Feb 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm #1255312
Ian RaeBPL Member
@iancraeLocale: North Cascades
My wife and I have a few weeks off in April, and are thinking of trying to get some kind of overseas adventure in while we can. Here's what we'd like the trip to include:
-A combination of backpacking and more traditional traveling (you know, some "culture") The traveling part ideally would consist of hostels/cheap hotels/cheap B&Bs, public transportation, etc.
-Backpacking part ideally would include at least some level of "wilderness." Not necessarily going for high mileage; usually we do 10-20 mi/day (16-32km).
-Weather: As we'd like to minimize gear, I'm thinking of somewhere relatively dry in April(we're used to the north cascades, so a little moisture is fine!) This probably rules out anywhere really cold or with a lot of snow to deal with.
-We'd be flying out of Seattle or Vancouver, BC, so somewhere convenient for those places would be ideal, but really are open to anywhere in the world.
-Cheap is preferable, which probably rules out Western Europe.
I know y'all have done some fantastic trips, so now's the time to share your secrets.
Thanks, IanFeb 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm #1574161
When people plan for their trip, Taiwan rarely comes to mind. And that's the best kept secret right there!
1. Chinese culture — With the cultural devastation in China, Taiwan (the other China) is now a unique repository of Chinese art and culture — and even more importantly — a living culture that no longer exists in China. The best of China's imperial art collections, for example, are in Taiwan.
2. People — Lonely Planet's Taiwan Guidebook describes the people there as some of the warmest anywhere in the world. That really says something — and I'm pretty sure you will agree when you're there.
3. Food — Some of the very best Chinese cuisines are found in Taiwan! The island's "night market" is a culinary feast — cheap and a lot of fun too.
4. Scenery — Outside of the cities, you will find lush, green mountains with endless trails and natural hot springs. And at some of the offshore islands (e.g. Lu Dao) there's great snorkeling and more natural hot springs.
5. Modern — Trains that go 185 mph will whisk you from north to south in a mere 90 minutes. The largest cities have great metro systems — and buses go EVERYWHERE! Signs are bilingual (Chinese and English) and English-speaking TI (Tourist Info) booths are in all the airports and the large/medium size train stations.
Oh, and no hordes of tourists like in Venice or Hawaii.
Click here for a recent TR with pics from a fellow BPL member.Feb 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm #1574236
Culture? Wilderness? pretty much every where of west of China. Tibet, Xinjiang, Yunnan, GuiZhou, Sichuan… so many places to visit. And very CHEAP. Once I spend four days trekking along the great wall and I slept and ate in the house of the local people. Sleep, food, drink and transportation combined was 4 dollars for entire 4 days!Feb 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm #1574351
Airfare is pretty rough to asia, and visas to china can be a PITA, even if it's cheap. I can't speak for Taiwan, although I've heard it can get pricey.
Peru and Argentina are good choices, very in-expensive, especially when you compare the quality of goods vs. other latin american countries. I haven't been BPing in Peru yet, but we're going in May, and I've spent alot of time there doing other things.
If you go before June you can get round-trip tickets for ~$500, which is a steal. Check BPL for Cordillera Blanca review.Feb 16, 2010 at 8:18 am #1574401
Walter CarringtonBPL Member
I'd second both Taiwan and Peru.
Taiwan — the east coast and mountains are gorgeous, the cities there are not so developed and more traditional.
Peru — Cordillera Blanca is the most beautiful place I've ever been. I really liked Huaraz as a base. I don't know what the weather is like in April. Go to the Amazon also (Iquitos); eat the ice cream.
Places I'd like to go: China, Ecuador,Feb 16, 2010 at 8:49 am #1574418
Taiwan, Peru, China…
These are about as different as one can get. And I guess that's the beauty (and complication) of deciding where to go. There are just so many, many places — and they are so different from each other! I sometimes have to remind people who agonize over where to go — it isn't like we only get one chance — mostly, if we want to visit some place, it's just a matter of time.Feb 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm #1574611
Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Never been there, but I really want to go some day- New Zealand? Tasmania? It'd be autumn, there. Many Kiwis and Aussies here on BPL- ask them about conditions. Lynn? Roger?Feb 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm #1574760
Ian RaeBPL Member
@iancraeLocale: North Cascades
Thanks for all the suggestions. Peru is high on my list (cheaper airfare, big mountains, etc.) Another though is Bulgaria or somewhere in the Balkans. Sounds like some really interesting parks and wilderness areas in a relatively undeveloped country. Could fly into Istanbul for ~900. Anyone have any experience with this area?Feb 17, 2010 at 5:57 am #1574832
Jay BonzaniBPL Member
@ultraboundLocale: NE Oregon
I have always wanted to go to Spain and I have been to France, so the Camino has been a big hike on my to do list. It is cheap due to the hostels along the route and it goes through some very cool French and Spainish towns. You can make it a month long trip or start in different spot and make a few weeks. Airfare is probably the most expensive part but it is no worse then some of the other areas you have in mind.Feb 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm #1575171
If you have your heart set on natural scenery, Turkey's mountains are to the East. While not necessarily unsafe, the East is quite a ways off from Istanbul — in the land of the Kurds. Not particularly hard traveling, but definitely off the beaten path — expect long bus rides!
As for Istanbul and environs, that's a great option is you like history and culture. And if you go, do your best to include Efes (ancient Ephesus) — you will not regret it!Feb 17, 2010 at 7:32 pm #1575181
obx hikerBPL Member
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Corsica and Sardinia ought to be pretty much snow free in the high routes by April. Mountains beaches culture. Well maybe not. Looks like there's still snow in the heights.
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