Where next? 50 Places I still want to visit

The problem with taking a year-long round the world trip is that while you think it will satiate your desire for travel in fact it does the opposite – the more I travelled, the more I loved to travel, and the more places that I’d never even considered that suddenly began to appeal. So now that I’m back in gainful employment, and armed with both a salary and a holiday allowance (and even better – six weeks a year, the best I’ve ever had) it’s time to start thinking about where to go next…

Here’s my first stab, arranged into some rather arbitrary categories just to give it some structure. Anyone who knows me and fancies a holiday next year – let me know if any of these appeal!

Countries

1. Nicaragua

Leon, Nicaragua

Everyone I met in Central America raved about this as one of their highlights – fantastic colonial cities, volcanoes, great beaches, friendly people. This is likely to be my first trip – this November for a couple of weeks.

2. Nepal

My time in the Andes was probably the highlight of my year. Now I want to see the Himalayas.

3. Pakistan

Probably a bit of a longer term objective this one, given the current state of the country, but I really want to go and visit the country of my father’s birth, I’ve heard some incredible things.

4, 5 & 6 Morocco, Mozambique & Mali

Africa is the one inhabited continent I haven’t been to – and I’m very keen to rectify that. These three, one from the north, one from the west, one from the south all appeal for different reasons.

7. Montenegro

Great beaches, lovely mountains, and one of the biggest canyons in the world.

8. Ecuador

One of the nicest people I met on my trip was an Ecuadorian girl, and she got *very* cross that I’d managed to spend four months in Andean countries and not made it there.

9. Syria

Fantastic ruins and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. People I know who’ve been rave about it.

10. Tajikistan

Possibly another long term objective this one – partly because I need to learn to drive before I can tackle the Pamir Highway.

Islands

1. Socotra, Yemen

Dragon's Blood Tree

I’ve been fascinated by this place since I saw pictures of the Dragon’s Blood Tree that grows on the island. The more I read about it the more obsessed with visiting I become.

2. Cuba

I have a feeling the place will change a lot in the next decade. I’m keen to see it sooner rather than later.

3. Crete

My favourite travel book of all time made me fall in love with Crete from afar. Read it, you will too.

4. Hawaii

Partly because of the volcanoes, but more because of fellow travellers Rob & Vicky raving about their time there to me one night in Guatemala.

5. Madagascar

Home to some of the most bizarre landscapes I have ever seen, plus unique wildlife

6. Mindanao, The Philippines

I’m dying to go back to the Philippines and this is one that really appeals (although well away from the dangerous bit).

7. Vanuatu

Again to a travel book, this is the Pacific country I’d like to see most.

8. Cape Verde

Portuguese heritage, fantastic music, great beaches, nice hiking.

9. Sicily

Italy & I haven’t really agreed with each other so far. Time to give it another go, and the food, ruins, cities and volcano hear all sound great.

10. Sulawesi

Best diving in the world, or so I keep hearing.

Hikes

1. GR20 – Along the mountain spine of Corsica, allegedly the toughest in Europe. I quite fancy this in the summer of 2011.
2. GR10/11 – Two paths running the length of the Pyrenees, one on the French and one on the spanish.
3. Sierra Norte, Oaxaca, Mexico – pioneering eco-tourism project run by a co-operative of indigenous villages
4. Tiger Leaping Gorge, China – not least because of the name.
5. Milford Track, New Zealand
6. Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo
7. Mt. Kilimanjiro, Tanzania
8. Everest Base Camp
9. Torres del Paine, Chile
10. Southwest USA – So many amazing hikes I’m not sure I’d know where to start – includes some of the most amazing national parks of the country, including Arches, Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon

Other outdoorsy stuff…

1. Kruger national park, south africa – seeing Orang Utans in Indonesia ignited a desire to see more wildlife that I never knew I had
2. Iguazu Falls, Argentina / Brazil
3. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina – loads of my mates have been here and it looks incredible
4. Outback Australia – I’ve seen all the big cities. Now I’d love to spend more time exploring the vast empty bits of the country, so many amazing things to see, and even the emptiness itself is intriguing.
5. The Galapagos Islands – obviously
6. Kinigi National Park, Rwanda – home of the Mountain Gorilla
7. The Amazon jungle – gutted I missed this while in Bolivia
8. Sahara Desert
9. Antarctica
10. Angel Falls, Venezuela

Cities

1. Buenos Aires
2. Montreal
3. New Orleans
4. Beijing
5. Bilbao
6. Beirut
7. Prague
8. Naples (Pizza, mmmm)
9. Stockholm
10. Morelia, Mexico

That list could easily be twice as long…but that’s plenty to be getting on with for now. And like I said, if you know me and fancy any of these let me know!

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20 responses to “Where next? 50 Places I still want to visit

  1. I agree…being away for an extended time only made me want to be away again. Definitely more places on my list too than ever were there before.
    ps. you’ll LOVE the Himilayas and Buenos Aires!

  2. I’m with you on the Dragon blood tree, I think it is amazing! Kilimanjaro should not be no.7 on your list of hikes! (its more than a hike trust me) it is incredible! and deserves a much higher ranking..
    Am loving your ‘where next list’
    xC

  3. None of the lists are really in order of priority, I think I’d like to do Kilimanjiro soon!

  4. Good list, ill be going to a couple of those countries next year, im surprised you have Vanuatu on the list as even a mate who is a travel agent told me done bother.
    As for the Cities – Naples, Montreal and Bilbao are fantastic, add San Sebastian in as a side trip. Im surprise to see Portland and Vancouver weren’t on there, I love Portland, and Vancouver you can ski during the day and party in the city at night.

    Oh and you could of used a better picture for Nicaragua, personally i thought Granada was more appealing ;-)

    One more thing, i think its time you learned how to drive a car!

    • Bah, can’t believe I forgot to put Portland on the list, I did mean to!

      Vanuatu is on the list almost entirely because of this: http://www.volcanolive.com/yasur.html – which makes the one we went up in Guatemala look tame by comaparison!

      and as for the picture – after serving me well for a year of travelling and 6 months of being back, my little netbook is lurching towards an early grave and it was too much of a hassle going through all your pics! Time to treat myself to a Macbook…

  5. I also loved Nicaragua most compared to the rest of Central America. It still feels authentic (think Vietnam vs Thailand) and is very cheap, without herds of tourists in tour buses.

    Iguazu Falls are still the most impressive falls I’ve seen (better than Vic Falls and Niagara).

    New Orleans is awesome. Try to go when there is an event in town, i.e. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Voodoo Music Festival over Halloween etc.

    Buenos Aires is amazing. It reminds me of Paris, but is much cheaper.

    Mozambique wasn’t my favorite in Africa. It just wasn’t as unique as other places in the area. I’d definitely recommend Tanzania and Zanzibar (absolutely loved it!). Malawi is very authentic in the same way that Nicaragua is. Great people there. Ethiopia is also very very different and unique, and an absolute must-see for at least 3 weeks.

    Hawaii is gorgeous, but it’s definitely not a backpackers paradise. It’s more of a high-end destination for couples. You need a car everywhere outside of Honolulu.

    For islands, I would highly recommend St. John, US Virgin Islands. I’m heading there again as well as to the British Virgin Islands nearby where there is a great beach NYE part on Jost Van Dyke.

    Cuba and Morocco are very high on my list as well. Cannot wait! For now, Belize and Guatemala are on my list for November and Virgin Islands trip is in December.

  6. wow, thanks for all those tips Irena – Malawi & Ethiopia are very much on the longer term list too – in fact if I do ever get round to doing another long trip, Africa would definitely be one area I’d like to spend a few months in.

    Guatemala i incredible – I’ve been twice and loved it, hope you do too!

    • I spent 3 months backpacking in Africa last year from Cape Town to Cairo. Let me know if you ever need any tips.

      I was actually in Guatemala earlier this year and did Lake Atitlan and Antigua/Pacaya. Going back to do Semuc Champey and Tikal and some Belize this time. Looking forward to it!

      • I need to go back to see Semuc Champey, as I hear it’s amazing! Tikal is incredible too, they are probably still my favourite ruins I’ve ever seen, you’ll love it!

  7. I’m surprised you’ve not been to Stockholm before. I’ve been to Naples, and I’m not really sure what I thought. My number one feeling was that I didn’t want to be a tourist there. I was too conspicuous.

    • I’m surprised I’ve never been to Stockholm either – I think basically I’ve been to Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona & Paris too many times and not enough to anywhere else in Europe – the list of European cities I want to see but haven’t is enormous – there are 32 capitals I haven’t been to yet and plenty more other cities!

  8. I see you have Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo on your list – if you do go I would recommend popping down to Sarawak and visiting the Mulu Caves and pinnacles (the pinnacles look a lot like your link for Madagascar!) Great hiking and caving to be had in the middle of the rain forest and the Bats are amazing!! – This blog seems to capture the best bits: http://joannestamplis.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/borneo-part-3-mulu-caves/

  9. That dragon blood tree looks great. I’d love to go visit but Yemen is a bit of a dodgy place these days.

    • Apparently Socotra is very safe though, being as it’s physically separated from the rest of the country, and pretty remote too – so it’s just a matter of getting to Sana’a and getting an onward flight

  10. What the hell – shall we go to Nicaragua then, Geoff?! ;-)

  11. i envy u >.< 6weeks a year? my holiday allowance's only 12 days/year.
    btw, i love reading your blog ^^ (knew your blog when i was searching for Myanmar itinerary ^^)

  12. just came across your blog so I will say something too )
    Ecuador is a good country and people are ok. They may look like they keep to themselves (especially in the villages), but if you say hello first they usually smile and say hello. Don’t like much they pictures to be taken. Someone said to me that they will do it for money. Didn’t try it. Country of the most tasty fish soups (encebolados or something like this). And you pay for the bus or for the food same price as local people. If it is 18c for a bus it is 18c for everyone. However west coast is populated with black people mostly and that’s where the trouble kicks in. Before going to Esmeralds I was warned by local people that there could be some robberies if I walk on the streets. And when I came to Esmeraldas taxi driver wouldn’t leave me until I checked into hostal. Then I was going to beach and asked for direction some local man in some shop – he was showing me how they are going to take my backpack and told me to take taxi) What I am saying is that you should be careful in those areas. I had no bad personal expirience there, but when the locals warn you it should mean something. Guyakil is famous for that kind of trouble, but even smaller cities have the same issues from the look of things. On the beach however I had no troubles except for one passionate Jesus lover :)

  13. Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo

    I was reading that you have to book places in advance and neglected it. When I got there they had no places to stay ). So I would certainly recommend to book in advance. and while in Sabah you will be more likely suggested to visit orangutan sanctuary in sepilok. not good. unless you have telelenses to see orangutangs. but 15km from the junction to sepilok there is labuk bay sanctuary for proboscis monkeys. people are looking for them in all national parks and show off who have seen more. because it usually comes down to “I’ve seen a tail” ot “I’ve seen one in canopy for a minute”. in labuk you will find big families coming from the jungles to eat special pancakec and cucumbers. i guess by now they built the road from junction to labuk bay. otherwise it is 15km walk from junction or you can hitchhike if you lucky. i hitchhiked for a very short distances with truck drivers who didn’t speak english at all and seen one bus driver who offered a ride for enourmous price.

  14. madagascar
    now, if you love attention you will get plenty there :)
    if you are going to do some walking to national parks or in the cities you will have a lot of “sali vaza/hello white man” . especially in antsirabe. there you can not stay for a minute not being bothered with someone selling you something. neither you can eat safely in the cafe. ’cause tuk tuk driver can sit accross you and offer you a ride everytime you raise your head from the meal. or locals may point you to their kids like if you are animal in the zoo)
    french tourists mostly ride in the cars with the hired driver and local people don’t have much interaction with the tourists I guess.

    when you come to bus station always shoo away all the “helpers”. if someone walks you to the ticket office it will cost you two or three thousands more. if the ride is to some village or city nearby then you may want to use helping hand to find the bus. but all inter city buses – go directly to the office. buy only front seats where you can stretch your legs a little bit. for some trips it is wise to buy 2 front seats. like if you go to morondava to see avenue de baobab. the road there (like last 20km) is awful. they do not speak english. I’ve met about 2 people who spoke some in a month. but some basic french phrases will do. and there is this waiting for the bus to be full. i mean it is full on waiting. once i waited since 10am to 19pm and then some for caravan to be formed. cuase they say there are bandits robbing buses. caravan however has no protection. it is more like jack pot.
    in antsirabe there is a small bus station on the gas station. you should go further to terminal. because there are some hassling there. i went to police and they stopped for a while. but i guess for now it is going on again.

    the best exchange ratio was in airport of tana. the further you go from Tana the lower the ratio. and banks have some strange working hours. once i spent whole day to go from village to fiarantsoa to change money.

    oh and some places have no electricity. i stayed in a hotel on the indian ocean and we had generator that was not turned on because i didn’t really needed it (they gave me candles) and water was from the rain :) and they could only cook some fried eggs twice per day :)

    you will not forget madagascar easily :)

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