Top Ten Countries I Want to Visit!

travelerGreetings intrepid travelers!

Below are the top ten countries I want to visit before I kick the bucket! They are listed in descending order with each country having its own unique appeal for visiting!

Enjoy!

 

# 10-China

chinaChina! What a beautiful country with majestic landscapes and a thriving variety of climates! In Harbin, China, for example, one can enjoy premier skiing and snowboarding. In Shanghai one can stroll down the streets admiring scenic rivers cutting through streets like in Venice. And what about the breathtaking enormous view of Shanghai port.

shanghai.jpg
Shanghai

China has a rich culture over four thousand years old and I grew up learning bits about it from PBS shows growing up. I also grew up eating Chinese food as a young boy. Chinese American friends of mine always tell me that traditional Chinese food is nothing like what is served here in the States.

terracotta
Terracotta Army

For its ancient history, its cultural appeal, famous cuisine and gorgeous landscapes waiting to be explored I name China number ten on my top ten lists of countries I must visit.

 

#9-France

france

France is a must-see place for its many castles, beautiful forests and rich history and culture.

Growing up in New York City I was surrounded by old brownstone churches, which  reflected an old Victorian style in Britain. Many of such buildings in England were built during or after the Norman rule of England. The Normans themselves were mostly Viking descendants who living in France, speaking French and acclimating to Medieval French Culture. This old culture also included picturesque craftsmanship. Take Abbaye-Aux-Hommes for example of Norman Architectural Masterpieces.

Norman Cathedral

I live for history, and Normandy, France is full of rich history (and a special wine called Calvados). (NY Times article on Calvados Wine)

Sure, I’d do the traditional American tourist stuff like visit the trendy coffee shops in Paris and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But, my main draw to this marvelous country is Normandy. I love Normandy’s history, its beauty and the Norman language (Normaund).

Normandy is a must-see. It’s been a dream destination since high school.

 

#8-Germany

germany
The Black Forest

Ah, Germany! Du hasst mich!

Germany is number eight on this list for a few strong reasons: its fairy tales captivated my childhood, its scenic castles are beautiful and it has a rich history to explore. (Myths and Legends from the Black Forest)

The Brothers Grimm were said to have been inspired by this dark forest. The brothers wrote famous stories that captivated my imagination: Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel.

The famous stories aside, Germany is a beautiful country with an old language (one I teach myself in my spare time) and its culture is one filled with cuckoo clocks, bratwurst, impressive architecture and a booming automotive industry.

Munich
Munich

I would visit Munich (again), the Black Forest, Bonn, Berlin (to see where the famous wall was) and I’d boat down the Rhine! (Rhine River Q & A)

What’s not to love!

 

#7-Ireland

irelandGood ol’ Ireland makes number seven on this list and it is well deserved!

Ireland is a country filled with beauty, a rich culture and a very interesting history.

Ireland has been through civil war, mass famine, a foreign rule, mass emigration and now a boom in the tourism department. With only over three million people living on the Emerald Isle my trip would be a very quiet one (in comparison to China and Germany for example).

dublin
Dublin’s Cobble Streets

I grew up hearing about Ireland’s history of warriors and kings. In school I also learned about how green and beautiful it was. Mu curiosity prompted me to watch tourism videos about Ireland.

I was sold.

The Emerald Isle has enchanted me for many years and my yearning to see this beautiful land of fairy tale increases with each mention of the name. (The Intoxicating Warrior Queen-Maeve Irish Lore)

 

#6-The United Kingdom

london
London

One of the most famous countries of the world is right in the middle of my list!

The United Kingdom has so much to offer tourists I don’t know where to start!

I would begin my tour of the UK in London (naturally) viewing Big Ben, strolling down Piccadilly and taking photos at Trafalgar Square! If my trip were a week long I’d spend four of those in England finishing up the last two checking out the English countryside and staring in awe at the Cliffs of Dover. The last three days of my trip I would divide between Scotland and Wales; I look forward to seeing the Highlands!

london

In summary the United Kingdom holds a place in my heart for all the times spent watching Mr. Bean, Doctor Who and Primeval! I look forward wholeheartedly to trying British cuisine too: bangers and mash, fish and chips, and curry fries!

 

#5-Mongolia

mongoliaMongolia!

This must be a shocker for some of you! You must be thinking: ‘What? Why Mongolia?! Why is Mongolia ranked over the UK?!’

Hear me out!

Mongolia is the birthplace of the world conqueror: Ghengis Khan. Mongolia is a melting pot of Ancient Asian culture and Russian influence. Mongolia is the place where T-Rex and velociraptor fossils were found in abundance. Mongolia has a very old and unique nomadic culture and finally, Mongolia contains the coldest desert on Earth: the Gobi.

My main interests in Mongolia are paleontological, and historical. I’d spend my first day browsing the eccentric city of Ulaanbaatar taking in the sites and smells, I’d spend my second day checking out fossil digs and talking with scientists. Finally my last day in Mongolia before leaving would be to trek a portion of the Gobi desert.

For its history, culture and location Mongolia is a truly rare and unique country among the more renowned places on this list.

 

#4-South Africa

s africa
Cable car above Cape Town

Ello!

South Africa is an easy number four on this list with good reason! Let me tell you why:

Ever since I watched Jackie Chan’s fight scene in ‘Who Am I?’ (great Jackie Chan film!) in 2005 I was intrigued by the African nation. I saw skyscrapers, scenic views and varied landscapes. I saw more of the same when I watched documentaries of South Africa. My interest homed in on Cape Town in particular! This city stands at the tip of Africa! At the top of the city are scenic mountains and a tramway that gives breathtaking views of the city below!

Apartheid and racial diversity also brought my attention to Cape Town. I learned about Indians, Chinese, Dutch and British that settled there. The different cultures made a melting pot of diversity and culture. Thankfully the evil system known as Apartheid is gone and one can enjoy all cultures equally.

penguins
Yes, there are penguins in South Africa

I would visit South Africa’s veldt, the historic Johannesburg and Cape Town. I would also see the penguins and go on boated tours, after all South Africa is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet!

 

#3-Australia

aussie

Australia. Well-earned number three. It almost made number two on this list.

Need I say more?

Fine, I will.

Australia is a continent completely south of the equator. It is also a country. Australia is the only continent that is also a country. It was discovered by Europeans in the first half of the seventeenth century. It was deemed inhospitable, ignored, settled by prisoners and finally became a country in the twentieth century.

steve
We miss you Steve

I fell in love with Australia ever since I watched the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, capture animals and happily explore the beautiful Australian landscape. Finding Nemo heightened the expectation for me! From then on I caught all the nature specials I could in order to learn more about this amazing country.

down under

I want to visit Australia very much. I want to dive in its clear blue waters off the Great Barrier Reef. I want to visit scenic Sydney, ostentatious Melbourne, outdoorsy Cairns and stylistic Perth to the west. I want to see Tasmania and explore the wild land known as the Outback. (Must See Sydney Places)

Hold me back! I’m getting on the next flight!

#2-Japan

 

osaka
Osaka at night

Japan! For those that know me this comes as no surprise!

I grew up watching Godzilla as a kid (check out my other posts!) and in my preteen years I got into Pokemon and a few anime films. What’s more I was fascinated by tales of Samurai.

tokyo
Tokyo Tower

Japanese culture is very popular. It always has been since the late nineteenth century. We get our technology, fine car companies and video games from this industrial giant. Indeed, Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda, two of my favorite video game franchises, all come from Japanese video gaming geniuses!

It would be a shame to never see this country in my lifetime.

fuji
Mt Fuji

If I were in Japan I would make my stay for a week or more. I’d check out Osaka first, seeing as they have a mega aquarium containing whale sharks! (Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)) After a few days in Osaka I’d visit Tokyo and see all the sights I could cram into three days: manga shops, restaurants, Kabuki theater and boat tours! I would then visit the large mountainous island of Hokkaido followed by a trip to the top of Mount Fuji! (Grab those oxygen bottles before making it to the top!)

hokkaido
Hokkaido in winter

Japan has held so much expectation and intrigue for me that I have studied Japanese for several months. I have high hopes for long conversations! Japan, without doubt is a country I must see soon and one week is truly not enough! (Hanami and Cherry Blossoms)

 

#1-New Zealand

At the very top of my list sits New Zealand!

New Zealand is the single most exciting and mysterious place in the world. It has volcanoes (I’d check out Ruapehu! Ruapehu), rain forests (Auckland Rain Forest), valleys (Kauaeranga), the tallest mountain in NZ: Aoraki (Mt Cook) and the beautiful capital city of Wellington (Te Papa Museum).

wellington
Wellington

I fell in love with this beautiful and enigmatic country after I found out that the Lord of the Rings was filmed here. For the next few months after I watched the Fellowship of the Ring I looked up all the information I could about New Zealand. What I learned whetted my appetite like no other country.

New Zealand has small flightless birds called kiwis (also a name for a New Zealander), a thriving Asian community in the big cities, a varied landscape, an old mysterious Maori culture striving to stay contemporary in a global world, and so many other sights such as scuba diving!

I want to discover more about this amazing country by going there. I want to make conversation with the Maori and learn more about their culture firsthand. I want to explore New Zealand’s fascinating flora and fauna since it lies at the literal edge of the world. Lastly, I want to see the amazing landscapes where the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and King Kong were filmed.

hobbiton
Hobbiton

These films captivated my imagination, and it was the Fellowship of the Ring, my favorite movie of all time, that made me want to see such pristine natural beauty.

In summary, for having such beautiful landscapes and an exotic blend of culture, flora and fauna at the edge of the world New Zealand takes the top spot on my list.

Thank you to all you intrepid people for reading my list! Do you have your own top ten countries you’d visit? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

 

External Links

Visit Berlin

Lord of the Rings Filming Locations in New Zealand

Visit Osaka

Visiting Mount Fuji

Piccadilly

Normandy Tourist Board

Lonely Planet-Sights in Shanghai

Live Science-T-Rex in Mongolia

Table Mountain-Cable Car Tours in Cape Town

Bardsong Press-The Intoxicating Warrior Queen

Visit Dublin

About New Zealand-Australia Vacation Deals

Japan Guide-Tea in Japan

NY Times Article on Calvados

Calvados Spirit, Armagnac

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