As globalization increases, everywhere in the world seems to have caught up with one another. Most large cities and countries are starting to look and feel more and more similar. Modern technology and similar building materials are only separated by differences in architecture and style.
However, not all countries have kept up. Whether by choice, or due to other reasons, visitors to some countries still feel as though they are stuck in the past. Newer cars can’t be seen (or at least rarely), architecture styles seem are dated, and the people go about their lives in a different way.
Agness and Cez invite you to step into the past and have a look at some of the best places in the world for visiting if you want to take a trip back in time. This is not going to be your typical holiday advice.
North Korea is a great place to start if you’re aiming to jump into the past. Whilst the country has recently been opening up to the rest of the world with new and expensive coffee shops, it’s still relatively cut off from social imports. Soft power from the west, as it’s sometimes called, hasn’t really managed to gain as much of a foothold in North Korea when compared to some other countries.
So, heading to this unique destination means that you’re heading into a chunk of land where you will probably mingle with a group of people who have largely been absent from the international scene. From the everyday fashion choices of its people to the architectural styles of its buildings, North Korea can certainly seem like a remnant from a time before.
To get the best experience from North Korea, make sure you check which of the many North Korea Tours is best for you before you head out there.
What to check out
North Korea is a great place to see a huge range of different cultural experiences. However, if you want to take a trip into the past, you’ll want to focus on one of these things in particular; landmarks. Of the landmarks, you should be making sure to check out, there are a few which might peak your interest more than the others.
The Tower of the Juche Idea is an incredible piece of art. Behind it are tower blocks made from concrete and steel. The tower itself stands at 170m and is comprised of 25,550 granite blocks – one for every day of Kim Il-sung’s life until his 70th birthday. The tower is located in Pyongyang and is certainly one of the best architectural wonders in the city.
Yet in Pyongyang, there lies another monument to the country’s history, known as the Monument to the Foundation of the Workers’ Party. Amid communist-style propaganda posters and murals and mosaics dedicated to the country’s leaders, you’ll find this monument in the middle of the city. It depicts three hands holding three different objects; a hammer for the worker, a scythe for the peasant and a brush for the artist. What’s even better about this location is that locals frequently pass this place, meaning you’ll get to see more than just the statue.
Due to the US embargo, travel to Cuba by US citizens has ben restricted for over half a century. Whilst travel from outsiders had not disappeared completely, Cuba certainly didn’t boast the largest tourism industry in the world. Combine that with a number of economic restrictions on the country, and you’re left with a place behind the times. That being said, Cuba is now much more open than it was previously, yet taking a trip to this somewhat isolated country can still feel like stepping into the past.
As a country, Cuba boasts some gorgeous beaches, interesting wildlife and brilliant architecture. It’s a place where the past comes alive, with vintage cars on the street, and historic forts and coffee shops which look like they belong in another time.
What to check out
Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best places to visit if you want to catch this country’s history. The Plaza Vieja is a vibrant place and great for seeing how Cuba looked around a century ago. Unfortunately, what stands there today is not what was originally in place. During the 1950s, the plaza was replaced with an underground carpark, which ruined the site. Luckily, the locals came together and restored the site to its former glory, ready for you to visit.
Myanmar is located in Burma and, after fifty years of self-imposed exclusion, has opened up its shores to tourism. Here, you’ll find incredible beaches and magnificent temples. Whilst the country of Burma is still largely rural, and the country’s economy still mainly runs based on agriculture, it has been developing for several years.
Myanmar itself is moving forward quickly. Places which, in the past, were just small towns have bloomed into large cities and homes for the country’s burgeoning industry. Between temple pagodas you’ll find expansive blocks of cityscape. Burma is still somewhat off the beaten path, yet possibly not as much as it was five years ago.
What to check out
Undoubtedly, one of Myanmar’s biggest and most well-known sites is Shwemawdaw Paya. Often referred to as the Golden God Temple, this 114m tall pagoda dates back to around the 10th century. The tower itself is said to have been built to hold two hairs of the buddha. Shwemawdaw Paya is an iconic and historical monument to Myanmar’s past.
However, if you want to really find yourself in the past, then you’re going to want to head to the plain of temples in Bagan. Being around these temples feels like a time before modern technology. Beside some disguised electrical wires, you’ll find yourself surrounded by green, with only dirt paths to guide you.
Similarly, if you head towards the hills outside Kalaw, you’ll find yourself in a place of vast natural beauty. Only a few dirt paths and small houses can be seen, with the mountains stretching off into the distance, as they always have.