Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Enclosed by 3.5km of citadel walls at the very heart of Beijing, the Unesco-listed Forbidden City is China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings – large enough to comfortably absorb the 16...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Yangon

Shwedagon Paya

Shwedagon Paya

One of Buddhism's most sacred sites, the 326ft zedi (stupa) here is adorned with 27 metric tons of gold leaf, along with thousands of diamonds and other gems, and is believed to enshrine strands of the Gautama...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Angkor Thom

Bayon

Bayon

At the heart of Angkor Thom is the 12th-century Bayon, the mesmerising, if slightly mind-bending, state temple of Jayavarman VII. It epitomises the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated...

Top ChoiceCave in Dunhuang

Mogao Grottoes

Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes are considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world. At its peak during the Tang dynasty (618–907), the site housed 18 monasteries, more than 1400 monks and nuns,...

Top ChoicePark in Temple of Heaven Park & Dongcheng South

Temple of Heaven Park

Temple of Heaven Park

An oasis of methodical Confucian design, the 267-hectare Temple of Heaven Park is unique. It originally served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the emperor (the literal 'Son of Heaven'), who prayed...

Top ChoiceHistoric Building in Agra

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Poet Rabindranath Tagore described it as 'a teardrop on the cheek of eternity'; Rudyard Kipling as 'the embodiment of all things pure'; while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, said it made 'the sun and the moon...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Monastery in Punakha & Khuruthang

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country, especially in spring when the lilac-coloured jacaranda trees bring a lush sensuality to the dzong's characteristically towering whitewashed...

Top ChoiceShinto Shrine in Nikkō

Tōshō-gū

Tōshō-gū

Tōshō-gū is Nikkō's biggest attraction, a shrine to the powerful shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616). No expense was spared: when the original structure (completed in 1617) was deemed unsuitably grand, Ieyasu's...

Top ChoiceHindu Temple in Prambanan

Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Temple

Comprising the remains of some 244 temples, World Heritage–listed Prambanan is Indonesia's largest Hindu site and one of Southeast Asia's major attractions. The highlight is the central compound, where eight main...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Monastery in Thimphu

Trashi Chho Dzong

Trashi Chho Dzong

This splendid dzong, north of the city on the west bank of the Wang Chhu, dominates the valley, looking out over a cascade of terraced fields. It's Thimphu's grandest building by far, and served as the official...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Xi'an

Army of Terracotta Warriors

Army of Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Army isn't just Xi'an's premier sight: it's one of the most famous archaeological finds in the world. This subterranean life-size army of thousands has silently stood guard over the soul of China's...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Summer Palace & Haidian

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

A marvel of Chinese garden design and one of Beijing's must-see attractions, the Summer Palace was the royal retreat for emperors fleeing the suffocating summer torpor of the old imperial city and, most recently,...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Stupa in Gyantse

Gyantse Kumbum

Gyantse Kumbum

Commissioned by a local prince in 1427 and sitting beside Palcho Monastery, Gyantse Kumbum is the town’s foremost attraction. This 32m-high chörten, with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and...

Top ChoiceCave in Datong

Yungang Caves

Yungang Caves

One of China’s most supreme examples of Buddhist cave art, these 5th-century caves are simply magnificent. With 51,000 ancient statues and celestial beings, they put virtually everything else in the Shanxi shade....

Top ChoiceBuddhist Monastery in Samye

Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery

About 170km southeast of Lhasa, on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) is Samye Monastery, the first monastery in Tibet. Founded in 775 by King Trisong Detsen, Samye is famed not just for...

Top ChoicePlaza in Samarkand

Registan

Registan

This ensemble of majestic, tilting medressas – a near-overload of majolica, azure mosaics and vast, well-proportioned spaces – is the centrepiece of the city, and arguably the most awesome single sight in Central...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Borobudur

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple

Dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, and built from two million blocks of stone, Borobudur is the world's largest Buddhist temple and one of Indonesia's most important cultural sites. The temple takes the form...

Top ChoiceLake in Hangzhou

West Lake

West Lake

The very definition of classical beauty in China, West Lake is utterly mesmerising: pagoda-topped hills rise over willow-lined waters as boats drift slowly through a idyll of leisurely charm. Walkways, perfectly...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Monastery in Taktshang

Taktshang Goemba

Taktshang Goemba

The 'Tiger's Nest Monastery' is one of the Himalaya's most incredible sights, miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the floor of the Paro valley. Visiting is the goal of most visitors to...

Top ChoiceHindu Temple in Banteay Srei District

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art, Banteay Srei is cut from stone of a pinkish hue and includes some of the finest stone carving anywhere on earth. Begun in 967 CE, it is one of the...