The other day I was looking at some lists of the New 7 Wonders of the World and realized that Dave and I have been to them all. I then did some more digging to find out that we’ve also been to a lot of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and we’ve even been to the only remaining Ancient Wonder of the World.
We are so lucky to be able to have seen these wonders of the world with our own eyes and want you to see them too. It was our dream to travel for nearly two decades before we finally took the plunge to make travel blogging, photography, and video our careers. Since that time we’ve seen a lot. So, while I’m feeling a little nostalgic today, I thought I’d share our thoughts on some of the 7 Wonders of the World that we’ve seen.
New 7 Wonders of the World
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The New 7 Wonders of the World came about in 2000 when a company based in Zurich Switzerland, “the New 7 Wonders Foundation (N7W)”, decided to launch a campaign to name the New 7 Wonders. Considering only one of the original ancient Wonders of the World was still standing it made sense. More than 100 million votes were cast (This was long before bots came into play on the Internet, so I trust that it was mostly real people) and in 2007 the New Seven Wonders of the World was announced.
It was not without controversy. Many people disagreed with the outcome. However, the votes were cast and the wonders were named. We have been to them all and must admit, we agree with most. There are other amazing places on earth, but the place below definitely filled us with awe and wonder.
1. Petra, Jordan
We had been to a lot of ancient cities before we made our way to Petra. We thought we had seen it all until we walked through the 1.2km long siq (a narrow gorge with high rock walls reaching 80 meters into the air) leading to the incredible Treasury building. The journey was beautiful but once we arrived at the opening in the middle of a canyon, we gasped in awe. This ancient wonder was hidden from the outside world for centuries. It wasn’t until 1812 that it was “discovered” by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Since then the Lost City has become Jordan’s premier tourist attraction.
Great Wall of China
We have had the privilege of visiting The Great Wall of China, not once, but twice! We have been to two sections the Buytianyu and the Badaling. Both were equally impressive. We really feel that the Great Wall of China lives up to the hype. The location is breathtaking as it weaves through the mountains and spans for miles and miles. Even with the crowds of Badaling which is closes to Beijing, we loved it. The wall was built the 7th century and spanned nearly 9000 km.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Rio De Janeiro is one of our favourite cities on Earth. Christ the Redeemer stands proud overhead high on a mountain overlooking the city and can be seen from all vantage points. The most amazing experience we had was doing a doors-off helicopter ride to view Christ the Redeemer from above. The statue of Jesus perched on Mount Corcovado began construction in 1926. Standing 30 meters tall it is a massive achievement and has contributed to making Rio one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet.
It was always our dream to see the Colosseum of Italy. When we finally made it to Rome, we not only had the chance to see it, we stayed in the most incredible apartment right beside this wonder with a view of the ruins from our window. Built in the 1st century, this amphitheater has a bloody past with Gladiators fighting to the death and Christians being thrown to the lions. Animals were used and abused here and it is thought that half a million people and nearly one million animals died within its walls. Today, it stands in ruins and no longer sees bloodshed. Instead, it sees many tourists with more than 6 million people visiting it each year!
Machu Pichu, Peru
When we first arrived at Machu Picchu in Peru it was shrouded in clouds. I’ll never forget the look on Dave’s face. He was dejected. It was our one and only time visiting this wonder of the world and we weren’t going to see it! Luckily, as the morning progressed, the heavens opened up and we witnessed the awe-inspiring sight of this ancient city high in the Andes mountains. Discovered by the western world in 1911, the Incan City is believed to have been inhabited in the 1600s. Machu Picchu deserves to be on this list with its impressive location. Located at an altitude of 2400 meters, the city’s terraces plunge into th valley below. How they built these structures on the side of a mountain hundreds of years ago is beyond my comprehension but to see it today will blow you away.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Chichen Itza was the first of the new wonders of the world that Dave and I ever visited. In fact, our trip to Mexico in 1999 was one of the first international trips we ever took together. I’ll never forget a friend telling us to go and I am glad we listened. Back then you could still walk up the ancient pyramid and it was harrowing. We understood why they closed it to tourists, it was steep and scary but it was also an experience we’ll never forget. The Mayan City of Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatan Peninsula and dates back to the 9th century. It is closely tied to astronomy with buildings precisely made to coincide with the Spring and winter equinox. The Great Pyramid also has 365 steps and a platform dedicated to Venus.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal in India was our least favorite of all the new seven wonders to visit but it is still impressive to see. We actually never wrote about our time there as we didn’t love Agra or the Taj. Obviously many people disagree with us as it was named one of the seven. The Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest examples of Mughal Architecture. It is also considered to be a beautiful love story as it was completed in 1658 by Emperor Shah Jahn who built it for his wife. She died in 1631, just three years after he began construction but he continued on to honor her memory.
The Taj Mahal is beautiful, and we stood in line early in the morning to be the first people in. We quickly grabbed the iconic shot at the reflecting pool before running around frantically staying ahead of the crowds to see it without the masses. I’d like to go back to give it a second chance. Perhaps I would fall in love with it as so many others have.
These are our experiences at the new seven wonders of the world. What do you think? Do you agree with the list? Have you been to any? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Before we leave you, we thought we’d share a few of our experiences at other wonders of the world. As we dug deeper, we saw that there are so many lists of wonders, so let’s explore a bit more shall we?
The 7 Natural Wonders of the World
When looking at the 7 wonders of the Natural World we were shocked to learn that we’ve been to six of the seven! We now know what is on our bucket list of places to see, you guessed it the 7th. What of the 7 natural wonders are we missing? Read on to see.
We had wanted to see Mount Everest for more than a decade before finally making our way to the is Sagarmatha Region of Nepal. Trekking to Everest Base Camp was a trip of a lifetime. Throughout our journey through the Himalayan Mountain Range, we caught views of the highest mountain in the world standing 8848 meters above sea level. the Himalayas are one of the most beautiful places on earth. While trekking to Everest Base Camp, we kept commenting that you really do feal as if you could reach out and touch heaven.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is not only a natural wonder it is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Area. Spanning 344,000 square km this underwater marine park in Queensland, Australia is a sight to behold. We took a helicopter from Port Douglas out to a diving platform to explore the massive reef system from above and below the surface. The Great Barrier Reef is actually more than one big reef, it is made up of 2900 individual reefs with 900 islands scattered throughout.
Read more about Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef
We had the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls while cycling through Africa. During the world’s longest cycling race, we had two rest days at the “Smoke That Thunders.” Taking a helicopter tour through the gorge of the Zambezi River to overlook Victoria Falls was the most incredible way to see this massive waterfall. We live near Niagara Falls and let me tell you, Victoria Falls dwarfs our mighty waterfall. Located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls spans 1.7 km and plunges 108 meters into the gorge below. While not the longest or highest waterfall in the world, it is the largest by water volume and you truly feel its power when walking beside it.
Harbour of Rio De Janeiro
Wow! Rio de Janeiro is so impressive it is on two wonders of the world lists! The Harbour of Rio de Janeiro is one of the natural wonders and we agree. This Brazilian city located on the Atlantic Ocean is a beach lovers paradise. The iconic beaches are impressive, but it is the scene of being framed by the unique mountains of Sugarloaf and Corcovado that make it truly unique. It is one of the most beautiful waterfronts we have ever seen. As we said above, make sure to get up in the air to really take it in and don’t miss going up to the top of both mountains to see its beauty from all angles.
Read more about Brazil
If you haven’t witnessed the Aurora Borealis, make your way to northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland or even Northern Michigan! It’s true, we saw incredible northern lights in the state of Michigan. The Aurora Borealis one most certainly one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders. The show of colorful dancing lights in the sky needs to been seen to be believed. Make your way to a dark sky preserve far away from light pollution to really see the spectacular colors on display. One of the best places we saw them was in Jasper, Alberta where there is an annual dark sky festival each November.
If we hadn’t seen the Grand Canyon with our own eyes, I would say it shouldn’t be on the 7 natural wonders of the world list. However, we have been there and when you do lay eyes upon the Grand Canyon in Arizona, it is spectacular! When standing on the ledge of the South Rim seems surreal. It looks as if you are staring at one giant painting. At 1.8km deep and 446km long, the Grand Canyon is massive but it isn’t the largest canyon in the world. However, it is so beautiful it was chosen as a one of the seven wonders thanks to having the whole package. The Grand Canyon is millions of years old, it is beautiful and it is easily accessible.
Well, we have come to the place where we haven’t been to one of the natural wonders. The Paricutin Volcano is located in Michoacán, Mexico and we have yet to visit there. Why was this chosen as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World? It is because it was formed in 1943. It is the only volcano that was humans (humans that are still living that is) actually witnessed and documented. Before 1943, the area around the volcano was flat. It erupted for 19 years and grew to a height of 3000 meters. Today it is dormant and you can hike to its crater.
New 7 Wonders of Nature
And finally, from the same people that brought you the New7Wonders of the World, we end with the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Similar to the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, the 7 Wonders of Nature look at natural formations and landmarks on earth. I am including it, simply because we’ve been to most of them and think they are beautiful and worthy too!
Table Mountain, South Africa
When visiting Cape Town South Africa, Table Mountain is truly an incredible sight. The flat-top mountain towers of the city, dwarfing everything below. Table mountain looks like a cut-out in the sky sanding above the waterfront. One of the best ways to see it is to take a boat ride or go to Robben Island to tour where Nelson Mandella was imprisoned for so long. It is a beautiful view from a very dark place in history.
Like Victoria Falls, Iguazu Falls blew our minds. Each waterfall around the world is so different. Iguazu Falls may not be the largest waterfall in the world, but it is the most beautiful. Located on the border of Brazil and Argentina is is truly a natural wonder of the world. Spanning 2.7 kilometers in width, it is made up of a series of 275 waterfalls with the highest reaching a height of 80 meters. We took a jet boat tour and a helicopter flight at Iguazu Falls to really take it all in. Plus, we stayed right in the centre of the National Park which allowed us to explore it at sunrise and sunset with nobody around. We walked the boardwalk right to the centre of the falls.
Ha Long Bay
We love the fact that Ha Long Bay in Vietnam made the list of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is made up of 1500 islands and karst formations in a bay of the South China Sea. Going on an overnight sailing trip in a junk boat is a trip of a lifetime as you are surrounded by high cliffs in the calm waters. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is always on the list of the top things to do in Vietnam.
No best of nature article would be complete without including the Amazon Rainforest. This natural wonder is the world’s largest rainforest
When looking this up, I had never even heard of Jeju Island, but it is now on my list! It is the largest island in South Korea and its dormant volcano is the tallest mountain in South Korea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its lava tubes and it has a series of basalt stone pillars on its coast similar to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
We have kicked ourselves repeatedly for not going to Komodo Island when spending a month in Bali and the Gili Islands. We were enjoying ourselves too much just chilling out on the beach. I wish we got our acts together enough to hop on a boat to see the endangered and mythical Komodo Dragons. I had always wanted to see them ever since watching The Freshman with Mathew Broderick and Marlon Brando. If you haven’t seen it, watch it! It’s hilarious.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Finally, the underground river system in Palawan, Philippines is the last of the 7 wonders on our list that we haven’t been to yet. But as the famous travel quotes goes: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!” Read more quotes: Best Adventure Quotes For Outdoor Lovers
7 Ancient Wonders of the World
Great Pyramids of Giza
Only the Great Pyramid of Giza, in El Giza, Egypt, is the only one that still exists. Oddly enough, it is the earliest of all the 7 wonders. Those Egyptian slaves certainly made a good product. We have been to the Pyramids of Giza and Cairo Egypt twice. They are incredible to see. They almost don’t seem man-made, perhaps aliens really did land on earth!
Other Ancient Wonders included:
- Colossus of Rhodes, in the harbor of the city on the Greek Island of Rhodes
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Iraq
- Lighthouse of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt.
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, in Turkey.
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia, in Olympia, Greece.
- Temple of Artemis at Selçuk, Turkey.
There are dozens of 7 Wonders of the World lists from the Industrial wonders of the world (We’ve been to all of them too!) to the 7 Wonders Cities of the World. We could go on and on. CNN, USA Today and the BBC have all polled their own 7 Wonders of the World with very different outcomes. They are all subjective and all controversial with some countries feeling that their wonder should be included on the list.
We tend to agree, while the 7 Wonders of the World are fun to round up, there are beautiful wonders all around the world so why not put them all in one place every once in a while right?
Read more about Ha Long Bay