So which five cities would I return to given the chance…?
Slightly surprisingly as a born and bred Devonian from out in the sticks, I actually really love the vibe and faster pace of life of the big city (not you though London!). There’s usually just one caveat – they need to be on, or near to the water.
That said, not all of my choices happen to meet that criteria, which means there must be something about them that managed to leave an indelibly positive mark on my bank of travel memories thus far. So let’s roll out my picks…
Number one by far for me is Spain’s beautiful third city, situated on the East side of the country. It’s a completely logical choice for me not only for the fact that it’s such a stunning city, but also the home of my object of footballing desire – Valencia CF!
As a massive fan of Los Che I’m really needing to revisit and cheer on the team from the steep stands of Mestalla again. After all, in the few times I’ve seen the guys in the flesh thus far I haven’t actually seen us score a goal. So I kind of want that to change!
In all honesty though, I think that half of the reason I haven’t returned since my amazing visit in 2011 is that my memories of the city are so incredible I’m actually worried about tarnishing them. I thought it was quite an odd thing to worry about, but then I noticed that Neil from Backpacks and Bunkbeds talked about exactly the same feelings during his own Top 5 Destinations to Revisit post recently – so it’s good to know it’s not just me.
Still, with my first visit in 2011 coming during the city’s incredible Las Fallas festival I definitely feel that there’s no way a second visit could live up to that, but I guess that’s just something I’ll need to get over, because Valencia is too awesome for me to stay away forever.
Ah Singapore… This one definitely divided opinion between myself and the girlfriend when we were travelling. Its inclusion here though probably shows which side it landed on for me – I loved it.
I have to admit I’m a sucker for all things new and shiny, and Singapore has those in abundance. The masses of air-conditioned shopping malls didn’t fascinate me so much, but the views of the CBD skyline from Parliament and Boat Quay literally made me stop in my tracks and openly go “wow!” the first time I saw it – thanks Lonely Planet book walking tour for that!
My visit in 2012 happened to come before I started taking photography more seriously too, so now that I’m a bit more photographically aware as well as slightly better equipped camera wise I’d love to return and snap away at the stunning architecture.
And maybe stay at Marina Bay Sands too…
If you know me, or have visited the site previously, then you won’t be surprised that Spain manages to make a couple of appearances on this list. This pick lands on here however because I’ve only had a teaser of the Basque Country’s biggest city so far. And as that came in 2008 that means it’s been a good six years and counting!
And when I say a teaser, I really mean it – my previous experience of Bilbao is from me and my friend’s European road-trip, where we drove to Bilbao, got lost driving around the city streets looking for somewhere near to the Guggenheim to park, then got frustrated, gave up and carried on heading east! So everything I’ve seen of Bilbao so far has been from inside a VW Transporter. Oops!
The region in general fascinates me however, with the Basque Country being similar to Catalonia in wanting more autonomy – or even independence – so I’m keen to check out and get a proper feel for what looks like a very cool city in one of Europe’s most unique regions.
Plus finally visit that damn Guggenheim!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
A slightly more surprising choice considering I was pretty tired of Thailand by the end of our six weeks there, but I’ve always had the feeling that I never got to see the best of Chiang Mai, even though we spent over a week there.
It didn’t help that we both started off our time in CM a bit ill – not helped by our terrible sleeper train journey from Bangkok – before a piece of bad news from home meant we weren’t particularly in high spirits during the first few days of our stay.
Once we did manage to get out and start exploring the city we realised the overall vibe was much more chilled and laid-back – especially compared to mentally chaotic Bangkok – and was far more to our liking. There seemed to be awesome spread of excellent eateries about too which always helps to build a bit of a city love; I particularly remember finding a really awesome Italian which was a real pleasant surprise. Oh and a beast of a burger too! But don’t worry, we did eat local as well…
The awesome surrounds of the high hills and the fun night markets also helped Chiang Mai really grow on us. As such it’d be great to get back there, get located a bit more centrally and make more of the charming little city. And preferably when it’s a bit cooler than 43 degrees!
Make no bones about it – this one will happen. Heading back to Japan is one of the main travel goals I have for the near future!
It’s only been a year and a half since I did visit Japan’s mahoosive capital, but it’s an addictive experience and an itch I need to scratch again.
Talking of scratching, I only managed to do that to just the surface of the city’s weird and wonderful – after all the cat café I visited was actually rather classy. I’d quite like to discover some of the more interestingly themed cafés and bars. And quite shockingly, I was so busy during my jam-packed visit that never even made it to Shinjuku or up the gigantic Tokyo SkyTree – those seriously need to be addressed.
Admittedly Tokyo won’t actually be the main reason I return to Japan, but I’ll undoubtedly be heading back there for another taste.
So that’s my five destinations – all of my nominees have already been picked. Which cities would you love to return to? And why?