Thursday, June 14, 2012

My travel wish-list: SE Asia edition

My life-long dream has always been to travel the world. I've filled up several notebooks with doodles and make believe schedules I would one day follow when on my travels. However, no matter how much planning I did life always took me in another direction. It wasn't until I found out I had been accepted into EPIK that I began to allow myself to think that maybe, just maybe, my travel scrapbook would actually be put to use. I'm sure the list will expand the longer I stay in SK, but as of now in no particular order, here is the list of places I absolutely must visit before returning to the states (all photos unless otherwise stated are courtesy of the Lonely Planet).

Tiptop Island, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
"According to local legend, when Vietnamese had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Under magics, numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea, ahead of invaders' ships. After winning the battle, the dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the Earth, and then decided to live in this bay."

Sunrise silhouette of Angkor Wat through trees

Angkor, Cambodia- "Angkor is a region of Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world's largest single religious monument."

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Twin Petronas Towers are the equivalent to 95 stories each
"KL to its friends – is more than just a capital city: it is a monument to Malaysian ingenuity and determination. From humble beginnings as a tin-mining shanty town, KL has evolved into a 21st-century metropolis, dominated by the tallest skyscrapers in Southeast Asia and flush with the proceeds of international trade and commerce. The marketing slogan for the Malaysian tourist board is ‘truly Asia’ and nowhere is this more true than in the capital. KL is every inch the Asian cyber-city: historic temples and mosques rub shoulders with space-age towers and shopping malls; traders’ stalls are piled high with pungent durians and counterfeit DVDs; and locals sip cappuccino in wi-fi–enabled coffee hops or feast at bustling streetside hawker stalls serving food from across the continent."

Tapplia Waterfalls- Batad, Ifugao, Philippines

The Philippines
"First and foremost, the Philippines is a place of natural wonders – a string of coral-fringed islands strewn across a vast expanse of the western Pacific. Below sea level, the Philippines boasts some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling, including wreck diving around Coron and swimming with the whale sharks off Donsol. Above sea level, it has a fantastic landscape with wonders enough to stagger even the most jaded traveller: the Chocolate Hills of BoholBanaue & the Rice Terraces and fascinating reminders of the islands’ history in places such as Samar & Leyte and Vigan. And if you’re after palm-fringed, white-sand beaches, try laidback Sipalay or flat-out party town Boracay."

Bangkok street markets at night
Bangkok, Thailand "Bangkok is excess in all of its unrestrained glory. Bigger, better, more: the city is insatiable, a monster that feeds on concrete, shopping malls and diesel exhaust. The city demands that you be in the present and in the moment, not necessarily for a religious epiphany, but because the city is self-absorbed and superficial, blissfully free of wrinkle-inducing self-reflection."

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