
Pictured: 'Pulse Room', 2006, by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Page was posted on Facebook last year. Photo: MONA/Rémi Chauvin