The 15 Most Visited Cities in the World 2015

We assume some cities to be de facto tourist meccas; we’re told over and over again that places like Paris, London and Rome are places that every traveler must visit in their lifetime. But have you ever wondered just how many people visit some of these cities each year—or, indeed, which cities attract the largest share of international tourists? While some of the tried-and-true destinations have made the cut for 2015, other entries on the list of the top 15 most visited cities might surprise you.

15. Milan, Italy

Perhaps most famous as Italy’s fashion powerhouse, the city of Milan is much more than that. Located in northern Italy, it is also home to Italy’s largest stock exchange, two major soccer teams and numerous theaters, museums and monuments. Milan has something to offer each one of its seven plus million visitors each year. Notable sites around the city include the Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage site decorated by Leonardo da Vinci paintings. Although the city itself is entirely flat terrain, the nearby Alps form part of its cityscape, and the city’s proximity to Alpine tourist destinations have positioned it as a gateway community. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the world’s oldest shopping mall and is located on the Piazza Duomo, near the fifth-largest church in the world, Milan Cathedral.

Milan, Italy

14. Rome, Italy

Given Rome’s ubiquitous position as the cradle of Western civilization and European civilization in particular, as well as its unique reputation as a tourist destination, it’s perhaps surprising that Rome didn’t rank higher on this list. Still, with a projected 7.4 million tourists in 2015, tourism to Rome is nothing to sneeze at. Rome is home to some of Europe’s most famous historical monuments, such as the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica. Religious tourism to Rome is still an important factor; although the Vatican is a separate state, it is located inside Rome and many visitors tour through Rome’s churches as well. Under the influence of numerous popes, Rome has undergone a program of patronage since the Renaissance that aimed to make it the cultural and artistic center of the world—a lofty goal and one that has resulted in Rome long being a mecca for people around the world.

eternal city Rome

13. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

When The Netherlands first legalized the sale of cannabis in coffee shops, a running joke became that most young North American tourists would hit Amsterdam for one reason and one reason alone. While some of the city’s 7.44 million international tourists might visit for that reason, there are many other things to do and see in the Dutch capital. Amsterdam is, of course, famous for its cannabis cafes and red light district, which attracts many visitors, but other aspects of its nightlife, including numerous discotheques and world-renowned jazz clubs, are equally attractive to tourists. The city’s architecture, historical buildings and many museums are also incentive for visitors. Anne Frank’s House and the Van Gogh Museum are just two of the many historic sites frequented by tourists. The city is also well-known for its system of canals, which add to its picturesque appeal.

Amsterdam

12. Barcelona, Spain

Capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia, in Spain, Barcelona has a long history of tourism: in medieval times, it was an important site for Christian pilgrims. Today, the tourism industry is still an important and growing part of Barcelona’s economy, with more than 7.5 million people expected to visit the city in 2015. Barcelona rivals Madrid, the country’s capital, in terms of major attractions and historic sites; the city boasts no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and many museums. As the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean, Barcelona has also become internationally renowned for its many beaches; many Spaniards vacation in Barcelona for the beaches and the practice is catching on with foreign visitors. Notable sites include the fortress at Montjuic and the Basilica of La Merce, as well as the stunning, yet incomplete, Sagrada Familia Basilica.

Park Guell Barcelona Spain

11. Tokyo, Japan

Whether you’re looking for exciting subculture fashion, interested in experiencing the Japanese tradition of kabuki theater, or just want to eat the freshest sushi in the world, Tokyo has you covered. Japan’s capital city is a sprawling urban metropolis littered with skyscrapers, excellent restaurants and renowned museums, and interspersed with parks and greenspace. Various districts of the city are dedicated to nightlife (Roppongi and Shibuya), fashion subcultures (Harajuku) and electronics (Akihabara). Ancient Shinto shrines and historic castles are a testament to Tokyo’s long history as the center of Japanese culture, and now you can mingle with ultra-modern architecture like Tokyo Skytree and the iconic Tokyo Tower. With slightly over eight million foreign tourists expected in 2015, Tokyo continues to be one of the most visited cities in the world, although it remains outside of the top 10.

Tokyo

10. Hong Kong, China

In 1997, Hong Kong became an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Beginning in the 1970s, the city developed into a global metropolis, functioning as a center for trade and finance. Hong Kong also developed an entertainment industry, producing many popular kung-fu action films. Today, more than 8.5 million people visit the city each year, some for business and others for pleasure. The cityscape is decidedly modern, with the number of skyscrapers outnumbering any other city in the world; architecture has blended between Eastern and Western styles, and elements of traditional culture, like feng shui and dim sum, mingle easily with Western influences. Despite this, Hong Kong is also renowned for its geographical features: its deep harbor has made it an important port, nearby Mount Kowloon offers steep terrain and the rugged coastline has many excellent beaches.

Hong Kong

9. Seoul, South Korea

More than 10 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Seoul in 2015. The financial, cultural and political heart of South Korea, Seoul was first designed as a capital city in the 14th century. The city’s lengthy list of historic buildings and UNESCO World Heritages sites includes palaces and temples, as well as the remains of neolithic settlements unearthed nearby. Two old residential districts are now preserved as museums to showcase traditional Korean culture and lifeways, including hanok houses. Seoul has many more museums, such as the Kimchi Field Museum. But Seoul isn’t all about the past; the city boasts some of the world’s most design-forward modern architecture and was named a World Design Capital in 2010. Ultra-modern buildings mingle with numerous parks, creating a unique and attractive cityscape near Mount Namsan.

Top Cities 2013 - Seoul

8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The capital of Malaysia will attract more than 11 million international visitors in 2015, making it the 8th most visited city in the world. Tourism and shopping are major drivers of the Malaysian economy and nowhere is that more evident than Kuala Lumpur, which functions as the largest retail center in the country with 66 shopping malls. Major attractions include the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, the National Palace and the Jamek Mosque. Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, is another notable destination for tourists, and the Hindu celebration of Thaipusam and its procession to Batu Caves is a major cultural festival that attracts visitors from many different locales. The city also functions as a hub for entertainment, art and events, including sports and music festivals. Kuala Lumpur is also noted for its multiethnic blend of cuisines and architectures.

Top Cities 2013 - Kuala Lumpur

7. Singapore City, Singapore

Nearly 12 million people will visit the city-state of Singapore during the course of 2015. Over the last decade, the country has garnered a reputation for being a “luxury” destination, with many high-end hotel chains setting up shop, and the legalization of gambling heralding casino tourism. The island country’s biggest draw, however, is said to be its cuisine: Singapore’s multiethnic mix has led to a unique fusion of Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines—like the Peranakan style of cooking, a hybridization of Chinese and Malay culinary traditions. There are many restaurants and, in fact, dining is said to be one of Singapore’s national pastimes. Architecture in the city-state similarly reflects the fusion of various cultural influences. Water sports such as sailing, scuba diving and water skiing are popular recreational pastimes, while soccer is a popular sport to watch.

Singapore city at night

6. New York City, United States

The only American entry on this list, New York City remains the U.S. destination of choice for international tourists, with over almost 12.3 million people expected to visit in 2015. Attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building continue to draw visitors, while major events like New York Fashion Week pulls in crowds from around the world. Times Square and Broadway also remain popular attractions for international visitors, while shopping, cuisine and nightlife are alluring for many others who choose to take a bite out of the Big Apple. Other notable sites include Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge. For many, New York remains the premier American destination, ranking well ahead of other U.S. cities like Los Angeles. As America’s largest city, NYC is likely to remain the country’s biggest tourist draw as well.

New York City Times Square

5. Istanbul, Turkey

With over 12.5 million foreign tourists projected to visit in 2015, Istanbul is both the fastest growing destination in Europe and the 5th most visited city in the world. Located along the Bosphorus, the city has been an important center of European civilization since the time of the ancient Greeks. Situated at the heart of two historically important empires, Istanbul has a long and illustrious heritage. It’s easily one of Europe’s most multicultural cities, thanks to its unique positioning on the edge of both Europe and Asia. It was named a European Capital of Culture in 2012. The city boasts mosques and churches, bazaars and malls and a treasure trove of other attractions. Traditional Turkish cuisine, such as kebabs, are popular and the city is also well-known for a vibrant entertainment industry and nightlife. Its historic center, a partial UNESCO World Heritage site, remains the most popular tourist attraction.

Top Cities 2013 - Istanbul

4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and has recently emerged onto the global stage through its innovative architecture, such as the world’s tallest skyscraper and its history of hosting major sporting events. A center of world banking, Dubai has earned a reputation for being both pricey and luxurious—as a vacation destination, it’s often lauded as a sort of playground for the rich and famous. Its skyline is dominated by the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building at 828 meters. The Burj al Arab is another iconic structure. Dubai’s attitude is clearly go big or go home: the Dubai Miracle Garden, opened in 2013, is the world’s largest flower garden and the Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world. More than 14 million people are expected to visit Dubai from other countries in 2015 as tourism continues to grow.

Sophie James / Shutterstock.com
Sophie James / Shutterstock.com

3. Paris, France

Oh Paris,  the iconic city of love with its grandiose Eiffel Tower ranked 3rd on this list. Being the 3rd most visited city in the world says something about how many people travel here each year. Paris will attract over 16 million foreign tourists in 2015, and it is well behind the first and second-place cities. Nonetheless, Paris remains a top-tier destination for many travelers, often considered a must-take trip or a bucket-list destination. The capital of France is noted for its cuisine, including its many bistros and cafes, along with many 3-star restaurants. The Arc de Triomphe, the Palace of Versailles, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre are all popular tourist attractions. Paris is also known as a center of fashion, hosting the twice annual Paris Fashion Week. The city is also the host of several important sporting events, including the finish of the Tour de France and the Paris Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Top Cities 2013 - Paris

2. Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s capital city is on-track to receive more than 18 million foreign tourists in 2015, making it the second most visited city in the world. With world-class shopping and dining and a dynamic nightlife, Bangkok offers something for everyone to see and do. Another major driver of travel to Bangkok is sex tourism; Bangkok has actually earned the nickname “Sin City of Asia” as a result of how many visitors it receives on account of the industry. Other visitors are attracted by the city’s mix of historical buildings, showcasing a variety of influences and cultures. Notable sites are Wat Phra Kaew, a Buddhist temple in the Grand Palace, and Jim Thompson House, considered an outstanding example of Thai architecture. As the seat of the Thai government and the royal family, Bangkok is also a hub for major cultural events, such as religious celebrations and festivals.

Top Cities 2013 - Bangkok

1. London, United Kingdom

London is projected to receive almost 19 million foreign tourists in 2015, making it the most visited city in the world. The U.K.’s capital ranks among its European counterparts, like Paris and Rome, boasting numerous landmarks, iconic monuments and a host of other tourist attractions. The city has numerous museums and a strong arts scene, as well as a world-renowned shopping district (High Street) and fashion industry, which includes the twice-annual London Fashion Show. Notable sites include Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, the Shard, Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. The city also has a large theater district in the West End, with more than 40 theaters. The British Museum, the Tate Museum and the National Gallery were the top three attractions in 2010. Even the transit system is iconic: the London Underground is the oldest underground railway in the world.

Top Cities 2013 - London

The 12 Most Beautiful Metro Stations In The World

Metro stations are often thought of as being dingy, dark, and sometimes unsafe and generally not a place that you would want to hang out in. But those who think of metro stations this way must not have visited any of these unbelievably breathtaking ones. From the world’s largest art gallery to a station that has been shut off to the public for years, to a station with gold-plated walls; here are the 12 most beautiful metro stations in the world.

12. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Avtovo Station

With a name deriving from a Finnish word meaning “middle of nowhere”, Avtovo is an industrial region that is often overlooked by tourists. But the Avtovo station located underground looks more like a small museum on the outside and offers incredible beauty on the inside. The platform houses ornate glass pillars and a mosaic dedicated to the Leningrad Blockade, and more than one million people who died in the 87day siege of the city by Nazi forces during WWII. The walls are faced with white marble and the domed roof provides a feeling of being in an elegant ballroom, not a metro station. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and provide soft lighting, a warm welcome to the usual harsh underground lighting. It is actually illegal to take a photo in a Russian subway station so remember just look with your eyes or you may be faced with a fine.

Avtovo Station Russia
Anton Kudelin / Shutterstock.com

11. Washington, D.C: Union Station

In contrast to most of America’s utilitarian subways, this gem sticks out like a sore thumb, a really pretty sore thumb. The history behind this station is interesting as Kennedy was president at the time of the planning and it’s believed that the station represented the dignity of the governments, not the cheapest possible solution. What we have now though is a beautiful crafted metro station that came from the likes of great subways around the world. The series of vaulted cathedral ceilings with coffered blocks and elegant up-lighting gives it a sense of calm and tranquility. Make sure to watch as the lights on the platform begin to throb every time a train approaches. This one of a kind station in America looks more like a church, rather than a train station. Remember, just like church there is no eating here.

Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com
Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

10. Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Formosa Boulevard Station

This station is known as the dome of light, dubbed to be the largest glass work in the world and is overly impressive. It was designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quaglianta and took over four years to complete. The dome spans over 30 meters in diameters and features over 4,500 colored glass panels that were shipped all the way from Germany. The overall message of this piece of art is love and tolerance and has been designed to relate to the story of human life. The themes include water, earth, light and fire. This station is also home to an impressive 3-D art installation done by successful 3-D street artist Su Chia-hsien that has faded over the years but still worth a look. Try to avoid rush hour in order to gain the best pictures of this impressive metro station.

Lau Chun Kit / Shutterstock.com
Lau Chun Kit / Shutterstock.com

9. Moscow: Komsomolskaya Station

It looks more like a ballroom than a metro station and was actually inspired by a wartime speech of Stalin’s. It was constructed in 1952 and remains absolutely breathtaking with its marble pillars and mosaics. Artist Pavel Korin and architect Alexey Schusev were actually awarded the Stalin prize for their work here. Chandeliers are the lighting of choice and there are a total of eight ceiling mosaics throughout the sunny yellow paint job. This huge hall supported by columns has high ceilings, making it feel as though are in a museum rather than a metro station, even its banisters are intricately designed and pretty. Make sure to time your visit accordingly, on the weekdays in the summer tend to be the least crowded times, in order to fully appreciate the works of art throughout the station.

Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock.com
Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock.com

8. Bilbao, Spain: Moyua Square Station

The ambitious Bilbao metro system took two stages to actually complete, the first from 1988-1995 and the second from 1997-2004. The system itself is known as being incredibly fast, cheap, efficient and clean and it’s no wonder why love to ride it. Designers of the metro system used natural light and intuitive space to encourage commuters to walk in the right direction without needing to rely on signage, a design that not only works, but is also beautiful. The routes are meant to flow, like a trail through a cave, guiding you to the stations. The sheltered glass canopies that pay homage to the Paris Metro are light wells during the day and beacons at night, guiding the commuter home. The glass canopy that protrudes out of the Moyua Square Station is the most well-known of all.

Photo by: Wikipedia
Photo by: Wikipedia

7. Naples, Italy: University Station

It took New York designer Karim Rashid to transform this subway station into the colorful, fun station it is today. Sculptures and graphic patterns line the escalators, walls and ceilings here. The curved walls are painted in bright colors, of pink and yellow while floors are a kaleidoscope of rainbows. There is a diverse academic community that travels through this station and Rashid wanted to tap into those minds, creating a space for learning while waiting for the train. Rolling LED programming is situated behind frosted glass and displays universally recognized words and transformational digital artwork takes over the platform stairways. The seating here has even been taken into consideration and is designed to look more like a landscape than furniture. If you have ever wanted to lose yourself in a sea of colors and abstract art, head to this ultra modern avant-garde type subway station.

Baloncici / Shutterstock.com
Baloncici / Shutterstock.com

6. Paris, France: Arts et Metiers Station

The entrances to this station are icons of elegant public architecture but it is what lies beneath that truly amaze visitors. Walking down into this station is like walking into an old-time brass submarine. Riveted copper walls and huge gears hanging from the ceiling set the stage. Port holes along the walls are outfitted with picture boxes depicting 19th-century navigation. Sleep silver and copper chairs are fitted seamlessly against the walls and even the garbage cans fit into the scene. The station was created by Belgian comic’s artist Francois Schuiten and was based on the fiction works of Jules Verne. Don’t miss the museum that is situated above the metro station that is full of inventions and oddities from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Christian Mueller / Shutterstock.com
Christian Mueller / Shutterstock.com

5. Saudi Arabia: Riyadh Metro

It is set to be the most beautiful metro station in the world with its gold-plated walls, huge marble walkways and space-age designs. One of the biggest names in architecture, Zaha Hadid is in charge of the design of this station. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is funding the station and demands that the metro be ready to use by 2019. The stations will be powered by renewable energy and the façade will be designed to let light in while keeping out the harsh desert sun, there is no need to worry about sweating here, this metro will be fully air-conditioned. The overall shape is meant to look like the country’s sand dunes and will feature raised elevators along with other beautiful finishes. Ground was broken in August 2014 and construction started on what promises to be the most beautiful station in the world.

Photo by: Dubai Metro
Photo by: Dubai Metro

4. New York City: City Hall Station

The city hall station is normally closed to the public but visitors can get down here by taking a tour offered by the New York Transit Museum. This station was built largely as a ceremonial terminal for local government dignitaries and only operated for forty years, from 1904-1945 due to lack of space. Arched ceilings with Guastavino tiles, ornate skylights and the grandest subway architecture that this city offers awaits visitors here. If you don’t want to take a tour but still want to see this wonderful piece of history, stay on the 6 train after its final Brooklyn Bridge stop. As the train makes its turnaround to loop back, riders can catch a glimpse of this beautiful station, lost in history. You will wonder why every other station in New York doesn’t look as good as this one.

Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

3. Dubai, U.A.E.: Khalid Bin Waleed Station

In a city where the average high temperature in August is over 100 degrees, you may want to escape the heat and head to the spotless and air-conditioned metro station. This just isn’t a normal metro station though, it can be described more of a museum of Dubai’s history. The theme of this station is water, depicting Dubai’s history of fishing and pearl diving. Fiber optic chandeliers hang from the ceilings which result in looking more like breathtaking jellyfish, tiled floors are done in brilliant blues and gold, and the blue mood lighting above makes this station absolutely magnificent. The station is spread over three floors and like everything else in the city; it oozes luxury and cleanliness.

Philip Lange / Shutterstock.com
Philip Lange / Shutterstock.com

2. Naples, Italy: Toledo Metro Station

It seems that nothing can top the dimpled tunnel walls of the metro station here in terms of impressiveness. This city has truly transformed its underground system into a visual spectacle with its art initiative that challenged world renowned architects and designers to overhaul the subway. The Toledo Station that opened in 2012 is amongst its most impressive, featuring mosaics by artist William Kentridge and a seascape made up of LED wall panels. The wall between the ground and lower level is made up of thousands of Bisazza tiles that move from light to dark blue as passengers travel down the escalators. This station was designed around the theme of water and light and passengers will hardly believe their eyes as they wander around, taking in the unusual effects. In a city that is known for its vandalism, it is impressive that this metro station remains unscathed.

luckyraccoon / Shutterstock.com
luckyraccoon / Shutterstock.com

1. Stockholm, Sweden: T-Centralen Station

The Stockholm underground is actually considered the world’s largest art gallery and nearly all of the stations resemble and art gallery or museum. In fact these are so awe-inspiring, many miss their trains as they admire the art work. There are more than 140 artists who are represented across 90 of the station including both permanent and temporary exhibits. The highlight of this underground system is the T-Centralen station where all three stations meet. The blue line section was painted back in 1970 and huge lines of blue and white adorn the walls and ceilings as well as rustic arches and columns decorated with mosaics. It doesn’t matter which station you head to here, they are all ultimately beautiful and fabulous. Spend all day riding the metro and discover a whole new world of underground art.

IvanKravtsov / Shutterstock.com
IvanKravtsov / Shutterstock.com

The 10 Most Poorly Designed Cities in the World

It’s fair to say that no city can ever be perfect as they are constantly evolving, changing and at times their systems can break down. Anyone who has sat in traffic for 3 hours in downtown Atlanta, Georgia can agree with that. But there are some cities around the world that are worse than the rest, and for a variety of reasons including poor road layout, no green space, non-working traffic lights, overcrowding and more. From India to Montana to Brazil, here are the top picks for the most poorly designed cities in the world:

10. Missoula, Montana, USA

Legend has it that when this city was first being established there were two brothers overseeing development who unfortunately had a falling out in the middle of the process. Instead of resolving their problems, they each began plotting out and building their own grids from separate sides of the city. The two grids converge in the middle of the city, which residents refer to as the “malfunction junction”. Others call this the most poorly designed city in the world because of its “Slants Streets” neighborhood, an offbeat part of town that was created when two lawyers wanted to break away and build a whole new town. The town ultimately said no and created their street plan with a grid, throwing everything out of whack. Whatever story you choose to believe, this city is a mess of bad intersections and confusing streets where trying to make a left hand turn is next to impossible.

Missoula, Montana

9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It may be surprising to many that this city makes the list as it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world but Dubai ends up at number nine on this list for a variety of reasons. The increasing number of skyscrapers and residential estates that take up hundreds of acres simply don’t jive well together. The entire layout of the city is connected by massive roadways leading from one enormous development to the next. Walking around the city is next to impossible because of this and frankly this city is lacking in shared public spaces. Parks and squares that encourage togetherness are void from Dubai and instead there are giant shopping malls and indoor ski resorts. If you are looking for a city where you can get to know your neighbors, have a picnic in the park or simply get some outdoor exercise; you may want to avoid Dubai.

All.in / Shutterstock.com
All.in / Shutterstock.com

8. Atlanta, Georgia, USA

If you are planning on moving to Atlanta and enjoying a traffic-free commute, think again. Traffic doesn’t get much worse than this city and in fact the traffic here is legendary. In the 1980’s and 90’s there was a boom in Atlanta that caused a massive urban sprawl and along with poorly situated highways; there seems to be no hope in terms of it getting any better. One of the major problems here is the division of race and class that leads to clashes in what should be done to alleviate the traffic problem. Georgia also happens to be one of the bottom five states in terms of highway spending per capita, meaning they aren’t committed to any kind of game plan to fix the system. Unless something drastic happens in this city, expect that the poor design will continue for decades.

Photo by: Flickr/Matt Lemmon
Photo by: Flickr/Matt Lemmon

7. Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Although this city boasts one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in all of the USA, Boston can be extremely difficult to navigate due to the layout of the streets. Navigating these maze-like streets can be overwhelming to both visitors and locals and although the common misconception is the streets were laid out on top of wandering cow paths, the truth is they simply weren’t laid out according to plan. The combination of random one-way streets and convoluted intersections pose significant safety issues for runners, walkers and cyclists. And although the “Big Dig” project has improved this city in many ways, it has cost an estimated $22 billion, an amount of debt that will not be paid off until approximately 2038. Although this city looks pretty, it certainly isn’t easy to find your way around and it came at a huge price to fix the problems.

Boston Aerial

6. Dhaka, Bangladesh

This capital city is truly a disaster, from one urban dysfunction to another. It stands to reason that this might happen considering out of the city’s 650 major intersections, only 60 of them have traffic lights, and only some of them work. Millions of rickshaws, cars, bike, buses, cows and motorcycles share these roads and driving here is downright dangerous. The awful transportation system means that many inhabitants are forced to live in the slums in the city, rather than commuting from outside, creating poor sanitation and water systems. This massive failure of infrastructure needs a total overhaul before it can begin to get better. In the meantime there will continue to be millions living in poverty and millions fighting each other for road space, truly proving it as one of the most poorly designed cities in the world.

Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock.com
Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock.com

5. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Over the course of the 20th century this city transitioned from a small urban environment into a sprawling metropolis, leading to what is one of the most poorly designed cities in the world. This shift in environment meant that the rich took over the center of the city and the poor were pushed to the outskirts; forcing a high number of commuters to the roads. In order to try and alleviate congestion this city implemented a two-mile elevated highway that winds right through the heart of the city, narrowly missing resident’s houses. This noisy eyesore replaced a lively neighborhood that was a cultural center of the city. The rich of the city don’t even bother dealing with roads though; instead they choose to get around by helicopter, making Sao Paulo the city with the world’s largest fleet of helicopters per capita. Unfortunately if you can’t afford a helicopter, you’re forced to deal with this:

AFNR / Shutterstock.com
AFNR / Shutterstock.com

4. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Hurricane Katrina devastated this city a decade ago due to the levee system failing miserably, a system that was designed to protect the city from storm surges. The large majority of Greater New Orleans was flooded and many people lost life and homes. Add this to the fact that this city is built on thousands of feet of soft sand, silt and clay and the song “New Orleans is Sinking” is actually coming true. Combine this with the awful traffic congestion and poor layout of roads and you can understand why this city ranks number 4 in the most poorly designed cities of the world. The saving grace of this city may just be its Mardi Gras festival that brings millions of dollars in revenue; enough to hopefully fix this infrastructure so another tragedy like Hurricane Katrina doesn’t strike this city again.

New Orleans, Louisiana highway

3. Naypyidaw, Myanmar

This fairly new capital of Myanmar has only been in existence since 2005, when the country’s government decided a change of scenery was in order. What was once a land of empty fields has been turned into a super city, six times the size of New York City and complete with 20-lane highways and widespread WiFi access. It sounds pretty great, so why is this city on the list? It happens to be located literally in the middle of nowhere with practically no residents. Government officials are pretty much the only people who choose to call this city home and while the streets and roads should be bustling with activity, more often than not there is no one around. Cities are meant to lived in and over the past decade, this city is failing miserably. Only time will tell if this was money well spent or not.

Photo by: NBC News
Photo by: NBC News

2. Brasilia, Brazil

It is the second Brazilian city on the list and while San Paulo suffers from a lack of design, Brasilia seems to suffer from too much design. This country just can’t seem to find a happy medium. The city of Brasilia was created from a plan back in the 1950’s which took inspiration from an airplane layout and included modernist concrete architecture, meant to make the city hold for years. While visually appealing to some, this city has earned a reputation for being sterile and artificial. It was also designed to house only 500,000 inhabitants but over the years has become home to almost 3 million people. In order to house all these people, it was no longer about keeping the city beautiful and more about creating room for them. Therefore Brasilia has become this mismatch of temporary fixes overshadowing its original beauty.

Donatas Dabravolskas / Shutterstock.com
Donatas Dabravolskas / Shutterstock.com

1. Jakarta, Indonesia

It happens to be the country’s capital and one of the most poorly designed cities in the World, a combination that makes getting around here a disaster. An ever-increasing number of car owners that come from the expansion of suburbia that surrounds this mega-city are to be blamed for the 400 hours a year that citizens spend in traffic. It is actually hailed as being the worst traffic in the world. It doesn’t seem like there is any solution for this mega-city as the infrastructure here falls into the hands of the local government and contracts are renegotiated annually; which means long-term projects are pretty much impossible. An average trip in this city takes about 2 hours; leaving plenty of drivers frustrated at all times. If you thought traffic was busy in your city, try living here for a few years.

Photo by: Indonesia Expat
Photo by: Indonesia Expat

The 14 Longest Non-stop Flights in The World

Flying from one end of the world to the other takes a long time, but luckily for passengers it is taking much less time with the introduction of non-stop flights. What used to be a two-day journey from New York to Hong Kong can now be done in just about 16 hours. Engineers have worked hard over the years to come up with innovative ways to make airplanes go faster and longer distances, without having to stop. Although these 16 hour journeys may take a long time, there are plenty of on-board amenities to keep passengers happy. Discover 14 of the longest non-stop flights in the world, and why flying long distance is easier than ever.

14. Chicago to Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific

Residents of the windy city can take a 15.5 hour journey all the way to the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong, a journey that covers 7,793 miles. Cathay Pacific is known around the world as one of the favorite airlines to fly and it’s no wonder they now have daily flights, as well as an extra direct flight three times a week between these two cities. While their planes don’t have the fully enclosed suites in first class, they still offer one of the best products out there for passengers who want to fly in style. Expect to spend the 15 hours sleeping in the ultra comfortable beds, in the provided pajamas while watching an unlimited amount of movies and television shows. One thing to note about this flight, if you do need something make sure to press the call button as the flight staff like to leave you alone as much as possible to get the rest that most people want.

Eric Hui / Shutterstock.com
Eric Hui / Shutterstock.com

13. New York to Taipei: EVA Air

This 7,808 mile route started back in 2011 and has only grown in popularity, despite the fact that it takes a whopping 15.5 hours to reach Taiwan’s booming capital from the Big Apple. Passengers aboard this flight will have three options of classes from regular Economy to Elite Premium Economy to the much loved Royal Laurel Class. Taking a flight and sitting in the Royal Laurel Class is unlike any other 15.5 hour flight as it offers one of the most comfortable sleeping areas. Each seat can convert to a two-meter long fully flat bed complete with lush linens and pillows. Added touches such as the shoe cabinet, retractable armrest and closet space just add to the experience. In-flight dining complete with champagne and fresh lobster are what passengers will find here. Economy passengers will still be subject to delicious dining, comfortable reclining seats and touch screen entertainment.

Taipei 101, Taiwan

12. Toronto to Hong Kong: Air Canada

It is the longest flight originating out of Canada and sits at 7,810 miles and takes a total of 15.5 hours to complete as passengers make their way from Toronto to Hong Kong. The aircraft for this long flight is Air Canada’s Boeing 777 that is complete with the loved Executive Pod Business Class cabins. With 48 of these classic pods, passengers can lie-flat, watch their own personal touch screen TV’s and charge any electronic devices in their personal power outlets. There is only the choice of economy and business class on these aircrafts but economy passengers can expect a wider seat pitch than others, a power outlet in-between the seats and access to the in-flight entertainment. Enjoy a hot meal with complimentary wine and spirits as you take the long journey from Toronto to Hong Kong.

Top Cities 2013 - Hong Kong

11. Los Angeles to Melbourne: United

What was once a route run by Virgin Australia, who moved its fleet to its L.A-Brisbane route, is now a route run by United, and this 7,921 mile journey takes about 16 hours. United flies its Boeing 787 Dreamliner which seats 252 passengers divided into three classes; Business, Economy and Economy Plus. Passengers in business class can expect seats that transform into lie-flat beds, an ottoman in front of the seat featuring storage and in-seat power with USB and reading light. Passengers aboard this 16 hour flight will have access to 150 hours of entertainment including movies, RV programs, music and games. Service with a smile, friendly passengers and enough options to keep you occupied for those 16 long hours, makes flying with United both easy and pleasant.

American Spirit / Shutterstock.com
American Spirit / Shutterstock.com

10. Dallas to Doha on Qatar Airways

This 7,931 mile journey takes passengers from Dallas, Texas to Doha, a new destination in the gulf region for Qatar passengers. This route debuted in July 2014 after the success of the Houston-Doha route that has been operating since 2008. Passengers will pass the 16.5 hours by using the awesome on-board entertainment system, getting some shut eye with the provided sleep mask or upgrading to the generous Business Class seats. This trip doesn’t come cheap though and passengers should expect to pay around $2,000 for a round trip economy ticket. It also happens to be one of the last of the 7,000 mile journeys on this list

Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com
Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com

9. New York to Guangzhou: China Southern

China’s biggest airline launched this flight in 2014, hoping to attract transit customers coming from other countries who will connect in Guangzhou. The journey from New York to Guangzhou is just over 8,000 miles and takes about 16 hours to complete. Along with the launch of this service came the delivery of their new 777-300ER aircraft that can carry 309 passengers in the four-class configuration. Featuring First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy, passengers now have an array of options on how they want to travel. Although you won’t find the same luxuries as Emirates, for example, there are still plenty of in-flight options, power outlets and food and drink choices to keep passengers happy. This route also happens to be very budget friendly and those looking to score a great deal, should look at China Southern.

Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China

8. Houston to Doha: Qatar Airways

It takes a total of 16.5 hours and covers over 8,047 miles taking passengers from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to the megacity of Doha, on the cusp of the Persian Gulf. Luckily this Boeing 777 comes loaded with options such as the flat-bed first class suites, generous economy seats and flat seats in business class. Every passenger here is treated to an amenity kit complete with eyeshades, socks and other essentials. The acclaimed Oryx Entertainment system is available to all passengers on this flight. Most likely this plane ride will be full of business travelers as they fly from the oil-rich Houston area to the Middle East. For six years this flight has been in operation and demand continues to grow for this airline which operates 131 planes to over 137 destinations worldwide.

JPRichard / Shutterstock.com
JPRichard / Shutterstock.com

7. New York to Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific

On this flight from New York to Hong Kong, passengers will actually fly close to the North Pole, before descending back down south over Russia Siberia. At 8,072 miles, this journey takes about 16 hours. Cathay Pacific happens to be one of the best airlines to fly in Economy Class, good news for those not wanting to shell out big bucks for Business or First Class. Economy seats feature extra width and legroom compared to other airlines as well as a plethora of in-flight entertainment options. Small touches such as a printed menu with food options the same as in First Class, a USB and power outlet, along with a well-designed seat back, makes flying this 16 hour journey easy!

New York

6. Dallas to Hong Kong: American Airlines

It is one of the most recent routes on this list as it only launched in May 2015 and now features the incredible Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The journey from Dallas to Hong Kong is approximately 8,123 miles and takes about 16.5 hours. The custom designed Dreamliner aircraft is unique to American and offers Business Suites with fully adjustable lie-flat seats and direct aisle access for all. Every passenger here will enjoy the onboard Wi-Fi, power outlets and personal in-flight entertainment with up to 250 movies, 180 TV programs and 350 audio selections. It became the first flight from Dallas to China as a whole and we expect it won’t be the last.

Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com
Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com

5. Houston to Dubai: Emirates

This 8,168 mile journey from Houston to Dubai takes about 16. 5 hours, but for those oil tycoons who can afford to fly in style, it certainly won’t feel that long. First class brings “do not disturb” signs, personal mini-bars and on-demand dining. Business Class features privacy screens and leather seats that transform into beds, complete with a built-in massage feature. Even in economy, passengers are treated to the onboard entertainment system that features up to 1,500 channels of content. It is easy to book a seat on this flight as Emirates offers two connections between the cities daily, often at bargain rates at just over $1,000 round trip. This is one long journey that you may want to splurge on First Class, trust us, you won’t regret it.

Sophie James / Shutterstock.com
Sophie James / Shutterstock.com

4. Los Angeles to Dubai: Emirates

This 16.5 hour flight that covers over 8,339 miles flies from one end of the globe to the next, although you wouldn’t know it on arrival as these two cities both boast deep blue seas, luxurious hotels, fashion malls and miles upon miles of beaches. The aircraft used here is a double-decker A380 which features 14 First Class suites, 76 flat beds in Business Class and almost 400 seats in Economy. Premium fliers also get access to the exclusive upstairs cocktail lounge. Emirates is typically known for its over-the-top amenities on their flights and expect thousands of entertainment choices, a generous baggage allowance and both Wi-Fi and mobile phone connectivity on-board. If you happen to be taking this flight in first class, amenities range from bottles of Dom Perignon, in-flight shower spa sessions and 27-inch flat screen TV’s.  You may never want to leave this aircraft!

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

3. Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi: Etihad

The third longest non-stop flight in the world also takes just over 16.5 hours and covers over 8,390 miles; connecting the desert boom town of Abu Dhabi with L.A. This flight is one of the most comfortable on this list though as Etihad offers generous legroom in all of its classes. Passengers will choose from three different classes including the award-winning Diamond First Class suites, Business Class flatbed seats and Economy class. Expect 6-foot reclining beds and 23-inch flat-screen TV’s in the First Class suites as well as your own personal closet. For families that are flying this route, they may want to take advantage of the “Flying Nanny” program, where parents are given a break from their little ones. Wherever you sit on this plane, expect first-class service, excellent in-flight entertainment and a lot of hours in the air.

Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com
Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com

2. Atlanta to Johannesburg: Delta

Anyway you cut it, it is a long way from the United States to South Africa and at 16.5 hours, this flight covers over 8,439 miles. The 777 Boeing planes that are used to make this long flight provide awesome comfort though, if you are willing to spend a bit of extra cash. The business elite class is the favorite amongst many as it features lie-flat seats that allow your feet to face the aisle and offer the ultimate privacy, and as an added bonus every seat has aisle access. Even in economy, the new seats on these aircrafts provide enough room to stretch out and sleep. Economy comfort is also a great choice, not near as expensive as business class but still offers extra leg room and alcoholic beverages. The flight crosses over the entire breadth of the Atlantic Ocean before touching down in a country that teems with culture and wildlife.

Johannesburg South Africa

1. Dallas to Sydney: Qantas

At a whopping 17 hours this is currently the longest non-stop flight in the world and travels an insane 8,578 miles between the two cities. This route also boasts the biggest passenger plane in the skies; the double-decker A380. Qantas can fly this route in either direction and passengers have their choice of four different classes on-board. Choose from one of 14 seats in first class, 64 seats in business, 35 seats in premium economy or one of 371 seats in coach. Either way, expect more leg room, ergonomically correct seats, better in-flight facilities and even a self-serve snack bar. The on-demand entertainment systems ensures passengers have access to over 100 movies, 500 TV programs, 800 music options and 18 radio channels; ensuring this 17 hour flight will whiz by.

Circular Quay Sydney Australia

The 15 Best Airports For a Layover

Passengers who fly a lot often or even just once in a while dread having a layover in a strange airport within a strange city. But flyers need not worry if they are flying through one of these remarkable airports. Some of these airports are futuristic, others are friendly and many of them offer extraordinary amenities and close access to visit cities. What they all offer is a unique and easy way to enjoy a short or long layover, with free showers, movie theaters and even a full 9-hole golf course. Discover the best of the best in airports around the world for layovers.

15. Keflavík International Airport, Iceland

This airport is modern, compact and recently went through a renovation that makes it easier to navigate and has added many shops and dining options that please passengers who are stuck here. Like most places in Iceland the airport offers free WiFi, a welcome amenity to those travelers from many of the US airports that charge. But perhaps the best part about having a layover here is the location. Located just half an hour from the famous Blue Lagoon, passengers on a layover here will have the chance to leave the airport and soak their troubles away in the warm, geothermal waters. Spread across the landscape of black lava mounds, visitors can soak in the 100-degree water for a few hours before returning back via shuttle, taxi or bus. This is one airport you will want to seek out for a long layover and take advantage of this awesome experience.

Photo by: Keflavik International Airport
Photo by: Keflavik International Airport

14. Helsinki International Airport, Finland

Despite this being a relatively small airport, the Helsinki airport offers up plenty of uncrowded space, amenities and a calming presence. It is one of the most relaxing airports on this list and travelers can experience the Finnish culture through the cinema area that features Finish films and large sculptures that adorn the terminal. For avid readers there is a book exchange that features a cozy nook where you can get lost for hours reading and swapping titles. A scenic terrace lets visitors watch the incoming and outgoing planes during the summer months. The best part about this airport may be the free relaxation area that features foldable beds, comfy chairs and plugs for all of your electronics. Plenty of shopping and authentic dining options, as well as the option to leave the airport and tour the city makes this airport an excellent layover destination.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

13. Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan

There is lots to do if you are stuck in the Tokyo airport on a layover and being only 9 miles from the downtown area gives passengers plenty of options. Free WiFi, a barber, hair salon, oxygen bar, health clinic and duty free shops are all scattered throughout the terminals for passenger convenience. Sleeping here on a layover can also be quite pleasant. The seats and benches are comfortable, the lights are dimmed and there are no loud announcements over the speakers. The huge panoramic terrace on the roof offers amazing views of the planes landing and taking off. Lounges can be assessed for as little as $8 US and offer comfortable seats, electrical outlets, refreshments and showers. Many layover passengers enjoy these amenities without having to shell out big bucks.

cowardlion / Shutterstock.com
cowardlion / Shutterstock.com

12. Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia

This airport may not be the most modern on the list but the rain forest-like feel coupled with free WiFi, plenty of dining options and the friendliness of the Malaysian people makes it one of the best airports to have a layover. The upper level of the airport boasts four different areas where passengers can curl up and watch TV. In the middle of the terminal is a small tropical garden and on the 5th level is an area just for children, complete with activities and slides. If you are looking to leave the airport and experience the city you will need about a six to seven hour layover. The KLIA express train takes you right into the capitol in just thirty minutes. Whether you want to sit and enjoy the tropical feel of the airport with its free WiFi and showers or venture out into the city; this is a great airport to have a layover.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

11. San Francisco International Airport, California, USA

It is the only airport located in the United States to make this list and travelers who spend a layover here will be pleasantly surprised by the amenities offered throughout. Standard amenities range from free WiFi, rapid charging stations, XpressSpas offering massages, facials, manicures/pedicures, etc and art exhibits spread throughout. The Aviation Museum and Library is open to the public and free admission makes this a great place to kill some time. For those with little ones, hanging out at the airport has never been easier with different kids play areas and a scavenger hunt with prizes. Free yoga rooms, relaxation rooms and hydration stations are offered throughout. Eating and drinking at the airport is truly a culinary experience with an emphasis on locally crafted food, beer and wine. If you do want to leave the airport during your layover, the city center is a quick 25 minute ride away on the train.

Kenishirotie / Shutterstock.com
Kenishirotie / Shutterstock.com

10. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan

For those passengers who face a layover at the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, there is an abundance of free activities and entertaining things to do while you wait, beginning with free hot showers. Large couches and comfortable seating areas allow for passengers to relax and even catch a sleep while they wait for their next flight. Exploring the terminals is a great way to pass the time here as this airport offers 30 plus themed lounges ranging from Hello Kitty to a sports themed lounge. Cultural art galleries are scattered throughout as well as numerous kids’ areas that feature gaming stations. The free library offers books, tablets, computers and e-books, as well as mobile charging stations and comfortable seating. There are free massage chairs, numerous prayer rooms and cloud-based reading areas where comfortable chairs and computers are provided. One thing for sure, you won’t need a reason to leave this airport on your layover.

outcast85 / Shutterstock.com
outcast85 / Shutterstock.com

9. Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, Canada

This International airport is home to First Nations art, 5,000 marine animals and a nature inspired creek that runs through it; amongst many more things. If you are going to have a layover in Canada, this would be the place to do it. One of the most impressive ways to spend time in this airport is to head to the international terminal where an 114,000 liter aquarium sits as a permanent exhibit. A jellyfish aquarium also sits up on the fourth floor. There is no shortage of comfortable seating at this airport, rows of chairs complete with headrests and footrests are at each gate as well as removable cushioned chairs with no armrests, letting passengers create mini sleeping areas. Mini TV watching stations are available, complete with three different channels, comfortable theater style chairs and a kid’s play area nearby. Although the city is just a short train trip away, you may find yourself wanting to stay here and explore this awesome airport.

 Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

8. London Heathrow

It’s one of the busiest airports in the world and provides a ton of dining, shopping and entertainment venues to keep passengers occupied during a layover. It’s one of the only airports in the world that offers personal shoppers to the passengers to help pick out gifts, travel wardrobes, etc. Shoppers will delight in duty free stores and high end retail like Burberry. There’s also something for foodies who will delight in over 100 restaurants throughout the terminals. Passengers can wander through the cultural exhibition showcasing British sculptors, painters, and photographers. Sleeping isn’t great at this airport as it is busy, but there is so many nooks and crannies to discover throughout the huge terminals so patience in finding a place to snooze is a must. If you feel like leaving the airport, the city is only about 15 miles away and can easily be accessed through underground, train or taxi.

Milosz_M / Shutterstock.com
Milosz_M / Shutterstock.com

7. Dubai International Airport, Dubai

Like everything else in Dubai, this airport is over the top, extravagant and truly unforgettable. This is one airport where having a layover is actually an incredible experience. Shopaholics will go crazy for the world’s largest duty-free shop at 58,000 square feet and other high-end shops. Passengers can walk through open-air gardens complete with mist machines or choose to use the G-Force gym; open 24/7, with a pool and showers. The immaculate inside of the airport offers such things as shopping stands where you can purchase actual gold bars. If you are looking to sleep, the Dubai airport offers Snoozecubes; soundproof units with a bed, touch screen TV and music for a minimal price available by the hour. This airport is expanding at a rapid rate and expects to be able to handle 90 million passengers by 2018, which means even more amazing amenities coming here.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

6. Munich International Airport, Germany

You won’t have any problems finding a beer in this airport, which is often the perfect way to pass some time during a layover. Everyone heads to Airbräu, a Bavarian-style tavern complete with its own beer garden, live music and on-site brewery, where beer enthusiasts can watch the brewmaster in action. Passengers will find free showers, a beautiful courtyard that connects the terminals and plenty of relaxation centers with reclining seats and electrical outlets. The visitor’s park is truly an amazing feature of this airport and offers free showings of aviation movies, mini-golf, a viewing platform and historical aircrafts. Passengers on a layover should head to terminal two which features ultra-modern touches such as nap pods complete with iPhone and USB ports. There is free coffee, tea and hot chocolate throughout, a skating rink in the winter months and access to free WiFi makes Munich the perfect layover airport.

Luisa Fumi / Shutterstock.com
Luisa Fumi / Shutterstock.com

5. Zurich Airport, Switzerland

An extensive renovation to this airport back in 2011 improved this already well-liked airport with the likes of two rooftop terraces with observation points and an awesome kids area complete with a mini-plane and tower to explore. There are plenty of ways to rest and freshen up in this airport. Free showers are available along with plenty of communal rest areas with comfy reclining chairs. If you are looking for a little more privacy, simple furnished rooms are available to rent that come complete with beds, TV and an individual wash basin. Plenty of duty-free shops and restaurants line this airport, including ones with the famous Swiss chocolate. For those looking to get a little exercise between flights, in-line skates and bikes are available to rent right from the airport.

MR. INTERIOR / Shutterstock.com
MR. INTERIOR / Shutterstock.com

4. Amsterdam Schiphol, The Netherlands

This one terminal airport has been in the same location for 100 years and pleasing passengers from the get go. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Museum is housed here and offers free admission, letting passengers take in the permanent and temporary art exhibits by Dutch artists. The world’s first airport library also provides a great way for passengers to pass the time and offers e-books and print books in 29 different languages. Having a layover here means access to over 75 shops and many dining options such as the Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar where you can dine around a saltwater aquarium with a glass of champagne and fresh seafood. For those travelers looking to relax there is free WiFi, numerous spas and showers. Massage chairs, casinos and numerous lounges round out this airport experience.

Bokstaz / Shutterstock.com
Bokstaz / Shutterstock.com

3. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

This futuristic airport offers endless entertainment for passengers stuck on layovers here. The endless charging stations, business centers and beautiful lounges will suit the business travelers, but the guests who really benefit from having a layover here are those looking to have some fun between flights. The outdoor nine-hole golf course is open 24/7 to passengers looking to squeeze in a round or two. The world’s first airport IMAX Theater shows both 2D and 3D films and sports lover can head up to the iSports simulator for car racing, basketball and soccer. High end shops and Michelin star restaurants are located throughout the airport. The Aviation Discovery Centre which tracks aviation history in Hong Kong through themed exhibits and attractions including the SkyDeck, and Cockpit Simulator keep passengers occupied throughout flight times.

TungCheung / Shutterstock.com
TungCheung / Shutterstock.com

2. Incheon International Airport, South Korea

This airport is a favorite among travelers, especially among the ones who get stuck here for a few hours. There are a ton of free amenities that will make weary travelers happy including WiFi, use of laptops and free showers. More importantly though this airport offers lots of fun for layover passengers including two movie theaters playing Korean and Hollywood Hits, an ice skating rink and an 18-hole putting course. The culture center offers experiences such as learning traditional Korean paper handicraft and taking in harp performances. There are seven gardens throughout the airport that are perfect for the ultimate relaxation, or hit up the spa and sauna. If passengers want to leave the airport there are many tours that leave directly from it and take visitors to temples, historic sites and newer attractions. Did we mention that this airport offers over 90 different duty free shops and looks more like a sparkling clean mall, rather than an airport?

Tanjala Gica / Shutterstock.com
Tanjala Gica / Shutterstock.com

1. Changi International Airport, Singapore

This airport is truly the best in the world and there is nowhere else in the world that you should want to have a layover than here. The Changi Airport in Singapore has won over 400 awards and continues to add to its impressive list of features. For passengers who are stuck here on a layover, there are hundreds of things to discover. Take a walk through one of five gardens, including the live butterfly garden boasting more than a 1000 butterflies. Take a ride down the 40-foot swirling slide, refresh in the rooftop Balinese-themed swimming or catch a free flick at the movie theater. Entertainment areas featuring Xbox, Playstations and other electronics are scattered throughout as well as art sculptures and waterfalls. Business travelers will be happy with the 200 iPad-wielding agents, hundreds of free Internet terminals, plus airport-wide free WiFi and hundreds of USB ports and power sockets.

joyfull / Shutterstock.com
joyfull / Shutterstock.com

The 7 Safest Places to Travel in the Middle East

Beautiful mountain ranges, untouched beauty, warm waters and some of the oldest history in the world makes the Middle East a perfect place to visit. Unfortunately finding a safe place to explore here is often compared to finding a needle in a haystack. With political unrest, terrorism and travel advisories; travelers are often avoiding this beautiful part of the world but as you will soon discover; you don’t have to stay away. We have dug deep to find you the seven safest places to visit in the Middle East. From temples to tombs, from The Dead Sea to lush mountain tops to the tallest structure in the world; these Middle Eastern destinations have something for everyone to enjoy. Although these destinations are safe at the time of writing, we highly suggest doing your research and keeping up to date with the information on any place you are planning to visit.

7. The Nile, Egypt

With all the political unrest in Egypt over the past year it was just as surprising to us that Egypt has made our list! When we dove deeper into the safety of Egypt we discovered that there are not only safe places to visit; but now may be the best time to go. From the un-crowded pyramids of Giza to the tourist empty Valley of The Kings; travelling along the Nile is a safe and plentiful option for travel right now. We do recommend sticking to cities such as Luxor and Aswan if you are going to travel alone without a guided tour. If you are going to see the Pyramids of Giza a cruise of the Nile with a guide is our best suggestion.

Dan Breckwoldt / Shutterstock.com
Dan Breckwoldt / Shutterstock.com

6. Northern Israel

Please take note that we mention NORTHERN Israel above, not Southern Israel. With all the conflict happening in this country one might be surprised to find it on our list but we are confident in telling you that the Northern part of this region is still a safe Middle Eastern Destination. We recommend visiting regions such as Galilee; a mountainous region in the north that is famous for its wine country, national parks and Jewish and Christian Holy Sites. Set some time aside to explore the city of Nazareth. From the historic churches to the local market to the ancient bath houses; this city is filled with amazing things to discover. As with all of these destinations, do your research beforehand and understand local customs and dress codes.

Nazareth

5. Cyprus

Home to more than two million visitors a year, Cyprus is known as a relatively safe place to travel; and therefore puts this island on the list. Couple those facts with the sizzling sun, spectacular coastlines and top quality mountain treks and you have your next vacation destination. We suggest going out of your “comfort zone” and exploring this island rather than sticking to the popular tourist towns such as Pafos and Agia Napa. The north coast boasts some of the best golden beaches around as well as ruins of medieval castles that will bring forth the fairytale daydream in all of us. A bathing suit, a pair of hiking boots and some sunscreen will go a long way in helping you explore this beautiful land.

Cyprus

4. Qatar

Scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup; Qatar is slowly but surely becoming noticeable as a tourist destination. Surrounded by the sea and being a safe Middle Eastern Country to visit makes this country number four on our list. For a western approach on water sports make sure to try kite-surfing, or take a page from the locals and jet-ski right next to the beaches. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art, the cultural village of Katara and Souq Waqif; the traditional marketplace of Qatar. Don’t miss the chance to watch the traditional sport of the sheiks, known to us as camel racing. Head over to Qatar’s popular camel racetrack where this expensive sport continues even today.

Qatar at night

3. Oman

Up until recently Oman has been virtually unknown in the tourist world. In recent years however Oman has invested heavily in tourism and it shows. An absolute must is watching the hundreds of green sea turtles come up to nest on one of Oman’s beaches (the best time for this is September to November). The Historic village of Nizwa is home to one of Oman’s mightiest forts and here you will find plenty of Souks selling everything you desire. A visit to Oman would not be complete without a cruise through Khor Ash Sham; a 16km inlet where you are treated to remote hamlets along the shoreline and pods of dolphins throughout. Explore the towering mountain range, sleep in the dessert and enjoy the remote country of Oman.

Muscat, Oman

2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It should be no surprise that Dubai makes this list due to its modernity, richness and high security.  For those looking for a modern Dubai experience don’t miss out on the world’s tallest structure; Burj Khalifa which stands 828 metres and 160 floors tall. The dancing Dubai Fountain will knock your socks off in their nightly show, which can accessed through the Dubai Mall; just in case you have some shopping to do first. For the history buff; Dubai Museum is a great place to start where modern technology meets history in an underground fort that shows the fascinating transition from village to modern empire that the Emirate is today. The Markets or Souks as they are called are worth a visit and can be found on both sides of the Dubai Creek.

Sophie James / Shutterstock.com
Sophie James / Shutterstock.com

1. Jordan

Our number one pick for the safest place to visit in the Middle East is Jordan. Despite its close proximity to places with recent war; Jordan’s security is first class. Avoiding the area closest to Syria and Iraq (3km within both borders) is recommended but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Jordan. Make sure to visit Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World where the breathtaking ruins will have you in awe. Float in the Dead Sea, dive in the warm waters at Aqaba or relax in the natural hot springs underneath a waterfall. To make you feel even more at ease in this wonderful country; most people in Jordan speak English. Don’t be afraid; be enthralled.

Petra Jordan

The World’s Busiest Passenger Airports

If you’ve ever been in or around an airport you’ll know that there’s a lot going on.  People everywhere, excitedly coming together, tearfully saying goodbye, or for the seasoned traveler simply drifting through another prosaic process.  In 2014 commercial aviation is celebrating its 100th year and it’s fairly safe to say business is booming; in 2013 alone over 6 billion travelers passed through almost 2000 airports in 160 countries across the globe.  Here’s a run-down of the 10 busiest passenger airports in the world for 2013:

10.  Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK)

Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, named after Indonesia’s first president and vice-president respectively, is the third busiest airport in Asia by passenger numbers.  Last year the number of travelers using the airport rose 4.1% to 60,137,347 and it’s only getting busier, with plans for a new third runway to be completed in 2015.  Even with this huge amount of travelers passing through, it has dropped down from its place as 9th busiest airport in 2012.

cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com
cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com

9.  Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA (DFW)

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is less an airport and more a city-state; at almost 70 km sq. it’s the second largest airport by area in the USA and the US Postal Service considers it a city in itself, giving it its own ZIP code.  It boasts its own fire, police and emergency medical services, and is the largest operating hub for American Airlines.  In terms of passenger numbers, in 2013 they were up 3.2% from 2012 to 60,470,507, making it the 4th busiest airport in the US.

Frontpage / Shutterstock.com
Frontpage / Shutterstock.com

8.  Paris, France (CDG)

Opened in 1974, and named after French President from 1959 to 1969 Charles de Gaulle, the airport is the busiest in France and the second busiest in Europe.  Last year 62,052,917 made a trip through its 3 terminals, marking for an increase of 0.7% on the previous year.  The 2004 Tom Hanks movie The Terminal took inspiration from the case of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lived in Terminal 1 of Charles de Gualle from 1988 until 2006 after losing his refugee immigration papers.

Paris airport

7.  Dubai, United Arab Emirates (DXB)

Out of the top 10 busiest passenger airports Dubai International is the most rapidly growing.  Over the past 10 years annual footfall has increased by over 48m, and between 2012 and 2013 it increased by 15.2% to record 66,431,533 passengers using the airport.  A huge local and international hub, the airport is massively important to the local economy, contributing over a quarter of Dubai’s GDP, and supporting almost a 5th of the work force.

 Dubai airport

6.  Los Angeles, California, USA (LAX)

Known simply by its short form, LAX is the third busiest airport by passenger numbers in the USA with 66,667,619 people moving through it in 2013, up 4.7% from 2012.  Due to its proximity to Hollywood, LAX is often used as a filming location and has been featured in a number motion pictures, from the opening credits of The Graduate, to the climax of Heat, via the music video for The Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’.

American Spirit / Shutterstock.com
American Spirit / Shutterstock.com

5.  Chicago, Illinois, USA (ORD)

More commonly known as O’Hare the airport was originally built as manufacturing location for military aircraft during the second World War.  It was renamed in 1949 after Edward O’Hare, the first US Navy recipient of the Medal of Honour in World War 2 and until 1998 it was the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers until government restrictions designed to reduce delays were imposed.  As of 2013 the airport handles 66,777,161 domestic and international passengers a year.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

4.  Tokyo, Japan (HND)

Tokyo International Airport, or Haneda as it’s broadly known is the second busiest passenger airport in Asia, and fourth busiest in the world handling 68,906,509 travelers in 2013, a 3.2% increase on the previous year.  After growing in 2010 the airport has the capacity to deal with 90m passengers, and is known for its punctuality having been recognized by Forbes Traveller more than once.  The first flight to depart from the airport was in August 1931, and took a cache of insects to Dalian in northeastern China.

Hit1912 / Shutterstock.com
Hit1912 / Shutterstock.com

3.  London, UK (LHR)

London is home to the busiest airport system in the world in terms of passenger traffic.  Over 100m people pass through the city’s 6 airports annually, 72,368,061 of them through Heathrow in 2013.  With the newest Terminal 5 opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 Heathrow is the not only the busiest airport in the UK but in the whole of Europe.  It’s also the main hub for the UK’s flagship carrier British Airways.

Milosz_M / Shutterstock.com
Milosz_M / Shutterstock.com

2.  Beijing, China (PEK)

Passenger numbers are growing faster in Asia-Pacific than anywhere else in the world, and in 2013 the region handled 2.06 billion passengers – more than any other area on the planet.  The regions busiest airport is Beijing Capital International which as of last year dealt with 83,712,355 passengers.  In 2008 the latest terminal, Terminal 3, was opened in time for the Olympic Games and became the 6th largest building on earth by floor space, covering 1,713,000 square metres.

Beijing Airport

1. Atlanta, Georgia, USA (ATL)

Hartsfield-Jackson International, named after two previous mayors who championed aviation and construction of the airport – William B. Hartsfield and Maynard Jackson – has been the busiest passenger airport in the world since 1998.  It maintained its spot atop the list in 2013 even though the number of travelers passing through dropped 1.1% from 2012 to 94,431,224.  Hartfield-Jackson is a major hub for flights in the US, with the most popular destinations in 2013 being to Orlando domestically, and Cancun, Mexico internationally.

Hartsfield-Jackson

Top 15 Global Destination Cities For 2013

Travelers looking to travel oftentimes look beyond their own country’s borders when planning their trips. According to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index for 2013, there are 15 cities that stand out for travelers. Seven cities on the list are located in Asia, six are European cities, and one is North American. Istanbul, Turkey, the No. 6 city on the list, strides the Europe-Asia border.

15. Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Amsterdam is the capital of and the largest city in the Netherlands. It is known to cater to all tastes as those who want to relax in an old European city are just as fulfilled as those who want to embark on a night of serious partying.

Top Cities 2013 - Amsterdam

14. Shanghai, China

Shanghai is the largest city in the world at 18 million people. Its status as a tourist destination has taken off the past 20 years. Visitors will be able to get around easily on its subway system, the longest in the world at 260 miles.

Top Cities 2013 - Shanghai

13. Rome, Italy

Rome is one of the most historic cities of the world as it was the center of the Roman Empire. Travelers enjoy coming to the City of Seven Hills to visit the Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum.

Top Cities 2013 - Rome

12. Milan, Italy 

Milan, Italy’s second-largest city, is located in the north of the country. It is a destination for those looking to enjoy some football, shopping, the performing arts and nightlife. Fashion aficionados will especially enjoy visiting Milan.

Top Cities 2013 - Milan

11. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is one of East Asia’s cultural highlights. The city’s Five Grand Palaces are impressive. Hikers enjoy trips to the mountains around Seoul. Fans of the hit song, “Gangnam Style,” can visit the Gangnam District.

Top Cities 2013 - Seoul

10. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the center of Catalonia, a nationality in Spain’s northeast corner. The city still feels the effects of having hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, including an influx in tourism. The Picasso Museum is a strong attraction for art enthusiasts.

Top Cities 2013 - Barcelona

9. Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong is a city of dualities with its history as a British colony and its current status as a Special Administration Region of China. It is highly dense as 7 million people live within its 426 square miles. Victoria Peak is a pleasant scenic escape, however.

Top Cities 2013 - Hong Kong

8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Malaysia’s capital city offers travelers some of the best bang for their buck of any city on this list. The city has 66 shopping malls, allowing visitors plenty of options to buy items to bring home. The night life is quite vibrant here as well.

Top Cities 2013 - Kuala Lumpur

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates. It is conveniently located just five hours flying time from much of Europe. It is known as one of the most liberal cities in the Middle East.

Top Cities 2013 - Dubai

6. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a city of two continents as the city’s bridges connect the European and Asian sections of the city. It is one of just four transcontinental cities in the world. The historic and religious sights of the city are numerous and impressive.

Top Cities 2013 - Istanbul

5. New York, United States

New York is the largest city in the United States, and it is a multi-cultural melting pot. Some of its sights include the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The offerings in the Theatre District are world class.

Top Cities 2013 - New York

4. Singapore

Singapore is an island city-state located just south of Malaysia. Visitors enjoy a multi-cultural atmosphere as influences exist from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. It is the second most densely populated country in the world behind Monaco.

Top Cities 2013 - Singapore

3. Paris, France

The sights of Paris are known throughout the world. The most iconic one has to be the Eiffel Tower. The City of Light is also home to the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame cathedral. The Louvre is one of the world’s most renowned museums.

Top Cities 2013 - Paris

2. London, England

London is the capital of England and of the United Kingdom, and its core dates to medieval times. Its sights include Hyde Park, the British Museum and Buckingham Palace. Some of the world’s best soccer is played within its city limits.

Top Cities 2013 - London

1. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a destination for travelers from throughout the world. Some of the most popular attractions in this cosmopolitan city include the Grand Palace and the Bangkok National Museum. Muay Thai is the popular local sport.

Top Cities 2013 - Bangkok

10 Best Shopping Cities in the World

If you love shopping, then you can get your fix at any one of these great cities. While every city has places to shop, these cities are renowned for their wide selections, prices, and atmosphere. Each city is chosen for its selection, ease of payment, and atmosphere. Find the best clothes, accessories, and more while visiting these shopping havens!

1. New York 

New York is famous for having a wide variety of shops, outlets, and specialty stores. You will be able to find anything from jeans to high-end Italian watches while walking on the Manhattan strip. Price ranges are flexible, and you can find clothing from all corners of the globe in a one-block radius.

Times Square

2. Paris

Paris is renowned for its style, attitude, and designer boutiques. Enter any one of the high-end stores for a panorama of expensive jewelry, shoes, and designer clothing. You can also experience any one of the famous boutiques along Montmartre. Some of these boutiques have been open for generations, and they are the perfect place to experience history and style.

Paris 2

3. San Francisco

San Francisco has a great mixture of large malls and independent designers. Westfield is a multi-tiered mall featuring designers from all over the world. You can also walk around the famous Fillmore in order to experience San Francisco’s greatest independent stores. These stores are filled to the brim with the latest in trendy attire.

San Francisco 2

4. London

London is a large city full of every shop you can imagine. From low-end to high-end, you will be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. You will also find surprises at every corner with London’s unique cultural blend of stores, markets, and fairs. Check out the Liberty Mall to experience the best in London shopping.

London, England

5. Moscow

If you are looking for luxury, then Moscow has something for you. While frugal shoppers are advised to stay far away, Moscow has many of the world’s most expensive brands within a walking distance from the center. Splurge in the world famous GUM on Red Square, or find the latest perfume at the newly restored Tsum. With a taste for decadence, Moscow is the perfect city for expensive shopping.

moscow

6. Dubai

The Dubai Mall was built to be the greatest mall in the world. Since Dubai is a relatively new city, they needed something grand to attract tourists. This mall is filled to the brim with activities, fountains, and all the shopping you’ll ever need. With music festivals and incredible sales, the Dubai Mall will have any shopper gushing.

Dubai

7. Barcelona

Barcelona has immense offerings for any shopper. There is a mall on the pier at the end of Las Ramblas that has clothing for any budget. Walk down Las Ramblas and its side streets to find a chic boutique or cobbler. You will also find many common retail outlets scattered throughout this wonderful city.

Barcelona, Spain

8. Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers the best value to international shoppers. You find name brands and local brands for the best prices at the Hong Kong Mall. You can also shop with the locals at the hip Fang Hong outlet.

Hong Kong
Mihai-Bogdan Lazar / Shutterstock.com

9. Tokyo

Tokyo’s retail outlets are brimming with every culture imaginable. You will find French pastries next to German designer stores in these vast malls. You will find a mall to suit your needs at the end of every neon-lit street. While the prices are relatively high, you will not be disappointed with the breathtaking selection that Tokyo has to offer.

Tokyo
SeanPavonePhoto / Shutterstock.com

10. Berlin

Berlin has a unique selection of independent outlets and high-end retailers. The independent stores are full of beautifully designed shirts, hats, and shoes. With impeccable quality and fair prices, Berlin is a great place to find a special outfit for any occasion.

Berlin Germany

The 10 Most Amazing Things to See in Dubai

Glimpses of Dubai in movies and in magazines make it pretty evident that this city in the desert does everything massive and glitzy all with the goal to impress. This most visited emirate boasts many of the world’s most sprawling and luxurious resorts, theme parks, shopping malls, and many other vast attractions to amaze and delight tourists. That’s why a visit to Dubai is a valid excuse to pamper your senses with the awe-inspired architecture, unique entertainment, and cultural wonders of the city—and beyond.

Here are the ten most amazing things to see in Dubai…

1. Jumeirah Beach Walk

Jumeirah Beach Walk (or JBR) is the most massive single-phase residential area among the world’s scene. And this one is particularly panoramic, situated along Dubai’s stunning marina and beach front.  The Walk encompasses 36 towers, a wide promenade lined with boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and multiple spots to grab a coffee and drool over the millionaire wardrobes and automobiles zooming by.

the walk
Pier Giorgio Mariani / Shutterstock.com

2. Desert Dining

If an authentic Bedouin desert excursion is what you’re after, tour companies galore offer guided romps via a sturdy camel ride to a traditional tent—complete with a belly dancer and a bona fide Arabic meal.

camel ride

3. The Dubai Mall

Dubai is famous for its luxurious brand name shopping. However, the Dubai Mall takes the Manolo Blahniks with its massive collection of high quality stores, a 22-screen cinema, an indoor theme park, Kidzania world for children, a giant Aquarium and underwater zoo, and a full-sized ice rink, and Vegas-style shows at the Dubai Fountain. Plan to spend an entire day and evening!

dubai mall
Cherkas / Shutterstock.com

4. The Palm Islands

Typically referred to as simply “The Palms”, these 3 architectural wonders were designed in a shape of a date palm tree— and appear as a massive trunk, a full palm crown with fronds, and a crescent island to act as a breakwater wall from the overhead view. These are the first man-made islands in the world, which earned them the “Eighth Wonder of the World” title.

palm islands

5. Wadi Wurrayah

Wadi Wurrayah is home to the UAE’s sole natural waterfall and Hatta natural rock pools of Hatta. They make for a cooling day excursion by 4×4 as they’re located in the desert, less than an hour outside of Dubai.

4x4
Adrian Lindley / Shutterstock.com

6. The Burj Khalifa

Towering above the skyline like a giant futuristic rocket, the Burj Khalifa has earned its place as the tallest free-standing structure in the world. It’s impossible to miss it from anywhere in the city, but actually make a point of taking the elevator to the 134th floor observation deck—particularly at night–the view is not to be missed!

Burj
Laborant / Shutterstock.com

7. The Old Gold Souk

If you want to take home some souvenir gold from your trip to Dubai, the Old Gold Souk (or gold market) will dazzle you with its yellow displays of jewelry stacked in shop windows and stalls. The perks of the virtually crime-free city is that you’ll be free to browse, try on, and get a close look at the wares. And be sure to haggle for the best price possible.

Old Gold Souk

8. Desert Skiing

Your friends and family at home won’t believe the pictures of you hitting the slopes in the middle of the desert—however, Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates, makes snowy slopes of up to 1,300 feet possible all year round.  You don’t even have to bring your equipment as you can rent skis or inner tubes for riding the hills.

mall of emarites
VLADJ55 / Shutterstock.com

9. The Bastakia Quarter

Dubai’s roots as a fishing village are still quite evident in the Bastakia Quarter, located between the Dubai Creek and the buzzing Bur Dubai district. This maze of buildings, shops, art galleries and cafés holds several gems—including the XVA Gallery of mainly contemporary art, the Majlis Gallery of mainly Middle Eastern art, and the textile souk where you can barter for bolts of brightly colored fabric.

Bastakia Quarter

10. Dubailand

Dubailand is a Disneyland for children of all ages. This sprawling entertainment complex is jam-packed with tourist attractions, luxurious real estate, entertainment, spas, golf, retail, and dining options. Take the kids to one of the 6 theme parks—among them is the Blues Brothers outdoor show, a Hooray for Bollywood indoor show, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.

Dubailand