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Luang prabang in top 10 travel destinations for 2008

t last, after researching destinations from the popular to the relatively unknown, here are The Top Ten Travel Destinations For 2008! From Safaris to South American paragliding this list of the top ten travel destinations for 2008 is sure to have something for everyone.

10. Antigua, Guatemala

This UNESCO World Heritage Site has charming cobble stone streets, active volcanoes, and enough charm to make you contemplate ripping up your return ticket home. This former capital was the political and economical center of Guatemala for over two hundred years before being decimated in 1773 by an earthquake.

9. Beijing, China

Playing host to the 2008 Olympic Summer Games, Beijing is sure to be a hot destination this year as it shows off all it has to offer to the world. This three thousand year old capital boasts such sights as the impressive Tienanmen Square, Temple of Heaven, and the Forbidden City. In addition, the Beijing Zoo is world class complete with panda bears and Bengal tigers. If that wasn't enough, a day trip to The Great Wall is feasible as it is only a two hour car ride from downtown!

8. Northern Ireland

A perfect trip for first time travelers, Northern Ireland offers the history and beauty of the rest of Europe minus the language barrier. The Mournes Stone walls are a perfect getaway from the busy cities and make for a fantastic spot for hiking. Whether your exploring the amazing Dunlace Castle or the mysterious Beaghmore Stone Circles, save some energy for a pint at the local pub after the sun goes down!

7. Quebec City, Canada

With it's skyline dominated by the one hundred year old Chateau Frontenac, the city of Quebec is as charming as it is French. First settled by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1553 Quebec later became a part of the French Colonial empire. Some argue that Quebec is "More French than France," and it's difficult to disagree. Whether your strolling down the narrow picturesque streets of the Quartier Petit-Champlain along the St. Lawrence River or eating crepes in a cafe on a brisk October morning it's difficult to imagine that you are somewhere other than Paris. If you're looking for a European experience without the long flight Quebec is for you.

6. Cairo, Egypt

The legacy of the Ancient Egyptians is alive today through engineering masterpieces such as the Great Pyramids as well as the fermented masterpiece we now call "beer." While in Egypt the pyramids are a "must-see," but Cairo offers much more to travelers than that. Take a morning to shop and explore the Khan El-Khalili bazaar which has changed very little in the last 700 years. If bargaining for goods isn't your cup of tea, hire a guide to and see the sights of this historic city from a boat on the Nile. Cairo is rich in religious history and offers stunning attractions to explore covering Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

5. Luang Prabang, Laos

For those looking for something exotic but not overwhelming Luang Prabang is the ticket. This UNESCO World Heritage City is situated on the Mekong River in central Laos. Whether your are enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the street markets or taking day trips to the exotic Kuang Si Falls a trip to Luang Prabang will cleanse your mind and invigorate your being. This is the perfect stop if you are going to, or coming back from a trip to Wat Phou. With Laos emerging as a popular vacation destination now is the time to go!

4. Salta, Argentina

Located in the Lerma Valley of Northern Argentina, prepared to lose yourself in a world filled with fantastic wine, Spanish colonial architecture, and unmatched charm. For thrill seekers, you can para glide from Mount Bernardo or white water raft in the cool currents of the Juamento River. For those looking to unwind, Salta has many vineyards to visit and hiking trails to enjoy. This a perfect trip for a two week getaway during winter months in the Northern Hemisphere.

3. Kotor Bay, Montenegro

Montenegro has now gained independence from Serbia and is leveraging it's natural beauty to win over tourists from every corner of the globe. With black mountains crashing into the sea this corner of the Adriatic delivers magnificent scenery uncontested anywhere else in the Balkans. If you get your fill of seeing the fjords from a birds eye view, take time to explore the city of Kotor and the picturesque deserted fishing village - turned resort - called Sveti Stephan. This relatively unknown gem will blow you away, like it did for me!

2. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul has served as the liaison between East and West for centuries, it's time for you to connect yourself with this great city. A perfect vacation for 2008, the sights are many, the foods are amazing, and the dollar is still strong here. Lose yourself in the crowds of the Grand Bazaar or in the beauty of the Hippodrome and Blue Mosque and bring yourself back at 5 Kat.

1. Serengeti Plain, Tanzania

Trade in your Planet Earth DVD box set for the real thing because the Serengeti brings the experience of high definition animal watching to a entirely new level! Here giraffes, lions, and elephants are as common as knock off Louis Vuitton hand bags sprawled out on the sidewalks of Rome. The inner child in you has always wanted to sport a khaki safari outfit and a pair of binoculars, so let loose and make 2008 the year you made the trek to explore the world you dreamed about as a kid.

Hopefully this list has inspired you to get out and explore new places and experience different culture. Like any top ten list there are always worthy places left off. In 2008 seek out new thrills and let the natural and man made beauty of this world make a profound and lasting impact on you. I encourage you to post your opinions and begin lobbying for you favorite locations in 2009!


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