10 June 2007

Trippers Best Of...Scenery

Part of the best of series.

Beauty is everywhere, but some places just take your breath away. They can be completely unexpected, or hyped up by everyone you meet. Here are my favorite scenic places in the world.

1. Dhulikel Sunrise, Nepal. Just look at that. No contest.

2. Cinque Terre, Italy. The five villages along the coast seem to slither down the dramatic coastline.

3. Kota Kinabalu National Park, Sabah (Borneo), Malaysia. The rugged peak of the tallest mountain in SE Asia greeted me in the morning, though I unfortunatly didn't accept its modest challenge.

4. Annapurna Trekking, Nepal. You know you're near the top of the world when you reach 10,000 feet...and its just a "hill."

5. Pyrennes, Andorra and France, This tiny electronic store-driven nation has some beautiful mountain passes.

6. Cappadochia, Turkey. Fairly tale land of rock homes, cave dormitories, and brilliantly carved Christian chapels.

7. Backroads of Isaan, Thailand. Sitting in the back of a truck, the brisk wind blowing my hair, and the sunset just over the horizon.

8. Mekong River, Laos. Slow boat down the beautiful, untouched Mekong valley.

9. Sumo-Udo, Kansai Province, Japan. Probably wouldn't have made the list if it were'nt for the Cherry Blossoms!

Dishonorable Mention: Fes river, Morocco. Most polluted body of water that I have seen.

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03 June 2007

Trippers Best of...Beaches

The first of the 10-15 part series, best of. See the unfinished best of index here.

80% of the world's population lives within 50 miles of the coast. Kansas is not 50 miles from the coast. So here are the best coastal beach areas of the world, from Portugal all the way to Cambodia...and the winner is....!

1. Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Free accomodation, cheap food, and plankton illuminating the night sea. That, and 50 cent mango shakes, what more could you ask for?

2. Middle of Nowhere, Mekong River, Laos. See here for the story behind this magnificent, stat studded, beach on the river. A very close second.

Songklha, Thailand. I've never seen so many seashells in my life. A untouristed, authentic, southern Thai beach.

4. Lagos, Portugal. Walking among the cliffs of these beautiful, pristine, algarve beaches, which, may I mention, were topless in many locations?

5. Chigasaki, Japan. The birthplace of surfing in Japan greeted us with this amazing sunset over the perfect hood of Mount Fuji during our mid-spring BBQ.

Dishonorable Mention: Koh Phanang, Thailand. When I first walked onto this disneyland-like neon-lit beach, I looked around. Everyone was white. Even in Southern California, or Southern France, I'd never seen this many pale, white bodies before. Aren't we in Thailand?

Other memorable beaches: Pale English in Malaga, Spain, the beautiful sunsets of Palau Perhenthian, Malaysia, the too-peaceful battlefield beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey, and the tiered cliffs leading down to the small, serene beaches at Cinque Terre, Italy, all just missed the cut.

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