First it was Goldfinger. Now the whole world has gold fever.
The value of this precious metal hit a historic high this week reaching a whopping $1183 an ounce. Companies with names like WeBuyAnyGold (dot com) are desperate to melt down your jewellery, prospectors are flocking to rivers and sales of gold pans have soared.
Join the gold rush as we bring you 10 solid nuggets – the best places to strike gold in the world.
Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand
It’s official, Buddhism is all about the bling. The Buddha in Wat Traimit claims the prestigious title of not just being the world’s biggest solid gold Buddha – but the world’s biggest solid gold statue. Weighing nearly five and a half tons and sitting at three meters in height, the statue spent two centuries encased in plaster to disguise its value when the Burmese invaded. Now visitors enjoy it in all its golden glory in one of the most visited temples in Bangkok. Find cheap flights to Bangkok
Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan
All that glitters is not gold. But Kinkaku-ji most certainly is. As one of Japan’s most prized temples, you’d think they might take better care of it; not so, Kinkaku-ji has burned down twice (once by a mad monk) and hence the present structure is actually fairly recent, only dating from 1955. However, this three storey Japanese temple that is covered in glittering gold leaf is one of Japan’s must sees. Find cheap flights to Japan
The Golden Temple, Amritsar, India
Deemed a place of “sublime peacefulness and stupendous beauty”, The Golden Temple certainly is a sight for gold struck visitors. Surrounded by large manmade lake fed by a sacred spring, the temple radiates its golden hue to pilgrims and tourists alike and is the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith, and one of India’s most impressive destinations. Find cheap flights to India
The Crown Jewels, London, UK
Surely one of the blingest queens around, you can see Her Majesty’s stash of crowns, jewels, rings, swords and solid gold trinkets in the Tower of London. Protected by armed guards (having been nearly stolen in 1671 by Irishman Colonel Blood) visitors can marvel at this priceless collection and symbol of the British monarchy, many pieces of which are still worn today. Find cheap flights to London
World Gold Panning Competition, Zlaté Hory, Czech Republic
Gold panning competitions take place all over the world from Scotland to Sweden, but it’s the small town of Zlaté Hory in the Czech Republic that 24 carat gold panners will be descending on next year to compete for the title of “World Champion Gold Panner 2010”. Contestants are given a load of sand laced with golden flakes and nuggets and race to find the most precious metal first. Find cheap flights to Prague
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
It’s not a gate and it’s not gold, but it is one of the most iconic structures in the USA. Spanning the Golden Gate – a strait that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean – it’s the longest suspension bridge in the world at a whopping 2737m in length. It also holds the less prestigious title of the “most popular place to commit suicide in the US”. Find cheap flights to the San Francisco
Kromdraai Gold Mine, Johannesburg, South Africa
For over 100 years, South Africa claimed the title of largest gold producer in the world (although China has recently stolen the title). Even though they are now only in second place, the country is still well known for its gold mining. Take a tour to the Kromdraai Gold Mine just outside of Johannesburg and go deep into the heart of the mountain to learn about the traditional methods of mining gold ore. Find cheap flights to Johannesburg
Tutankhamun Exhibition, Dorchester, UK
All royalty love gold, but those Egyptian pharaohs loved it even more than King Midas. In fact, they loved it so much, that they even made their coffins out of it so they could be encased in gold forever. Or at least until some pesky archaeologist dug them up. Curse them! The Tutankhamun Exhibition, which is currently in Dorchester, England, tours the world displaying these truly splendid Egyptian golden treasures (many of which are actually perfect replicas) which include the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun, the Head of The Goddess Hathor and various golden figures of the young king and his pals. Find cheap flights to the UK
Gold Coast, Australia
This city in the southeast of Queensland is known for its subtropical climate, excellent surf spots, beaches and waterways. Gold Coast is a big tourist destination, attracting some 10 million visitors each year (and keeping the Gold Coast’s gold reserves nicely topped up). It’s also a major film production centre, apparently ranking as the 3rd largest movie maker in Australia. Find cheap flights to Gold Coast
Gold Digging, Singapore
We ain’t saying she’s a gold digger…but if you’re looking for a sugar daddy (or mummy) then Singapore is the place to find one. According to the Boston Consulting Group’s Wealth Report, this tiny city state has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world with a sparkling 8.5% of the country’s households possessing more than $1million. New York, London and Tokyo are the next best places to dig. Find cheap flights to Singapore