Whenever I chat to people about their travels, I am inspired of new places to go to. “Yes, I’ve just gotten back from Croatia”, they say. ‘Oooh, Croatia is on “my list”‘, I think. “Mmm, I just spent last month in Canada”, they say. ‘Yep, Canada is definitely on “the list”‘, I think.
My mental list is getting too long. In my desire to finish uni, I’m filling it up with useless rubbish (who really needs to know about partial differential equations?!) and forgetting important things – and so I have created this page, my wish list of places to go. I’ll be adding to it as I think of new places/am inspired by others’ travels. And I’ll be updating it after I’ve been to some of these places, with my thoughts and opinions. This list is mainly for me – so I can keep tabs on where I want to go, but it’s also for others, looking for some travel inspiration. Enjoy!
- Kompong Phluk
A village that spends most of the year in high waters, and so the majority of the houses are on stilts for most of the year. Transport is primarily boat.
The Great Wall – climb it– DONE
One of those ‘must-sees’, the great wall is an amazing site
Terra-cotta Warriors in Xian– DONE
About 30 years ago, a farmer who was digging a well found some statues buried in the ground. Come feel it was the greatest archeoligical find of the 20th century. 3 Large pits of terricotta statues have been uncovered, it is thought that there could be more, not yet discovered. The biggest pit is thought to contain over 6000 peices, including soldiers, horses, carts and weapons. They are believed to have been built over 2000 years ago, although there is some dispute over that.
Take an overnight train in China– DONE
Falling asleep on a rocking train is one of the best experiences. Overnight trains give you the opportunity to meet new people, take some ‘time-out’, get a great nights sleep and save money on accommodation!
Visit the Panda Park in Chengdu– DONE
The Panda Park is huge, and you can cuddle the pandas! The best bit is the nursery though – how cute can a panda get?!
Spend the night playing computer games in a net cafe in Beijing– DONE
Spend hours in a dirty, smoky internet cafe, playing computer games (Battlefield and other such gun-toting games) with the rest of the under-25 male Chinese population
Eat Peking Duck in China– DONE
Yum – quite simply, YUM! Delicious roast duck, served with steamed pancakes, cucumber and sweet soy sauce
Ferry between China & Japan– DONE
A fan of unusual methods of travel, I loved taking the ferry from Shanghai to Kobe, and then from Shimonoseki to Qingdao. Much cheaper than flying, and an incredible experience to boot
Make a fool of myself on Nanjing Lu– DONE
Spent Christmas Night wandering along the main street of Shanghai in a santa suit – the people of Shanghai didn’t really know how to take us – some kids came rushing up to us to grab lollies – some parents hid their children away from us
Huang Shan (Yellow Mountains)– DONE
Fantastically beautiful mountains in the middle of China – these are most likely the mountains that feature on any of the old postcards you’ve seen of China. Good luck with the climb down though!
Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City– DONE
Both culturally important sites, the Forbidden City is a wonder to see, whilst Tiananmen Square provides some pretty awesome opportunities for people watching. If you can get yourself up, the (dawn) raising of flag ceremony is interesting
Stanley Markets– DONE
Market hidden amongst the little alleys near Stanley Beach
Visit EA games at The Peak– DONE
Fantastic games centre up the top of The Peak – catch the double decker bus up to the top and gawk at the views, then head indoors to play a variety of games on nintendo ds’s, wii’s, playstations and more
Swim at one of the gorgeous beaches– DONE
Beautiful beaches, most with lifeguards – just remember the sunscreen!
Stay in the Chunking Mansions– DONE
A huge set of buildings which encompasses many many hostels/hotels. Most of them are pretty grotty, but we stumbled onto a good one second time round
Contemplate the Taj Mahal– DONE
Truly impressive. The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is basically a tomb. When she died giving birth to their fourteenth child, he was so distraught that he ordered it to be built (with the tax-payers money!). It took 20,000 workers 22 years to finish. This is just one of those sights that needs to be seen.
Boat Trip on the River Ganges– DONE
We passed all the famous ghats (stairs next to the river). One of the more interesting ones was the cremation ghat, where we saw a couple of cremations taking place. Right in front of everyone they had the fires going, you could see everything. Its just a way of life I guess.
Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok– DONE
Also known as the rat temple, rats crawling all over our (bare) feet is an experience I’m unlikely to forget. We even saw a white rat, supposed to bring good luck.
- Ramen Museum
Offers visitors a unique opportunity to examine the history of RAMEN… Displays include handcrafted ramen bowls, instant ramen packages from around the world, ramen TV commercials that have aired during the last several decades, and even a ramen video game
- Jigokudani Onsen
Onsens in the Nagano area that are popular in with both human’s and ‘snow monkeys’ – watch the snow monkeys from afar whilst bathing in the hot waters
‘Hippy’ type island south of Tokyo, popular with a mix of ‘surfers, stones, ecologists and refugees from the big-city rat race’. Also known for it’s incredibly fresh sushi. AMAZING
Japan’s most northern city – the sunset is awesome from here. Imagine how awesome it would be: sitting in a super hot outdoor onsen, watching the sun set over the sea…
- Japan/Russia Ferry Trip
A big fan of ferry trips, I’d love to do a trip from the north of Japan to Vladivostok, or to Rishiri-to/Rebun-to (both islands look awesome!)
- Akan Kohan
In eastern Hokkaido, home to the cute ‘marimo’, a type of endangered algae that normally grows on the bottom of lakes, but floats to the top in sunshine – creating a radiant green colour.
Mt Fuji– DONE
The symbol of Japan, although I didn’t climb it, I spent 5 days in the foothills, lazing about in green grassy parks with Mt Fuji in the background.
To see Awa Odori, August 12th to 15th, HUGE dance festival, loads of people dressed in their yukatas dancing in the street.
Get a glimpse of long-held traditions of Japanese religious life by staying in a temple – I did so at Koya-San. A bit of a trek to get there, but a fantastic experience (particularly if it’s your last night in Japan!
- Lake Toya (Toyako)
Walk through a smoldering volcano that erupted just a few years ago (2000) and then nearby see a volcano that is still smoldering but that rose to its current height in just a year during WWII.
Beautiful fields of lavender, also known for the ‘Furano Cheese Factory’ – where you can get various flavors of ice cream (pumpkin, lavender, cheese, spinach, etc, I recommend pumpkin!!)
- The Kamuiwakka Falls
In Shiretoko National Park (Hokkaido), where waterfalls cascade into a free natural hot spring pool
Capsule Hotel– DONE
Incredible experience, hotel full of small ‘capsule’ like rooms – tiny boxes really – one of the more unusual hotels available!
- See a sumo tournament
National sport of Japan (other than baseball, that is :)), not a great fan, but I figure it’s on the list of must see’s for Japan!
- Visit Hokkaido for the Sapporo Snow Festival
Hugely popular snow festival, held in Hokkaido at the beginning of February, the ice sculptures look amazing
Known in Japanese tradition as the gateway to hell, the landscape here truly looks like it’s come straight from a horror movie
Electronic dictionaries, digital cameras, mp3 players, rice cookers, even eletronic toilets!
Beppu – Sand Onsen– DONE
Also known for the ’10 hells’, multicolored volcanic pits of boiling water and mud, and one geyser, Beppu boasts the Takegawara Onsen, which has hot sand ‘onsen’. The experience of being in a sand onsen cannot be described, quite possibly one of my most calming experiences ever.
Take the Trans-Mongolian Train– DONE
Extremely picturesque, but a difficult trip in summer, when the weather’s hot, the sand’s strong and the fan’s broken (no air-conditioning!)
Naram Tuul (The Black Market)– DONE
A huge market on the edge of Ulan Baator, selling absolutly everything, from clothing to goats milk, to horse rugs and high heels. Plenty of things to see and people to watch
- Visit Orchid Island
A remote island off the coast of Taiwan, perhaps go diving?
- National Taiwan Science Education Center
Who doesn’t love a science museum, most of which is aimed at kids (ie should kepe me entertained!)
- Dintaifung Dumpling House
Apparently the best Shanghai dumplings in Taipei
- Jingmei Night Market
Local style night market in Taipei
Sip a Mai Tai on Khao San Road– DONE
The backpacker center of Bangkok, Khao San Road is a bit of fun, provided you don’t pay too much attention to much!
Get hair plaited down to waist– DONE
Almost a rite of passage for backpackers, I had my hair plaited with purple extensions on my first trip to Thailand. An experience not to be missed – particularly that first night a couple of months later when we finally took out the plaits!
Go snorkeling– DONE
Snorkeling in Maya Bay – an experience I’ll never forget. Beautiful tropical fish everywhere, nibbling on the ends of your hair, amazing.
Hire a scooter– DONE
As long as you don’t crash, it’s a great way to get around, loads of fun
Bangkok Snake Farm– DONE
Second oldest snake farm in the world, and is a leader in Thailand for snake anti-venom. We heard a talk (with slideshow), and then they bought out some of their deadly friends…
Ride an elephant– DONE
At the elephant camp, just out of Lampang – apparently the only place in thailand where elephants are actually trained, there are lots of parks around thailand, but they are just show cases for tourists. We saw a show on what the elephants are trained to do, mainly to do with logging.
Visit the Hill Tribes– DONE
We visited the ‘long neck’ tribe and the ‘big ear’ tribes. You’ve probably seen pictures of them… Extremely interesting, they roll coils of brass around their necks by heating the brass up over a fire and then wrapping it around the neck. The first put the brass on at about the age of 5 and change it a few times through-out their lives. Apparently, legend has it that many many years ago, whilst all the men were out hunting, a tiger came into the village and bit a woman on the neck, causing death. As a result, the men put gold rings around their wives necks to protect them. Eventually it became a thing of beauty, to have a long neck. Nowadays the rings are made from brass, as gold is so expensive. If the women take the rings off their necks have no support, so if they move too quickly, they snap their necks and die