Inspired? No home

Best of my travel in 2008

About a year ago I left 24SevenOffice and went traveling for ten months. This is my ‘best of’ list from my journey.

Top 5 Places

  1. Annapurna, Himalaya, Nepal. Mountains and more mountains.    
  2. Dizin, Iran. Best powder snow. ever.    
  3. Varanasi, India. Cows, shit in the streets, burning dead people and floating bodies. Top of my list of must visit places before you die.    
  4. Rishikesh, India. The yoga-capitol of the world. A wholy city on the Ganga; no alcohol and no meat.    
  5. Yazd, Iran. The oldest inhabited city in the world.  

Worst: Dubai. Shopping centers, tall buildings, desert.

Top 5 Friendliest people

  1. Iranians. They already have a bad government so America please stop making things worse by treating them as terrorists.
  2. Nepalis. One of the poorest countries in the world and offers genuine hospitality.
  3. Arabs in Syria.
  4. Indians. They are rude and cannot give a straight answer to any question but there are plenty of people with good hearts in India.
  5. Couchsurfers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Made me stay three months.

And the worst? Arabs in Dubai.

Top 5 Cheapest places to travel

  1. Nepal. Almost free.
  2. India. $2 for a single room, $1 for a yummy curry. Not too bad.
  3. Iran. Crazy inflation but still a very cheap place to visit. Meaty kebabs for $2.
  4. Syria. Best juice in the world, available on every corner.
  5. Thailand. Much more expensive compared to ten years ago but with excellent accommodation it offers great value.

Most expensive: Dubai. Especially when all the Iranians are on a new-year holiday. Bad timing.

Top 5 places to meet other travelers

  1. Annapurna, Himalaya, Nepal. Walking eight hours a day for three weeks makes you talk to everyone you meet.
  2. Rishikesh, India. New-age hippies, marihuana smoking Israelis and amazing people doing amazing things with their lives.
  3. Dizin, Iran. Liberal rich Iranians, beautiful Iranian girls trying to minimize their hijab and a few ski-loving Scandinavians.
  4. Pai, Thailand. Avoid the drunk young british backpackers and relax in Pai.
  5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Couchsurfing rocks.

Worst: I would leave out Dubai because it is obviously not a good place for a backpacker. Ironically I would say Bangkok. Young drunk British travelers and first time backpackers who are doing the normal Thailand-Vietnam-Laos route are generally not very inspiring people.

Top 5 fantastic buildings

  1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India.     
  2. Ummayad Mosque, Damascus, Syria.  
  3. The Tabatabaeis' House, Kashan, Iran. Prince of Perisa.    
  4. Masjed-e jameh mosque, Yazd, Iran. There are many beautiful mosques in Iran, I prefer this one.
  5. Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE. I hate Dubai. Fake place, fake people, fake buildings. But the Burj is a nevertheless a stunning building.  

Ugliest? Tehran and KL.

Top 5 hotels/hostels/guesthouses

  1. Kamal's guesthouse, Rishikesh, India. For the location and wonderful people that found the way to this hidden gem.    
  2. Shiva International Lodge, Varanasi, India. Best view in the world on top of the Ganges.    
  3. Good Morning Pai, Pai, Thailand. Best place to relax in Pai.           
  4. Eshan House Hotel, Kashan, Iran. After visiting the traditional houses you can sleep on the floor in this old renovated building.  
  5. Thikana Delhi, India for the best hosts and Misafir Suites, Istanbul, Turkey for the affordable luxury.  

Worst, by far; Green Hut Lodge. Bed-bugs and crazy lady in the reception. I left at 4am.


All the photos are taken from my Flickr page.

Written on 31 December 2008.
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