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tappers’s Travel Diary

Monday, 20 Nov 2006

Location: England

MapI'M BACK - after travelling the world for seven months i am now safely back in the UK! I was supposed to be away for another few weeks but i decided to change my flights and come back a little bit early. It is nice to be back to a little bit of normality in the 'real world.'

The past few months i have had the time of my life - i have had so many amazing experiences, seen so many beautiful things, and met some of the best people ever! All i can say is that if you ever get the chance to go travelling then seize it with both hands and just go!

This marks the end of my second round the world trip and all i can say is that our world is such a wonderful place full of diversity and excitment - everyday i have seen and experienced so many new things that it is hard to process everything within my head. I will say that our world is actually a safe place (i didn't feel unsafe or threatened once) and that the different cultures and peoples who reside upon our planet are truly fascinating - i have learnt and understood more in the past few months than in my entire life.

Here is a rundown of my top ten favourite places/experiences of my trip:

10 - BANGKOK, THAILAND - This city marks a transit point for me, a city that i would end up returning too every few months. To me Bangkok is a bustling place where there is always something to see and do: Thai boxing, grand palace, market shopping, good food. Bangkok is an assult on the senses in every way imaginable but their is something addictive about the vibrancy of this city that never sleeps.

09 - LAOS - An amazing country with some of the friendliest people on the planet. The whole of Laos feels more like a small village community as opposed to an entire country. Laos is so untouched that you could dissapear and never ever be found again. The highlights were definately the chill out town of Vang Vieng or the mountain city of Luang Prabang with its amazing spirituality.

08 - HALONG BAY, VIETNAM - This is one of those natural wonders that you always see on televison and in photo books. Yet nothing can compare to the splendour of this place where thousands of limestone pinnacles rise out of the South China Sea. This is an awe-inspiring place that words can't sum up! Loved the scenery, the caves, and the swimming. Despite the rest of Vietnam being pretty average, this place is a must.

07 - RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Surely the most beautiful city on earth, a wonderful mixture of tropical mountains and high-rise modernity. Nothing can prepare you for Rio - it is a place of natural beauty and severe danger. An atmosphere of kineticism and violence hangs in the air, but teh Brazilians are cool people always celebrating their culture and looking for an excuse to party. From the beaches of Ipanema to the statue of Christ The Redeemer, Rio is the place to see and be seen.

06 - THE KILLING FIELDS, CAMBODIA - The horror of Cambodia's genocidal past is probably the most impactful experience of my trip. Learning about a country in termoil and the massacre of thousands of innocents is a harrowing experience, but also one of great interest. To witness firsthand the killing fields and genocide museum is something that i can never forget!

05 - TEMPLES OF ANGKOR, CAMBODIA - The reason that any tourist visits Cambodia is to see this huge temple complex located in the jungle. Everybody talks about Angkor Wat as being the best but for me it was Bayon with its huge faces or the jungle covered Ta Promh. The amazing thing about these temples is how they were built and why? Angkor is a remarkable place.

04 - INDONESIA - Visiting Indonesia was a last minute decision and i am so glad that we visited. It is such a cultural place full of life and colour. The beaches are fantastic and it is the perfect tropical destination for relaxation - the untouched Gili islands being the best.

03 - VARANASI, INDIA - Varanasi is the holiest city in India, located on the river ganges. For me it was the most spiritual point of my journey and i got to learn a lot about Hinduism. Everything about India can be experienced in Varanasi from religious cremations to water ceremonies. There is always something going on in this maze-like city that feels like going back in time hundreds of years.

02 - HILL TRIBE TREKKING - My favourite experiences of my trip was trekking in Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam. Trekking gives you a chance to get to places innacessible to vehicles and general tourists. In doing so you get to experience another side of a country which is more untouched and 'real'. Trekking gives you remarkable views and a chance to interect with local tribespeople and learn about their culture and the way in which they live. Insightful and exhillirating!

01 - MYANMAR (BURMA) - For me a visit to Burma was the highlight of my entire trip. To visit a country which is seen by so few was truly amazing. I got to see a culture which is largely untouched by the outside world - from lake-dwelling tribes, to ancient temples, to mountains. The Burmese are the friendliest peopel and very hospitable, especially to a lone traveller like myself. The experience of this remarkable country will stay with me forever - a miraculous place...