A lot of people have been e-mailing me/commenting/fbooking/smoke signalling me asking why I chose the specific destinations on our trip when I designed this back in October. So for them I added the main reasons why on our “Where Are We Going?” page. For those of you too lazy to click on a link (handy Google Analytics indicates most of you prefer to stay on our main page), here it is reproduced below:
Manila, Philippines – I have a lot of Pinoy friends, and it’s the capital of the Philippines: an essential stopover before Banaue and Batad.
Banaue & Batad, Philippines – I saw a picture of the rice terraces on Wikitravel.org and knew I had to go.
Hanoi, Vietnam – Vietnam was so close to not being on the itinerary because of their relatively exorbitant visa prices, but Shakthi Bhaskar told me to go for the food given our shared love for banh mis. And Anthony Bourdain. This is also the capital of Vietnam.
Halong Bay, Vietnam – The picture that started it all…I fell upon the entry on this in Wikitravel.org and then I fell in love.
Hué/Hoi An, Vietnam – A lot of my Vietnamese friends have this battle between Hue vs. Hoi An. I wanted to see if I could settle it.
Saigon, Vietnam – Where the war (you know, that war) all went down…just wanted to see it for historical purposes.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Isaac Silverman told me many stories about his travels here, and I definitely wanted to see the Killing Fields for myself.
Siemreap, Cambodia – Christian Pina showed me pictures of Angkor Wat even though I had never heard of it before. After much research and coercion from every single of my friends who had been there, I was convinced to go. It probably is the only destination on this list that has not gotten a single negative “oh it’s overhyped” review.
Vientiane, Laos – I figured if I was in the area, why not check out Laos and its capital city? This was a last minute addition.
Luang Prabang, Laos – While in Egypt I met an Australian backpacker named Adam who strongly recommended this city to me. Told me I would be missing out on “the most romantic city in Southeast Asia.”
Chiang Mai, Thailand – The same Australian backpacker, Adam, also recommended this one. When I was hesitant, Christian told me I was being stupid for not going to the “Rose of the North.”
Mae Sot/Myareddy, Thailand/Myanmar – This is the border town between Thailand and Myanmar. If getting a visa into Myanmar proves too impossible, this might be our only chance to see the country.
Bangkok, Thailand – It’s Bangkok. Are you kidding?
Penang, Malaysia – For the food (not referring to the big chain of restaurants in NYC). And because my Malaysian friends all recommended it.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Petronas Towers.
Melaka , Malaysia – UNESCO World Heritage city. Figured we might as well go since we’re in the area.
Singapore – It’s Singapore. Are you kidding?
Bali, Indonesia – My cousin might get married here around the time I reach Bali…and it’s Bali. Are you kidding?
Gunung Bromo, Indonesia – A Halong Bay moment: I stumbled upon an entry on Mt. Bromo while surfing Wikitravel and knew I had to climb it.
Yogyakarta, Indonesia – An essential stopover to see Borabudur and Prambanan (see below).
Borabudur, Indonesia – Saw a picture of the endless Buddhist stupas on the UNESCO World Heritage Site and was taken aback. Adam also highly recommended it.
Prambanan, Indonesia – Saw a picture of these Hindu temples lit up at night and knew I had to go if it was right next to Borabudur.
Jakarta, Indonesia – Essential stopover to get out of Indonesia to either Myanmar or India. And it’s the capital…why not?
Yangon, Myanmar – That freakin’ giant golden pagoda is beautiful. And it’s Myanmar.
Bagan, Myanmar – They describe this as the “Manhattan island of temples.” As a native Manhattanite, that’s a tall claim. I also saw an amazing picture of Bagan on Google Images that I now can’t get out of my head.
Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar – Lonely Planet notes that this city contains “most enigmatic sights in Southeast Asia”: A Golden Rock that defies the basic laws of gravity.
Kolkata, India – Other than Chennai, this is one of the last megacities in India I have yet to see.
Varanasi, India – In my favorite scene in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, Brad Pitt is sailing along the Ganges in Varanasi.
Amritsar, India – Nilam Patel highly recommended it. This one’s for her.
Jaipur, India – I hear from everyone that it’s a beautiful city…a must see in India.
Jodhpur, India – Same reason as Jaipur, although I hear Jodhpur is more highly recommended now.
Goa, India – It’s Goa…Are you kidding?
Mumbai, India – I have a few quite important people to see… 🙂 This is the only destination on out itinerary that I’ve been to already; the only reason I’m going back is because a few great friends live there. And it’s the best way to end a trip like this: familiar faces and lots of love.
– At time of posting in Luang Prabang, Laos, it was 77 °F – Humidity: 89% | Wind Speed: 4km/hr | Cloud Cover: mist, rain