It's a question we've gotten a lot. "What was your favorite...?"
And it's a question we can't quite answer. Favorite what? Place? Food? Experience? Story? Oh there are so many! Kyle covered our favorites from Singapore when he listed all the things we will miss about our home of three years.
But what about our adventures outside of Singapore? We couldn't pick a single favorite. In fact, we had a hard time narrowing it down to just a list! The truth is, we only had a few bad experiences (more on those below). But we've been ruthless, so here are our superlatives:
Best tour guide / Best history trip
Both our tour guide, Soulay, and the whole trip to Siem Reap were amazing. Just a few years younger than us, Soulay had firsthand experience of the Khmer Rouge, a deep love for her country, and a wealth of knowledge about the ancient temples of Angkor. We also had some of our favorite food in Cambodia: amok and those delicious rice-in-bamboo things.
Best holiday abroad
We spent Christmas in Laos in 2010, and it made for one of the most unique holidays. We spent Christmas morning watching the monks collect alms, and it certainly was unlike any Christmas experience we've ever had before.
Best people experience
Saigon wasn't our favorite city. It was crowded and hot and seemed to have less spirit than other places we visited. However spending the evening at a pop up bia hoi bar with another traveler and three Vietnamese men, was one of our favorite experiences. It was the reason that Vietnam is at the very top of our list should we get the chance to spend more time in Asia.
Perhaps one of the Great Walks in New Zealand would have been more competitive if I hadn't been 20+ weeks pregnant at the time, but even then hiking 10 km down the Great Wall in China (and then zip-lining off!) would be hard to beat. The views were incredible. The structure was amazing. And the weather happened to be pretty awesome.
Best road trip
New Zealand probably has an unfair advantage here. It's the only trip we took with a rental car. But roaming around the South Island for 10 days was gorgeous and relaxing and would have probably won even if there had been other rental car contenders.
Best wildlife trip
Kenya easily takes the wildlife category. I mean, we kissed a giraffe. We watched lionesses hunting. We saw a leopard! And more lions! And elephants! And baby rhinoceroses! And cheetahs! And... I could go on and on.
We've been able to dive in six countries (so far! (I hope!)) and this one was a tie. The liveaboard in Thailand's Similan Islands was an awesome experience and the dives were world class. But the single day of diving we did at Apo Island in the Philippines was mind-blowing in its clarity and the rare creatures we got to see (Mandarin fish! Frog fish!). Of course, I didn't have a camera for the Apo dives, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Best Travel Epiphany
Motorbikes. They are totally the way to see Asia. Once we bit the bullet in Chiang Rai, we enjoyed them in Chiang Mai, the Philippines, and Penang. We loved the freedom of going where we wanted, when we wanted, and making it up as we went along. We totally recommend.
I feel like we're cheating on all of the other trips... but those are the best. Did we miss any category you're curious about?
Oh, and the worst experiences?
1. The flight from Singapore to Beijing was pretty rough, though Beijing was lovely once we finally arrived and recovered from the experience.
2. There was a little motorbike accident in Philippines. It could have been really bad, but it wasn't. And we dived Apo the next day, so we didn't let it put a damper on the whole trip.
3. The weather in Shanghai was not good--cold and wet--and it really made that whole trip a little unpleasant. But that's probably a scheduling issue more than an actual problem with Shanghai. And there were hot Krispy Kremes, so there's that.