1092 of 1121 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Saint-Savin sur Gartempe

Claire Bradshaw - 08-Oct-19

I actually visited the Abbey at St-Savin twice, on consecutive days.  The first visit was on a Sunday in October when the Abbey is only open in the afternoon.  Unfortunately I had managed to pick a day when the Parish Council were holding an event in the Church, meaning the Church was also closed during the afternoon.  The lovely staff in the visitor centre suggested that we visit the museum aspect of the Abbey for a reduced rate of EUR 8 per person.  When we explained that we were really there to see the paintings in the church, they offered to let us pay the full price of EUR 10 each and access the museum on the Sunday and then the Church on the Monday, once it had re-opened.  This seemed reasonable so we paid our EUR 20 and entered the museum.

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Virunga National Park

Michael Novins United States - 04-Oct-19

Virunga National Park

In September 2019, I took a bus from Kigali to Gisenyi on Lake Kivu, where I spent the night at the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, and in the morning crossed into the DRC at the Grande Barriere border crossing.  I met up with the team from Virunga NP, who have an office in the same building as DRC passport control, and made the hourlong drive to Kibumba Tented Camp in Virunga NP.  The next morning, we climbed up the slippery slopes of Mount Mikeno, a dormant volcano in Virunga National Park, and after two hours met up with a group of 44 habituated mountain gorillas. We left them after an hour, all that visitors are permitted to spend with the great apes.

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Kathmandu Valley

Alex Marcean Romania - 06-Oct-19

Kathmandu Valley

The opportunity of visiting a WHS made up of seven amazing locations makes the journey to Kathmandu a special treat for any WHS enthusiast. Best explored at a slow pace within a week or so, the sites can also be "ticked off" in 3 days as the following tour plan shows. Buying a self-guided tour book from some of the local shops will add more flavor to your journey.

Day 1

Make your way on foot from the tourist district of Thamel to "Kathmandu Durbar Square" in order to get used to the city vibes. Allow around 1hr to get to the square and anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to explore all its buildings and museums. End your day at some rooftop cafe overlooking the square near Freak Street.

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Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

GabLabCebu Philippines - 06-Oct-19

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

WHS#71

In the Philippines, you grow up hearing about them; seeing pictures of them; memorizing them for your Social Studies or Araling Panlipunan quiz; even having them in your wallet (on the opposite side from President Quezon's face). The Ifugao Rice Terraces! And if there's one thing that unites Pinoys, it's rice. The crop is grown all around the country in the iconic Asian rice paddies. And what happens when you live in the mountains where there's no flat land to make paddies? Well, most would just move to better grounds, but for the people of the Philippine Cordilleras, they created terraces. Now, as an avid traveler, agricultural terraces weren't exactly new to me, and, I'm guessing, for many of you reading this as well

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The historic ensemble of Orchha (T)

Ralf Regele Germany - 08-Oct-19

The historic ensemble of Orchha (T)

When making travel plans, Orchha might seem to be one of the lesser sightseeing spots of northern India - more temples and another palace of a dubious princely state. However, the lesser interest is actually the strongest point of Orchha - this is a place that is not yet overrun by tourist hordes, and still exhibits some of the old charm of India. The settlement at Orchha is more of a village than a city, despite the size of the ancient buildings. You can still rent a shaky bike and drive around the village streets, climb around in crumbling ruins of giant palaces, and watch the villagers wash their clothes in the river (and yes, probably your clothes, too, if you gave them away for washing at the hotel)

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Blog WHS Visits

WHS #723: Lake Baikal

There are dozens of ways to ‘do’ Lake Baikal. Previous reviewers already have highlighted the views from the Transsiberian Railway, its winter attractions and Olkhon Island. On my first day in the area I did the touristy thing by taking a ‘Raketa’ ferry from Irkutsk via the Angara River to Listvyanka, walking on the boulevard along the lake, eating fried omul in the recommended Proshly Vek restaurant and visiting the Baikal museum. I actually had wanted to take the ferry all the way to Bolshie Koty (an isolated village only accessible on foot or via the lake), but that would have meant another 5 hours of entertaining myself without access to food or obvious attractions, something I did not look forward to after just finishing a 49 hour train ride with the same characteristics.

For the main part of my visit though, I focused on 1 of the 5 nature reserves that surround the lake and are part of the huge core zone as well. I had booked a tour to the Baikalsky Nature Reserve near Tankhoy, which meant a drive along the south side of the lake for some 250km. The lake is fully surrounded by mountains, so our first look at it was after crossing a mountain pass. From a vantage point near a restaurant we did not only see the lake but also two railway tracks: one of them was the historic route around the lake and the other (the one higher up) the modern one. Next stop was Sable Mountain, a winter ski resort; here we took the chairlift up to get some more views. Ski tourism is promoted here to replace the local jobs that were lost after closing of the notorious paper factory in 2013. 

After leaving the Irkutsk region, we arrived in the Republic of Buryatia. Near the town of Tankhoy we found the main destination of this day: the Bajkalski Biosphere Reserve. It encompasses various separate locations (all signposted from the main road). We first took a hiking trail of a few kilometers through the woods and a swamp area. It has information panels every few hundred meters in English too. This forest consists mainly of the Siberian pine. You also see many curved willows that have become crooked in winter due to the thick layers of snow. Siberian chipmunks live among the pines. The swamp area offers open views of the surrounding mountains, it is really beautiful here. There were only a few other hikers, some were picking berries - they are sold along the side of the road.

A few kilometers away lies another part of this nature reserve, a site with a large visitor center. In cages at the entrance 2 sable martens are kept: this local animal species in the past was much in demand because of its good quality fur. They are mainly nocturnal animals and even in captivity, they were difficult to find late in the afternoon. We finally found one of the two under a tree trunk – but I only saw its fur and one ear (here's a recent, better photo taken at the same spot). When at the visitor center, don’t miss the reconstructed old station building next to it. A very nice scale model has been made of how train traffic around Lake Baikal proceeded around 1900. The train went on a ferry at Port Baikal, was transferred across the lake and then came ashore here at Tankhoy.

Finally we went to the Baikal bird ringing station. We first had to pick up one of their volunteers and then drive 30 kilometers further east towards Ulan Ude. Via a dirt road full of holes and mud we reached the edge of Lake Baikal again. There is a historic bird ringing station there, where statistics about birds around Lake Baikal have been kept for decades. Volunteers are permanently at work to check the nets every hour for birds that have been caught. It is apparently a good spot as the Lake is too wide for small birds to cross, so they fly along its edges. We arrived a little after 5 o'clock and the yield of this hour was only moderate: one red-flanked blue tail. It was a small and somewhat stupid bird - 2 hours before it had also ended up in the nets and was counted (he already had a ring from being caught before). So we could not experience the real 'ringing' of the birds due to a lack of birds, but the volunteer explained well how everything works. We walked past some of the nets around the station to look for 'fresh' birds, but there were none.

Overall, my visit to Lake Baikal was a very satisfying one and the highlight of my Russia trip. There are so many interesting things to discover about this lake, its natural environment and its human history, that it continues to fascinate. You can certainly enjoy yourself there for a week and I wouldn't mind going back for a multi-day tour or long hike.

Els - 13 October 2019

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