Archive for July, 2009

Visiting Sites in Asia

great-wallIf you’re planning a trip to Asia be it a tour of the region or a vacation to a single country, it’s important to draft an itinerary that includes the historic and cultural sites you intend to visit. But in a region with so many thousands of years of history, it’s difficult to choose just a few sites or to find sites that are less popular but may have more meaning to you as individual. Selecting such sites is easier if you have access to the right resources and, luckily, many of these resources are available for free from both government and non-government sources.

One such resource is the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are sites of historic, cultural or natural beauty and include everything from the Great Wall of China to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra. These sites are uniformly impressive and you should make sure to see them if they are within your reach. UNESCO maintains a very useful index of these sites organized by country and identified according to either their cultural or natural significance. As a bonus, many of these sites are free and open to the public because, after all, it’s not really possible to charge admission to a rainforest.

But the UNESCO list isn’t the only resource available to curious travelers. Indeed, the official tourism sites maintained by each nation can often be a great resource in deciding what to visit, how to get there and when to go. For instance, Singapore’s tourism site contains detailed information about what to see, how to get there and where to go next. Sites like these are a great source because they present all of the most popular places to visit along with the latest local events that might interest tourists.

Of course, you have to be careful when you use government tourism sites because their mission is to sell you a product. Take everything they say with a grain of salt but in the end they have your happiness and safety in mind because it’s in their best economic interest to do so. Another resource that can be helpful when selecting sites to see on your Asian vacation is Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia often has good information on local cultural events including festivals that tourists will find entertaining.

Simply look up the city or country you’ll be visiting and spend some time looking through links on their history, food and culture to find places and things that look interesting. Wikipedia probably won’t include tour information or the cost of admission but it is a starting point. It will also give you some background on the places that look interesting and you’ll be able to see if they truly captivate you or if they’re not worth

There are a broad variety of resources prepared by governments, world bodies and private citizens and they’re all available to tourists planning a trip to Asia. Take advantage of them when you’re deciding what to visit and hopefully they’ll enrich your trip by helping you select the best sites according to your interests.

Couchsurfing

couchsurfingEver wanted to travel long-term and stay for free? Well, I did just that during my trip to Brazil over Christmas break, utilizing a service called Couch Surfing! Couchsurfing.com is still a relatively new website, created by people that wanted to open their homes to people who wanted to travel but were hamstringed by very small budgets. The website allows you to create a profile and ask for couches to crash on in almost any city on earth, with huge communities in major cities.

I love Couch Surfing because staying with a local means you instantly gain a tour guide with insider knowledge. I have been taken to restaurants, bars, and shows that would never show up in any guidebook, but have been absolutely amazing to be a part of. You are allowed to participate even if you cannot open your own home to travelers, so if you are a student like me have no fear, there are no restrictions! Some of my best friends have come from these Couch Surfing experiences, and I hope to continue the tradition by opening my own home when I have the space.

Couch Surfing also offers activities and group gatherings in major cities, so you can participate even if you are not looking for lodgings. The community is full of locals and international travelers that are by their very nature open to and interested to meet other travelers. Heck, I met my current girlfriend at a Couch Surfing event! I highly encourage checking out the organization and seeing if it is for you, because registration and creation of a profile is completely free, as is participating in all the events and group meetings that go on. You will thank me later I assure you!

My Travel Wish List

bhutanNow that I am a travel blogger, I’ve been reading a lot of other travel blogs on the web and they make me want to travel even more, if that was even possible! But reading all of these blogs has made me think about all the things I want to do and places I want to go. When thinking about it, it’s a really long list! But here’s a crack at where I want to go and see:

Countries I Really Want to See
Bhutan- This country is very secluded from the world. They have a gross happiness factor! I mean how amazing is that! All the pictures I’ve seen from the country are beautiful. Life seems so simple and everyone seems so happy there. I also like how they have tight controls on tourism so people don’t come and ruin the country. This is a place I really want to see.
Tanzania- I’ve always dreamed of going to Africa. I want to go safari, see great animals, climb mt. Kilimanjaro, and head to Zanzibar. There seems to be so much to do in the country and the wildlife life just seems wonderful. There’s something unique and mysterious about Africa and one day I’ll make it there.
Peru- Home to the Incas, I really want to head up to Lima and hike the Inca Trail. That’s pretty much why I want to go there. I hear the culture is cool, Lima is a big historic city, Machu Picchu is one of the best things to see, and who doesn’t want to be hiking in the jungle!
Sweden- Stockholm looks pretty cool but lets face it, Sweden is full of hot Swedish girls. It may be really expensive but whatever, I want to meet hot Swedish girls. And yeah the landscape is cool. But I’m going for more shallow reasons!
The Seychelles- I love the beach. I really love the beach. Being tan is fun. The Seychelles is like looking at a picture perfect postcard. The beaches here look deserted, the water is crystal clear and there is a lot of tropical fish around in the coral reefs. This is tropical paradise at its best!

Things I Want to Do the Most
Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro- The only mountain in Africa with snow (for now at least). This mountain has an air of mystic to it and it just seems like a great accomplishment to achieve.
Learn to Scuba Dive- I love the ocean and I love to snorkel. This just seems like the next thing to do. There’s like a whole world underneath the sea and I just want to explore the beautiful ocean up close and personal.
Hike the Grand Canyon- This grand canyon is just really fucking big and I think it would be great to hike down the floor, spend a night or two there, and then hike out the other side!
Ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad- Seven days on a train through some of the biggest wilderness in the world. How great is that? You get to go through the countryside, ride through the Mongolia, and land out in Beijing! Ahh! It’s one of the best travels in the world!

These are just a few things that I want to do. I mean in reality, I want to do everything! But these are the highlights!

© 2010 Pat Travels the World
last minute vacations