In this latest ten top 10 series, I will be starting with my top 10 favourite countries I visited during my entire lifetime so far.
Here is a list of Ten Top 10 I will be covering in this series:
- Horrible Experiences
- Favourite Experiences
- Life Lessons
- Hikes and Treks
During my 380 days of travel around the world, I got a chance to visit over 70 countries. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so happy to have taken the time to work hard to make this dream trip a reality. While I enjoyed my time at most of the countries I visited, there was ten countries in particular that left an unforgettable impression on me. And every time I reminisce about the time in my life where I just lived off my backpack as I traversed from one country to the next, these top 10 countries are sure to occupy those fond memories.
However, truth be told, some of my favourite countries I visited were not part of my 380 days of travel. And, it would be unfair for me to leave those out. So here it is, my top 10 favourite countries I visited during my entire lifetime (so far):
My top 10 favourite countries that I visited during my entire lifetime (2018 edition)
Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world. Located in between Austria and Switzerland, this country is completely landlocked and mysterious.
What’s in Liechtenstein and why is it in my top 10 favourite countries list?
To tell you the truth, one of the reason why I liked Liechtenstein so much is because of it’s remote location and peaceful nature. There’s not much going on in Liechtenstein and a lot of people might find it even boring. However, for me, remote peaceful places with beautiful nature scenery is exactly what I am looking for!
I still fondly remember staying at the HI Hostel (the only hostel in the country) while being surrounded by beautiful fields of sunflower with a gorgeous backdrop of the Alps. It was truly a serene moment complete with the freshest air you can breath.
Thankfully, it’s conveniently right beside Austria. One day, when I travel back to Austria, I’ll make sure to take a side trip to Liechtenstein and spend more time in this tiny country.
While I was travelling in Bratislava in Slovakia, I befriended this Austrian guy who was staying in the same hostel as me. We hanged out that day exploring Bratislava which is a city right beside Vienna, the capital city of Austria. I remember the Austrian guy kept telling me how Austrians are nothing like Germans at all. They are not serious and they are easy going and friendly.
Because the Austrian guy kept hyping up how awesome Austrian people are, it planted a seed in my head to check out Austria sometime in the future.
During the Europe segment of my of my travels, I went through Austria several times. I didn’t really get a chance to explore it out of time constraint. Mainly because I still had several places I wanted to visit before I completed my one year journey. If I knew, what I now know, I would have definitely allocated a good chunk of time to explore Austria because the country is absolutely beautiful!
I felt that Austria is the friendlier version of Switzerland and the more relaxed version of Germany. You can see the Alps and explore amazing cities like Salzburg and Hallstatt.
In the future, when I return to Europe, I hope to take my girlfriend, Karen, with me to Austria and spend more time exploring it thoroughly.
As of now, I firmly put Austria as number nine in my top 10 favourite countries I have ever visited.
Never would I thought I would have liked Venezuela as much as I did when I travelled there. The country is one of the most dangerous in the world and tourism is at an all time low.
However, after doing some very thorough research, I learned that you can enter the country safely from the Brazil-Venezuela border. To make your trip to Venezuela even safer, you can join a tour that will keep you safe as you see the countries’ many amazing destinations.
Trekking up Mount Roraima and seeing Angel Falls were the definite highlights. Not to mention, seeing the breath taking landscape of the Gran Sabana (they filmed the first part of Jurassic Park here according to the locals).
While I was eager to leave the country because I felt paranoid at how sketchy the situation seemed to be, I do long to return here one day when situation becomes much safer. It would be an amazing experience to travel and see this country extensively because I find it to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Perhaps one day, when the country is safer and I get a chance to explore it more thoroughly, it will rise higher in my list of top 10 favourite countries in the world.
#7: Scotland (UK)
One of the biggest surprises for me during my 380 days of travel was Scotland. I actually had no plans to visit this “country” (it’s not really a country because it’s a region that’s part of the UK). However, while doing volunteer work teaching English in Poland, I made a friend who invited me to visit her family in rural Scotland.
Always being down for a new adventure, I said yes and decided to take a detour to this “country” after visiting another friend in London.
I am very happy to have taken the chance to take this detour because Scotland is absolutely amazing!
Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful city I have ever seen. People are also very nice and public transportation is very easy to use. I felt sad that my stay there was so short because I only planned on stopping there on my way to see my friend. Regardless, getting the chance to tour the Royal Mile and the Edinburgh Castle was a real treat and I’d love to return one day and stay longer in this awesome city.
After visiting Edinburgh, I went over to Aberdeen then towards the more rural places in Scotland. It was neat seeing my friend’s family’s sheep farm and living in a farm environment. I also love the Scottish people’s crude humour (my friend’s father kept referring to his unpleasant neighbour as Voldemort from Harry Potter).
I will definitely return to Scotland one day as it’s one of those places in the world that has left an amazing impression on me. And because of these reasons, Scotland takes a definite 7th place in my top 10 favourite countries I have ever visited.
Despite only visiting the US for four days during my 380 days of travel, I’ve actually travelled to the United States of America several times in the past.
I don’t know why those silly Western Europeans are always bashing USA, it’s an amazing country to visit with such diverse landscape and friendly people.
Some of my favourite memories in the US includes trekking the Zion Narrows at Zion National Park and trekking the Kalalau trail in Kauai, Hawaii. I also enjoyed seeing Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Sedona. And of course, spending a day at Harry Potter land in Florida or exploring Universal Studios and Disneyland in California is always fun.
There’s so much to see and do in the US that I always look forward to travelling there. Every state in the US is almost like going to a new country. In my opinion, the US is one of the most underrated travel destination in the world.
That’s why for me, I am very happy to place the US at number six as of my top 10 favourite countries I have ever travelled to.
Out of all the countries in Europe, my favourite country is definitely Poland. Wroclaw and Krakow is some of the nicest cities I have ever been to. Polish people are very friendly, especially once you get passed their 5 minutes of grumpy and brooding facial expression.
If I ever choose to live long term in Europe, Poland will be my first choice hands down.
Because of the friendly locals, great food, cheap prices, amazing experience, I’m proud to put Poland as my 5th place in my top 10 favourite countries I have ever visited.
Another pleasant surprise for me was Malaysia. I only wanted to travel to Malaysia because Karen has always dreamt of seeing the Orangutan sanctuary in Borneo.
When I return, I look forward visiting Penang, Lankawi, Mulu National Park, and of course, returning back to Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.
Malaysia easily secures 4th place in my top 10 favourite countries I have ever visited.
Thailand is one of those over-hyped countries that ACTUALLY lives up to the hype. Friendly people, delicious food, cheap prices, you just can’t go wrong!
When I travelled to Thailand, I mostly went there to check out the digital nomad scene in Chiang Mai. I lived in the city in northern Thailand for over 21 days having rented my own apartment.
When it came time to leave, I felt this sadness in me because I truly loved my time there. I knew right away that if I feel sad leaving a place, it means I need to go back there one day.
When I return to Thailand one day, I’d love to travel there more extensively visiting places like Koh Phi Phi, Ko Lipe, Chiang Rai, and returning to back to Bangkok.
Despite having a lengthy inner debate if I should put Thailand or Malaysia on 3rd place in my top 10 most favourite countries, Thailand wins by a small margin.
When people think of Colombia, they think of cocaine and Pablo Escobar. Popularized by the hit Netflix series, Narcos, it makes sense why everyone thinks Colombia is a very dangerous country to visit.
However, in reality, this is completely false. After getting a chance to travel around Colombia starting from the Ipiales, the town bordering Ecuador, all way to Bucaramanga located fairly close to the Venezuela border, I can honestly say that not once did I feel unsafe in this country.
Not only did I feel safe exploring this beautiful nation but I got a chance to make lots of friends through volunteer work at Guatape.
I will definitely return one day and visit many other places that I missed and even look into saving money and investing property in this country that is on the rise. I love Colombia, and it’s easily my second favourite country in my top 10 most favourite countries I have ever visited.
#1: South Africa
Before going to South Africa, a friend of mine took his wife there for their honeymoon. He kept telling me how amazing the country is and if we ever go, we need to rent a car and drive across the country.
After convincing Karen that we should travel to South Africa together and do a road trip. She reluctantly agreed despite hearing all the bad things the media potrays this country to be.
I’m not going to lie, South Africa does have a lot of crime. You cannot go out at night without putting your life in jeopardy (except in Cape Town, you can go out at night).
But, if you use some common sense and avoid going out at night and making sure you don’t make yourself look like you are wealthy, then this country is absolutely breathtaking.
I can’t tell you how shocked Karen and myself felt even on our first few days in South Africa. Our road trip going to Kruger National Park, up to Drakensberg mountain range, all the way west along the Garden Route, and finally reaching Cape Town was a magical experience of a life time.
I have never been more blown away by such pure beauty that the country and it’s friendly people had to offer.
Despite feeling a bit relieved when we finally left (because travelling here makes you be on guard all the time), we had so many fond memories we always look back to.
South Africa captured our hearts and to this day, Karen and myself love this country to death. This is why South Africa is clearly the number one country in my top 10 favourite countries I have ever visited in my entire life.
Top 10 favourite countries conclusion
Putting together this top 10 favourite countries list was a difficult one because I had to leave out many other countries that I really had a great time in.
If you’re wondering, my criteria to enter a country in my 10 top favourite countries list would be the following:
- How happy I felt when I travelled in those countries
- The intensity of the positive shock value I felt while travelling through those countries
- My desire to return back to those countries one day
- The friendly people that I met while I was in those countries
And I can honestly say, all 10 countries in this top 10 list meets all of those criteria.
How about you? What is the top 10 favourite countries you’ve ever visited? Or what are the top 10 countries you would like to visit? Feel free to share below, I’d love to hear all about it!
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