While I may be well travelled compared to many I don’t consider I am well travelled overall compared to many others. The trouble is that I was a late starter at 38 years of age.
So while Google tells me there are 197 countries on the planet I have only been to 22. So I can only say what I think about those ones.
People are so quick to judge other countries on what they see on the nightly news only. I have never done this. Have you ever heard a tourist say anything other than fantastic after returning from Iran? Just a bit different from what the news portrays. Often voted as the friendliest people on earth by tourist polls.
Apart from one city in Europe (which I won’t name!), I have never found unfriendly people anywhere in general. I soon became an Asian travel addict. Friendly faces, less crime than my own Australia by far and you realise why many people describe our food as stodgy. Because it is after the experience of Asia.
Never a dull moment as you see things you wouldn’t have imagined when back home. Australia doesn’t have any traffic congestion once you’ve experienced a bus across Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur!
After twenty-two years I still love exploring Asia. It is so diverse and has centuries of history and it is so cheap. I never tire of going to new places and there is yet to be one I wouldn’t want to return to. If you accept it with all its faults you can only love it. Far fewer faults than many richer countries though. So I judge the countries I have been to by the excitement level I get from just being there.
On my 2 year trip back in the ’90s, my two best were India and Sumatra island, Indonesia. I have never been to Bali but Sumatra was amazing as was the craziness of India. Sadly I have not returned. One could easily spend a year in India alone and see something new and amazing every day.
BUT! (Incoming bold statement…)
It is Malaysia that gets my vote as the best country in my little world.
I have been back at least thirty times and as soon as I book a ticket there I get excited more than going anywhere else and there are places like Hoi An in Vietnam, the Isan region of Thailand, Phnom Penh and Angkor in Cambodia or even more so Luang Prabang and Pakse in Laos that give me 10 out of 10 on the excitement meter no matter how many times I return there.
Yet it is still Malaysia that blows the meter through the roof.
Every single place I have been to, (every state), is simply sensational and just thinking about staying at 75 Travellers Lodge in Georgetown, Penang really is as exciting as anything I have ever done on my travels. My favourite accommodation anywhere in my favourite city with the best management on earth that I have seen. Hi Loh is the usual greeting to the best accommodation manager on earth. But all the staff are 10 out of 10.
Grab a beer from the fridge and sit at the street side tables and watch the world go by. So as we all know all travel broadens your mind (and sometimes even your bowels) it is Malaysia that excites me the most. Hence the best country in the world for me where old meets new and everyone is happy. So never judge a book by its cover or a country by the daily news.