Over the course of 4.5 months in 2011, Rachel and I traveled almost 34,000 miles, shot 21,151 photos, took 19 flights, 9 trains, and countless buses, taxis, motorcycles, horse-carts, tuk-tuks and rickshaws through 10 countries in South and Southeast Asia.  It was an epic journey filled with unforgettable moments and the usual highs and lows that come with an extended trip.  Now, we want to take a look back and remember some of the best and worst that we discovered in our travels across Asia.  Keep in mind that these are merely opinions based on our experiences and this list is not meant to serve as an objective representation of Asia in general.  In fact, in many cases it was difficult to choose a ‘worst’ when our experiences were generally positive in all the countries we visited.  On such an extended trip, we usually examined each country in the context of our journey and less as individual destinations.  For instance, people will be surprised to see Thailand often scored low in our ratings.  Though we thoroughly enjoyed our time there and I often recommend Thailand as a vacation destination, it simply could not compare with the unforgettable experiences we had in many of the surrounding countries.  The beauty of travel is that there is something for all of us, and what is a nightmare to me may become a love affair for you…

“For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled even deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with… All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.”  (Pico Iyer)

Best and Worst of Asia 2011

Favorite Country:  Bhutan (K), Burma (R)               Least Favorite:  Thailand

Friendliest:  Burma                                               Least Friendly:  Thailand

Most Expensive:  Bhutan                                      Least Expensive:  India

Favorite Food:  Thailand (K), Vietnam (R)              Least Favorite Food:  Indonesia

Cleanest:  Singapore                                            Dirtiest:  India

Best Government:  Bhutan                                    Worst Government:  Burma

Most Romantic:  Indonesia                                   Least Romantic:  India

Safest:  Bhutan                                                     Most Intimidating:  India

Most Crowded:  India                                           Least Crowded:  Bhutan

Best Traffic:  Bhutan                                             Worst Traffic:  Indonesia (K), India (R)

Best Natural Beauty:  Nepal (K), Bhutan (R)           Least Natural Beauty:  Singapore (K), India (R)

Best Environmental Impact:  Bhutan                     Worst Environmental Impact:  India

Best Air Quality:  Bhutan                                      Worst Air Quality:  India

Favorite Culture:  Bhutan                                     Least Favorite Culture:  Thailand (K), India (R)

Favorite Language: Burma                                   Least Favorite Language:  Thailand

Most Westernized:  Singapore                             Least Westernized:  Burma

Favorite Architecture:  Bhutan                             Least Favorite Architecture:  India

Best Transportation:  Singapore                          Worst Transportation:  India

Best Airport:  Singapore (K), Thailand (R)            Worst Airport:  Nepal/Lukla (K), Indonesia/Bali (R)

Best Bus System:  Nepal                                      Worst Bus System:  India

Best Train System:  Vietnam (K), Malaysia (R)       Worst Train System:  Burma (K), India (R)

Best Accommodation:  Bhutan                             Worst Accommodation:  India

Favorite Beer: BeerLao (K), Chang (R)                   Least Favorite Beer:  Singha (K), Leo (R)

Favorite Beach:  Indonesia/Gili Islands                Least Favorite Beach:  Indonesia/Kuta

Best Animal Encounter:  Nepal/Rhino                  Worst Animal Encounter:  Roach (K), Elephant (R)

Most Adventurous:  Nepal                                   Least Adventurous: Singapore (K), Thailand (R)

Best Nightlife:  Thailand                                      Worst Nightlife:  India

Best Shopping:  Singapore (K), Malaysia (R)         Worst Shopping:  Bhutan

Best Markets:  Burma                                           Worst Markets:  India

Best Internet Access:  Thailand                            Worst Internet Access:  Burma

Best for Families:  Vietnam                                  Worst for Families:  Bhutan

Best Travel Agencies:  Nepal                                Worst Travel Agencies:  Vietnam

Best River Voyage:  Burma/Irrawaddy River         Worst River Voyage:  Vietnam/Perfume River

Most Relaxing:  Indonesia                                    Least Relaxing:  India

Countries Visited:  India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia

 * Kyle (K), Rachel (R)

3 comments so far

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  1. India didn’t find a positive place in your views, but the pic is of taj mahal. Was it the only positive thing??

  2. How many time you been to Thailand ? If you only visit popular place for tourist it mean you didn’t know Thailand !!!

  3. I’ve been to Thailand quite a few times, but personally I have never been very fond of it. I have tried to get off the beaten path as well, but throughout the country I have never been received with much hospitality. To me, Thailand feels as if it has long been overrun with tourists and sacrificed much of its character to the almighty tourist dollar. That being said, I know many people who absolutely love Thailand and I often recommend people to go there. As for me, I much prefer Burma or Laos over Thailand and Vietnam.