* Brno, Czech Republic - I stayed there just a few days, but even though pretty, the city wasn't very exciting. It's quite cheap and less touristic than Prague, so if you're looking for something less crowded than the capital, it might be a good choice to experience Czech culture
* Barcelona, Spain - one of the most touristic places in Europe, but it totally deserves it. It's not only beautiful and lively, but even if you want to avoid crowded areas, you can book a room a few stations from the center and enjoy the fantastic local culture. I stayed there for a month and as long as you stay away from La Rambla, it's very relaxing place
* Vietnam - I haven't been to Dalat yet, but recently I've visited Ho Chi Minh City and Mui Ne and both are wonderful places. Vietnamese cuisine and coffee, as well as cheerful and very friendly people, make it a perfect place for a low-cost trip.
* Malaga, Spain - way different from Barcelona, with the influence of African culture, it's a good place to spend a few days, but also perfect base for short trips around - from Malaga you can easily get to Gibraltar, Granada, Jerez and Seville
* Phnom Penh, Cambodia - I think that other places in Cambodia like Battambang or Siem Reap are better to visit. Capital of the country is rather crowded and polluted. There's plenty of things to see, however, especially if you know a bit about history of Cambodia, you can constantly feel demons of the past being present in the city.
* Sydney, Australia - I spent 1 week in Melbourne and then 1 week in Sydney, when I was in Australia. I must say I strongly prefer Melbourne as it is more a place to live, while Sydney seems more a business city. Having said that, I highly recommend to visit them both, they're expensive, but wonderful.
The Eastern part of the DRC is still a dangerous place to go with still ongoing guerrilla activity.
"Getting there requires a flight to Kigali, Rwanda, and a three-hour taxi ride."
"While a park spokeswoman said there have been no reports of unfriendly encounters between rebels and tourists, the eastern D.R.C. remains an unpredictable area that calls for sensible precautions."
If you want to see the mountain gorilla, just go to Rwanda. Very safe country, the Switzerland/Singapore of Africa. Or Uganda for even cheaper. I am not saying to only go to safe places, but avoiding active combat zones is easy to do.
Sad to see almost nothing in (non Northern) Africa. Great place to avoid the mobs.
EDIT: a few more points
36 - Tyrol, Austria
The Tyrol extends into Italian as south Tyrol, so if you are touring Italy, visit this region.
45 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
I found it boring, and so did most visiting non-expats that I met. Most tourists simply visit the Killing Fields and prison, which is not mentioned.
I went on four gorilla treks and on average was with only one other tourist. In Rwanda, you'll usually be in a group of eight. This is significant as great viewing angles can be in short supply.
Other reasons to go:
-You get a behind the scenes view of the park - I got to see a demo of their ivory/poacher sniffing dogs, got to see the gorilla rehab center (and to meet Andre Baume, who was featured in the movie!), and lots of interaction with the rangers
-The gorilla permit fee is $400 instead of $750 in Rwanda ($600 in Uganda, admittedly this value is diminished if you stay in the expensive park lodging, whereas in Rwanda cheap places are possible)
-Trekking Mount Nyiragongo (active volcano) is really, really cool
-As soon as you cross the border, you are constantly in the hands of Virunga vehicles/lodging/guards (a Virunga car picks you up at the border post and an armed guard is inside)
"you are constantly in the hands of Virunga vehicles/lodging/guards"
I simply do not want to travel that way. :) Reminds me of being in South Africa. Very safe, provided you stay within your compound with high walls and electric fencing! The behind the scenes does sound amazing.
Security - fair
$350 at right time of the year - by right time, you mean "bad"/rainy time when they offer discounts (May/Nov I believe) :) - I have had excellent experiences in the rain, but I'm not sure that I'd recommend a first timer go for that $350 rate
Just getting to the camp was an adventure. Traveling in many parts of Africa is not easy. Learned a lot of the local language while riding in the front cab of a truck. I need to go back.
That being said, it was almost ten years ago since I was there and I'm sure their tourism industry has grown. In addition, My comments about other countries being touristy is limited to the places that I went (and this is certainly a biased sample).
But it does feel a but clunky and that size is rather shocking.
http://pastebin.com/raw/A8T4MRGD (without text blurb)
http://pastebin.com/raw/t0CG2tzg (with text blurb)
http://pastebin.com/raw/Ud4Vc2hp (python code used to extract this)
bugs (won't fix):
- text blurb is not printed for items without g-secondary-name
- character encoding is wrong
I'm already looking forward to the Oculus Rift version :)
Followed by a comment saying web browsing in a Virtual Desktop style environment on the Rift isn't very good, and can't be due to screen resolution limitations.
It would sure beat the crap out of my current desktop backdrop, which is mostly covered by windows anyway :)
To be fair, I've had to spend some time training my adblock to handle nytimes
I have no idea why an American newspaper, NYT or otherwise, would be writing for anything other than an American audience.
You can even pair it with a visit to the Strangeloop tech conference (http://www.thestrangeloop.com).
If you're already in NYC, it's a pretty short train ride (by American standards at least) to DC. I think it's about 3 hours by Amtrak, just a bit longer than the Eurostar from London to Paris.
The story of the siege of Malta in 1565 is absolutely riveting. The Knights of St John, with Grand Master de la Valette, and the Maltese population are attacked and besieged by the numerically superior Turks for the entire summer of 1565. Ernle Bradford does a remarkable job of describing the events in such a way that it almost feels like you are there. Along the way, you also learn a lot about life, war and politics in the 16th century
Edit: The entire population of Malta was awarded the George Cross (UK highest gallantry award for civilians) for their actions in WWW2:
700,000 square miles? Of Dockland? In Bordeaux? And each apartment gets 140 square miles of land? :-)
It was absolutely breath-taking, and I won't forget how it felt to stand in those hilly fields for a long time. Being at the exact same spot as the Battle of Little Big Horn, walking in quiet with no cell phone signal... It was all wonderful.
It's nice to see a list with places I never would have considered, even if it is odd to see ND and St. John on the same list.
I suggest visiting without a car. If you need one to get to places outside the city, rent only when you're leaving and ask for exact advice about the easiest way out of town.
Having just hiked it, this is not true during the dry season. You do cross a small glacier, but all you need for that is YakTrax, if anything.
Then I realised as an NY Times piece, this is for Americans. Lots of the places are Anglo-Spanish-friendly (St Helena, really?), mostly within less than insane flight times (explains the lack of New Zealand on the list) and the inevitable references to Kanye and other celebrities (because you know it'd be insulting to suggest that these places actually have things going for themselves without the affirmation of a celebrity).
While I disagree with almost the majority of the choices (choose Melbourne over Sydney any day of the week as a tourist, avoid anything with Democratic Republic of the Congo on it unless you're already familiar with the safety requirements for the region) it's an interesting and thought provoking list, nonetheless.
New Zealand isn't that far away. LAX to AKL is about 11 hours travel time. The west coast to many Asian cities is at least 14 hours, if not 20 by the time you add in layovers.
Plus another 6-7 hours to get to LAX from New York. This is a New York Times article.
What I'll be interested to see is what the impact of a major data center will be on tech investment in the area from both the local community and from outside investors.
If you do happen to visit in Winter, and you're near Holland or Grand Haven (also on the lakeshore) you should check out the downtown areas: both have snowmelt systems that keep the downtown area roads and sidewalks dry:
I used to work with someone from St Helena. She was just 20 years old, and — understandably — didn't see much future for herself on the island. Perhaps the airport will change that, or at least mean she no longer needs to take two weeks holiday to visit her family by ship.
Some of these places should be more and less generalized, however. "Skane, Sweden" ought to be changed to "a less populated region of the Norwegian or Swedish coast, somewhere with a historic lighthouse". I've spent some time on the coast of Norway, and I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. Additionally, naming "Kansai, Japan" is ridiculous, it encompasses 22 million people and three major cities (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe); this is especially ridiculous given that there's also a place on the list with a population of 113.
There are lots of festivals and things do in the summer, but I can't honestly agree with the #7 spot. Many of the places on the list are more exciting.
Another tip: wherever you go, try to time your trip with a local holiday. This is when most public events will take place and locals will have the day off allowing you to interact with them as opposed to other tourists.
Seriously though, I live in a city where locals keep discouraging tourists from coming, and tourists keep talking about how great it is. Part of it is due to how stuff that makes a city fun is different for the two groups, but also because locals don't treat their cities as special. When we travel somewhere, we take advantage of everything, at home we mostly just want to get home.
At the end of the day, you simply can't get around the weather. If you're really in the mood for snow, NYC is definitely more exciting around Christmas-time, and even Ottawa, Montreal or Quebec City have more going on in terms of public events.
Toronto's a wind-tunnel during most of the cold-season and the snow is not the fluffy fun kind, but quickly freezes or turns to dirty slush.
For 6 months of the year Torontonians are just trying to get between their preferred indoor heated spaces as quickly as possible, and public gathering spaces are very limited.
Also last few days might be an anomaly due to the unseasonably warm weather, but during a typical winter the scene is quite different.
Again I wasn't totally bashing Toronto, there is some interesting things to do here. Christmas Market used to be nice before the 30 minute lineups started, and during summertime there are definitely a lot of buzzing events or chill places to just hang out. Or maybe I am boring and tend to see the uninteresting side of my city. In this case I might need to make some more cheerful friends like you.
Things to do in each location: crowdsource to Facebook
Sadly, Nepal has made zero political progress since I arrived there in 2006 :(
Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkmPAOwpkL8
I'll add places I've been to that I haven't seen mentioned:
* Hangzhou, China - I spent about three days hanging around West Lake/Xi Hu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lake), a large, BEAUTIFUL lake adjacent to the city. Sprawling mountains in the background, an endless amount of Chinese gardens and beautiful greenery surrounding it. Cheap boat rides that you can drive yourself, and an extreme dearth of Western tourists - even by China standards. Though, I went during the summer and the place was swarming with Chinese tourists. Maybe my favorite meal in China was in a modern restaurant in a random mall there. I'd honestly consider Xi Hu one of the most beautiful places I've been.
* Malmo, Sweden - I didn't go to the countryside like the article recommends though did a day trip to the nearby University town of Lund, which is nice but nothing cooler than most small European cities. The city itself has nothing in particular worth seeing - it's still fairly expensive, though probably cheap by Scandanvian standards. I did stumble upon some good restaurants. I enjoyed Stockholm a lot more, and wouldn't return to Malmo if it weren't for a friend I have there. Gothenburg
seems a lot cooler but sadly I never made it out there. Definitely avoid in the late fall / winter due to cold weather.
* Kansai, Japan - I spent a little over a weekin Osaka and various small towns in the area (Nara, Ouji). I got the sense that besides Tokyo and its surrounding area, Kansai contained a good chunk of the interesting tourist things in Japan. Himeji castle is an hour or two bullet train ride away (and many of the towns nearby have similar castles), Mt Fuji is in the area, there are great onsen / hostsprings, Kyoto and the closeby area appears to contain the strongest density of old shrines and temples, and Nara is famous for the thousands of wild deer intermixed with old shrines and temples. Hiroshima is a few hour train ride away and has a lot to see: the A-Bomb museum, memorial, infamous bombed dome remains, and Miyajima - a beautiful island also with wild deer and shrines that I unfortunately missed due to rain. If you have enough time and railpass duration, take a (~3-6 hour) train to Fukouka and then the (~$100/each way) fast ferry to Busan, Korea. I LOVED Busan. Also: be sure to buy the Japan rail pass BEFORE you get to Japan. You can't get it in Japan.
* Malaga, Spain - this one has been mentioned, but I'll add it did seem much more touristy and built up than other parts of Andalusia. The pros of this are there are some nice restaurants and bars and still some good historical stuff - like a nice Moorish fort and Roman ampitheater in the center. I was there in the winter (still ~60 degrees F) but there are beaches. I'd recommend checking out nearby Granada for Alhambra and Sevilla was also cool. Cordoba is overrated and this is coming from a huge history nerd.
* Phnom, Penh - this one was also mentioned. I found this place incredibly depressing. Nearly everywhere you go there are often disfigured or limb-missing locals begging (I am guessing this the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge). They're not actually begging for money, but rather to give you a tuk-tuk ride, which was unusual to begging in other places I've been where people usually just ask for money. It's very dirty - like usually you rent a tuk tuk (think 1970s era chariot - motorcycle with wagon on the back), and I remember getting really dusty just from driving around. The Cambodians are incredibly nice and speak remarkably good English especially compared to the even more heavily tourist-exposed neighboring Thais. You can shoot an AK-47 for $50 at an army range and even a bazooka if you're willing to pay ~$300 (though I found out later in my trip it's a lot cheaper to shoot an AK and Russian weapons in the Baltics - mainly Estonia and Latvia). Angkor Wat in nearby Siem Reap is a MUST see.
See: turtles in Greece, quiet beaches and so on.
Nothing like a thundering herd of humans with power gadgets coming in by plane to package holidays centered around hastily constructed hotels and other infrastructure (airports, for instance).