Shawn’s Top Five Travel destinations (from previous experience)

So I get asked a lot, what was your favorite country? And, the truth is, that is tough to say because each country has its own uniqueness and beauty to it. And each travel experience has its own significance to the traveler at that given time. So, instead of posting favorite countries, I would rather post some places I have visited that have been special experiences for me.

These are places where there isn’t a whole lot of tourism, the culture is great and its a little off the beaten path. Enjoy~

#5. Galway, Ireland

I first went to Galway, Ireland in March of 2003 (Yes, for St. Pattys day) and it was a wonderful little town. The Irish are some of the most genuine fun people you can be friends with on this planet, and many a pint (The Guinness is amazing) was shared with the elderly Irish who spoke words of wisdom and cracked a few jokes in the pub. I had some great conversations, made some friends and enjoyed the spirit. On the Western side of Ireland, you can fly into Shannon Airport, or catch a bus from Dublin.

#4 Siem Reap, Cambodia

So Siem Reap is in Cambodia, and it does get it’s share of tourism due to the majestic Angkor Temples, but it wasn’t so bad in my opinion.

The Angkor Temples are absolutely a must to see in one’s lifetime. See it now before more tourists go to visit. When I visited the Pyramids, the Taj and the Great Wall (the 2nd time), there were all sorts of people trekking around. While it would be nice to see it when no one’s there, you’d probably have to put some “palm oil” in some security guards hands (say $100) to get a personal showing…But the Angkor temples were not that crowded surprisingly and I felt like I was in another world.

Picture massive stone temples spread across miles with all sorts of jungle and nature intermixed with it. It was stunning.

There are plenty of guesthouses to stay at. If you decide to go because of my account, go talk to Mr. Kunn at Jasmine Lodge, tell him you are friends with me and he’ll hook you up.

#3 Big Sur, California

Okay, so Big Sur is only 2 hours away from where I grew up, but it is one of my favorite places in the world. Why? Because it is absolutely beautiful there!

Picture big trees and high cliffs with awesome Pacific ocean crashing into the shore. A peaceful place to relax, reflect, drink a glass of wine, soak in a hot spring, enjoy some local exploration.

Many a good memory made in Big Sur. You can camp, rent a cabin or a house (Check or even stay at a monastery if you are looking for some reflection.

#2 Dahab, Egypt

Dahab, Egypt. On the Red Sea coast in the Sinai peninsula, it takes about 12-14 hours by bus to get there from Cairo. I had taken a different route (van in the western desert, bus to the coast, Ferry to Sharm Al Sheik and bus to Dahab. 🙂

It is a small divers town, and it is one the best reefs I have been to in my life. I went diving 150 feet deep here and was amazed on how intact the reef really was. Since it lies between two deserts, the reef doesn’t suffer too much damage from storms.

Chill guesthouses to stay at, great seafood and other cuisine as you relax by the water. Read a book, go snorkel, dive during the day. Relax, dance, have a drink at night. Make some friends with the expats that have chosen to live there long term. It’s one of those places you don’t really want to leave. And if you get antsy, then go bus up to Israel only 4 hours away. Or hop a ferry to Saudi Arabia if you feel so bold.

#1 Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

So I was recommended to go to Cesky Krumlov by two of my good traveler friends, and when the opportunity presented itself when I was living in Europe, I took advantage of it. It was a wonderful three days.

Many towns and cities in Europe got destroyed during WWII. But when the Germans came to Cesky Krumlov, the citizens ran to surrender pleading that they wouldn’t bomb the city. And it wasn’t bombed. It still is the same city that has existed for hundreds of years. And it is very very beautiful.

One doesn’t need a car or a bus to get around. You take a three-hour train ride from Prague and here you are in Cesky Krumlov. Cobblestone hilly streets, small shops, good food, great beer (and cheap), secret tea houses, castles, cathedrals and surrounding forest and rivers.

If you go, stay at the Krumlov house. Or if you want some more action, stay at Hostel 99. Good places. Enjoy.

if you find this room, you have found a great secret spot....(hint: Monks)

That’s it folks. There are many places to go and many more places I love, but these stood out for me over the years. Happy Traveling!