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Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Vancouver LifeStyles (VLS) > Vacations and World Travel

Vacations and World Travel Visiting our beautiful city? Come stay at the Arbutus Vista - Vancouver's Bed & Breakfast.
How was your trip? Which tour packages would you recommend/avoid? Must do's and must eats? Share tips, photos and experiences with other senior RS members who just want to get away..

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Old 05-17-2010, 06:01 PM   #1
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World's Greatest Cities...

I am not particularly well-traveled, especially when compared to some of the jet-setters on this board. Nonetheless, I have been fortunate enough to visit a small sampling of the world's more famous cities, so I thought I'd throw together a list of my favourites... feel free to post your own list.

My ranking is just an overall rating of how much I liked a city (before you criticize, keep in mind it's not scientific at all and it's not coming from someone with a boatload of travel experience). Generally my opinion is swayed by a number of things: the beauty of the city's core and the setting, the number of things to do and see, the amount of history and culture, the city's infrastructure and transportation, and the overall "wow" factor...

1.) Paris - No other city in the world boasts as much history, attractions, culture, and as many famous famous landmarks in a single package... not to mention the fact that it's absolutely beautiful, mostly clean/well kept, safe, and easy to navigate. A must-see for everyone before they die.

2.) New York City - Paris may have the overall package, but in terms of overall number of things to do and see, it's hard to beat NYC. You could spend years in New York and not cover all of the sights and activities available. It's also fairly safe, easy to navigate, etc.

3.) London - To me, London feels like the "center of the world". I've been there a few times, and each time I am amazed at what an international city it really is... there's so many different cultures and influences that blend into the city. Plus it has so many things to do and see!

4.) Amsterdam - Much smaller than the first three, Amsterdam is still big enough to make this list... but it's also small enough to feel somewhat intimate. The canals are incredible, and there's a distinct Dutch culture (coffee shops!) that make it so appealing.

5.) Munich - If you want cleanliness and perfection, go to Munich. Such an incredibly wealthy city, with so many beautiful landmarks and history... and yet it still retains a bit of a "party" feel thanks to the beer hall culture. Bavarians tend to be, at least in my limited experience, some of the friendliest and most helpful people you'll ever meet.

6.) Vancouver - Total homer vote, but the natural setting is second-to-none and the downtown core is simply brilliant. Frankly, no other city in the world offers such a hybrid of urban and outdoor lifestyles. It's also fairly easy to get around the downtown core thanks to its density, and safety and cleanliness are top-notch. Each time I come back to Vancouver after traveling elsewhere, I am thankful to live in such a beautiful, near-perfect corner of the world.

7.) Sydney - Similar to Vancouver in many ways, but with more white sand beaches! It's a combination of a bustling, modern, wealthy metropolis and a distinctly easy-going Aussie way of life. Like Vancouver, it's safe and clean, but not so much so that it begins to feel "boring".

8.) Los Angeles - Despite it's shortcomings with transportation, crime, etc., you can't leave LA off the list. It's got an incredible amount of famous landmarks and things to do... plus the shocking wealth and opulence of Hollywood celeb life... and it's supplemented by great beaches and weather.

9.) Rome - Like Paris and NYC, Rome has a shocking amount of history and culture accompanying its modern way of life. It's also distinctly Italian and bursting with culture. It only falls down the list due to my minor annoyances (cleanliness, green space, etc)... otherwise, it's certainly one of the world's greatest tourist gems.

10.) Istanbul - An exotic and distant seeming city, Istanbul enjoys relative obscurity in most travel circles... for now. As Turkey continues to become wealthier and more developed, I guarantee Istanbul will become a huge tourist hot-spot. In addition to the exoticism and authentic Middle Eastern/Muslim overtones, Istanbul offers thousands of years worth of history and culture. It's also set in a magnificent location and is the only city that can legitimately claim to span two continents.

11.) Barcelona - Although my only visit to Barcelona was far too short (3 days), I could tell it had a lot more to offer... great Catalan history, culture, and food... plus beaches, and a party atmosphere that's simply second-to-none. It may not be the cleanest or the most well-developed, but it's still big and fairly safe and definitely competes with the other European hot spots in terms of things to do and see.

12.) Budapest - Relatively unknown to the Western world until the fall of the USSR, Budapest has a ridiculous amount to offer: history, culture, food, and fun. It's also developed enough now that it's completely safe, but it's still exotic compared to most European destinations.

13.) Venice - Venice would be higher on this list if it were bigger and offered more for visitors. That said, it's certainly the most unique of any city I've ever been to, and that alone deserves recognition. Plus it's distinctly Italian and offers a ton of great sightseeing. And it's safe and easy to navigate on foot.

14.) San Francisco - Is there any city more weird and quirky than San Fran? Probably not, and that deserves recognition. The downtown core and it's steep streets and trolleys are very cool, and it feels far more "European" than any other American city I've been to (aside from NYC, perhaps). It's also got lots to offer in terms of landmarks/attractions.

15.) San Juan, Puerto Rico - I bet the inclusion of this city has many people shaking their heads, and that's fine... but because I've never been to Havana or Rio, I can't compare it to any other Latin American hubs. And it is, without exaggeration, incredible. Perfect white sand beaches, unspoiled outdoor opportunities, 500 years of history, a distinct culture... San Juan has all of that and more while still being quite safe and very clean.

Honorable mentions (could argue they belong on the list but I didn't have room) - Madrid, Montreal, Las Vegas, and Melbourne.

Notable exclusions (been there but didn't feel they deserved a list among the best) - Athens, Valencia, Naples, Nice, Zagreb, Brisbane, Miami, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Calgary, Toronto.


For the hell of it, a few cities that are on my very lengthy "must-see" list that I haven't been to but think have a good chance at breaking into my top-15 listed above...

- Hong Kong
- Tokyo
- Beijing
- Tehran
- Dubai
- Berlin
- Florence
- Prague
- Vienna
- Moscow
- St. Petersburg
- Havana
- Rio de Janeiro
- Cairo
- Boston

Do you agree/disagree? Been to the cities I haven't, and wanna share your thoughts on whether they'd make the cut on my list? Anywhere I missed that needs recognition? Share.
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Last edited by Amaru; 05-17-2010 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
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Straight up, put Moscow + St. Petersburg high up on your list.

If you are looking for city life, thats where you will find it. Im not going to spoil it or even begin to mention the highlights (there are so many). If you do decide to take the trip I recommend this: go to moscow... then take a train to St. Petersburg. Make sure its the cheaper train that has rooms (the classier one is full of seats but boring as shit). The train ride is like 8 hours so trust me - you just spent 11 hours on an airplane, you dont need anymore restrictions.

The experience is awesome you will get a full feel of the country and have so much fun. Moscow will be a blast, the train ride will be a bit ghetto but thats the point, you can do anything you want, I drank beer with my family, walked around on the train, had a smoke, and stuck my head out the window for hours just watching everythign pass by.

After all that you enter st petersburg and your back to big city life except everything looks old fashoined. St petersburg is known for its older style buildings, so it's kinda like going back into the past yet having all the conveniences of the future.

Regardless of what you decide to do, find a way to make any trip happen. We get so caught up in our daily lives we forget that theres an entire world outside our box. If we stay in the same place all our lives our souls dry up and wither away. Too many people die - not knowing what its like to live.

I almost died couple days ago, and since then all I been thinking about is the things I want to accomplish in my life time.

Here is my list and a quick reason why the place clicks for me (kept it small for now):

Shanghai - see somebody
Moscow - see fam + need another round
Amsterdam - ending from harrold and kumar made me want to go, not even for the weed but I just wanna chill there at a coffee shop holla at some chicks
Chiang Mai - Thailand - heard about it from a woman at work, claims its super beautiful, and super cheap. You can live like a king and spend 150 bux a month.
Tokyo Japan - obvious reasons.
Germany - (not sure what city) godfather lives somwhere there.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:54 PM   #3
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^ wtf u almost died?
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Amaru View Post
4.) Amsterdam - Much smaller than the first three, Amsterdam is still big enough to make this list... but it's also small enough to feel somewhat intimate. The canals are incredible, and there's a distinct Dutch culture (coffee shops!) that make it so appealing.
uh-huh... I think you're missing a few other things about amsterdam... haha..
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:35 AM   #5
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uh-huh... I think you're missing a few other things about amsterdam... haha..
Well, he did mention the "canals"...
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:45 AM   #6
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dam i gotta get out more
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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^ wtf u almost died?
So stupid, but I drank a retarded amt of vodka and ended up in hospital.
They said my pancreas was swollen and it coulda killed me. When I arrived home my moms bf handed me a death certificate of his good friend... it said he died from pancreatitis due to consumption of alcohol (something along those lines). Basically same shit can happen to me if I dont quit drinking... as a result I am forced to review my life... my perspective: its for the better!

Anyway, keeping things on topic: TRAVEL!
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:11 AM   #8
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Straight up, put Moscow + St. Petersburg high up on your list.

If you are looking for city life, thats where you will find it. Im not going to spoil it or even begin to mention the highlights (there are so many). If you do decide to take the trip I recommend this: go to moscow... then take a train to St. Petersburg. Make sure its the cheaper train that has rooms (the classier one is full of seats but boring as shit). The train ride is like 8 hours so trust me - you just spent 11 hours on an airplane, you dont need anymore restrictions.

The experience is awesome you will get a full feel of the country and have so much fun. Moscow will be a blast, the train ride will be a bit ghetto but thats the point, you can do anything you want, I drank beer with my family, walked around on the train, had a smoke, and stuck my head out the window for hours just watching everythign pass by.
That sounds like my kind of train ride. I'd love to see both of those cities, and they're really high on my "must-see" list.

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Regardless of what you decide to do, find a way to make any trip happen. We get so caught up in our daily lives we forget that theres an entire world outside our box. If we stay in the same place all our lives our souls dry up and wither away. Too many people die - not knowing what its like to live.
Couldn't agree more.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:12 AM   #9
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uh-huh... I think you're missing a few other things about amsterdam... haha..
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:55 AM   #10
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I'd replace Sydney with Melbourne. Sydney is really fun and has lots of Canadians but Melbourne is literally Vancouver with better weather. Nicest people, wicked nightlife. The Southbank area is tonnes of fun, plus you're so close to Tasmania, which is my favourite vacation spot in the world!!
I'm biased because I live in Melbourne, but one of my best friends lives in Sydney so I've spent a bit of time there and its just missing something. I've heard Perth is pretty amazing too but I haven't had the chance to go over there yet....
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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granted i've only been to about 2/3 of the cities mentioned on your list...i don't see how NYC feels European...

and I'm surprised Montreal isn't on your list. Definately one the most unique cities in NA

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San Francisco - feels far more "European" than any other American city I've been to (aside from NYC, perhaps)
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:40 PM   #12
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and I'm surprised Montreal isn't on your list. Definately one the most unique cities in NA
really, how so? Honest curiosity
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
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montreal is the best city in canada, or so i've heard from everyone who's visited

they have a real night life, and great strip clubs
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:43 PM   #14
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Bangkok?
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:17 AM   #15
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I'd replace Sydney with Melbourne. Sydney is really fun and has lots of Canadians but Melbourne is literally Vancouver with better weather. Nicest people, wicked nightlife. The Southbank area is tonnes of fun, plus you're so close to Tasmania, which is my favourite vacation spot in the world!!
Yes, Melbourne is nice. I didn't spend enough time there to really get a vibe one way or another, but I could tell it was definitely very cool. I'll have to return one day and give it another try, maybe it can work its way back onto the list.

Same story for Montreal. Gotta get back there ASAP and re-evaluate.

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granted i've only been to about 2/3 of the cities mentioned on your list...i don't see how NYC feels European...
NYC has an extremely dense city core, ridiculously high property values, many buildings (including most hotels) are 100+ years old, driving/parking in the downtown core is a nightmare, it's extremely multicultural, there is a very "trendy" vibe with ample fashion and nightlife, and the city is alive 24 hours a day.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of things about NYC that are NOT European... but Manhattan itself "feels" a lot like many European cities I've been to thanks to the reasons above.

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Bangkok?
Never really been high on my list, to be honest. Especially not right now. How does it compare with other Asian cities? I think Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo would all be higher on my list than Bangkok.

I'm sure it's cool though; Thailand seems to be the "in" place to travel right now. Hopefully I'll make it there someday.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:57 AM   #16
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it seemed the the original writer has not been around the world.
it seems he has been to the asian continents before . asian countries, just like other countries will have history behind them.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:50 AM   #17
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Never really been high on my list, to be honest. Especially not right now. How does it compare with other Asian cities? I think Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo would all be higher on my list than Bangkok.

I'm sure it's cool though; Thailand seems to be the "in" place to travel right now. Hopefully I'll make it there someday.
Yea, this past few months has been a bad PR fail for Thailand. Bangkok is the 3rd most touristed city after London and Paris, it's a very exciting city and there's much to see.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:15 PM   #18
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it seemed the the original writer has not been around the world.
it seems he has been to the asian continents before . asian countries, just like other countries will have history behind them.
Upon reading your post I have decided there are four possibilities:

1) You made a typo.
2) You didn't read my original post.
3) You're new to the English language.
4) You have a mental disability.

To clarify, no I have not been to Asia. Ever. I'd love to go, hence why I put several Asian cities at the top of my "must see" list.

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Yea, this past few months has been a bad PR fail for Thailand. Bangkok is the 3rd most touristed city after London and Paris, it's a very exciting city and there's much to see.
That's a pretty shocking stat. More tourists than NYC, Rome, LA? Crazy. But yeah, it definitely sound pretty awesome, and I'm sure there's a reason why it's so popular. I'd love to do a Southeast Asia trip (Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia) but I think it's probably a few years away still. I've also heard Vietnam is the "next Thailand"...
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:26 PM   #19
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Reading you're top 15 list makes me want to get out of the country again, but due to the fact that I'm still in school making a minimum amount of money I'd have to save up in order to be able to travel around the world like you. I'm hoping to go either Vietnam or either Bangkok next summer.
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:00 PM   #20
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i agree with Paris, London, New York, Rome, and Vancouver

I would personally put the following up there as well:
Montreal - very homely place and its in Canada
Tokyo - bustling city with so many places to see and the people are very friendly
Hong Kong - crowded place with a lot of things to eat and see
Las Vegas - fun everytime!!
Mauritius - my favorite beach destination
Cape Town - awesome city i want to go back soon

honorable mention: shanghai, bangkok, auckland, melbourne, osaka, abu dhabi, bali
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