Four months of 2014 have passed and I have already made 6 trips in 4 countries, excluding local trips in Switzerland. And next week I am going to Greece for a week and immediately Bangkok for 2 weeks. I love to dream about past trips to savour the happiness from the experiences again and again. And just when I did that about last year, I figured it was time to compile My ‘Best Journey’ Travel List of 2012 and 2013.
Let’s reveal my List!
เผลอแป๊บเดียวปี 2014 ผ่านไปสี่เดือนแล้ว นับๆดูแค่สี่เดือนฉันเดินทางเข้าไป 6 ทริป 4 ประเทศแล้ว นี่ยังไม่รวมที่เที่ยวภายในสวิตเซอร์แลนด์เองอีก แถมอาทิตย์หน้าก็จะไปกรีซหนึ่งสัปดาห์และตามติดๆด้วยกรุงเทพอีก 2 สัปดาห์ ฉันชอบฝันหวานนึกย้อนกลับไปถึงทริปต่างๆที่ไปมา เพราะนึกแล้วมีความสุขเหมือนได้กลับไปเที่ยวอีกรอบ พอนั่งฝันถึงทริปของปีที่แล้วทั้งหลายก็เลยคิดได้ว่าสมควรแก่เวลาที่จะเขียนลิสต์ติดใจของปี 2012-2013 เสียที
แล้วเพื่อนๆนักเที่ยวล่ะคะ ปีที่แล้วมีทริปไหนที่ประทับใจสุดๆ เขียนมาเล่าหน่อยเผื่อจะตามไปบ้างค่ะ
The most beautiful city I visited – Budapest, Hungary.
A short explanation here wouldn’t do to describe the beauty of Budapest. It seems every building and every part of the city is stunningly beautiful. I have to write a full story to be fair to her.
The best epic trip – Wild life safari in Tanzania. Wildebeest migration, lunch by Lake Manyara with the view of hippos bathing, pink flamingos filled up the lake, a hidden animal heaven at Ngorongoro Crater, and indescribable view of wild life in the expansive jungle from morning balloon followed with a champagne breakfast. Needless to say more.
The most breathtaking trip – Gorilla tracking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Hiking to see gigantic animals in their natural habitat is the most unforgettable experience of a lifetime. So surreal.
The best city for shopping – Antwerp, Belgium.
(See story in this blog “My Antwerp Shopping & Fashion List: 2013”)
The best city for design – Copenhagen, Denmark.
(See story in this blog “My Copenhagen List: 2013; Theme: Gastronomy & Design”)
The best city for weekend getaway – Ljubljana, Slovenia.
It is such a surprise to discover a city with old charm in a modern culture, not to mention beautiful architecture and landscape. To illustrate the point, I stayed in an ultra-modern design hotel which situates in a historic building right at the walking street where the buzz is. Ljubljana is compact to explore leisurely in a few days. She is just waking up to the new world, thus is a must-visit before its reputation brings more visitors.
The most romantic small town – Bruges, Belgium. Everything contributes to the romantic mood; the architecture, the canal cruise, the lake of love, the cafes along walking streets, and plenty chocolate shops to buy souvenir for your loved ones.
The most eye-opening city – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I realized how ignorant I was before arriving in Sarajevo. The memory of cold war and city siege were still in my head and I didn’t expect a positive-filled ambience of this city. Too sad historic venues like museums are not well maintained or curated, but there are enough historical sites to discover. The old town is fun and there are nooks and crannies to explore.
The most mixed-feeling country – Croatia.
I saw many cities of Croatia from 2 visits in a year, but when I realized none of the places came up in my list I decided to create a special class of the list called “mixed feeling” as it is the most accurate how I feel about this country. Croatia is a dream destination for many people, and while I agree that there are many beautiful architecture and historic places, the vibe doesn’t do for me as it has become too touristy everywhere I go. Dubrovnik is beautiful but I saw only American tourists in prom-like dresses from the cruise ships. Split is very handsome but somehow lacks of local charm. I don’t regret to visit, though. But seeing them once is enough for me and I would head to similar cities that are still filled with local charm like Ljubljana or Sarajevo.
The best hotel experience – Serengeti Safari Camp, Tanzania. Sleeping in a luxurious tent listening to Wildebeest migration footsteps all night is nothing that comes along often. The camp only has 8 private tents which they keep moving to ensure proximity to the migration. When we stepped out for dinner one night, elephants were standing just a few feet away!
The best relaxing hotel I stayed – COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali.
It has maintained the position of one of the best destination spa in the world, so I had to return for my annual detoxification. Perfect food, perfect drinks, perfect retreat programs, perfect room, and perfect health!
The best lazy-beach trip – Mallorca, Spain.
It is the second time I visited Mallorca but this is the first time I did not do much more than lounging by the pool consuming full vista of the deep blue Mediterranean. Picturesque. Idyllic. Heavenly. Any time again.
The cutest village I visited – Èze, near Nice, France.
Exclusive and charming little village on the hill with magnificent vista of the French Riviera. Awesome.
The most romantic sunset experience – private sailing in a Dhow boat with champagne in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
It is not a touristy set-up, but a local fisherman sailed us in his private boat for an hour while the sun was setting.
The best dance venue – on a salsa boat cruising in the Lake of Zurich, Switzerland.
Latino music played loud for people to salsa away while the boat is cruising a pristine lake. Summer breeze and sunset setting makes it a perfect dance venue I would have to repeat for many more times.
The best museum – Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon, France.
It is France’s second biggest museum after the Louvre in Paris. Apart from Rodin, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Manet, Costa, Rembrandt, Matisse, and Picasso just to name a few, there are impressive collections of Greek and Egyptian antiquities. A courtyard in the middle has a nice garden with benches and sculptures by Rodin.
The most extravagant restaurant – Le Louis XV, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
This is my first 3-star Michelin experience. Super extravagant and posh and expensive!
The best restaurant experience I had – Geranium and Noma, Copenhagen.
Both have been honored one of the best restaurant in the world (Noma is literally number 1.) I have to agree to that.
The longest dining experience – Geranium, Copenhagen.
We were served 25 dishes in 4 hours!
The most fun pub ambience – Instant, Szimpla Kert, and other quirky ruined pubs in Budapest.
I have never seen anything like this in any city around the world. Super creative and fun!
The best dessert I couldn’t forget – parmesan ice cream at a 1-Michelin start organic restaurant Relae, Copenghagen.
It seems simple but something in there makes the taste still unforgettable until today.
The best brunch – NENI at Naschmarkt, Vienna.
Modernized Israeli food. Wholesome and satisfying meal in a vibrant local market. Unbeatable.
The best chill-out drink – Bellini at Gritti Palace hotel, Venice.
Bellini was invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice. The bar has a long-slacks dress code after 6 p.m. and I didn’t know. The rejection to enter sent me to discover a better value-equation at nearby Gritti Palace hotel where it is more posh but priced the same at Harry’s for this small dose of cocktail. Considering it is much nicer to lounge over a delicious Bellini and the exclusivity on a spacious terrace right on the Grand Canal with white-glove service, I wouldn’t regret missing Harry’s and heartily give Gritti Palace the best place to drink Bellini in Venice.
What is your best trip in 2013? Share with me!