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The Traveller's Magazine
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It’s incredible how ancient civilisations constructed their temples, monasteries and houses out of stone and even perched on the most precarious mountaintops. We’ve collected four of the most beautiful places built on the rocks, have you been to any of them?

Popa Taungkalat – Burma



This place almost sits in the clouds on top of a lava plug 740 metres up. It’s golden spires can be seen from miles away. Visitors must remove their shoes and climb the 777 steps to the top barefoot. The best time to visit is during the full moon of nayon which falls in May/June or during the full moon of nadaw which happens in November/December when festivals attract hundreds of locals to the monastery. Tradition says not to dress in red, black or green when visiting.

Flights to Myanmar

Phuktal Monastery – India



Perched on a cliff face in Zanskar, a region of Ladakh in northern India, sits the Phuktal Monastery which was founded in the early twelfth century. Taking a cue from the bees, the monastery was built using the structure of a honeycomb for its strength at the mouth of a cave. Today around 70 monks live here and can only be reached on foot.

Fine print: The best time to visit is from mid-July to September as the road is closed the rest of the year from potential snowfall. Accommodations can be arranged in the monastery.

Flights to India

Petra – Jordan



This ancient city built in the rocks has been made famous by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and is a top choice on many traveller’s bucket lists. And for good reason. Petra, “the rose city, half as old as time” is an Nabataean city located in southern Jordan that dates back to the 6th century BC. The site is remarkable and if you have time, best to go for a 2- or 3-day ticket to see it all.

Fine print: Entry tickets cost 90 JD (£78) for day visitors. Overnight visits cost 50 JD, 2 days costs 55 JD and 3 days costs 60 JD.

Flights to Jordan

Taktsang Monastery – Bhutan



Called the “Tiger’s Nest,” Taktsang Monastery has become an unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is an impressive sight, sitting high up on the edge of a 1, 200 metre cliff. It is a 2-3 hour hike to reach the monastery from the parking lot but it worth it. Tibetans have been meditating here since the 11th century and has become a special place for meditation. The views of the Paro Valley below are phenomenal.

Fine print: You can easily spend an entire day at this place and the journey up and down again can take several hours. There are canteens spaced out so you can rest during the hike. At the monastery, all cameras must be left at security as you enter.


Imgs: Bhutan, Taktsang, Petra, Phuktal

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