The world is a big place, but air travel, opening borders, and less restrictive visa requirements have made it easier for travelers, in effect making the world a much smaller place. In December 2014 we shared some of the places in Asia we’d like to visit on ‘Dream Travel Destinations 1’. We’ve compiled a new list of destinations we’re keen to get to and are going to share them with you today. Dream big of new destinations in Asia with us!

TTA-Ep.46-TravelMapScott & Trevor start by recapping the destinations they chose in ‘Dream Travel Destinations 1‘ discussing the ones they were able to visit or not over the past year and a half. 

  • Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) and Wat Phu, Laos: Trevor made it to Wat Phu, the temple to the north of the islands, which was on his pre-Angkorian Cambodian temples bucket list.
  • Virachey National Park, Ratanakiri, Cambodia: Not yet – but both guys are still super keen.
  • Preah Khan – Kompong Svay, Cambodia: Still hoping to make it there, and would have done it in early March if Trevor hadn’t blown out his knee in February. Perhaps November or December just after the rainy season ends?
  • Siargao and Palawan, Philippines: Not yet!
  • Lombok, Indonesia: Scott made it, enjoyed it, but it was one of the first and only times he stayed in the hotel and didn’t really explore at all. Trevor has heard some scary reports of machete wielding thieves, cables strung across roads to block motorbikes, and other incidences of theft. It’s gone on my “don’t go” list now, he explains.
  • Putao, Myanmar: Nope – still high on the bucket list.
  • Surin Islands, Thailand: Heard more about it from Ric Gazarian on the Episode 45: Out there Asian Adventures with Ric Gazarian, and Scott still aims to get there one day. Trevor still wants to do the Mokken Experience with Bodhi and Andaman Discoveries.
  • Yunnan, China: Scott hasn’t done it yet, but our Episode 37 with Jeff Fuchs, talked about the ancient tea horse trail and further peaked both our interest.

Scott & Trevor have a quick talk about how we get interested about places and ultimately select them and then talk about their new dream travel destinations:

Ladakh_MonasteryScott: Ladakh, India: Ladakh is a former Buddhist Kingdom that runs along the Himalayas and Karakoram mountain ranges and is sandwiched between Pakistan and India. It borders Tibet, India, and Pakistan and is right next to Kashmir, and is one of those truly ‘out-there’ destinations in Scott’s mind. Its name literally means ‘land of high passes’ so being there is sure to be a voyage deep into some of the world’s highest and most remote mountains. There have been territorial battles fought between Pakistan, India, and China over the region around here, but it’s been peaceful for a long time now, but it still remains very remote. There are not many border crossings between the countries here either. Half of the population are Shia Muslims with the other 50% being Tibetan Buddhists. There aren’t too many areas on earth with this makeup.

There are only two major roads into the area and they close throughout the year due to snow. This is an area that brings together some of the world’s highest mountains, raging rivers, deserts, flowing steep like you would see in Mongolia, and incredible looking trekking.

Chettinad Palace Chennai

Chettinad Palace Chennai

Trevor: Chennai, India: I agree with you that India in general should be on any D.D. list. I’ve never been, so I figure I could just throw a dart at a map of India and just go there. Or, after hearing about Ladakh, maybe I’ll just join you on that trip! Otherwise, as I don’t travel to too many places where I’ve never been AND know people already living there, so I’ll say I’d like to visit my friend Shreya, who is from Chennai. I really don’t know much about Chennai, but India seems like such a fascinating place, and I think the best way for me to explore it is by starting out by visiting a friend who could explain some of the intricacies of such an interesting culture. In fact, having just looked it up, Chennai is known as “the cultural capital of India” and has a pretty nice looking library and museum, in addition to having beaches, gardens, and parks. Of course I imagine the food is pretty good too…

Scott: Hokkaido, Japan: I’ve been to Tokyo twice, Hiroshima, and Kyoto, and love Japan. The people are very nice but quiet, and it’s a very safe country. And of course there’s the food – one of the world’s greatest cuisines. I’ve always really admired and appreciated the connection Japanese maintain for nature and despite being a heavily populated country, the maintain a good amount of green space and really enjoy the outdoors. Hokkaido in my mind seems to bring all of these perfectly together. It’s the second largest island in Japan and just a bit smaller than Ireland to give you an idea of size. The climate appeals with summers being cooler – around 22, winters not being too cold – around minus 5 and they get up to 11 meters of snow in some areas. This makes for nice fluffy power and great skiing apparently. My wife is super keen on going for the seafood which is supposed to be some of the best in the world – especially the crab.

Torii Shrine, Kyoto

Torii Shrine, Kyoto

Trevor: As it’s currently the hot spot for snowboarders and skiers from Bangkok, Trevor would love to strap on some boards and check it out too, but one place in Japan that has long been on Trevor’s Japan bucket-list is Kyoto, Japan. (Note: Scott is in Kyoto as this episode goes live and has been there). Kyoto, the former capital of Japan on the island of Honshu has thousands of classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district. He would particularly like to go in the fall, when the leaves change color, as it’s been a long time since he saw the foliage in his native Vermont.

Scott: Dali, China: About six years ago I strangely had a number of people mention Dali, China to me and how much they liked it. I had never heard of it and it’s stuck with me. Since first hearing about it, it seems to have become a bit more firmly placed on the regional travel radar and it’s firmly on mine. Much of the old city is historically protected and from what I’ve read it’s like walking back in time. In many ways I don’t have a firm picture of the area in my mind and want to keep it that way until one day going. It’s kind of like not wanting to see much about a movie before seeing it so it’s a surprise and you don’t have firm impressions before. I imagine it being a very nice blend of uniquely traditional life, with some tourist conveniences, nice cafes and bars, a stunning lake and mountains nearby.

Dali, Yunnan

Dali, Yunnan

Trevor: During my fellowship with the East-West Center, I wanted to visit the region around Dali. I had wanted to go to Lijiang as well and the Leaping Tiger Gorge nearby. Although the region is unbelievably touristy, as its quite popular with Chinese tourists, it’s meant to retain a lot of old-world character. I wanted to see how the region balanced the tradition with the touristy, as I read that the Chinese had actually done quite well integrating the local populations there over the centuries, not simply importing Han and replacing the culture as the Chinese are somewhat notorious for. I’m sure its easy enough to get off the beaten path a bit. Also, I’d love simply to go back to Beijing. I was there for a week-ten days for the EWC fellowship, but its such a big city with so much to see and like most big cities, its changing so rapidly. I’d love to go back.

Scott: Iran: This is one of the world’s greatest civilizations and a spot that’s on my top five to visit. For Americans (I’m Canadian) they’ve had this fear of the country for a long time and I think it’s bound to be one of the most pleasantly surprising places to visit, versus what we have seen and learned on western media. I’ve known a number of people to go over the years and every single one of them has raved about it. The people are super friendly, the population very young, open and keen to meet and host westerners. They have a ton of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, deserts, vibrant cities, mountains, amazing cuisine and every Iranian I’ve almost ever met has been really friendly. There are more than 70 million people here, about 5 million international tourists per year and I want to be one of them. My Dad and I will likely go here in 2017.

Roman Aqueduct, Petra

Roman Aqueduct, Petra

Trevor: Petra, Jordan: Thats really interesting, that we so rarely think of the Middle East when we’re discussing Asia; I suppose because it’s simply so far from Southeast Asia, where we’re based. When I was younger, I was really into archaeology, and spent a bit of time exploring the ruins of Greece in High School. Later, one of my idols was Gertrude Bell, who made many discoveries in the middle east. Since that time, Petra in Jordan has always been on my bucket list. Jordan is supposed to be one of the most beautiful countries in the region, and Petra is just one of the most stunning ruins in the region.

Trevor – Bonus: Taman Negara National Park: One closer to home that I’ve always wanted to go to was Taman Negara National Park in central Malaysia. I hoped to do that while you were living in KL, so I had a base to launch out of.

See a Photo Gallery of pictures from this episode!

Check out a Google Map of our Dream Destinations!

To learn more about Scott & Trevor:

Himalayan-Trails-LogoOur Sponsor: Himalayan Trails – Whether you are into high adventure and physical challenges, or prefer to take your time to explore subtle elements of landscape and culture, this region is a treasure trove! Himalayan Trails can take you trekking, mountain biking, on a cycle tour, touring on a classic motorbike, paragliding, rafting, canoeing, on wildlife safari and bird watching, learning about art, religion, food and culture. Whatever your style and preferred pace, it’s all here to design your own combination of experiences! Himalayan Trails will help you plan, design and enjoy the travel experience you have been dreaming of, so you can simply immerse yourself in exploring the Himalayan Trails of your choice, your way.

Liked it? Take a second to support Talk Travel Asia on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

3 comments on “Episode 46: Dream Travel Destinations 2