Natural beauty and cultural attractions

World November 29, 2017 14:48

By The Nation

5,253 Viewed

Unesco has announced 21 new World Heritage Sites; three natural and 18 cultural.

The new sites can be found in every corner of the world, from icy Greenland to the Kalahari Desert, and from the mountains of the Andes to the temples of Cambodia. To celebrate the induction of these new cultural and natural wonders, the travel website has selected a few of the most exciting new sites and despite many of them being in remote locations, the online booking chain has still found some great places to stay nearby.

Los Alerces National Park (Argentina)

The Los Alerces National park is located in the Andes in Chubut Province. It is one of the new natural World Heritage Sites on Unesco’s list. The park owes its name to the many alerce trees that can be found there. Besides vast forests the landscape consists of alpine meadows and beautiful lakes and rivers. The park is also home to several endangered animals like the huillin otter and the Patagonian huemul and pudu deer.

Where to stay: Laguna Larga Lodge Lago Futalaufquen

Laguna Larga Lodge is located on a 120-hectare estate in the national park. It is about 4.8 kilometres away from the magnificent Futalaufquen Lake, and just a couple of steps from Laguna Larga. It boasts its own beach and pier and cosy Alpine-style accommodation with lake views. Horse riding trips through the beautiful landscape can be arranged as well as fishing trips.

Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura (Cambodia)

Isanapura was the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries. To this day, the ruins of dozens of temples and buildings can still be admired at the archaeological site Sambor Prei Kuk in the Kompong Thom province. The architecture and art developed here laid the foundations for the unique Khmer style of the Angkor period. Highlights are the unique octagonal temples and the beautifully decorated colonnades, lintels and pediments.

Where to stay: Sambor Village Hotel Kompong Thom

Overlooking the scenic Stung Sen River, Sambor Village Hotel is located 650 yards from central Kompong Thom, a 40-minute drive from Sambor Prei Kuk. Rooms at Sambor Village Hotel come with a cable TV, personal safe, minibar, spacious veranda and outdoor seating area. You can use the free bicycles to explore the area at leisure and cool down in the pool. 

Gulangyu, a Historic International Settlement (China)

Gulangyu is a small island located on the estuary of the Chiu-lung River, off the Xiamen coast. When the port of Xiamen opened for international trade in 1842, foreigners started to come to Gulangyu. In 1903 it even became an international settlement. This cultural exchange is visible in the exceptional architectural styles on the island, like the Amoy Deco Style. Gulangyu is a popular tourist attraction, with more than 10 million visitors a year, but does not allow cars or bicycles. The island can be reached by ferry from downtown Xiamen, which only takes five minutes.

Where to stay: Flower Yard Inn Xiamen Gulangyu Anhai Garden Branch, which is located on Guilangyu, less than 1.6 kilometres from Huangu Ferry Marina. All rooms have a TV, a private bathroom and complimentary Wi-Fi. The inn is just a couple of kilometres from Nanputuo Temple and there is a tour desk that can help guests arrange excursions.

Taputapuatea (French Polynesia)

Taputapuatea is a commune of French Polynesia on the island Ra’iatea. It is considered the centre of the Polynesian Triangle and consists of Avera, Puohine and Opoa. Opoa is home to the marae, a communal and sacred place that served as a ceremonial, political and funerary centre for the Ma’ohi people. It was established 1,000 years CE and restored in 1994. It consists of a large paved courtyard overlooking the sea, a large upright stone and several tiki’s. It is one of the largest and most important marae of the world.

Where to stay: Fare Oviri Lodge Opoa

Fare Oviri Lodge overlooks a private white sandy beach and offers Polynesian-style bungalows with a private patio and lovely views of the mountains and sea. It features free snorkelling, canoeing equipment and free Wi-Fi in public areas. Oviri lodge Raiatea is only five kilometres from the Taputapuatea marae.

Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of the town-island of Sviyazhsk (Russia)

Sviyazhsk is an island and town in the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russia. It was founded in 1551 by Ivan the Terrible who used it as an outpost for his conquest of the Kazan Khanate. Originally it wasn’t an island, but when the Kuybyshev Reservoir was created, the lands around it flooded. However, a road still connects Sviyazhsk to the mainland. On the island you will find the Assumption Monastery and Assumption Cathedral, both dating back to the 16th century. The original frescoes of the cathedral have been preserved and are some of the rarest examples of Eastern Orthodox mural paintings.

Where to stay: Hotel Complex Dejavu Innopolis

Innopolis Hotel Complex Dejavu is situated in Innopolis, a technology park that got its town status in 2014. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Sviyazhsk and Kazan. It has an outdoor pool and spa centre, as well as Finnish and Turkish sauna and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar or a meal at the restaurant. In the winter, you can enjoy the nearby ski slopes and in the summer, you can play golf 550 yards from the property. 

Khomani Cultural Landscape (South Africa)

The Khomani Cultural Landscape is located in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa on the border with Namibia and Botswana. The nomadic Khomani San people were considered to be the first inhabitants of South Africa. They learned how to adopt to harsh desert conditions and other geographical features of their environment. You can visit the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park if you want to get an idea of the Khomani Cultural Landscape.

Where to stay: Xaus Lodge Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Xaus Lodge is located in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park which is part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The lodge is owned by traditional South African communities and the chalets are designed like their own traditional dwellings but with a private bathroom. The lodge features a swimming pool and a restaurant and you can enjoy the view of many animal species at the water pan. You can go on guided bush walks or visit to the San people in their village.