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
- Annapurna, Himalaya, Nepal. Mountains and more mountains.
- Dizin, Iran. Best powder snow. ever.
- Varanasi, India. Cows, shit in the streets, burning dead people and floating bodies. Top of my list of must visit places before you die.
- Rishikesh, India. The yoga-capitol of the world. A wholy city on the Ganga; no alcohol and no meat.
- Yazd, Iran. The oldest inhabited city in the world.
Worst: Dubai. Shopping centers, tall buildings, desert.
Top 5 Friendliest people
- Iranians. They already have a bad government so America please stop making things worse by treating them as terrorists.
- Nepalis. One of the poorest countries in the world and offers genuine hospitality.
- Arabs in Syria.
- Indians. They are rude and cannot give a straight answer to any question but there are plenty of people with good hearts in India.
- Couchsurfers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Made me stay three months.
And the worst? Arabs in Dubai.
Top 5 Cheapest places to travel
- Nepal. Almost free.
- India. $2 for a single room, $1 for a yummy curry. Not too bad.
- Iran. Crazy inflation but still a very cheap place to visit. Meaty kebabs for $2.
- Syria. Best juice in the world, available on every corner.
- 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
- Annapurna, Himalaya, Nepal. Walking eight hours a day for three weeks makes you talk to everyone you meet.
- Rishikesh, India. New-age hippies, marihuana smoking Israelis and amazing people doing amazing things with their lives.
- Dizin, Iran. Liberal rich Iranians, beautiful Iranian girls trying to minimize their hijab and a few ski-loving Scandinavians.
- Pai, Thailand. Avoid the drunk young british backpackers and relax in Pai.
- 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
- Taj Mahal, Agra, India.
- Ummayad Mosque, Damascus, Syria.
- The Tabatabaeis' House, Kashan, Iran. Prince of Perisa.
- Masjed-e jameh mosque, Yazd, Iran. There are many beautiful mosques in Iran, I prefer this one.
- 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
- Kamal's guesthouse, Rishikesh, India. For the location and wonderful people that found the way to this hidden gem.
- Shiva International Lodge, Varanasi, India. Best view in the world on top of the Ganges.
- Good Morning Pai, Pai, Thailand. Best place to relax in Pai.
- Eshan House Hotel, Kashan, Iran. After visiting the traditional houses you can sleep on the floor in this old renovated building.
- 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.