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My Most Surprising Travel Destination


Lucky
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In reading articles about travel post-pandemic, I realized in reading one about Siem Reap, Cambodia, that I would never have guessed that I would travel there before I actually did. It's a pretty remote spot, but I was glad to have taken the trip. Asia in general never appealed to me until I started dating Asian guys back in the early 80's. Soon I had been to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Thailand, finally stretching that out to Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. I had already added Phuket, which always had struck me as too far away. I am glad I did, but two visits there seem enough.

I can include China, but just Shenzen and Guangzhou.

Otherwise, Prague would be the European destination I never expected, and in South America, there is well, South America. Never would I have guessed visiting Buenos Aires or Iguazu Falls, or, of course, Brazil. Sure glad I took those trips too. I have been to Brazil multiple times now and hope to go again.

Which leads me to wonder what places you have visited that you would not have expected...and did you find it to be a good choice?

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7 minutes ago, Lucky said:

In reading articles about travel post-pandemic, I realized in reading one about Siem Reap, Cambodia, that I would never have guessed that I would travel there before I actually did. It's a pretty remote spot, but I was glad to have taken the trip. Asia in general never appealed to me until I started dating Asian guys back in the early 80's. Soon I had been to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Thailand, finally stretching that out to Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. I had already added Phuket, which always had struck me as too far away. I am glad I did, but two visits there seem enough.

I can include China, but just Shenzen and Guangzhou.

Otherwise, Prague would be the European destination I never expected, and in South America, there is well, South America. Never would I have guessed visiting Buenos Aires or Iguazu Falls, or, of course, Brazil. Sure glad I took those trips too. I have been to Brazil multiple times now and hope to go again.

Which leads me to wonder what places you have visited that you would not have expected...and did you find it to be a good choice?

 

Panda Express....while I usually find fast food mediocre eventhough I indulge,  I found Panda to be pretty good, and priced well...😏

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My most surprising trip was to South America. My sister and her then partner booked a cruise to Antarctica, and suggested that I might want to go too. The cruise was from Ushuaia in Argentina. We stretched the two week cruise to a six week holiday, going to [yes, like you] Iguaçu Falls and to Perú, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, and Easter Island. It was only towards the end of the trip that I realised that I had clocked up visits to all seven continents. My first serious overseas trip was to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway, and while perhaps a surprising choice was the result of much deliberate planning.

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Marrakech. I went only because a friend was celebrating a milestone birthday there, and invited friends and family from around the world to join him for a long weekend party at his expense. He had rented three riads in the souk to house his guests, where we had communal meals and partied on the roofs. It was the only visit I had ever made to North Africa, and I found the old city fascinating to wander around in, but I have never been back.

Edited by Charlie
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Gee, another vote for Iguazu Falls in the surprise destination list!  Returning from Rio de Janeiro, my default flight had a four-hour connection at Iguazu. Hmmmm, I wonder if I can see the falls and check that off the list??!!  Walked out to a tour desk at the airport and asked the helpful lady if I was crazy!  She said no, people do this all the time. Within about twenty minutes, I was in the car of a private driver who spoke fantastic English (did have to explain what a Copacabana/Ipanema 'hawker' is!) and headed to the Brazil side of the falls. He helped with admission tickets, trails, natural attractions, the whole bit. Got to see what I wanted to see and it all only cost about $175 total, including tip and all. Thanks strong US dollar!  Huge bonus trip!!

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1 hour ago, Benjamin_Nicholas said:

I mean, I didn't exactly choose it, but I accepted the invite.  I had never been and it seemed like an adventure.

It was :)

Other than the hotel room, what other adventures were there to be had?

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My only surprise destination which I hadn't planned, was an overnight visit to Paris. I was traveling with two American friends and we had flown into Warsaw from Prague. My agent had forgotten to tell me I needed a visa (the Americans didn't). So I got stuck at the airport and rather than spending the weekend in the airport, I flew to Paris for the night. It was the only flight I could get which would get back to Warsaw the next evening when we had tickets back to Prague.

Since I know Paris well, I knew exactly where to go for a fun evening. My travel agent reimbursed me for the extra expense. But I never got to see Warsaw 

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3 hours ago, Lucky said:

In reading articles about travel post-pandemic, I realized in reading one about Siem Reap, Cambodia, that I would never have guessed that I would travel there before I actually did. It's a pretty remote spot, but I was glad to have taken the trip. Asia in general never appealed to me until I started dating Asian guys back in the early 80's. Soon I had been to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Thailand, finally stretching that out to Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. I had already added Phuket, which always had struck me as too far away. I am glad I did, but two visits there seem enough.

I can include China, but just Shenzen and Guangzhou.

Otherwise, Prague would be the European destination I never expected, and in South America, there is well, South America. Never would I have guessed visiting Buenos Aires or Iguazu Falls, or, of course, Brazil. Sure glad I took those trips too. I have been to Brazil multiple times now and hope to go again.

Which leads me to wonder what places you have visited that you would not have expected...and did you find it to be a good choice?

Well, I wouldn't consider Siem Reap or Iguazú to be "surprising" destinations. Those are hosts to some of the most beautiful sights on the planet, and are highly touristed. I guess if I had to classify something as surprising, it would be Baxter Springs, Kansas. I had only a handful of US states I hadn't visited, so I landed in St. Louis, Missouri and drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I really wanted to add in Kansas, so I made a quick side-trip to Baxter Springs for dinner. So Kansas is really the state I know the least, but I can say I've been there. I should really visit it sometime. On my way from Tulsa to Branson, Missouri, I took a visit of Cosmic Caverns in Berryville, Arkansas, the state I know the 2nd least. 

In terms of destinations I was surprised by beauty, I took a 2-week trip in North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and ending in Dubrovnik. I was surprised by the beauty of some of the places I went to, and they're not that touristy. I was amazed by Kotor, Montenegro, though as a cruise ship stop, it's hardly undiscovered. Surprising was the beauty of Berat, Albania:

albania-berat-county-berat-mangalem-ottoman-houses-and-castle-rock-at-blue-hour-SIEF07863.jpg

Siege of Berat (1455) - Wikipedia

Ohrid, North Macedonia:

10 Stunningly Instagrammable Places in Ohrid, Macedonia - Sofia Adventures

 

And Prizren, Kosovo:

Prizren travel | Kosovo, Europe - Lonely Planet

 

Now, if someone asks me if I've been to prison, I can say, "No, but I've been to Prizren"....

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20 minutes ago, azdr0710 said:

Iguazu Falls ...  it all only cost about $175 total, including tip and all. Thanks strong US dollar!  Huge bonus trip!!

I loved Iguazu! Next time, visit the Argentinian side which is better in every sense.

Don't miss hoping on a boat and taking a selfie with the waterfalls as background.

Plus Argentinian providers are much more affordable, yet HUNG AND HANDSOME!

 

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7 minutes ago, Unicorn said:

Well, I wouldn't consider Siem Reap or Iguazú to be "surprising" destinations. Those are hosts to some of the most beautiful sights on the planet, and are highly touristed.

'Surprising' is when you are surprised that you ended up there, not if the world is surprised that you were there. I had no idea that I would end up in South America, so that qualifies, likewise for remote atolls in the Pacific. (And I didn't mention Tahiti in my earlier post.)

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