In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for Eige World Tours Limited, I am often asked what, in my opinion, are the 5 MUST see countries.
These are therefore my top 5 destinations…
Once you visit Israel, you’ll understand why everyone is fighting over it.
Despite being majority desert, Israel is one of the wonders of the world, with its historic Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, ancient cities, and of course Jerusalem.
As you step into the Holy City, you can feel the sheer power of The Almighty. Every step on the cobbled streets is rich with meaning and context.
But if you really want to party, then spend 5 days in Tel Aviv. I am told that the name Tel Aviv means, ‘Spring.
Aviv means spring, symbolizing renewal.
,Aviv is Hebrew for “spring”, symbolizing renewal. Tel is a man-made mound accumulating layers of civilization built one over the other and symbolizing the ancient. ”
Tel Aviv can boast to be the party capital of the Middle East.
Go to a party, meetup or festival.
There’s always on going on.
From parties to hi-tech meetups to conferences, desert-racing, or yachting, you will always find something to do.
However, you must try their food events to enjoy top gastronomy or incredible cultural highlights.
Behind its tall picturesque Office Buildings and impressive architectural Spanish-style villas, lies a quaint tradition of culture, music, art and expression that ensures that this city never sleeps.
Kenya is one of the best African countries to visit.
It’s spectacular coastline is one to die for.
My favorite place is Diani, a small town on the southern coastline of Kenya with brilliant white beaches and 6 star hotels.
Kenya – scenic wildlife, breathtaking white beaches and tantalizing food
My best recommendation is to book a game drive to the Masai Mara where you will easily spot the ‘Big Five’ as they are called – lion, buffalo, elephant, hippo, leopard and cheetah in broad daylight.
There’s nothing more blood-rushing than watching a lion hunt and cheetah chase on successive days!
Kenya has an abundance of wildlife with at least 8 scenic areas for fantastic Game Drives. Masai Mara lies west-south of the country as you head towards Mombasa.
At the center of the country lies Mount Kenya, an imposing mark of authority, although in recent years, it has lost close to 70% of its snow cover. If you opt for a mountain hike, it is as grueling as some of the toughest European mountain terrains.
When you are in Kenya, you must visit Lamu.
Lamu or Lamu Town is a small town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya.
It’s 341 kilometres (212 mi) by road northeast of Mombasa that ends at Mokowe Jetty from where the sea channel has to be crossed to reach Lamu Island.
My fascination with Lamu is the culture of the place. Men, women and children fiercely protect their Swahili culture through their clothing -long flowing bui-bui’s for the ladies and kanzu’s for the men.
Almost every man has an elaborate headgear ‘hat’ if I can call it that.
The people of Lamu have the most delicious cuisine I have ever tasted.
They cook something called ‘chapati’ which is a fried flat bread commonly eaten with milk, beef gravy and salad. ‘Mahamri’ are fried wheat patties scented with spices that give off the most wonderful aroma.
I think I spent 90% of my time in Lamu eating these amazing foods.
The city design reminds me of Spain.
They have narrow cobbled streets that only motorcycles and cyclists can use.
The magnificent Lamu oak doors feature intricate and mesmerizing woodwork inspired by Portuguese and Swahili culture.
Thailand suffers a little from it’s reputation of being a very hedonistic destination and while it is true that the is a very wild side to Thaialnd (especially certain areas of Bangkok, Phucket etc) there is also an amazing culture to immerse yourself in.
There really is everything there, adventure, culture and even for the not faint hearted, a place about 1 hour north of Thailand where you can go in, yes go in, with real live tigers.
No cages, no chains, just you and around a dozen tigers.
For me it was a thrill of a lifetime and without doubt it is just one of the many reasons that Thailand is in my top 5 of places you need to visit in the world.
Handily located, if you plan it right you can visit Egypt and Jordan together to make a real trip to remember.
Jordan lies west of Israel, so plan a combined Israel-Jordan-Egypt tour.
Amman is a great city full of atmosphere.
Petra is marvelous!
But, surely the unmissable place is the Dead Sea. The only ocean in the world with so much salt in it, you actually float!
This alone makes Jordan a must see country and on top of what I have already mentioned, don’t forget the Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Jerash and the Kings Highway.
A week in Jordan is good, but 10 days is better.
The second African country on this list.
King Tut, The Pyramids, The Valley of the Kings. The list is endless.
But it’s just not the history and the culture, it’s the people too.
Egyptians are some of the kindest and most generous people on the planet.
Plan A Candlelit Dinner As You Glide On The Mesmerizing Nile
They will welcome you into their homes in a second and even if they have almost nothing, they will share it with you.
An afternoon on the Nile with an Egyptian felucca captain sailing your boat as the sun sets over the Nile in Luxor is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed.
And for an unforgettable experience, visit Guilin. Guilins landscape is amazing and totally unique. It can’t necessarily be called Mountainous as such, but the peaks that do rise, rise almost vertically up into the mist.
If you get a chance take a ski lift up to one of the peaks and just stare in awe at the view, and if you are feeing adventurous, take a kart down a toboggan style run (about 3,000 feet in length) !
6. Hong Kong.
Although there is much more to Hong Kong than just shopping, if you do love to shop, then Hong Kong is the place for you.
A stroll along Nathan Road and a visit to the Temple Street market just HAS to be done.
And make sure you have your bargaining hat on as haggling is as big a part of the experience as the purchases themselves.
There lots more to Hong Kong too.
Victoria Peak and stunning views
The great thing is that despite it being a modern city, there is tradition around every corner.
Don’t forget to take a trip to Victoria Peak and enjoy the stunning views and remember that even if it’s misty, there are 2 guys at the top who will take your picture and transpose it onto a picture of what you should see if the weather where not so poor!
I also suggest a couple of half day visits out to Lama and Lantau Islands too. A great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the craziness that is Hong Kong.
Peru must be the most breathtaking place on earth.
With its steep green valleys and high mountains, the altitude that can cure sickness, Peru is a must-visit country.
Make sure you are in tip top condition, because you will want to spend every possible minute outside.
Whether it’s riding Llama’s or jogging on the cobbled slopes, or shepherding mountain goats, any activity you choose will be exhilarating.
I found the adventures of touring the ancient temples the most rewarding experience for me so far.
Sip magharita’s in Mallorca.
Visit The Eixample district. You need one full day exploring 19th century modernista architecture and art.
I would go back to Mexico any day just for its hot, spicy food, that makes you cry a river.
The Mexicans are some of the most colorful people in the world, and I for one, love the fact they are so in love with their culture.
Fajitas, Caesadillas and Burritos!
You could be tempted to think that they are what you see on television, but far from the truth, they are warm, loving and inviting people, who love to dance, sing and sip coffee at sunset.
Visit the once thriving ancient capital of the Yucatán Mayans—Chich’en Itza.
During the spring and autumn equinoxes thousands of tourists and locals pack in around the pyramid to recreate the parties of a thousand years ago—sans the cutting out of hearts—and to watch the “descent of Kukulcan.”
The Pyramid of Kukulcan was built over a preexisting temple between 800 and 900 AD.
The biggest pyramid in Chich’en Itza, its base measures 53.3 meters wide on all four sides.
It towers above the other monuments at 24 meters tall with a 6 meter temple on top of the highest platform.
Before access to the throne room of the pyramid was restricted, you could climb to the top and, on a clear day, see the top of the grand pyramid at the nearby ruin site of Ek Balam.
The Mesoamerican fascination with, and knowledge of, math and astronomy shines when examining the details of its architecture.
Each of the four sides has ninety-one steps ascending it, 364 steps total, with the temple topping the pyramid considered an addition step totaling 365, each step representing a day in the calendar.
Additionally, the pyramid’s nine stages, bisected by a staircase on each side, represent the eighteen months of the Mayan Calendar year.
The pyramid was built to be a physical representation of the Mayan Calendar (the same calendar that predicts the end of the world in 2012), while its orientation, slightly North East, is believed to have been calculated in order to create the phenomenon know as the “Descent of Kukulcan
I think if I left this out, then you wouldn’t think I’m okay.
From the sun-soaked Copacabana beaches to its wondrous footballing genius, Brazil offers more entertainment than most continents.
The Amazon comes to mind, as well as the secret people tucked away in the jungle.
It covers most of northwestern Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries. It’s the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its biodiversity.
It’s crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the powerful Amazon. River towns, with 19th-century architecture from rubber-boom days, include Brazil’s Manaus and Belém and Peru’s Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado.
Over a cup of coffee, get the old men talking about these strange, quiet people tucked away in the jungle who have shied away from civilization for years. It’s quite a tale!
You would, of course, have to start at the beach, and then move inwards, exploring the Portuguese-style country cities, plunge into the jungle, experience the Amazon and end up at the Beach.
My suggestion: this country is quite colorful, hire your own van and take the trip.