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TOP 5 – Unmissable archaeological sites

Today we listed our favorite archaeological sites that are scattered through out the world. Amazing places that make you explore every inch and get impressed with the details of ancient stories. Master pieces built by us humans, during an era without the current technology that makes you wonder: how did they manage to do that? Certainly these are all must-see places if you are close by.


This is the largest Buddhist monument in the world and is located on the island of Java, near Yogyakarta. It was built in the VII century and abandoned for many years before being recovered by UNESCO in 1975. The structure is simply enormous, with its base measuring 123 x 123 meters, a height of 35 meters in the central part and it was used 60,000 m3 of volcanic material. The temple has 504 statues of Buddha, 32 lion statues and 2,672 relief panels , each one of them minutely carved in stone. A place to be admired for hours in the middle of a beautiful forest.


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Although the pyramid of Chichen Itza is considered one of the 7 wonders of the world our favorite was the one of Teotihuacán. The pyramid of Chichen Itza is more impressive in its details, but the archaeological site of Teotihuacán as a whole impressed us much more. The Pyramid of the Sun, the biggest of the complex, reaches 71 meters in height (the third largest in the world) and from there you can enjoy an amazing view of the place and understand the grandeur of the construction, which is dated from the period before Christ.


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This historic park not known by many tourists was an ancient kingdom of Thailand, and for us it was a big surprise. The complex, dating from the XIII and XIV centuries, consists of about 193 temples in 70 km2 of land and ensures a delightful bike ride to admire the ruins amid its lakes, trees and greenery. Palaces, giant Buddha statues and remains of its ruins reflect in the waters of its lakes and allow moments of relaxation and contemplation. We spent two days wandering through this site of pure tranquility. An unforgettable ride!


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This archaeological complex located on the south of Egypt has 2 huge temples carved directly in the rock. The two temples were built at the behest of the pharaoh Ramses II, in the XIII century BC, in his honor and to his favorite wife, Nefertare, who died soon after seeing the temple. Both temples have their facades carved with huge statues to impress anyone, besides several other details and hieroglyphics carved on the inside, reflecting majestically the culture and history of this unique country. The largest temple measures 33 x 38m and reaches 55m deep. More impressive was discovering that the temples were entirely removed from its original location to avoid being flooded and part of the history being lost. A impressive maneuver of engineering. An extraordinary place that makes you travel back in time.

Abu Simbel

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This is certainly a magical spot in India. A small-town with character and striking colors, on the shores of a river, surrounded by mountains of giant stones and with one of the most authentic archaeological sites we’ve ever seen. We wondered how we had never heard about this place before. Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the XIV and XV centuries and has about 350 temples in an area of ​​26 km2. Its monuments were carved minutely and cause pure admiration. The whole complex can be explored by bike and will certainly provide a unique experience. A magical place with and unique energy.


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Who ever heard of the famous temple of Angkor Wat? But when we got there we found it was much more than just the temple. The Angkor complex was the seat of the Khmer empire in the IX and XIII centuries and is located in the middle of a forest with about 1,000 ruins of its temples scattered everywhere. We wandered by bike for 3 days and had amazing moments. Forget about exploring it with the noisy tuk-tuk, because you will miss the best of the experience, which is to cycling slowly to admire the gigantic temples, trees and wildlife. Of all the sites listed here, it is the most visited, but we understand why.


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See where these wonders are located in the world:

We believe that if we had been able to visit Myanmar, certainly the Temples of Bagan would be in this list. So it worth the search. We’ll figure it out on our next adventures.

Check also our other top 5 lists:

TOP 5 – Memorable small towns
TOP 5 – Eccentric cuisine
TOP 5 – Fascinating animals
TOP 5 – Wonders of nature

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  1. Leandro 04 Feb 2014 / 22:24 UTC / #

    Se Machu Picchu estivesse na lista, ficaria decepcionado…

    • Carol 06 Feb 2014 / 14:37 UTC / #

      A gente tb ficaria… Por isso não colocamos. :-)