Monastic life is really tough. The hours are long, the food isn't great, and you have to spend all your time on your knees, praying.  

However, a select group of monks also get to look at out some of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring views in the world. From Greece to Burma, the list below offers a catalogue of five of monasteries that offer these views; places so majestic and impressive that if you stay in them too long, you might just become a monk too.

5. Taung Kalat, Burma

 If exotic is your thing, then Taung Kalat is almost certainly for you. After all, this monastery is literally built on top of an old volcano - a massive mountainous structure that requires exactly 777 steps to get to the top. Plus, if the lush Burmese forests and panoramic views weren't enough, the monastery is frequented by Macaque monkeys, an animal display that adds an element of the wild to your trip.

4. Cave Monasteries, Turkey

Another weird one, the Cave Monasteries of Cappadocia have perhaps the most unique architecture of any structure on the list. That is, rather than be built on top of the peak of the mountain Uçhisar, the monasteries are built into the point, creating a complex of caves and caverns that serve as the network's main infrastructure. That, added to the historical import of the location (it was mentioned in the Biblical Book of Acts) makes this retired monastery a must-see location for anyone interested in monastic history or Turkey's scenery in general.

3. Hanging Monastery, China

However, if you want you like your monasteries slightly less subtle, look no further than China's "Hanging Monastery," a complex that literally comes off of the cliffs of its native Shanxi. And yet, as insecure as it may seem, the space is extremely safe and well-built: its stone and wood fortifications have held the structure up for more than 1,400 years. Just don't expect to find solitude. The Hanging Monastery is one of China's most frequently attended tourist attractions.

2 .Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan

The Tiger's Nest, or Takstang Palphug Monastery in Bhutan is not only beautiful, it's one of the most holy places in the Buddhist tradition. And it's not hard to see why. Perched a full 2,300 feet off the ground, the monastery offers soaring views of the local Baro Valley. Plus, it has one of the most interesting histories of any place on the list. Folklore has the monastery created in the 8th century by a single man who reached the location by riding on the back of a flaming tigress, and impressive story that the beautiful views of Takstang Palphug may just make you believe.

1. Meteora, Greece 

However, the number one spot is reserved for something even more astounding. Indeed, as anyone who's ever been there can tell you, the six-building monastic complex in Meteora is one of the most unbelievable things in the world. Each monastery is literally built on the top of a stone pillar, accessible only by rough-cut steps and flimsy-looking wooden bridges.

And yet, when you get to the top and look the 1,200 plus feet down into the heart of the Peneas Valley, you'll think the treacherous path was worth it, offering just the sort of triumphant experience you'd want out of a place of worship. Which is why, ultimately, Meteora is the best monastery in the world, a place that will literally transform all of your expectations about how beautiful, and how surprising, the world can be.