There is so much natural and man-made wonder to see in the world: forests, architecture, waterfalls... not to mention all the wildlife! But we can only see so much from the ground. Although seeing everything up close and personal definitely has its benefits, what is it like seeing things from a birds-eye view?
Aerial views allow us to see entire cities, expanses of ocean, and the magnitude of waterfalls, something that we can't experience unless we are in a plane, helicopter, or if you're a thrill-seeker, paragliding. Get your passport ready, because these stunning aerial views are going to make you want to take a vacation!
Marvel At The Green Fields In Bac Son Valley, Vietnam
Hiking through the rice paddy fields in northern Vietnam's Bac Son valley will leave you breathless. The stunning vistas are some of the best in the scenic country, giving views of sprawling vivid green fields and sweeping mountain ranges. The valley is situated 250 miles south of the capital, Hanoi, and is the ideal place for agriculture. While Vietnam might have had some rough times in its history, it is now one of the go-to tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.
With sites like Ha Long Bay's striking limestone forested islands and Doc Let beach's gold sand in the south, it's no wonder people flock here from the west.
A Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Maasai Mara, Kenya
Maasai Mara is one of the best game reserves in Kenya, sitting nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. The reserve is a grassland in the remote, sparsely populated southwest of the country, right up against the Tanzanian border. It has plentiful vegetation and animal life. An aerial view will allow you to see zebras grazing, lions and cheetahs, and if you're lucky, a wildebeest migration!
This is the most visited reserve in Kenya, meaning animals won't be able to sustain their lives there forever. In the meantime, if you find yourself in Kenya, stay off the ground and take a hot air balloon ride. It will help sustain the ecosystem!
Helicopter Ride Around Machu Picchu, Peru
Archeologists believe Machu Picchu is one of the best-preserved cultural remains in existence. To many, it is one of the most amazing South American tourist attractions. The mysterious origins of the place add to the beauty of the 250-million-year-old stone architecture. Although they appear high up, the Incan ruins are actually 1,000 meters lower than Cusco.
More than 100 flights of steep stone stairs interconnect its palaces, temples, storehouses, and terraces. If you're brave enough to hike to the ruins you'll be rewards with spectacular views of the valley below as well as the snowy peaks around Salcantay.
"Skywalk" The Grand Canyon
Even though around five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, there is nothing to prepare you for the vastness of the American landmark. The canyon is one mile deep and varies between four to eighteen miles wide at any given point. With all the colors and shapes the canyons provide, it's no wonder there is so much foot traffic.
Most people enjoy the views from the South Rim, as its easier to get to and holds more facilities for tourists. The North Rim is 1,000 feet higher and is usually closed from mid-October until May because of snow.
Skydiving Over The Dubai Islands, United Arab Emirates
For one of the best views of one of the world's most futuristic cities, you're going to have to jump out of an airplane at 13,000 feet. Even though the islands are man-made, they are definitely something to behold. A process called land reclamation formed the islands, which involved dredging sand from the Persian and Arabian Gulf's sea floors, spraying and then "vibro-compacting" into shape.
The most recognized island, Palm Jumeriah, consists of 16 "branches" and a trunk, giving it the illusion of a palm tree. The tree is also surrounded by a 7-mile-long crescent-shaped island which is home to Atlantis, The Palm.
Hot Air Balloon Ride Over The Temples Of Began, Myanmar
Myanmar is full of rich yet brutal history, but the landscapes are absolutely breathtaking. One of the most stunning vistas is Old Began, the ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Mandalay region. Over the course of 250 years, Began's rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed over 10,000 religious monuments. Only around 3,000 remain.
The Began Archaeological Zone has become the main tourist attraction in the country. Unless you want to walk among the ruins, the best way to see the landscape is by hot air balloon. Traveling in such a way gives you a panoramic view of the land you won't be able to see elsewhere.
The Peak, Hong Kong
If you're looking for one of the best views of Hong Kong, look no further than The Peak, located on the western half of the island. Formerly known as Victoria Peak, the mountain rises 552 meters above Central and the Harbour, which allows some of the urban elite who are ridiculously wealthy to own a "house on the hill." There are a few reasons to come up to The Peak, aside from the gorgeous vistas.
The peak has around seven million visitors per year, making it one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Hong Hong. There are even several restaurants and shopping centers located on The Peak.
Paragliding Through The Tourist Town Of Wengen, Switzerland
If you find yourself in Wegen, Switzerland, there is no other way to take in the gorgeous mountainside village than paragliding through the crisp air. The tiny town of Wegen sits 1,275 meters about sea level and is the home of 1,300 year-round residents, increasing to 5,000 during the summer and 10,000 during the winter months.
Wegen is one of the very few European resort villages that is car-free. The lack of traffic sounds make for a tranquil atmosphere and keeps the area ecologically friendly. If you're looking for one of the most peaceful and visually beautiful places to go to on your next ski vacation, look no further!
Helicopter Ride Over The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Austalia, amazingly, can be seen from space. Considering that is a bit out of reach for most people, we recommend taking a helicopter and flying over the turquoise water to see the reefs below. The barrier consists of 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands, countless sandy cays, and stretches over an area of about 344,400 square kilometers.
After you get your aerial view, be sure to take the time to snorkel through the waters or scuba dive, if you're certified. There is no telling what types of sea creatures you will run into while you are down there exploring the reefs!
Hike Up The Rice Paddy Fields Of Longji, China
When it comes to rice paddy terraces, Longji in China is probably one of the most beautiful examples. Hiking to the fields will take you to a height of around 880 meters, but it is worth it for the view you get. "Dragon's Spine" is an area of ribbon-like layers in the earth that consist of rice, soil, and water.
The terraced fields are built along the riverside and wind up the slope of the mountain to the very top, resembling the scales on a dragon's spine. The terraces are said to be built around 650 years ago. Do you think you could make it to the top?
Ride To The Top Of Angel Falls In Venezuela
Angel Falls in Venezuela is nineteen times the height of Niagara Falls, at 979 meters with a fall of 807 meters -- the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The cascade plunges to the pool below from Auyán-tepui, one of the table-top mountains that rests in the jungle of Canaima National Park.
The fall comes from the Churun River, and watching the water plunge downwards makes it obvious why locals call it "falls from the deepest place." Although there are tours up to the falls via hiking, we think the best way to see the falls is from the air in a helicopter.
Views From And Around The Shard In England
The Shard, also known as The Shard of Glass, is a 309.6-meter high, 92-floor skyscraper that dominates London's landscape. It was completed in 2012. A gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor give some of the best views of the London skyline, including stunning vistas of the London Bridge and London Eye.
The design of the building was created by architect Renzo Pano who wanted it to look as though a shard of glass was emerging from the River Thames. The building is also a popular spot to use in films. Most recently, The Shard can be seen in the movie Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Paragliding Over The Blue Lagoon Of Oludeniz, Turkey
The Turquoise Coast of Turkey is one of the most popular places for beach lovers to flock. On Turkey's southwestern shore, Ölüdeniz is a small neighborhood beach resort in the Fethiye district. The small town is known for its paragliding opportunities, being regarded as one of the best places in the world to do the activity.
The unique panoramic views of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas and the stable weather make for ideal conditions to launch 1,960-meters off of Mout Babadag (Father Mountain) to swoop along the golden curves of the resort's sandy beaches and famous azure lagoon.
A Hike Through The Stone Forest Of Madagascar
If you're looking to explore a forest with unusual "trees," look no further than Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar. The otherworldly national park is the largest stone forest in the world, making the labyrinth of razor-sharp spires totally worth the five-day journey from Madagascar's capital.
The southern end of the nature reserve covers 666 square kilometers, while the northern end covers around 853 square kilometers. Tourists can reach the park by way of the road but it is advised that you take a guide who is familiar with the terrain, as the limestone formations are sharp enough to cut through equipment and flesh.
Views Of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, From The Sky
Not only is Rio home to the famous Corcovado mountain that supports the statue of Christ the Redeemer, but it is also a wonder of culture and natural landscapes. From the Sugarloaf mountain to the famous sweeps of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the city of Rio is not short on natural beauty.
The city receives the most visitors per year of any South American country, with 2.82 million international tourists. Which such a high population of locals and tourists, it might be beneficial to explore the city via air. You'll marvel at all the landmarks and culture you'll see from the sky.
Fly Over The Great Blue Hole In Belize
We understand if you want to take a cruise or dive ship to see the Great Blue Hole in Belize, but be forewarned that a sea-sighting does not do the wonder justice. The hole is circular in shape, 318-meters across and 124-meters deep, and is estimated to be formed 153,000; 66,000; 60,000; or 15,000 years ago.
The inky abyss is too vast to see its enormity from the water. That's why we recommend a glass-bottom helicopter ride to truly grasp the natural phenomenon. But if you are seeking a scuba diving excursion, they take place on a daily basis and are said to be worth every cent!
Flight Over Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls is wider than Niagara Falls and higher than Iguazu in Brazil. You are more than welcome to see the falls from either Zambia or Zimbabwe on the ground level, as it is the border between the two countries, but if you're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a morning microlight flight of the falls is a must.
The flight takes you over the Zambezi River, around the falls, and then plunges you down through the upper wisps of "The Smoke That Thunders" itself. It is truly a wonder.
Get Lost In The Hedge Mazes In Longleat, England
If you're looking for something different to do while in England, look no further than the Longleat hedge mazes. The hedge is part of 8,000 acres that have been home to the Marquesses of Bath since 1541, but wasn't added to the historic grounds of Longleat until 1975. The maze is constructed of more than 16,000 English yews and is the longest hedge maze in the world, covering 1.48 acres and 1.69 miles of pathway.
The maze sports several dead-ends and pathways with wooden bridges to help you make it out. If you feel like starting with an upper hand, feel free to take a helicopter ride of the grounds first!
Fly Over The City On The Water, Malé
Malé is the capital of one of the most populated cities in the Republic of Maldives, with 133,412 people on the 9.27 square kilometer island. It is also considered to be the most densely populated city in the world. From an aerial view, it looks as though a city sprouted out of the aqua blue Indian ocean.
Traditionally, the island of Malé was home to the royal dynasties and the palace. It was later destroyed in 1968, along with the monarchy government. The famous island group, the Maldives, is named after the capital, meaning "the islands of Malé."
Enjoy The Colorful Tulip Fields In The Netherlands
If you are planning to visit Holland, make sure to book your trip during mid-April through the first week of May. This is because you won't want to miss the tulip season that colors parts of Holland into a sort of patchwork quilt of hues. Most of the tulip farms are located in Noordoostpolder, with the world's largest flower exhibition found 30 minutes from Amsterdam in Keukenhof, a town that blooms more than seven million bulbs.
This is the perfect time to walk, ride a bike, or take a train to view the glorious colors. But if you really want to see the quilt, get in the air!