As promised, here are the final five of my top ten favorite places I’ve visited. (The first five can be found here.) Stay tuned for next Thurday’s ten destinations I want to escape to next. Bon voyage!
6. Sri Lanka– Pack your bags and visit this country ASAP. Because as soon as word gets out about the beauty, affordability and diversity of this island, prices are going to skyrocket and it will be swarming with tourists. Sri Lanka has everything. We spent a week with a driver, jumping from place to place. In that one country, we were able to visit sandy beaches, safari parks (with the highest density of elephants in Asia), ancient temples, lush tea plantations and steep hikes. You can truly have a million different adventures within this one small country.7. Buenos Aires, Argentina– I always perk up when I talk about Argentina. For whatever reason (actually, the reasons are probably time and expense, but let’s just call them “whatever”), South America does not seem to be high on the bucket list for most folks. Or, if it does, people always want to visit Rio. Well, I’ve been to South America twice so far (Rio included) and I’m of the opinion that you that you should bump it up on your list. South America and, in particular, Buenos Aires, are fabulous vacation destinations. The food is fabulous, the fashion is cutting-edge, the culture is rich and the people couldn’t be nicer. I am partial to the Palermo neighborhood. It has that walkable, artsy feel of a Soho or Le Marais. Can’t say enough good things about Argentina.8. Kauai, Hawaii– Now what top ten travel list would be complete without at least one of the Hawaiian islands? Hawaii has been my family’s home away from home for as long as I can remember. We almost always visit Oahu, where we stay at the same hotel (usually in the same rooms), do the same things (ie. nothing but beach) and eat at the same restaurants. It is our second home. I actually have some Hawaiian blood in my ancestory. But, I only recently discovered that my relatives originated, not in Oahu, as I had originally presumed, but in Kauai. Perhaps that’s why I am partial to this island. It also helps that it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, not just in the US, but in the world. It truly feels like you are in God’s country.9. Bali– I visited Bali on what I would consider my first “foreign” trip (apologies if I am offending anyone here). I’d traveled around North America and Europe a fair amount, but this was on my first trek to Asia. It was an incredible trip to say the least. We visited Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Bali. The reason I say “foreign” is because every trip before felt very familiar. Western Europe, Canada, Mexico…all of the countries are very westernized. Asia (at least at the time) was not. It was my introduction to a more adventurous sort of travel and I fell head over heels. All four of these destinations were memorable (ask me to tell you about my most outstanding memory of Bangkok sometime…), but Bali stands out in my mind as being particularly special. There was something so serene and expansive about the beaches. Unfortunately, it’s been nearly 15 years since I was there. But fortunately, that’s a perfect excuse to return ASAP!
10. Maldives– From the top pick on my list, you know that I am a fan (that’s putting it mildly) of the safari. The Maldives are incredible for countless reasons: the private islands, the white sandy beaches, the overwater bungalows, the list goes on and on. But, perhaps my favorite part was below the surface. Or, more specifically, underwater. The Maldives has some of the most spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving I’ve ever experienced. I liken it to an underwater safari; there is simply nothing quite like it. Imagine thousands upon thousands of fish in every color you can imagine, octopi peeking out from their hiding spots and (harmless) sharks, close enough to touch. Every day, I would spend hours just outside of my bungalow, floating quietly and watching this incredible world swim beneath me. It was absolute heaven. The Maldives take forever to get to, but they’re worth every moment.
Images via oneworld365.com, serendibleisure.com, sandiego.edu, kukuiula.com, wehittheroad.com + kuredu.com