The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog


MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 2007. NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA, USA.

Below is a list of my best and worst travel experiences based on almost two years of travel around the world. During close to two years of travel around the world, I fortunately did not have any travel horror stories or extremely bad experiences. I could not have scripted a better trip.

Best Coffee: Ethiopia--the best and cheapest coffee in the worl

Best Tea (Chai): Turkey--tea served in tulip glasses everywhere

Best African Moment: One Hour With the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda

Most Beggers: Ethiopia

Best Safari: Masai Mara, Kenya--lions, cheetahs, elephants, wildebeasts, giraffes, hippos, zebras, red bucks, impalas, and many more animals

Best Backpackers' Hangout: Dahab, Egypt--Cheap food, beer, accommodations; Great weather, restaurants, diving, bars.

Most Interesting Middle East City: Jerusalem, Israel--Muslims, Christians, Jews--all in one old city.

Best Party Place: Mykonos, Greece--Spring Break year round

Worst Nightlife: Nairobi, Kenya--Too dangerous to go out at night

Best Sailing Hangout: Tugutreis, Turkey--good enough for US Supreme Ct. Justice Scalia

Best Food: Bangkok, Thailand--Hands down this city has the best world-class cuisine at very reasonable, if not downright cheap prices. There is almost too much choice of food in Bangkok. Plus, there is little or no tipping.

Worst Roads: Kenya (outside of Nairobi)

Best Sightseeing Experience: Viewing Victoria Falls From a Microlight (Ultralight)

Worst Hassle: India

Worst Pollution: India

Worst Litter: India

Worst Drivers: India

Worst Stray Dog Population: India -- dogs everywhere; get your rabies shots!

Best Sweets: India

Best Ruins: Baalbak, Lebanon--Very few tourists, small but impressive ruins

Best Train Ride: Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to Kapiri Mposh, Zambia

Best Desert Experience: Camel Trekking In Wadi Rum, Jordan--following in the camel steps of Lawrence of Arabia

Best Museum: Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt--Straight out of an Indiana Jones movie; the King Tut exhibit is extraordinary

Best Historically Moving Experience: Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Best Overall Shopping: Rome, Italy--The Italians simply know how to make quality products

Best Cheap Shopping: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Best Theatre: Opera Palais Garnier, Paris, France--Elegant old world theatre. Marc Chagall's ceiling is a masterpiece. On par with the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.

Best Hostel: The Backpack, Cape Town, South Africa--If only every hostel were like this one--Clean, reasonable, efficient, friendly, secure, excellent food, beer, widescreen plasma TV, tour desk, great view of Table Mountain

Best One Day Tour: Spice Tour, Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

Worst Scammers (Best in their mind): Egypt--these guys are smooth

Best Spiritual Experience: Dharamsala (McLeod Ganj), India, to visit with the Dalai Lama.

Best Mountains: Indian Himalayas

Most Beautiful Countryside: Uganda--Winston Churchill was right: Uganda is the Pearl of Africa

Worst Smokers: Tie--The Middle East and Southeast Asia

Best and Most Beautiful Building: Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Best Vegetarian Food: India

Best Non-English Word: Mzungu (Swahili for White Person or Foreigner)

Best Place to Buy Pirated DVD Movies: Kuta, Bali, Indonesia (~$1 per DVD, better quality than Amman, Jordan)

Worst Misconception: People constantly saying "Kunichiwa" to me, and when I tell them that I am from the U.S., they respond with "But where are you really from? You look Japanese."

Best Scuba diving: Ras Mohammed, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Worst Power Outages: Myanmar--government power was rarely on more than a few hours per day.

Best Cultural Performances: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Worst (Scariest) Moment: Waking up to a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Best Getaway From Civilization: Mongolia (outside U.B.)

Best Horseback Riding: Mongolia

Best Food: Tie--China and Thailand

Cheapest Beer: China

Worst Spitting: China

Best Countryside Cycling: Yangshuo, Guilin, China

Best Jungle Experience: Luang Nam Tha, Laos

Best Relaxing Afternoon: Inner tube riding, Vang Vieng, Laos

Most Boring City: Singapore

Best Modern City: Sydney, Australia

Best Waterfall: Iguazu, Argentina

Best Group Tour: Expedition to Antarctica Aboard the Explorer

Best Trek: Tie--The W Trek, Patagonia, Chile, and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

Best One Day Mountain Summit: Volcan Villarrica, Pucon, Chile

Best Archaeological Site: Tie--Easter Island, Chile, and Ephesus, Turkey

Best Mountain Bike Ride: The World's Most Dangerous Road, Bolivia

Best Indigenous People: Bolivia

Worst Claustrophobia: Potosi Mines, Bolivia

Best Street Party: Carnaval, Salvador, Brazil

Best Beach Town: Canoe Quebrada, Brazil

Best Ecolodge and Tour: Mamiraua Ecological Reserve, Amazon, Brazil

Best Bird and Sea Life Viewing: The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador



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