I love to travel and to my count, have been to many places all around the world. I felt like I have travelled more than most of my friends and for sure more than most of my family members.
Recently I did a survey on places I have travelled and it seems that I have only travelled 13% of the world. I started to wonder if I had travelled so little, was this survey including the sea mass of earth?
Anyways, there are many books and guides and shows out there talking and writing about a thousand places to visit before you die or top ten places or this and that to visit.
This is my list of places I would visit as well as I would avoid if I was a rich tourist and budget was no concern. Some of these places I speak from my personal experience and some places through the experience of others and of course the shows and books I have read.
So here goes, I would definitely want to visit:
1. Malaysia - OK obviously a bias choice having grown up in this place, I really do like the prospect for a tourist in this country. There is really a lot to see and a lot to do especially if you go a little of the beaten path and are willing to try new things. Culinary delight all around with wonderful food especially in my home state of Penang.
2. USA - especially New York city, San Francisco and generally everywhere including Alaska and of course most definitely Hawaii. I have visited 48 of the 50 states or at least past through them on a bus and spent a few hours. Only place not visited have been mainly Alaska and Hawaii but got to do that some time.
3. Italy - visited twice, a fun and wonderful place, I really like it. As a tourist, it is not a question of will you get conned but more when will you get conned. All tourist get conned in one way or another.
4. Austria - having good friends there makes the biggest different. A small landlocked country with wonderful places to see and the tonnes of capirinha's and mojito's that we drank in Salzburg.
5. South Africa - I keep saying this is the best place we have visited. Just a magnificent country. So much to see and so much to do. Although safety may seem to be a concern, we had friends there and again in our drive of more than 2000 kilometers, we did not feel threatened in any way.
6. New Zealand - another wonderful place really well depicted in the Lord of the Ring trilogy. It really has wonderful scenery, safe to drive around but really strict on drinking and driving. So if you having some wine, do not drink and drive.
7. Germany - surprised? Yes, somehow I do like Germany. Berlin was wonderful and Frankfurt was a charm. Other places I visited were really fun too. And as wifey said, most German guys are quite hunky.
8. France - one of the places where I have not really visited. I have only been to Paris. But definitely on my list of places to go. Enough of stories from French friends and others who have been there.
9. Maldives - just a wonderful beach paradise and does really help when you know the GM in the resort that you are staying in. Meeru Island resort feels like a home away from home.
10. Thailand - I have only been to Phuket and Bangkok but my ole man been to more places and definitely a place I would like to explore more. People are very friendly and the food is quite delicious.
11. Cambodia - I have only been to Siem Riep and visited the Angkor but the people were wonderful and somehow I actually enjoyed the Amok food. My tuk tuk riders I had, Song for the day time and Wong for the night were just wonderful. And it is always amazing to see Einstein-hair-esque doctors running a hospital for children. Kantha Bopha and Dr Beat Richner - keep up the wonderful work.
12. Japan - both me and wifey have always wanted to go but have been avoiding due to the high prices. It will definitely remain in our to do list and I would love to go see Disney Land and Disney Sea in Japan apart from Mount Fuji, Tokyo and eat all the wonderful Japanese food.
13. Argentina - again not have been to Argentina but definitely on the "akan datang" or next attraction list. It is a big country with a lot of things to see and lots of wine to drink. I am sure we'll have a blast there.
14. Spain - been to many places in Europe but Spain has not been one of them and again in our definite to do list. May combine it with another place or do a solo Spain trip sometime in the near future. But I will not attend any bull fights - just feel they are bloody cruel.
15. Cuba - Fidel retired and has been calling me to come over ever since. He has had few hand rolled cigars waiting for me while we sip a nice Cuban rum. Now and again, the topic of visiting Cuba comes and now and again due to finances and the long long flight from Malaysia to Madrid to Cuba has been a deterrent. But hold on to those cigars Fidel, I am coming before you are gone.
I am maybe a little harsh on countries I would not like to spend my tourist dollar on mainly because of the 10 below, I have only visited 3. As such, the others are just based on knowledge from what I have seen or read. So, apologies to those people living on those countries. If your place is really a wonderful place, do make a case for it in the comments.
Places that I am not too keen on or have visited and never would like to really visit again are:
1. Egypt - this was by far one of our worst trips. People were rude, hotels were so so, food was mediocre and weather was hot. The pyramids were a little overrated as was out so called 4 star cruise which looked more like 2 stars when anchored next to a real 4-5 star cruise. Water costs 10 times more for tourists in most places, just ridiculous con jobs everywhere.
2. India - country of my parents and maybe I am being a little unfair here but the many times I visit this place, I hardly visit it. I am stuck in one relative home after another and have not even really seen Mumbai well. I do not really fancy the spicy Indian cuisine and don;t really like the messiness of the whole place. Dust and dirt everywhere and when you wipe your face, the tissue is all black.
3. Indonesia - Bali I have visited 4 times but I am not really keen on Jawa, Sumatra, Irian Jaya or even Sulawesi. Never really fancied this place too much. I do not know why, but just don;t want to be eaten by cannibals or attacked by Muslim extremists.
4. China - my friends have been here many times but somehow I have not been attracted to China yet. Tibet is in my list and I would have to go through China, so I guess I will technically visit the country sometimes. While I have heard wonderful stories, I am not inspired yet to visit.
5. Nigeria - I have many friends who work there but I cannot imagine going to a country that will be dangerous to go to.
6. Russia - recently a few friends went there and recently I met some Russians as well. These people are rather rude and my friends who went there too said they would not want to visit again. So, although this was in my list, it has now been removed. Many will say it is my loss but I just don't want to spent my tourist money on somewhere where people are bloody rude. I have already done this before in Egypt.
7. Afghanistan - after the Taliban destroyed everything, I do not think there is anything to see plus it just seem very unsafe to go with your wife or family.
8. Iraq - similar to Afghanistan, I would not want to visit it after the Americans trashed the place up while "freeing" Iraqi's of Saddam's oppression. It just does not seem like a safe place to go.
9. Korea - both north and south, apart from the recent tensions, I have heard about enough racism against darker skinned tourist.
10. Iceland - what is there to really see in this cold northern pole country which is now in economic ruins. I hear food and everything else is really expensive and tourist wise, there is really not much to see.
Unfortunately, I am not a rich tourist and likely as such, have only travelled 13% of the world. Hopefully in the next 20 years, that number will increase to about 40-50% and the rest will be places that I will unlikely ever visit.
I am sure if you were a rich tourist, you would likely see different things. Anyway, at the moment, I am just a normal tourist, so some of those areas above I will just have to wait and save up for it.
Take care and be well.