It has been my good fortune to have traveled to 128 countries to date. I was bitten by the travel bug as a teenager and have never gotten over it. Sometimes, people ask what is my favorite location outside the United States. I reply that I really don’t have just one. After you have traveled a bit you find that so many countries and island groups have their special charm. Today, I thought I would list a few high points of my travels that you may find interesting and perhaps give you some travel ideas.
Japan has always been interesting to me. It is clean, people are on time, it’s safe and the Japanese are friendly to Americans. The country is quite mountainous and outside of the cities the terrain is green with plenty of trees and both the cities and towns are interesting to walk. The little shops, the eateries the hustle bustle is fascinating.
Japan has much culture dating back thousands of years. The people are proud of their background and it can be seen in museums all over the country. You will arrive most likely in Tokyo and after a good night’s rest from your long flight from the U.S. West Coast spend some time resting at your hotel.
The next day it will be off on a city sightseeing tour of Tokyo. Included will be the Tokyo Tower for stunning panoramic views, then the Meiji Shrine as well as the former imperial residence of the Emperor and government buildings. The day’s tour will most likely end at the Ginza Shopping District.
Another day you will be transported by coach or train to see Mount Fuji, if the weather permits, and then it will be on to Hakone and perhaps Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.
Kyoto is really a special city. Your tour here will include the imposing Nijo Castle, lush parks, temples, the Kyoto Imperial Palace, plus plan some time to shop for beautiful hand-crafted items.
I also very much enjoy many items on a true Japanese menu. In restaurants, most food items are displayed as plastic models in the widows and will give you an idea of their content. If that doesn’t help, your waitperson may speak some English and can assist you.
As long as you are in Asia, why not continue on to Hong Kong. This will give you some idea of China today, as well as provide excellent opportunities for shopping and dining on some of the best Chinese food in the world. I suggest spending at least three days here.
You may prefer flying from Japan into northern China. There, you will want to tour for at least eight days visiting all the important cities, shrines and landmarks. Beijing, the Great Wall and Shanghai are some of the more outstanding sites to see; and then move on to Hong Kong and from there, head to a different place — Cambodia. Here is to be found some of the most important temples in the world … Angkor Wat. Located in northern Cambodia, this temple arrangement is the largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the area. The sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings will impress you. Almost every inch of the walls contains carvings. We are talking LARGE here and spread over many acres of land. Of all the temples I have visited in the world, Angkor Wat is second only to those antiquities found in Egypt in my view.
From Cambodia, perhaps then continue on to Thailand. Bangkok is always on the move. Everything happens here — busy people, noise, shopping, great food and the canals, which you can tour. The temples are spectacular in their own right and must be visited. Here is the great gold Buddha, the Imperial Palace and exciting people. You should plan at least three days here.
From Bangkok you may return to the States, or continue on to India. I have never been a fan of India because of the poverty and filth, but thousands of tourists love the country. The Taj Mahal at Agra is of interest to many and I must say, it is exciting to walk around and inside the monument to love. This is an especially interesting sight during moonlight.
If you travel to India, be sure to book passage on one of the luxury trains. The accommodations are special and food interesting. From the train window is a good way to “cruise the country” — viewing the sites from your private room on the train. It will make several stops where you can detrain and walk around.
From here, you are probably on an around-the-world tour. Continue now to Egypt. This is another don’t miss if you want to see the world’s more important locales. You will want to visit Cairo’s Antiquities Museum, Nefertari’s Tomb and the roof of Dendera Temple. Another day view the pyramids and the sphinx at Giza. You might even try a ride on a camel.
Take a five-day cruise on the Nile River to visit most of the important temples and shrines of the region. Luxor is never to be forgotten with its massive temples, pillars and out buildings. The sound and light show here is most impressive. You will have the opportunity to visit the underground graves of some of the more important royalty of old and see the tombs of a few of the god/kings you have read about in history books.
Israel is also interesting and next-door to Egypt. Consider a few days here to experience the biblical shrines and locations. Your Bible training will come back to you, I promise. The Israel people are vibrant, warm and hard working. Travel works well here and you should have no difficulties.
Leaving Israel, trek to Greece. You’ll land in Athens and spend a couple days to sightsee the many interesting points. This is a great walking city and you can explore to your heart’s content. There is much history here and a tour is a must.
The Greek Islands are fascinating also. I suggest booking a five- or six-day Greek Island cruise. You will visit one or two islands each day and there will be time to stroll around the towns and villages and perhaps take in a little beach action as well.
How about the sights, sounds and thrilling scenery of the Mediterranean area? This may sound crazy, but perhaps the best way to experience this region in a short time would be to book a cruise that would take you perhaps from Rome to Barcelona in a two-week time period. Depending on the cruise lines itinerary, you could visit the high points of Italy, the southern coast of France and Spain.
From there, consider traveling to Paris, France. This is still my favorite city in the world. It has sophistication, fine dining, interesting sightseeing, and museums and is perhaps one of the best walking cities in the world. If you have never visited this city, a tour is important so as not to miss a thing. Paris has almost everything one can find in a great city.
Now, why not take the Chunnel train for two hours and arrive in London, England? What can I say about London and England in general that you have not already read and heard? This is another world city that has just about everything you might desire. Landmarks of history, museums, theater, interesting people, tasty dining along with traffic, noise, beautiful gardens, royal castles, churches and they speak English. Tours of the countryside are enjoyable and you’ll find the English people most friendly.
If there is time, take a fast train to Edinburgh, Scotland for some tours and a look around. This will also be interesting.
Well, this is one idea of an around-the-world tour that may interest you.
We have not mentioned other spectacular trips such as a Baltic cruise that would include St. Petersburg, Russia or a cruise through the Norwegian Fjords.
Also, we should suggest trips to Machu Picchu in Peru or a cruise around the tip of South America.
If you are the explorer type, consider Antarctica and gain access to the White Desert. You can cruise around this area, making landfall at several points or even take a tour that will place you in a tented camp.
Some enjoy camera safaris in Kenya and Tanzania to view the millions of animals found there. This is another special travel treat.
I personally enjoy New Zealand. Spectacular scenery, friendly people, the sea, mountains and good food. If there were one other place for me to live on this planet except the good old USA, it would be New Zealand.