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Benoa (Denpasar), Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia is made up of more than 13,000 islands, but even with all that competition, Bali manages to stand out. Beautiful temples and shrines of all sizes are spread across the island, tucked down narrow alleyways, hidden within the jungle or serenely presiding over scenic locations, like the dramatic Pura Tanah Lot atop a rock formation just off Bali’s western coast. The island is well known for its arts—traditional music and dance, painting, wood and stone carvings, silver jewelry and ikat and batik textiles. The island’s artistic center is the village of Ubud, and its art markets and boutiques carry beautiful Balinese pieces to take home.
Xingang (Beijing), China
Buenos Aires, Argentina
In the early 20th century, Buenos Aires, Argentina, gained immense wealth when it began shipping its pampas-raised beef around the world. It quickly entered the club of great world cities, and a slew of attractions and architectural jewels soon arose. Since that time, the capital has experienced huge swings in economic and political fortune. But Buenos Aires continues to fascinate and entertain sightseeing visitors, both for its chaotic energy and for its sheer urban beauty. Thankfully, the Belle Époque grandeur and enormous tracts of greenery remain. Any list of things to do in Buenos Aires would begin with its many walkable neighborhoods.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Scarred by decades of civil war, Sri Lanka and its commercial capital, Colombo, are relatively new to modern-day tourism. But Colombo has been a crucial trading post for more than 2,000 years. The city rose to prominence as Sri Lanka's most important port town in the 16th century with the arrival of Portuguese fleets. After a period under Dutch rule, Ceylon—as Sri Lanka was then called—became part of the British Empire in 1802. Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, but the country experienced intense unrest from 1983 until 2009, when Sri Lanka's civil war finally came to an end.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town's spectacular setting on Table Bay seldom fails to take one's breath away, whether you are a local or a visitor. If Johannesburg is South Africa's New York, this port city of four million, settled by traders from the Dutch East India Company in 1652, is its San Francisco. With a rich array of restaurants, galleries, vineyards and countless beaches, as well as a Mediterranean climate, life on the Cape Peninsula, which stretches for some 70 kilometers (43 miles) from downtown to the most southerly point, Cape Point, is genteel and all about good, healthy living and staying outdoors as much as possible.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Some cities need no introduction, and even fewer cities live up to their reputation the way Rio de Janeiro does, in both the best sense—how visitors experience sheer exhilaration being there—and the harsh reality of its social and economic strains. It’s all about stopping at corner juice bars to enjoy fresh tropical drinks named for fruit you’ve never even heard of, and people-watching along the Copacabana and Ipanema boardwalks. You might take the plunge into Maracaña Stadium to watch a crazy match between crosstown rivals Flamengo and Fluminense or jump on a bike to discover some of Rio’s far-flung and vastly diverse districts.