9. Riding Unusual Transport
You tend to try new modes of transport on your travels, be they animal (elephant in Laos, donkey in Luxor, camel in Wadi Rum), man powered (cyclo in Saigon, rickshaw in Singapore, canoe in Vietnam) or mechanical (street car in Hong Kong, felucca in Aswan, helicopter in Monaco).
My favourite mode by far though is the modest tuk tuk. I love everything about the motorbike powered carriages. The bright colours, the cramped space as you hug your rucksack, the wind in your hair, the smells in your nostrils.
The best thing about them though is where it means you will be, as the simple transportation is symbolic of Asia. Whether you be in Hanoi, Luang Prabang, Phnom Penh, Delhi, Bangkok or anywhere else in the region, the tuk tuk is the only way to travel.
Of course it is damned cheap too. In addition, a $1 tip will give you a huge smile of gratitude that will fill you with warmth every time you recall it.
8. Visiting Roman Ruins
This is a must when visiting any country. I have never been to Leptis Magna or Carthage or Ephesus so hopefully I have some real treats still to come at some stage.
Despite there being some really impressive amphitheatres that I have seen in Europe (notably Orange, Arles, Nimes, Verona, Epidavros and Pompeii) and not forgetting the aqueduct in Segovia, my favourite sites have all been in the Middle East.
Baalbek in Lebanon and Jerash in Jordan were both absolute marvels, but Palmyra in Syria topped the lot in my opinion.
That the ancient ruins have fallen victim to wanton destruction in recent times is a complete travesty that saddens me greatly.
7. Sundowners With A View
It only seems to be that you have time to sit, relax and enjoy the sunset when you are on holiday. With a nice view thrown in, ideally featuring water, and you have the perfect environment in which to wind down after a hard day’s sightseeing.
This is always a holiday highlight and I have many memorable experiences of it, such as on safari in Kruger, overlooking the Nile from the balcony of the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, absorbing my first ever call to prayer from the roof of my hotel in Jerusalem, watching the sun disappear behind the Med in Byblos or taking in the changing colours of the Grand Canal in Venice.
It has to be a gin & tonic as an accompaniment, there is no substitute in my eyes!
My favourite ever sundowners were when I was in Mauritius with Mrs Wilbur. Every night we did the same and never tired of it. Sat on the sand, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, waves lapping the shore, the faint sound of crickets and bul-bul birds in the trees behind us and the orange sky reflected in the inky waters.
I love the photos of Mauritius as I can remember talking to you about Le Meridian earlier in the year. Brings back memories for me and it’s a place I look forward to going back to in the next few years.
Three more choices that I can do nothing but agree with!
I enjoyed my camel ride in Essaouira, the Roman ruins in Merida in Extrmadura and sunsets mostly anywhere!
That’s three places I have not been to – so much to do!