Indeed, I realize that each traveler has a special place (sometimes several) in the world that is particularly close to his heart, that he recommends again and again and that he considers to be one of the essential destinations to see once in a life. So I asked 40 great travelers around me to take part in the game and tell us THE city or THE country to visit in your life.
I really had fun compiling this kind of collective giga- bucket list , because I (re)discovered places that make you dream, which each have their own personalities and particularities. Needless to say, I want to take a trip to these 40 must-see places today, right?
1. Istanbul, Turkey
A little European, a little Middle Eastern, barely Asian, Istanbul is the city that takes you around the world while staying in place. It is not for nothing that Napoleon said:
“If the earth were one great nation, Istanbul would be its capital. »
This is the place where strangers offer you apple tea to get to know each other or to close a deal. It is also a place where the quality of the textiles does not equal the warmth of the people who weave them. Through the busy aisles of the Grand Bazaar, there is an unusual souvenir, something to talk about when you get home. At the Blue Mosque, one soaks up the beauty of a religion that is often abused. It is a city where one learns to tame the strange and the foreign. To visit in a few days, or for a lifetime, Istanbul is a mandatory stop for any traveler.
The first reason that I can give you is not necessarily valid for you, but for me it is completely legitimate, because Cambodia is the country of my origins. On the other hand, I will give you the other reasons why you really have to visit Cambodia in your life.
In Cambodia, we welcome you, we respect you. I have noticed on each of my trips, Cambodians say hello to me using the “Sampeah” at the hotel, in restaurants, in agencies… You will easily recognize it when they join their hands close to their chest. It is a mark of respect and prayer. It is often accompanied by a smile just for you. Even when they don’t understand what you’re telling them, the smile will still be there. As you can see, Cambodians are so nice and we meet moving people. But then what else can you love about Cambodia?
The temples in Angkor , although very touristy, are a must for sites to visit in the country of the Khmers. The best thing is to realize it on the spot, these temples are breathtakingly beautiful and if you don’t visit them, you will have missed something! The Khmer Rouge genocide is one of the worst massacres in history. Any traveler to Cambodia should be aware of this, as it is part of Cambodian history. The country is recovering and transforming, starting with Phnom Penh, a captivating and exciting capital. If we move away from the capital, the Cambodian countryside is still well preserved and will offer you idyllic landscapes. Take a tour in the province of Banteay Mean Chey, you will discover the real rural Cambodia,
3. South Africa
South Africa was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world by Buzzfeed, no doubt thanks to its unique natural and cultural wealth, as well as its history which, despite very dark turns, remains fascinating. It’s a well-deserved victory. The “rainbow nation” has 11 official languages, and many more communities, quite distinctly distributed over the territory. The result is very simple: each arrival in a new region gives the impression of entering another world, as the landscapes, inhabitants and customs are so different.
While Cape Town, nicknamed the “Mother City”, because it is the first European trading post in the country, offers idleness by the sea and sunsets from the top of Table Mountain (NB it is one of the new wonders of the world), Johannesburg (Jozie, for the close friends) is the place to be for the new black middle class in search of a miracle solution to make a fortune. Between the two, there is Bloemfontein, a sort of Afrikaner-style Texas, or Durban, which one could call Little India , as there are so many Indians there. Already so much diversity by evoking so few places…
Between the city, the countryside, the sea, the mountains, the forest, the desert, the savannah, don’t be afraid of running out of things to do. Surfing on the Garden Route, hiking in the Drakensberg, safari in the many parks that dot the country, trek in the Karoo or Kalahari desert, wine tasting in the Stellenbosch region, discovery of Zulu traditions in KwaZulu-Natal, or simply admire the immensity of nature facing the Blyde River Canyon, there is something for everyone! All this in landscapes as varied as they are impressive.
Visiting South Africa could be the trip of your life. The kind of experience you will always remember. Thanks to the magnificence of the landscapes and the diversity of cultures, of course, but also because the country’s history and its consequences on today’s reality make us reflect deeply on human nature, social relations and living- together.