Tag Archives: top100

Top-100: Australia.

As strange as it may seem, I’ve explored more of Australia than any other continent. I’ve been to lots of its many uniquely beautiful places, and plan on getting to the ones I’ve missed so far very soon. Outstanding ocean coastline and endless desert, multicolored rock formations, waterfalls, white beaches – Australia has them all. And if you add to that powerful mix kangaroos, koalas and crocs, what you get is one fascinating country!

90. Kimberley.

Sure, Kimberley takes forever to get to, but its limitless landscapes and venerable views are more than worth the trouble getting here. A week is too short a time for a full and proper ‘see everything’ visit (as I found out during my week long trip). And you really do need to get your route and logistics planned well in advance. Try to get here during a full moon or new moon – when the tides are the highest and the horizontal waterfalls gush the hardest! I’ve been just the once; my impressions are here. I long to get back soon. I’ve even drawn up a list of the must-sees I, erm, must see!

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Read on…

Top-100: NZ, the rest of Oceania, and both Poles.

For most of the population of the world New Zealand (NZ) is simply to far way to be thought of as a reasonably realistic travel destination. There a zillion miles from practically anywhere! But that just makes them all the more interesting and exclusive.

Up until recently, out of all of the Oceanian countries/islands, I’d only checked out NZ (and not just checked it out: we had an almost three-week intensive tour of the two islands), and Hawaii, which both then made it onto my Top-100 List of Must-See Countries of the World. Those two are of course still on the list (how could it be any other way?) – and here you’ll be getting a mini-refresher on both – but I also got to see this year a good few other Oceanian islands. Handily, they can all be grouped under one heading (~country), but anyway – more on those in a bit…

So, now, the Oceania section of my Top-100 looks like this:

95. New Zealand.

An impossibly gorgeous pair of islands – and I don’t just mean their natural uniquenesses, but the whole of its countryside. NZ goes one-up on Western Europe, for besides being similarly neatly planned, trimmed and painted, it also seems to be Photoshopped, so bright and contrasting are all the natural colors everywhere. Even the sheep seem to have been given a trim and blow-dry before leaving the house for the day :).

NZ is two considerably sized, considerably contrasting, islands, each of which really needs treating separately in a list such as this. Still, since it’s long been the custom to refer to either island’s beauty as ‘that’s New Zealand’, I’ll follow suit and group the two together. LOTS of detail – here.

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Top-100: ver. 2018 – prelude.

Hi folks!

It’s no secret I globetrot much of the time. Most of the time that trotting of the globe is for business (meetings, conferences, speeches and so on), but sometimes I get a slot just before or after whatever event I have scheduled in which I can squeeze a bit of micro-tourism – checking out the local… whatever needs checking out really – the tourist attractions, must-see’s and/or must-do’s that lie nearby. More often than not it truly is ‘micro’: seen it, snapped it, back-to-work/airport. But occasionally it’s ‘macro’, detailed, relaxed (if I’m lucky), and lengthy inspections of places of interest. Naturally, I prefer the latter.

Anyway, way back in 2011, seeing as though I was lucky enough to visit so many fantastic places in the world, I figured I should come up with a ‘Top-100 Must-See Places in the World’ – according to Yours Truly, of course. Which is what I did.

Fast forward to 2015, and it was time for an update for my Top-100. Well, there are only three whole months left until 2019 already, so I think it’s high time for another update: I’ve been to many more new places, and some have entered the list while others have been dropped…

Which brings me to this post you’re reading right now: yes, herewith – the introduction to my new, shiny, amended, updated, upgraded and improved Top-100 list – ver. 2018, coming up in different posts in the near future.

Quick disclaimer: the ordering of the new additions to the list may seem a bit higgledy-piggledy and non-sensical. Let me just tell you there is method in the seeming madness, and ask you to please bear with me. All will become clear – eventually (right at the end; must keep you guessing, you see:).

Disclaimer 2: the photos here will be dazzlingly bright. Careful with that axe Eugene, and careful with the brightness/contrast controls on your monitor too!

For now though: a warm-up/teaser for you – some photographic highlights of Top-100 candidates since the 2015 incarnation of the list.

 

Tourism: Chinese. +4 must-sees.

In my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World, there’s a special section on China. So why does this single country get a section all of its own (as Russia does) unlike most other countries? Simple: it’s packed full of touristic wonders; it’s only they’re hardly known about outside the country. China is in many ways a self-sufficient country, and that includes in terms of its domestic tourism. China has no real need for foreign tourists: it has plenty to be getting on with from inside the country ).

Anyway, I regularly (but quietly) add new places to the China sub-list of my Top-100 list, based on my travels around the country. So here’s my latest update adding new data and recommendations to the list…

1. The Longyou Caves.

The Longyou Caves – meaning Dragon Caves – were discovered in 1992 when some locals were pumping water from a pond. You can image their surprise when they came across this lot! It turned out to be ancient man-made caverns – ‘secret’ (unrecorded) ones at that; MASSIVE ones at that (they scooped out a whopping MILLION cubic meters of bedrock to make them!). I mean, how do you (rather, you and, say, an army of laborers) keep that undertaking (which clearly lasted decades) quiet so no one at all knows about it/writes about it? All a mystery. And, accordingly – very must-see!

Here’s some detail on the caves; here too (photos are from here).

Read on: Longyou Caves, Dunhuang, and Lugu and Kanas Lakes…

The World’s Most Beautiful Countries – a Fresh Approach.

And now for something completely different and non-industrial. In fact just the opposite – something about both natural and man-made beauty. Why? Here’s why…

Not long ago, somewhere (I can’t recall where) I came across the phrase ‘the most beautiful country in the world’. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but the old unconscious appears to have logged it for a future revisit. Oh that subconscious.

A few weeks later, sure enough, I was compelled to revisit it, and had a look on the Internet about this, and of course I found various lists of things like ‘The Top-10/20 Most Beautiful Countries in the World’. Thing is… most of it seemed to be talking through its hat, seemingly written by folks who’ve never been to Latin America, Central China, Kamchatka or the Kuril islands.

I admit, determining which are the prettiest countries in the world is tricky: beauty is a subjective thing, and that means that the criteria you use will also be subjective. I mean, what criteria should or could you use?

But, well, I’ve got a bit of a head-start on this – with my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World. With this list you (here – I) can calculate levels of beautifulness… but taking into account the sizes of the territories! This is so we get the ‘most beautiful overall’ instead of the ‘quantity of beautiful places in a particular country’.


Read on: and the winner is…

Top-100 Series: The Final Few.

Herewith, my personal ‘Top-100 Amazingly Beautiful Must-See Places in the World Split up Into the Continents Thereof‘ is coming to a close.

To date, I’ve given you Place Nos. 1–90 of my Top-100. There’ll be a further four coming up below (Nos. 97–100). That of course leaves a mysterious gap – from 91 to 96…

Actually, no mystery at all here. It’s just my not being able to nail the nice round figure of 100! I mean, I could fill the gap with some of the bonus tracks, or I could wait until someone – hopefully in the comments (below) – comes up with some must-sees I’ve scandalously not considered for whatever reason. So really it’s a gap that leaves some room for improvement/perfecting, not knowing for sure how exactly to improve and perfect it now.

That potentially awkward caveat out of the way, let’s get those last Tops, er, out of the way…

97. North Pole.

Perhaps you could have guessed this one would be in this post scriptum installment of my Top-100, as it isn’t a part of a continent – ain’t no country even – so it was always going to be tricky ‘fitting it in’.

You can get to it on an icebreaker on a tour (pics only; Russian text), and I’m told it’s a really worthwhile excursion – not to mention an extreme one.

One thing you won’t see here but might have thought you would are… penguins! Nope, they’re on the other side of the world – on Antarctica (and nearby southern extremes of South America and South Africa).

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Read on: space…

Top-100 Series: Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

Strange as it may seem – what with their being so far away – Australia and New Zealand represent the region I’ve explored the most out all regions of the world. I’ve been to many of their Top-100 spots, and those not yet visited I plan on getting to very soon. “What’s the rush?” you may be thinking, since I’ve been saying all along through this here Top-100 series that I “must get there soon” to dozens of the listed places I haven’t been to yet. Well, that’s an easy one: the region is just awesome. The places I’ve visited there already: all OMG. Add to the mix kangaroos, koalas and crocs, and it all adds up to the most interesting continent on the planet! Ok, not quite a full continent, as there’s Australasia, so maybe I should just stick to ‘region’. Oh, and out of Oceania I’ve only been to Hawaii so far. Caveats duly noted, let’s get cracking folks, and head down under!…

83. Kimberley.

Aussies had been telling be all about this lesser-known region of Oz for years. Finally, in the summer of 2015, I got myself there. Now I know what all the fuss was about.

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Read on: reefs, mountains, glaciers and islands…

Top-100 Series: Africa.

Africa. Just uttering the word conjures up visions of all things exotic. An exceptional continent, like no other. And with plenty of locations I deem must-see:

73. Sahara desert.

As if you need telling: the world’s largest desert. The mind is blown, gradually but intensely, especially at sunset (I slept through the sunrise). I saw it in Tunisia. Sand, dunes, salt lakes, mirages, oases. Oh yes.

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Read on: volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls and ancient …

Top-100 Series: Asia.

What’s interesting and recommendable in my Top-100 in the rest of Asia, apart from China and the Middle East? Here’s what…

62. Taj Mahal, India.

A mighty mausoleum made of white marble – the tomb of the favorite wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. If you look closely on Google Maps, here, on the other side of the river opposite the Taj Mahal you can see traces of the preparations for a second Taj-Mahal. Those traces are as far as plans went for a mirror image of the mausoleum – which was to be made out of black marble instead of white. Legend has it that the Mughal Empire simply didn’t have the funds needed to finance such lavish expenditure on an oversized grave, so its padishah (emperor) was deposed by his attendants, which brought his Taj-2 project to an abrupt halt too.

A magical place, especially the contrast between it and its somewhat less regal, rural surroundings. I really recommend taking an individual tour with a personal guide and mini-van so as not to be shaken about violently on a regular tour bus. Details here (pics; text in Russian).

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Read on: mountains, pagodas and volcanoes…

Top-100 Series: China.

So, why does China (in addition to Russia) get a Top-100 post all of its own? Easy: the quantity of unique natural beauties here is simply off the scale. Curiously though, hardly any of them are known outside the country.

Quite why that’s the case, I’m not fully sure of. What I am sure about is that China appears to do absolutely nothing to attract foreigners to the country. But then they don’t have to. They’ve enough on their plate catering to the hundreds of millions of their own citizens. Accordingly, some places – no matter how ‘wow’ – don’t even have a Wikipedia entry. They only become known about through tales of the odd (odd!) foreign tourist or two who accidentally happen on them during their pioneering travels around the country’s hinterland. And one such odd odd foreign tourist is (to a certain extent, for I still haven’t seen a great deal of the country) me!

But before getting to those ultra-exclusive unknown Chinese locations, let me get a few of the very obvious, very famous Chinese tourist attractions out of the way…

52. Great Wall of China.

I’ve been told that several generations ago folks could trek along the wall for several days on end! Alas, these days there’s no chance of that: self-preservation’s the name of the game today; only a short section is open to visitors. Nevertheless, it’s still totally worth checking out, and not only for the proverbial tick on your ‘been and seens’: there’s no other wall quite like it in the world. Uniformly unique.

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Read on: China…