In this latest top 10 series, I will be covering my top 10 favourite cities I visited during my 380 days of travel around the world.
Here is a list of Ten Top 10 I will be covering in this series:
- Horrible Experiences
- Amazing Experiences
- Life Lessons
- Hikes and Treks
During my 380 days of travel around the world, I got a chance to visit hundreds of different cities. However, out of the many cities and countries I have visited, there was a clear top 10 favourite cities that really captured my attention.
How does a city qualify to be in my top 10 list? There’s two main criteria: shock factor and desire to return.
I’m the kind of traveller that doesn’t like going back to a place I’ve been to before. With that being said, I got a chance to visit some cities that I absolutely loved and I really wanted to spend more time in. This doesn’t happen often but when it does, I know I’m onto something.
Also, just because a country was in my top 10 favourite countries doesn’t mean any of their cities will be in my top 10 list. For example, despite South Africa being my number one most favourite country I have ever visited, none of their cities made it to my top 10 list.
Without further delay, here is my top 10 favourite cities I have visited during my one year of travel.
My top 10 favourite cities that I visited during my 380 days of travel
#10: La Paz – Bolivia
I honestly can’t tell you how beautiful this city is. During my one year trip around the world, I would definitely put La Paz in the top 3 most beautiful and unique city I have ever visited. There’s nothing quite like it. La Paz is basically a huge bowl on top of a mountain and what a sight to behold!
I think La Paz is the highest city in the world with elevation levels at 3,640m. My sisters and I, when we first arrived, felt drunk being in this city because of the high altitude.
It definitely takes several days to acclimate but it’s well worth the effort.
If you go to Bolivia to see the famous salt flats at Salar de Uyuni, make sure to take a plane there because you will be rewarded with an amazing view of La Paz and surrounding mountainous cities on your way to Uyuni.
Because of the sheer beauty and uniqueness of La Paz, I place this city as number 10 in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
#9: Puerto Princessa – Philippines
Talk about an underrated tourist destination. Despite being born in the Philippines, I have never seen it from a tourist point of view. Eight years since last visiting this country, a lot of things has changed and the biggest shock for me is visiting the city of Puerto Princessa.
Manilla is a city known for its scams, petty crime, horrible traffic, and pollution. All the houses in Manilla are surrounded with bars to prevent theft and break-ins.
Puerto Princessa is a completely different story. The capital city of the island of Palawan, this city is one of the safest and friendliest in all of the Philippines. Puerto Princessa has one of the lowest crime rates, none of the houses have bars, local transportation is scam-free, and the food is amazing.
Just make sure to avoid coming in December or the rainy season of June, July, August, and September, and this city is amazing.
One cool fun fact is that hurricanes never hit Palawan because the Philippine mainland covers it from the natural disaster.
Finally, Puerto Princessa has tons of activities you can do so being bored will probably never happen to you!
Because of how amazing Puerto Princessa is for tourist and potential business opportunities, I put this place as number nine in my top 10 favourite cities around the world.
#8: Jeju City – South Korea
Another highly underrated tourist destination. Most of the people that visit Jeju City are Chinese and other Asian tourist. Just like Puerto Princessa, it doesn’t get the massive amounts of tourist that places such as Thailand and Vietnam get.
This might be a good thing because Jeju City is one of the most peaceful and serene city I have ever visited.
As you might already know, I’m a big sucker for peaceful relaxing cities.
Not only that, but there are tons of things you can do in Jeju City. Being part of South Korea, Jeju City also has first world amenities so it’s quite easy to get around.
I will definitely return to this city again one day because it’s severely underrated and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
Because I loved my time in Jeju City, I happily place is as number eight in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
#7: Edinburgh – Scotland
What a huge surprise! After travelling extensively in Europe and around the world, I stated feeling numb to seeing another city. To be honest, most of the cities in Europe looks exactly the same and it gets boring after awhile.
When you travel as much as I have, you also start getting numb to seeing wonderful places (which is a bad thing!) because you start comparing it to other even more amazing places you’ve been to before.
Edinburgh took me by surprised. It is hands down, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited in my life. I had zero plans on visiting Scotland during my one year trip. A big thanks to a fellow workaway volunteer who recommended I visit this place.
I will definitely return one day because I want to see the old city that’s now buried underground. Edinburgh is a must see for anyone travelling to Europe.
Because I was so surprised at how much I loved my time in Edinburgh, I put it as number seven in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
Truthfully, I been to Bangkok a few times but it’s usually just an overnight stopover. I spent the vast majority of my time in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
With that being said, when I took the time to explore Bangkok, I really enjoyed it. People are friendly and it’s a great place for digital nomads to set up base.
I’d like to return here again one day and visit it more thoroughly and try out living as a digital nomad in this amazing city.
Because I loved my time in Bangkok and didn’t feel like I got enough time to really visit it, I will place it as number six in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
#5: Krakow – Poland
Krakow is one of my most favourite cities in Europe. Located in Poland, this city is rich in history and is just stunningly beautiful.
It’s also quite modern once you venture out of the old town.
There’s plenty of things to do here and this city is quite high energy.
I was in Krakow for a few days during my time in Poland and I loved it.
I will definitely return because I want to experience living in this city longer, getting to know the locals, and possibly doing some volunteer work through Workaway.
Because I enjoyed my time in Krakow and found many reasons to return here one day, I place it as number five in my top 10 favourite cities that I visited.
#4: Wroclaw – Poland
Again, the main reasoning is because it’s a much more peaceful place than Krakow. While I loved Krakow’s high energy, deep down inside, I seek a more peaceful setting.
Wroclaw is a city that used to be part of Germany. However, borders moved throughout the years because of the many wars in Europe. As of today, it is now part of Poland.
If I ever get a chance to live in Poland long term, I would like to live in Wroclaw and do weekend trips to Krakow. I think that would be the best strategy to get the best of both worlds.
Out of pure personal preference, I place Wroclaw as my number four in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
#3: Medellin/Guatape – Colombia
During my time in Colombia, I got a chance to spend a good amount of time in Medellin and Guatape.
Medellin is the famous city where Pablo Escobar lived. However, since his death, the city has gradually recovered and is now quite safe compared to its cartel days.
Guatape is a nearby city from Medellin that can be reached by taking a bus. I got a chance to do some Workaway volunteer work in Guatape and really fell in love with the city.
Medellin is also a booming place for expats and digital nomads to move into due to its amazing weather all year round.
When it came time for me to leave Colombia, I strongly felt a desire to return here one day and reconnect with the many locals and expats I met.
In the future, I will definitely return to both cities and maybe even invest in some real estate in Medellin.
Because of the fact that Medellin and Guatape are both hidden gems in South America, it gets a solid number three spot in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
#2: Chiang Mai – Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand is the digital nomad capital in the whole world. This city has fast internet, delicious Thai food, friendly locals and very convenient.
They have co-working space everywhere for aspiring online entrepreneurs. Housing is very cheap. I remember renting an entire studio apartment last minute for about $312 CAD (22 days). You can get an even better deal if you contact landlords or Air Bnb’s ahead of time.
Chiang Mai is one of those cities where I felt sad to leave it. Before coming to Thailand, I had this impression that perhaps this country is overrated. But nope, this country is not overrated. It’s one of the few places on Earth that I would say actually lives up to its hype.
One day, I would like to return here again, and live here during the cold Winter months in Canada.
Because of the cost of living and amazing amenities, Chiang Mai takes second place in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
#1: Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
Truthfully, I really hate big cities. I hate crowds, I hate traffic, and I hate big city life.
I was surprised how much I loved Kuala Lumpur during my time in the capital city of Malaysia.
It really made me discover what I look for in a city.
Kuala Lumpur has a great transit system if I want to go anywhere in the city. Uber is also very cheap which you can take to go to many places.
The city is definitely an international city and it’s not surprising to see Americans, Europeans, other Asians wandering in the malls or tourist areas.
Many expats have moved to Kuala Lumpur because it makes for a great place to setup base if you plan in investing or doing business in Asia.
Air Asia is a Malaysian airline company and connects you to many Asian countries for a very affordable price. English is widely spoken in Kuala Lumpur so getting around is not a problem.
Food is absolutely amazing, and to this day I miss eating the Malaysian food in this city.
I am seriously considering moving here one day, at least for part of the year when weather is horrible in Canada.
After reading many books in business, it appears that Kuala Lumpur is the perfect city to buy an apartment and setup a hub to do business all over Asia. Cost of living here is quite affordable and I just like the vibe of this city.
Despite being a city hater, this is one city I can definitely see myself living in. Because of all these reasons, I firmly secure Kuala Lumpur as number one in my top 10 favourite cities in the world.
After travelling to so many cities around the world, it gave me a good idea of what I look for in a city.
My biggest criteria is ease of travel, convenience, scenery, nature, weather, cost of living, internet speed, beauty, and uniqueness.
The top 10 favourite cities I listed here met all the criteria I look for. However, I understand everyone is different and people look for different things in what makes for a great city.
I know my aunt only likes big cities (which I tend to dislike) while my sister prefers small towns and nature.
My question to you is: what is your top 10 favourite cities and what are your criteria to what makes for a great city to visit?