The world is a truly amazing place. With so many countries and thousands of different cultures to learn about, it can be hard to decide where to visit first. Below are the five countries that are on my bucket list.
Egypt has long been a tourist destination. Before the Europeans and Americans started to venture to its shores back in the 19th century, the Greeks and Romans would sail to Egypt to marvel at its rich history and culture (see 11 things you may not know about ancient Egypt). Thousands of years later, it still draws visitors here from all over the world. The top attractions here in Egypt are the Great Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple, Cairo and no one could pass up on sailing down the Nile. In addition, the Egyptian people are some of the friendliest in the world and enjoy sharing their rich historical legacy with you.
There are few countries in the world that can stand up to the beauty and history of China. Although many westerners tend to stick to the bright lights of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, this vast country boasts unforgettable experiences in the deserts of the north and the sub-tropical climates of the south. With 56 officially recognised ethnic groups and many more uncategorised, the Chinese people are truly unique. A Yangtze River cruise is perfect for exploring the gentler side of the country, and the big cities are ideal for shopaholics. Top attractions in China include the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors, Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden Palace and Potala Palace in Tibet.
The Middle East can certainly boast a booming tourist industry but the top country to visit in this region is Jordan. Perfect for multi-centre holidays to Egypt, Dubai and Israel, Jordan is full of great surprises. The lost kingdom, also known as the Red City, of Petra has inspired thousands to make their way here. It was rediscovered in the 19th century and has been proclaimed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It also featured in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But don’t think Jordan is a one hit wonder – don’t forget about Wadi Run, Jerash, the Dead Sea and the Kings Highway. Each destination is a different side to Jordan.
There is no island in the world that can match up to the magic of Hong Kong. Although one of the busiest islands you could visit, over 50% of Hong Kong is actually greenery. Shopaholics will discover a world of souvenirs, luxury goods and electronics galore; food lovers will discover a culinary world all in one island and historians will fall in love with the rich history. When you are all shopped out, discover the softer, more relaxed side of Hong Kong. Victoria Peak has amazing views stretching across Victoria Harbour, head to the New Territories and go hiking in the national parks and soak up the sun on any of the number of beaches in the south or on the various islands scattered off the coast of the main island. Top attractions in Hong Kong include the Lama Buddha, Disneyland, Victoria Peak and a Star Ferry ride.
Known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, Thailand is often remarked as the best destination in the world. The Thai people are the friendliest people in the world, always ready to help you find your way and show you out-of-the-way attractions. Yes, there can be a wilder side to Thailand for the younger generation, but the Thai culture is so rich that you can’t help but fall in love and want to know more. The quaint ethnic villages are a great place to unwind and the larger cities (such as Bangkok) are ideal for those who love to shop. Top attractions in Thailand include Ko Tarutao, Ayuthaya, the Grand Palace and Phang Nga Bay.