Hiking in the Cinque Terre

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Travel Rankings

As much as I love researching family history, playing badminton, watching movies and discovering great restaurants, my real passion is traveling (local, US, international). Sometimes people ask how I would rank places - international destinations.  Due to favoring (and remembering) the most recent places I've visited, I tend to unintentionally exclude Canada, England and some smaller countries I visited in the '90s. Therefore, here, I tried to insert them the best I could.  I use cities and countries. (updated  2016)

Most Beautiful: Bali (Indonesia), Switzerland, Chile
Most Delicious Food: France, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, Argentina, Singapore
Places I Could Visit Over & Over: Thailand, Japan, Czech Republic, France, Chile, Sri Lanka
Most Fascinating History: Russia, India, China, England
Most Shocking (+ and -): India, Cambodia
Loveliest Women: South Korea, Moscow, Paris, Thailand (sentimental fav!), Estonia
Most Modern:  Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong
Most Impressive Architecture:  France, Russia, China (Hong Kong), Prague, Bangkok (temples)
Most Tourist Friendly:  Thailand, Argentina
Great For Walking:  Buenos Aires, Moscow, Paris, Singapore
Nicest Subway:  Moscow (easy!)
Most Relaxing:  Luang Prabang (Laos)
Best Skylines:  Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore
Best Public Transportation:  Japan, Germany, Russia
Friendliest People:  Uzbekistan, Thailand
Cleanest:  Japan, Singapore
Most Surprising (in a very good way):  Luang Prabang (Laos), Estonia, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur
Most Expensive Cities:  Moscow, Tokyo, Vienna
Most Challenging: Russia, Cambodia, India
Best Coffee Shops:  Seoul, Paris, Buenos Aires
Top Cities:  Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Budapest, Salzburg, Moscow
Prettiest Countryside:  Chile, Canada, Bali
Safest:  Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Uzbekistan
Best Value For Money:  Thailand

Back in 2005, when I was living in Bangkok, a cousin from Alabama e-mailed and asked what places I had enjoyed the most and why.  Here was my response:

Nice hearing from you.  I am in Bangkok, Thailand, basically hanging out until my wife completes her visa interview.  She's already been once to America, on a student visa, but this time she's applying for a spousal visa.  It takes time - apparently more time than I anticipated.  She's working as an office manager for a computer firm, and I am taking yoga classes, learning Thai, playing badminton and teaching English to some Japanese and Thais.  You asked about my travels.  I have been to many countries in Asia.  Every place has revealed its own beauty and uniqueness.  I loved Bali, Indonesia - beautiful and peaceful.  I am on a Japan kick now.  I have taken the bullet train pretty much to every major and historical city.  I just fell in love with Japan.  Currently I have my sights set on China, where I hope Uncle Jim will travel to meet me in a few weeks.  Little countries like Laos and Cambodia have stunning scenery and a goldmine of historical landmarks.  Malaysia was really cool.  Vietnam was exotic, and provided a great chance for me to learn about the Vietnam War and see the progress of the country.  My favorite cities are Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and, of course, Bangkok.  You would be astonished by Bangkok.  The women are beautiful and plentiful, the food is extraordinary, the cost of living even better, and there's a general openness that makes it appealing to people from all over the world.  As I mentioned to a Japanese young lady I had coffee with at Starbucks yesterday, in my opinion, traveling has been a great education and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  Why don't you come over?  I can help you.

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