Once you’ve glimpsed this beautifully designed green space (from the top of the Marina Bay Sands, perhaps) you won’t be able to stay away. Wander through the Bay East Garden, perfect for enjoying the vibrant plant life and escaping the city bustle for a moment. You won’t want to miss Supertree Grove, where you’ll find a cluster of the iconic, futuristic structures designed to perform environmentally sustainable functions. Then, head to the Cloud Forest Dome to see the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and learn a bit about biodiversity. Check the website for ticket sale prices and tour times. Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore Official site: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html
The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck–a vantage point for taking in the entire city. The Skypark’s viewing deck and infinity pool are found in the ship (yes, ship) that tops the hotel. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the infinity pool, but anyone can visit the observation deck. From the Skypark, you can see the innovative double helix bridge, the port, the Gardens by the Bay (101 hectares of land converted into waterfront gardens), and the impressive skyline. While up there on top of the city, guests can grab a snack or a coffee at the rooftop restaurant or pick up some keepsakes from the souvenir stand. You can purchase a photo of yourself green-screened in front of the massive hotel as it’s all lit up at night, but the cost is steep at 50 Singapore dollars–better to ask a fellow tourist to snap a photo of you if possible. The elegant opulence of the Marina Bay Sands exemplifies Singapore’s style and status as a major international city in Southeast Asia. Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore Official site: http://www.marinabaysands.com/
If you’ve ever seen the famous Instagram photo of people at the Gates of Heaven and wondered about the location, Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang is where they posed. Often just called “Lempuyang Temple” (Pura Lempuyang), this famous structure is actually one of a series of temples peppering the highlands of Mount Lempuyang. Tourists come here to capture a photo standing between the towering dragon staircases, which frame the misty peak of Mount Agung. If you have time, it’s worthwhile visiting the other temples while you’re here. Pura Luhur Lempuyang is one of Bali’s most sacred temples, and one of the hardest to access. Ready for some exercise? The temple lies at the top of a calf-sculpting hike up 1,700 steps through the steamy jungle to almost 1,200 meters above sea level. Keep an eye out for the grey long-tailed macaques scampering around the forest along the way. The hike to Pura Luhur Lempuyang usually takes around 1.5 to two hours, depending on your fitness level, but once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with the mystical beauty of an ancient relic – and spectacular views. Not up for the hike? You might be able to pay a local to whisk you to the end of the asphalt road on a motorbike to shorten the trek. Insider tip: Try to visit on a clear day for the best views, and bring a sarong, otherwise you might have to rent one at the temple.
The 17th-century Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is one of Bali’s most picturesque temple complexes. It sits on a small island along the western shore of Lake Bratan, in the cool highlands of central Bali. Set against the imposing backdrop of Gunung Bratan, the thatched temples reflect on the lake, and when the water levels rise, they seem to float on its surface. Lake Bratan is one of Bali’s main sources of irrigation and drinking water, and the temple complex is dedicated to Dewi Danu, goddess of the sea and lakes. An unusual feature is the Buddhist stupa on the left of the entrance to the first courtyard, with figures of Buddha meditating in the lotus position in niches on the square base. The stupa reflects the adoption of Buddhist beliefs by Balinese Hindus. The best time to visit this sacred Hindu temple complex is early in the day, before the tourist buses arrive. The temple is especially picturesque in the soft morning light, when cool mist sometimes cloaks the lake and the mountains beyond. You can also hire a canoe and paddle out on the lake to explore the meru (thatched shrines) at close range. Not far from the temple complex, the Bali Botanic Garden (Kebun Raya Bali) is also worth a visit, with its beautiful bamboo forests, begonias, orchid collection, and medicinal plants. Address: Jalan Bedugul – Singaraja, Candikuning, Baturiti, Kabupaten Tabanan
Visiting the Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is one of the top things to do in Ubud, Bali. It’s also one of the best places to visit in Bali if you’re an animal lover or photographer. You can walk here in about 10 minutes from the town center in Ubud. Besides the entertaining troops of grey long-tailed macaques that make their home here, a large part of the appeal is the evocative jungle setting where the monkeys roam free. Paved pathways lead through thick forests of giant banyan and nutmeg trees, where moss-covered statues and ancient temples loom through the dense foliage, imparting an almost mystical feel. The forest is intended to represent the harmonious coexistence between humans and animals. It also conserves rare plants and is used as a location for researching macaque behavior, particularly their social interaction. On the southwest side of the forest is one of the three temples found here: the 14th-century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal. Here, hundreds of monkeys swing through the trees and clamber over the walls. In the northwest of the forest, an ancient bathing temple, Pura Beji, nestles next to a cool stream and makes a beautiful backdrop for watching the monkeys’ antics. While visiting the forest, make sure to secure your belongings, and avoid direct eye contact with the animals (and smiling), as this can be interpreted as a sign of aggression. It’s also a good idea not to bring any food into the area. Address: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali Official site: http://monkeyforestubud.com/
Seljalandsfoss is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in South Iceland with a whooping 65m cascade. The waterfall is loved by travelers because you can actually walk behind it! Step behind the curtain of water and marvel at Iceland’s South Coast from a completely new perspective.
Due to the waterfall’s close proximity to the Ring Road and impressive natural features, it is one of the country’s most famous and visited falls. Majestic and picturesque, it is one of the most photographed features in all of Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, part of the river Seljalandsá, has its origins underneath the glacier Eyjafjallajökull. The volcano beneath this ice cap was the one that erupted in 2010 and caused havoc at airports across Europe.
The cascade of the falls is relatively narrow but falls from a tall cliff that once marked the country’s coastline, the sea is now located across a stretch of lowlands and is visible from the site.
The waterfall is available to visitors in both summer and winter. Keep in mind that the path behind Seljalandsfoss might not be accessible in the winter due to icy conditions. If you decide to visit in winter, make sure to wear shoes with spiked soles so you can keep steady on your feet.
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