TRAVEL

17 Places You Have To Visit To Truly Understand

01/17/2014 08:05 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

Some places are portrayed just perfectly in photos-- in fact, they look even better in photos, because their real-life versions are polluted with crowds and chaos (cough, Eiffel Tower, cough).

Other wonders, however, are not so overrated. A picture could never do justice to their majesty, because their majesty is a multisensory, all-encompassing, total body experience.

Take a look.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India
It's quiet, surreal, "am I actually here?!" moments like these which make travel worthwhile. And you could never capture them on film.
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Waimea Bay, Hawaii
You won't believe how blissful it feels to slide down waves on a surfboard until you're there.
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Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Does it look like it can be contained in just a photo?
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St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
There's a sense that you're on hallowed ground here, and it feels all the more magical once crowds leave for the day.
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Everest Base Camps, Nepal and Tibet
No photo could translate the lonely, silent, icy anticipation before climbing the world's tallest mountain.
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The Amazon rainforest, South America
There's nothing like a warm, sticky sunrise.
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The Louvre, Paris
It's arguably the most famous museum on Earth, and open, airy hallways make it feel larger-than-life. When the sun goes down, everything inside gets all shadowy and 'Da Vinci Code'-ish.
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Banff National Park, Canada
People who know national parks say it's hands-down the most memorable.
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Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Standing at the top of Corcovado mountain -- with a city of six million sprawled under you -- isn't a feeling you'll substitute with a photo.
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Central Park, New York
It's hard to grasp how much of an oasis this park is until you've been swallowed by the urban tangle that surrounds it.
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Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris
Come for Mass -- not a walk-through tour -- and watch one of Earth's most famous buildings live out its intended purpose. Pretty snazzy, indeed.
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Sequoia National Park, California
You've gotta be there for the heavenly combo of clean-air scent and whirly sensation of looking upward.
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Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The overwhelming sensation of standing smack-dab in a 900-year-old, 203-acre temple complex isn't something you can print on a postcard.
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Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland
Yes, the sky actually looks like that when the Northern Lights appear. You should be there in person to see them.
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Damnoen Saduak floating market, Thailand
The chaos is real, and you've gotta be there to feel it.
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Machu Picchu, Peru
Tiptoeing through these fragile ruins feels like balancing on the edge of the world.
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The Gardens of Versailles, France
They're ultra-famous, but they're also so expansive that you can get totally lost and end up all alone in a maze of trees.
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