Taking in aerial views of iconic landscapes and destinations has become the latest travel trend. Instagram and Facebook are flooded with 360-degree panorama shots, aerial photography, and drone pics. There’s no better way to truly immerse yourself into a new place than to go up a bit and experience sweeping views of the destination – yes, it’s definitely dramatic, but it also gives you a fresh perspective!
The popularity of scenic viewpoints, hot-air ballooning flights, observation decks, micro-light flights, paragliding, skydiving are gaining exponentially. Imagine floating above the old desolate ruins of Bagan over a poetic sunset or taking in the enchanting aerial view of Kenya’s rich animal planet – the expansive grasslands of Maasai Mara dotted with thorn trees and wildlife, or climbing The Peak in Hong Kong to capture the glitzy and glamorous harbour front of Hong Kong in pinkish twilight…
To rekindle the wanderlust in you, we bring to you iconic aerial views across the world that are worth seeing in your lifetime. Our list includes breathtaking sights like majestic waterfalls, stunning cityscapes, manmade landforms, and spectacular natural wonders.
Bac Son Valley, Vietnam
Trek in the famed valley and climb the mountains for wonderful aerial views of Bac Son Valley of Vietnam. Pitched in shades of green, ochre, and bright yellow farms, red-tiled wooden stilts houses, and misty rolling hills. The valley is home to the native Tay ethnic community known for their traditional farming methods. Bac Son Valley is 160 kilometers from the country’s capital, Hanoi and is one of the must visit places of Vietnam.
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The best way to see the historic remains of Bagan is by taking a hot-air balloon ride, especially during the orange glow of the setting sun. The ancient city of Bagan is in the Mandalay region of Myanmar and used to be the capital of the Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to 13th centuries. Today, the entire historic city is part of the Bagan Archaeological Zone, which maintains the ruins of over 2200 temples and pagodas in the area. Covered in thick vegetation, the ruins of pagodas and temples are among the most popular attractions of Myanmar and is renowned for its hot-air balloon flights.
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The Peak, Hong Kong
There’s no better vantage point than the top of the mountain, Victoria Peak (better known as The Peak), to take in the panoramic view of Hong Kong. Stand atop The Peak at dusk and see the cityscape of Hong Kong in hues of pink and orange glittering against a backdrop of dark sky. Located in the western half of Hong Kong Island, The Peak is also known as Mount Austin. The aerial views from The Peak include Central Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island, and the surrounding islands. Victoria Peak is also one of the top attractions in Hong Kong.
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The Shard, London
Admire the iconic cityscape of London, featuring the Thames, Tower of London, the London Bridge, The London Eye, from Europe’s tallest building – The Shard. This 95-storey skyscraper is the tallest building in London and the fifth tallest in the Europe. This pyramidal shaped building is fully covered in glass pane and has amazing observation decks on the 68th, 69th and 72nd floor. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of London from an incredible height of 801 feet!
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro
Hop-in a helicopter and see Rio de Janiero’s stunning landscapes featuring Sugarloaf and Corcovado, dazzling beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and the welcoming statue of the Christ the Redeemer. One of the cultural icons of South America, the 30 metres tall statue is positioned on top of the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Part. The statue overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro since its construction in 1931. Listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Christ the Redeemer is one of the must visit attractions of Brazil.
Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Take a microlight flight over the Victoria Falls and gaze in wonderment of this majestic natural wonder that also forms the natural border between the two African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is accessible from both Zambian and Zimbabwean sides. It’s also popular for its plethora of adventure sports like white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, game fishing, and microlight flights.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
Admire the cradle of African civilization with a hot-air balloon ride and get some sprawling views of the Savannah and precious native wildlife. Maasai Mara is named after the local Mara tribe known for their hospitality and efforts to conserve the environment and wildlife. The protected national park of Kenya is located 280 kilometres from the country’s capital Nairobi. Maasai Mara is also known for its annual phenomena known as the Great Migration. Hot air-balloon rides, jeep safari, and beautiful forest resorts are part of Maasai Mara’s charm.
Unfold the mysteries of Turkey’s Cappadocia with a hot-air balloon ride during sunrise or sunset and admire the natural park’s ancient cavernous homes, fairy chimneys and amazing rock formations. Cappadocia is known for its unique rock cut cave villages and underground cities dating to the 4th century Byzantine Empire and amazing rock formations like the fairy chimneys found in Goreme Valley. Try to take a hot-air balloon ride during the dawn and get mesmerised by the sprawling views of Cappadocia while sipping a glass of wine and photographing the landscape to your heart’s content.
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Machu Picchu, Peru
Get mesmerised by the awe-inspiring sight of Machu Picchu as seen from the nearby Huayna Picchu mountain after an arduous trek. The view you’ll be gifted with will be worth all the pain! The 15th century citadel of the erstwhile Inca civilization is also known as “Lost City of the Incas”. Machu Picchu is one of the key attractions of Peru and is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is known for its well-preserved historic ruins, sprawling views and hiking adventures.
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Get strapped to your paraglider, lurch forward breathing the fresh crisp Swiss air and soar high above the picaresque green meadows, glacial mountains, Swiss countryside to enjoy sweeping views of Wengen Valley. Wengen is a beautiful Swiss village located in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. It’s a car-free village known for its pristine environment. It’s also a major centre of alpine ski races and skiing adventures.
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Grand Canyon, USA
Take a helicopter tour or be adventurous and hike to a viewpoint or be brave to try the Skywalk, a glass-bottomed observation platform, staring into the deep abyss of the Grand Canyon – an experience of a lifetime. No trip to the USA is complete without a tour of the majestic Grand Canyon spent learning about the local culture, tales and experiencing the true American Wild West. Don’t forget to enjoy guided nature hikes, river rafting, camping, stargazing, etc.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
Star on the harness, join the group and follow the instructor all the way to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. One of the top-notch activities of Sydney, it offers unrivalled views of Sydney Harbour, its stylish Opera House, and the sprawling cityscape. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is not just a spectacular engineering project, it’s the cultural icon of Australia along with the Sydney Opera House. Every year, Sydney Harbour Bridge becomes the site of the highly popular New Year’s Eve fireworks display.