The world takes about 24 hours to complete its rotation each day. This is not the orbit of the earth around the sun, but the spinning the planet does around its axis. Using the 24 hour day as a base, the day has been divided into 24 different time zones. Each time zone is 15 degrees longitude apart. Using different time zones ensures that each area of the world has similar times at specific positions of sunlight each day.
A trip throughout the time zones of the world brings one to many unique locations on the world. The international dateline begins at 0 degree longitude in the Pacific Ocean near American Samoa. The sun then moves toward Australia and Asia, finally completing the day in the Pacific once again near Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands. Here are some of the marvelous things that can be seen on a trip around the world in each of the 24 times zones. For fun, we will travel backwards through the day.
A Trip Through the World’s Time Zones
The day ends in Alofi, Niue. Niue is an independent island found by Captain Cook on his journeys through the Pacific. Alofi is the capital of the country. This small island does not have any beaches unlike many islands in the Pacific. The island is famous for its numerous caves and coral reefs. With a small population of 2,000 people, this is a very quiet island to visit.
One hour away is Raratonga, the most populated island of the Cook Island chain. This island is known for its deep sea diving and fishing, snorkeling and its outrigger canoes. It also has some great shipwrecks that can be seen on the island.
Moving toward the west, is Anchorage, Alaska. This is the capital of Alaska, and a very modern city. Shopping malls, restaurants and hotels are easily found here. There are also numerous wildlife areas to see with moose, an assortment of bears, caribou and other animals. A quick trip to the zoo will also bring a visitor in contact with the local wildlife. Winter sports are very popular here, and tours to the glaciers and ice formations add to the trip.
Continuing west, the next stop is San Francisco, California. This is another modern city with all the urban activities you could possibly want. Some great items to see are the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, home to George Lucas’ new studio, the top deck of the Transamerica Pyramid to see the whole city, and the performers at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the next destination on our journey to the west. This is another urban area of over one million people. Yet, Edmonton has one of the largest city parks with over 100 miles of hiking trails. It also has great winter sports and the largest native cultural center in Canada.
Let’s travel south and visit South America. Next on our journey is San Jose, Costa Rica. While our previous stops where primarily English speaking areas, it is time to use your Spanish. San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and features Spanish colonial architecture. The native museums hold many interesting cultural artifacts. If you have time, you can take in the local volcanoes, beaches or coffee plantations.
The next stop is Lima, Peru. Lima was founded in 1535. The city has older areas dating from 1535 to modern areas near the government and embassy areas. Lima is the best place to sample all the elements of Peruvian cuisine since all areas of the country have residents in the capital. Surfing the city breakers is a common sport. Keep working on your Spanish.
Bridgetown, Barbados is the major town on Barbados. This small town is known for its port where cruise ships stop almost every day. The duty free shopping for souvenirs here is famous. Tourists also enjoy visiting the former British prison and touring the local rum distilling plants.
Next stop is Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires is famous for its devotion to soccer and out door sports. Many areas of the town, or barrios, are wonderful to walk through. The night life features the tango. The grave of Eva Peron is located at the town’s cemetery. Spanish is the main language here. If you want to visit this amazing country in South America, Expedia offers hotels at affordable prices.
Our journey west now reaches Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Brazil is the largest country in South America and speaks Portuguese. Rio is the capital of the country and boasts the samba, bossa nova and chorro dances. Known for its two week Carnival festival before Lent, Rio will also host the 2014 FIFA games. Do take a trip to the local mountains to take in the view and the statue of Jesus that overlooks the city.
Leaving South America, it is time to visit the continent of Africa. Our first stop will be Praia, Cape Verde, one of the largest towns in the Cape Verde Islands. The official language here is Portuguese, but most people speak the native Creole language. Many people also know English. This city is most famous for its central area. The cathedral, hall of justice and the government buildings are open to visitors. Praia also has shops and restaurants that will give visitors a look into the lives of the native Cape Verde citizens.
Dublin, Ireland is the next stop on the journey west, finally reaching Europe. Dublin is the capital of Ireland and is famous for its castles and distilleries. Walking tours of the city are common. Pubs are popular with the tourists, as are journeys to the mountains surrounding the city.
Continuing on, Prague, Czech Republic is the next stop. This city is considered the most beautiful in the world with its bridges over the river, cathedrals and great architecture. Taking a trip down the river to see the city is a memorable experience. Prague also is the home to the Infant of Prague, one of the most famous religious icons in the world. Brush up on the Czech language.
Athens, Greece is our stop in the next time zone. Athens is a centuries old city and is the home to many unique ruins. Greece is taking on the job of restoring these ruins to their former glory. Home to the beginnings of civilization, do visit the Acropolis and Athen’s outdoor theaters.
Returning to Africa, the next city to visit is Antananarivo, Madagascar. Famous as the eighth continent of the world for its unusual wildlife, this African island country lies in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar is one of the best kite and wind surfing areas of the southern hemisphere as well.
Moscow, Russia is the next city on the time zone tour. Situated in Asia, this capital city is famous for its buildings at Red Square and the Kremlin. The city, over 860 years old, is filled with outstanding examples of eastern Occidental architecture. The tomb of Lenin is near Red Square.
In the next time zone, it is time to visit Malé, Maldives. Located in the Indian Ocean off of Southeast Asia, Malé is home to great snorkeling and scuba diving. Home to a large Sunni Muslim population, the island boasts beautiful mosques.
From Malé, the next stop will be Dhaka, Bangladesh. This country on the Indian continent is famous for its Mughal heritage. A metropolitan city, Dhaka has mosques, Hindu temples, and Christian churches. The tombs and the palaces of the Mughal Viceroys and Governors can be visited by tourists. There are 18 million people in this crowded city, so it is always busy with activity.
Phenom Phen, Cambodia in Southeast Asia is the next community. Situated on the Mekong River Delta, Cambodia is just beginning to recover from the revenges of Pol Pot. The memorials to the millions who died during his regime are incredible. The Cambodian Royal Palace is intact and able to be visited. Trips up and down the Mekong River let the traveler obtain great views of this growing area.
Hong Kong, China is the next city on our journey. Formerly controlled by the British, the island continues to be the economic center of Asia. Shopping on the island is second to none. Settled by Han Chinese, the main language here is Cantonese. For fun, check out the Hong Kong Disneyland.
Continuing west, the next stop is Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo is the largest city in the world with over 35 million people. The central downtown area, once reserved for the shogun and his staff, is now open to tourists. Visitors to Tokyo enjoy learning about calligraphy, the Japanese tea ceremony and native martial arts. The local Disneyland and Disney Sea are the most visited tourist attractions in the world. Once a 24 hour city, some of the lights and activity has been slowed by the recent tsunami. Nonetheless, this is actually a great time to visit the city, since it is a bit less crowded than normal.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea is the next stop. Situated on the Coral Sea off of the Asian coast, this island was involved in one of the great battles of World War II. There are shipwrecks and battle relics that can be seen on the island. Known for its great coral reefs, the island is also home to beautiful tropical plants and animals. English and German are common languages here, since both countries controlled the area at different times.
Heading back into the Pacific, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, is the new site to visit. Functioning as one of eight sub-national capitals of Australia, Sydney is famous for its port and opera house. One of the oldest cities in Australia, visitors can still see the original buildings. Sydney boasts a number of wildlife preserves to allow visitors to see their unique animals. There is also an active port community where boats can be easily rented for deep sea fishing or whale watching.
The last stop on our journey is Auckland, New Zealand. Located in the South Pacific, Auckland is a very busy city. Only just over 100 years old, New Zealand is a new country. Auckland is located on the North Island and is built on a volcano field. Because of the volcano fields, beautiful cliff formations surround the city and are often used for background in television and movies.