The world is constantly changing. With world travel more affordable and accessible than ever, crowds of tourists are flocking to places that, not long ago, were hard to get to or completely off-limits. The result, in some cases, has been a flood of travelers changing the vibe of regions. In some cases, ancient treasures are becoming damaged from having so many visitors. Other places are changing rapidly due to political changes, colonization, and over-development in the forms of hotels, shopping malls, and other responses to a booming tourist industry.
For this article, we picked five of our most treasured places in the world that just won't be the same five or ten years from now. Some of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, some of them are formerly off-the-beaten-path attractions, some are cities, and some are entire countries. But regardless of what each of them is, you'll have to see them soon if you want to get the full experience. Otherwise, by the time you arrive, they might be unreconizable!
Onto the list:
These islands off the coast of India are absolutely gorgeous. But they're also fragile, sitting at sea level in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Small rises in sea levels could take them out completely, causing obvious concerns when it comes to global warming and the melting of arctic ice.
This wonder of the world has exploded in popularity, and it's no wonder why: a vast icon of the ancient Inca civilization, Machu Picchu is a stunning site in the mountains of Peru was once an emperor's grand estate. The problem with being so intriguing is that everyone wants to get a look, and the foot traffic is causing damage to the pathways and strucutres that comprise this ancient "city." We suggest you go as soon as possible, while it's still as pristine as possible. Adventurous couples, take note: this is one honeymoon destination that is changing fast.
Cambodia, a small Southeast Asian country, is quickly undergoing drastic changes due to Chinese investment. Formerly sleepy beach areas are being bought up by Chinese investors and turned into resorts run by Chinese expatriates, catering to Chinese tourists and businessmen. The process is happening incredibly fast, with more and more areas being paved over to build Chinese-owned casinos, hotels, and shopping centers -- sometimes evicting the local Cambodians, and their culture, in the process. Go now, soon enough you might feel more like you're visiting a Chinese colony than an independent Cambodia.
The Taj Mahal
Protection efforts for this jaw-dropping Indian palace has been stepped up in recent years, as its surface is becoming damaged and its grounds too heavily-trodden. To see it in as pristine a state as possible, take your honeymoon in India and be able to say you got to see this national treasure when it was still at its best.
Venice's uniqueness and beauty comes from its ancient architecture and winding medieval canals, but these same things are part of the reason Venice is so hard to preserve. Water slowly erodes its environment, and corrosion of the old-world architecture is causing concerns for conservationists, locals, and tourists alike. The charm and beauty of Venice are truly remarkable, but because of its age, the buildings and cobblestone streets are slowly sinking -- and a rise in sea levels due to climate change could hasten the process. See Venice now and get a taste of how medieval meets modern in this gem of Europe.