World Heritage Week

In honor of visiting my 50th World Heritage Site, I will be posting several articles in the coming days listing my favorite and least favorite sites visited on my trip.

Starting today I will also be featuring the World Heritage sites which I’ve visited as my next 50 daily photos. (Actually, by the time I’m done, there will probably be around 53).

Here is the complete list for those of you keeping score:

#1 Volcanoes National Park – Hawaii
#2 Rapa Nui National Park – Easter Island, Chile
#3 Tongarirro National Park – New Zealand
#4 Te Wahipounamu – New Zealand
#5 East Rennell – Solomon Islands
#6 Baroque Churches of the Philippines
#7 Rice Terraces of Banaue – Philippines
#8 Town of Vigan – Philippines
#9 Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park – Philippines
#10 Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu – Okinawa, Japan
#11 Yakushima – Japan
#12 Hiroshima Peace Park – Japan
#13 Itsukushima Shinto Shrine – Japan
#14 Himeji Castle – Japan
#15 Monuments of Ancient Kyoto – Japan
#16 Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area – Japan
#17 Monuments of Ancient Nara – Japan
#18 Shrines and Temples of Nikko – Japan
#19 Gyeongju Historic Areas – South Korea
#20 Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple – South Korea
#21 Changdeokgung Palace Complex – South Korea
#22 Jongmyo Shrine – South Korea
#23 Hwaseong Fortress – South Korea
#24 Historic Center of Macau
#25 Gungung Mulu National Park – Malaysia
#26 Kinabalu National Park- Malaysia
#27 Borobudur Temple Compound – Indonesia
#28 Prambanan Temple Compound- Indonesia
#29 Sangiran Early Man Site – Indonesia
#30 Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens – Australia
#31 Willandra Lakes Region – Australia
#32 Blue Mountains Area – Australia
#33 Sydney Opera House – Australia
#34 Tasmanian Wilderness – Australia
#35 Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
#36 Fraser Island – Australia
#37 Wet Tropics of Queensland – Australia
#38 Great Barrier Reef – Australia
#39 Kakadu National Park – Australia
#40 Purnululu National Park- Australia
#41 Shark Bay – Australia
#42 Uluru/Kata-Tjuta National Park – Australia
#43 George Town: Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca – Malaysia
#44 Angkor – Cambodia
#45 Temple of Preah Vihear – Cambodia
#46 My Son Sanctuary – Vietnam
#47 Hoi An Ancient Town – Vietnam
#48 Complex of Hue Monuments – Vietnam
#49 Ha Long Bay – Vietnam
#50 Town of Luang Prabang – Laos

A Fist Full of Kip

My last day in Luang Prabang was interesting. They power went out over the whole city. It seemed like a planned affair as there were signs ups notifying people when it was going off and on. It was down from 6:30am to 6:30pm. That meant all the ATM machines weren’t working and there was obviously no internet access anywhere.

When the power came on, there was a flood of people at the only working ATM machine in town. The largest denomination note I’ve seen in Laos is 50,000 Kip, which is about $5. The place I was staying it didn’t have their credit card machine working, so I had to pay in cash, and the ATM machines only dispense 700,000 Kip at a time. That means I had to hit the ATM more than once to pay my bill and had a gigantic wad of 50,000 Kip notes.

Yesterday I got up early to take the bus to Vientiane. It was supposed to be an 8 hour trip, but wound up being a 12 hour trip due to 3 bus break downs. I don’t know if there was a single stretch of straight level road during the entire trip. The whole way is mountainous and winding. That being said, the scenery was absolutely breath taking. I regretted being in a moving bus with dirty, tinted windows because it didn’t allow for any photography. I wish I had been in a car so we could pull over. I could have easily filled a memory card with photos of the mountains and valleys I saw.

I haven’t seen much of Vientaine yet. I’ll be here for a few days catching up on my photos, getting my laundry done and getting a haircut. I also have a video I made in Luang Prabang I’ll try to get up soon.