Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Travel List 2015

Hello All and welcome again!  We’re officially in the last days of 2014 and 2015 will be here before you know it. Did you get everything that you wanted this past year? Did you meet, accomplish, or exceed your goals? Well, here’s hoping that the year ends on a positive note for you!

As for me, I had a great year and I’m looking forward to an even better one! While I haven’t figured out my professional or personal goals for the 2-0-1-5, I’ve already got some trips planned and in some cases, paid for (yeah…priorities). So, here is my travel list for 2015:

 1. Harbin, China
In exactly three weeks, I’ll be headed up north to Chinese Siberia for a weekend getaway. Now, extremely cold weather or better yet, cold weather is no friend of my mind; but, for the past three years I’ve wanted to make the very cold trek to Harbin to see this:
Photo Credit: Harbin Snow and Ice Festival Times of India
 That would be the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival, home to hundreds of ice sculptures. This event is held every winter in the capital of Heilongjiang province. People work for weeks in sub zero temperatures to create these magnificent works of ice art. Besides the ice sculptures, I plan on taking in some of the Russian architecture (the city is close to the Russian border and Russian influences can be seen around the city) and then the Tiger Park-an open air free space for Siberian tigers to roam. I also plan on wearing 10 layers of clothes…

Winter Break Plans
The good thing about being a school teacher, especially for a government-run school, is the ample amount of February vacation. For the Chinese Spring Festival, I’ll be off for a total of 25 days (including weekends) which are mostly paid! During my winter break, I plan on seeing three countries in southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

    2. Thailand
Photo Credit: Thailand
 Thailand has been on my must-see list for over a year now and after some changes and setbacks, I will be officially landing in Bangkok by the end of January! Thailand for me will involve lots of sightseeing, eating, and finally some much needed beach relaxation. I plan on starting my 8 day tour in Bangkok and then heading southward to one of the islands or beach resorts (either Phuket or Ko Samui). Since I love, love, love Thai food, I plan on having four meals a day (with coconut mango sticky rice)! I’ve heard the food there is cheap, delicious and safe (even the street stalls which is the opposite of China)! I also hope to see some elephants since they are my favorite animals!

   3.  Cambodia

PHoto Credit: Wikipedia Cambodia
       After eating my way through Thailand, I plan on going eastward for tranquility and prayer in Cambodia. Now, Cambodia is special to me since my eldest nephew’s father is from there. He managed to escape the Khmer Rouge as a very young boy and found safety in America.

 From the moment that I landed in Asia, I knew that I needed to go to Cambodia; not just for me, but for family ties. I wanted to see this land for myself and then, pass the images, stories and moments along to my family, especially my nephew.

I don’t have a lot of travel plans for Cambodia. I plan on spending just two or three days in the capital city of Phnom Penh where there will be sight-seeing and museum visits. I will then move on to the beautiful city of Ankor Wat for three days to take in the temples and sights of the area. I hope to be up before sunrise during one of those days since the view is said to be magnificent.

      4. Vietnam
Photo Credit: Halong Bay, Vietnam Mr.
 After my time in Cambodia I will continue eastward to Vietnam. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Vietnam, but I’m the type of person who likes to see and experience things on my own. I plan on starting things off in the bustling city of Ho Chi Min and then moving northward all the way to the capital of Hanoi, stopping at other small cities and places along the way (including Halong Bay in the picture above). I plan on being in Vietnam for at least 7 days before I head back to the good ol’ P.R.C.
 5. Xi'An, China
Photo Credit: Terracotta Warriors

Photo credit: Xi'An
Just like some of the other places mentioned above, Xi’An has been on my must-see list for a long time. Xi’An is home to the famous Terracotta Warriors which are hundreds of stone carved statues, each one made with intricate details of a solider from that time(apparently, no two are the same). The statues were made 2300 years ago and they were demanded by the emperor of that time, Qin Shihuang. The purpose of the statues was to protect the emperor after his death.

I plan on being there for just a weekend in the springtime. Besides the terracotta warriors, I would like to walk around the city and take in a museum or two before heading back late Sunday to Shanghai.

 6. America
Grand Central Station, New York City
Just like last year, I plan on going back to the U.S. for at least a month, or longer depending on how things go. I will probably be in my hometown the majority of the time and of course, a few days in good ol’ NYC. I also plan on going to another place or two to visit friends. I’m still weighing out my decision to stay in China for another year, so at this time, I’m not sure if this trip will be a vacation or repatriation. Stay tuned to find out my answer…

Other Tentative Plans
While the list above are places that I will definitely be going to, the following are places I would like to visit, but depending on time, and most importantly money, I may or may not see this year.

  7. Taiwan 
Photo Credit: Taipei 101 Tower
Taiwan is a place that I never gave much thought too until earlier this year. A small island that is or isn’t part of the P.R.C  (A sensitive subject in China; however, the majority of the people I've met from there proudly view themselves as Taiwanese only), I decided to put this place on my travel list after hearing nothing but positive remarks from other travelers (and locals).

According to my sources, Taiwan is clean, efficient and many of the people speak English (I believe it’s a part of their school curriculum). I’ve also heard the food is to die for with loads of cheap, clean and delicious market stalls.

If I’m able to go to Taiwan, I plan on going for a week or maybe 9 days in the Summer (or the Fall if I return to China). Hopefully, I’ll be able to see this island paradise in all it’s glory!

    8.   Indonesia
Photo Credit: Bali, Indonesia Wikipedia
Another place I’ve heard mixed reviews, but mostly positive, Indonesia has been on my travel list for a few years now after reading and seeing “Eat, Pray, Love.” I hope to go for at least a week at the end of Summer, or during the October Holiday (Once again, depends on if I return and funds).

Well, it's time to get going/finish planning! Hope I inspired you to save and plan for a trip for the new year!

1 comment:

  1. I hope you get to see all of those places, Shelly! They're on my list, too--can't wait to see your pics and hear your stories!