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Blog: Favourite entrance tickets to WHS

During my recent trip to Ecuador I was pleasantly surprised by the entrance tickets that I received at locations within the Quito WHS. No photography is allowed within these buildings (they are mostly churches with lots of art), and a hefty foreigners entrance fee is charged. But in return I got tickets displaying the church interior’s main features; these are good souvenirs. It made me think about entrance tickets of other WHS - which ones were remarkable enough for me to save over the years?

Some of the glitzy Quito tickets

Especially in Western Europe nowadays one often gets nothing more than the cash register receipt. Or even no receipt at all – sometimes they just take your money and that’s it. At the Hohle Fels Cave of the German Caves and Ice Age Art I just had to drop 3 EUR in a plastic box. Another annoyance is when the ticket inspector keeps the (best part of the) ticket that you just bought!

I am not really someone that saves all kinds of memorabilia from my trips, but I have held onto some 15 entrance tickets from my Big China Trip of 2007. At the time, these tickets were glossy postcards displaying the WHS at their best. I went through them again last night, admiring those showing off the sculptured heads at the Mogao Caves and Leshan Giant Buddha. I believe the one from Huanglong – showing the site’s remarkable blue-greenish colours - stands out most among them.

Huanglong postcard-type ticket

South Korea surely is the most generous country in handing out free brochures at WHS, though the entrance tickets aren’t that special. When I visited India for the last time in 2011, they had special entrance tickets showing a couple of WHS together. The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) became the issuing authority for a common entry ticket for all World Heritage sites in India - and they went for standardization.

Regarding the High Entrance Fee-sites, you’d expect a substantial and/or glossy ticket too. But for the 100+20 USD fee to the Galapagos you get nothing in return but a kind of immigration card. The 50 USD Rock Islands of Palau left me with a cute credit card sized ticket, with a turtle, the UNESCO logo and my name on it. Looking back further into my ‘travelling history’, the 3-day ticket for Angkor was no less than a personalized pass. And for visiting the gorilla’s in Bwindi you even receive a diploma.

A 3-day Angkor pass from 2007

I am wondering, what are the best WHS entrance tickets in your possession? Were the tickets 'better' in the past? Really, shouldn’t we get a ‘certificate’ every time we visit a WHS?

Published 28 October 2017

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Responses to Favourite entrance tickets to WHS
Durian (28 October 2017)

I love tickets of Kyoto’s Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji temples, these entrance tickets are not only just a ticket but a talisman for good luck blessing by temple priests. Simple but full with culture and meanings.


Clyde (28 October 2017)

I keep all the tickets and brochures from my visits even if they are simple receipts. I agree that China's postcard tickets are among the best. However, the standardised ticketing system in India only applies to the WHS close to Rajasthan as presumably they attract most tourists. I was expecting the same glossy tickets when I cisited central and southern India but only got handwritten ot printed receipts. The combined ticket of palaces and the Jongmyo shrine was among my favourite in a booklet format with the date of visit, pictures and summary info on each site.