February 11, 2008 - As founder and CEO of G Adventures, the world’s leading adventure travel company, Bruce Poon Tip has spent the last 17 years searching the most remote locations on Earth for the ultimate in must-see destinations. Bruce has spoken at the United Nations launch of the Year Of Eco Tourism in New York and has been invited by the World Bank and UNESCO to represent a team visiting the People’s Republic of China to lecture on Sustainable Development. He has also presented his commitment to responsible tourism to international audiences at the World Trade Organization’s Ethics in Tourism Conference, WTO’s Climate Change and Tourism Conference and at the World Tourism Conference.
Here, Bruce shares his own Top Places to See In Your Lifetime.
Pak Ou Caves, Laos – These magnificent ancient caves, high above the Mekong River some 25km from Luang Prabang, have been a place of Buddhist worship and solitude for more than 600 years. Over that time, more than 4,000 images of Buddha have been placed inside them, creating a humbling place to ponder life’s greater mysteries. The opportunity to experience the tranquillity of these caves was something I will personally always cherish.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – For as long as I can remember I have read about Darwin completing his research on evolution on these curious islands, so I was keen to explore them for myself. The location is still relatively remote and left me powerless to do anything but relax and learn. The Galapagos Islands are an experience rarely available to the modern day tourist and the opportunity to explore a virtually untouched location inspires me to this day.
Placencia, Belize - This lost sandy peninsula in the south of Belize is another hidden gem that remains undiscovered by mainstream tourists. It was a rare pleasure to relax with the villagers, accompanied by only a few backpackers. More lost islands are located just off the coast, which can be easily reached, and I would highly recommend them to those who have the extra time.
Tikal, Guatemala - The Mayans left behind a majestic city that always seems remarkably undisturbed in the middle of its tropical jungle setting. By imagining how the Mayans once ruled this area of the world, it is easy to transport yourself back in time to an ancient civilization.
Ngorongoro Crator, Tanzania – My journey through this lush wildlife playground in the middle of a dry open desert in Africa left me wanting more. I witnessed rhinos and baboons roaming effortlessly and free against a stunning backdrop of the setting African sun. It was a truly untouched experience, where I felt as if I was immersed in the land itself.
Angel Falls, Venezuela - Angel Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. The overall trip experience is heightened by the adventure one needs to endure to get there. Travelling down wild rivers by canoe and sleeping in hammocks along the riverside makes it an unforgettable quest to find this spectacular natural wonder.
Taj Mahal, India - The greatest monument to love on Earth. The passion that inspired the pristine structure, built so many centuries ago, left me in complete wonder. Even before its construction, the Taj Mahal was designed to become an inspiring example of beautiful architecture and remains so today, creating a powerful effect on visitors from all backgrounds.
Otavalo, Ecuador - Every Saturday morning, the world's largest craft market is brought to life with a wash of vibrant colour as the Otavalo Indians come down from the hills to market their wares. The electric energy in the air is captivating and puts you in a mood to spend and take home a special memory of this unique place.
Lhasa, Tibet - At one time Tibet was the spiritual and cultural heart of Asia. While the people of Tibet have had their struggles since the cultural revolution, their spirit was still palpable as soon as we set foot in Lhasa. The Potala Palace sits looming over the city as Buddhist monks passed by us on their daily routines, reminding us that this city was once the pulse of a nation in change.