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L.Srikumar Pai
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By Nikki Bayley, Yahoo! : There are endless lists out there about the most amazing places on Earth, from the classic wonders of the ancient world to the marvels of the human-made one. It's impossible to set a definitive list, as everyone has their favourites, but here's our contribution to the pot anyway. All of these places have dazzled us with their beauty, so we recommend a visit to any one of them before it's too late!

Ride through the Canadian Rockies
To truly appreciate one of the greatest mountain ranges in the world, there's simply no better way to see it than onboard a train with a panorama car which gives you 180 degree views of the ever-changing landscape. Also, there's one of the simple human pleasures of sharing such breathtaking scenery with others. Ride the Rocky Mountaineer or the Canadian through the Rockies and that joy will be yours. Dramatic snowy-topped peaks rise before you on all sides with shining lakes reflecting them back. Get ready to feel humbled before such beauty.
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Be stunned in the South Island
Down under in New Zealand, just a couple of hours' drive from Christchurch is the small seaside town of Kaikoura, surrounded by snow-capped mountains on a rugged coast. Although it's very lovely, what makes it unmissable lies out in the waves. Kaikoura is probably one of the best places in the world for seeing sperm whales, dolphins and many other marine creatures. You'll remember the first time you see a whale flip its tail for the rest of your life!
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Zambia and Zimbabwe's treasure
There's something quite exciting about a waterfall, as you walk towards it, you'll usually hear it before you see it. With a name like 'Mosi-oa-Tunya', the 'Smoke that Thunders', you know that you're in for something special, and Victoria Falls, as it's commonly known, certainly delivers. These are the largest falls in the world 108 metres high and utterly mesmerising.
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Plunge into nature at the Blue Lagoon
When you walk along the twisty-turny path to Iceland's Blue Lagoon, it's hard to believe that what you're experiencing is real, not an elaborate stage set or theme park. Arriving early on a snowy morning, the steam hanging like a silvery curtain over the milky-blue pool, you'll feel a rush of child-like wonder at how mystical and very beautiful nature can be. Change quickly, then scamper through the snow before plunging into the bath-tub-hot waters, your feet tingling and snowflakes whirling around your head. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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Scuba sensation on the Great Barrier Reef
Australia's Great Barrier Reef stretches over 1,600 miles and can be seen from outer space! Taking a dive boat out on to the reef from scuba-capital Cairns is a genuinely magical experience, as when you get down onto the reef, in the clear warm waters, you'll see a scene straight from 'Finding Nemo'. Cartoon-bright coral in dizzyingly luminous colours, a wealth of tropical fish, and if you're lucky, turtles, reef sharks, rays and more. Underwater wonders don't come brighter and better than this.
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See the sunrise over Sigirya
Few places in the world blend the achievements of humankind and the wonders of nature as perfectly as Sigirya in Sri Lanka. The Lion Rock itself, as Sigirya is known, rises 370 meters above sea-level, and was the site of an ancient castle and gardens from the 5th century AD. Getting up before sunrise to climb Sigirya will be a tough, but incredibly rewarding challenge. You'll join locals making the pilgrimage to the top along the narrow spiral stairs and walkways. Along the way, enjoy the rather saucy frescos and the famous 'Mirror Wall'. Aim to reach the top to enjoy the sunrise and the breathtaking view.
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Walk like an Egyptian
When you see something that you've seen a thousand times before, in films and on TV it can sometimes feel like a bit of a disappointment, but the Great Pyramids of Giza did not let us down. It's the last surviving wonder of the ancient word, built around 2560 BC and we feel it's still awe-inspiring today. Make it easy on yourself and go early in the morning away from the blistering heat and get ready to bow down before the Sphinx.
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Marvel at Manhattan from the Empire State Building
Man-made marvels don't come much better than New York city's Empire State Building; 102-storeys of outstanding Art Deco design, towering 381 metres high. Riding the elevator to the 80th floor is one of the most ear-popping and euphoria-inducing experiences you can have, as you race up at 1000 feet per minute. Then stagger out, change elevators and ride up to the observation deck where you'll see all New York laid out before you.
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Rio's stunning statue
As soon as you arrive in Rio, you'll see the statue of Christ the Redeemer looming large over the city, and when you finally see it close up, it is truly awe-inspiring. The journey to the top of Corcovado mountain is fun all by itself, you travel on a little train through the world's largest urban rainforest. When you get out, you'll join the melee of nuns, priests, school kids and tourists jostling to get their photo with the statue. Look up and just try and imagine how this stunning 39.6 meter-tall statue was built. Amazing!
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Sea, sand, temples and rainforests in Mexico
Another site that blends the very best of nature with the achievements of ancient civilisations is in Quintana Roo, Mexico, just a couple of hours away from the modern excesses of Cancun. High above the sparkling turquoise Caribbean sea, capped by a sugar-white sand beach, lies Tulum, the ruins of a Mayan community, and the only one that was ever built by the sea. What makes this spot so special isn't just the ruins, which are fascinating, but the combination of the sea, beach and the jungle-y rainforest that surround them.
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