ASIA | Our Fondest, Dearest Farewell

Throughout my entire childhood, I always wanted to see the world. I pictured myself in Paris, Athens, and anywhere else exotic. Though I always wanted to see Asia, I just never imagined that it could have become a reality at such a young age. However, the more I travel, the more I realize how lucky we are as Westerners to be afforded such a wealth of opportunity – we can leave our countries without any restrictions and are capable of saving the means to create a dream. I am now surer than ever that one can do practically anything they set their mind to. When people ask me how I can afford to take so much time to travel, I tell them it’s quite simple: I have chosen to incorporate travel in my lifestyle. I have chosen to prioritize travel over most everything else.

Even so, I just never envisioned that I would truly see the Orient, a place that I idealized and practically made myth in my mind.

And you know what? Asia is the tops. I loved every minute, even when it was horrible.

And we would seriously move there in a heartbeat. To answers some common questions, Josh and I have compiled a list of our top experiences:

Top 20 Experiences

  1. Great Wall, Simatai-Jinshangling, China
  2. Borobudur, Jogjakarta, Indonesia / Yogya
  3. Potala, Lhasa, Tibet
  4. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  5. Happy Place, Thailand
  6. Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an, China
  7. Longmen Grottoes, Louang, China
  8. Diving in Anilao, Anilao, Philippines
  9. Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan
  10. Exploring Singapore / Night Safari
  11. Safari in Khao Yai, Pak Chong, Thailand
  12. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
  13. Amber Fort, Jaipur, India
  14. Nepal
  15. Mount Everest/ the Himalayas
  16. Shanghai skyline
  17. Himeji Castle, Himeji, Japan
  18. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  19. Tokyo
  20. Call to prayer

Top 10 Cities

  1. Yogyakarta, Indonesia (aka Yogjakarta, Djogjakarta, Jogjakarta, Yogya, Jogja)
  2. Happy Place, Thailand
  3. Kathmandu, Nepal
  4. Singapore, Singapore
  5. Shanghai, China
  6. Bangkok, Thailand
  7. Anilao, Philippines
  8. Taipei, Taiwan
  9. Shigatse, Tibet
  10. Tokyo, Japan

Top 10 Busts

  1. Angkor/Siem Reap – As breathtaking as the sights were, we couldn’t help but feel a little upset about the extreme exploitation of both tourists and locals.
  2. India – Yeah, just all of it, really. We really felt like most that people like it do so just because you’re “supposed to.”
  3. Philippines – Hmmm. With the exception of Anilao, time sort of dragged here.
  4. KL – Dirty, noisy place. Try as we might, we just could not find the charm that seems to pull people in. Perhaps this was a reflection of our mid-trip fatigue?
  5. Lhasa – Tibet was great overall, but Lhasa was just sort of sad. The heavy military presence and commercialization of culture made this place quite shocking for the lot of us, especially having come from much more remote and authentic regions. Also, the Potala Palace (required) tour is timed.
  6. Forbidden City, Beijing – Well, just boring, unfortunately. Do something else more pleasant than dodging hordes of tourists and staring at yellow roofs.
  7. Kanchanaburi (bridge on the River Kwai) – Like White Beach, just over-trafficked with Western hostels and fruit shakes. On the bright side, if you wander around, you are sure to find true Thai-style markets and random shops.
  8. Thai trains – Oh, whyyyyyyy? Why? How can something be so crowded and uncomfortable and slow? Elephants were outpacing us.
  9. Tai Shan – Well, we would not recommend this unless you would like to permanently damage your knees and get next to nothing out of the ordeal.
  10. “White Price” – Obviously, paying well over norm is to be expected wherever you don’t fit in, but being continuously ripped off quickly became rather wearing.

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