1. Shanghai, China
I started off the year being in the bustling city of Shanghai - a trip continued from 2008. There's no other more vibrant place I have ever visited. And btw, it was this trip that I started to like the cold & cold! (eating icy cold desserts in the winter!).
2. Muar, Malaysia
This half day trip made me realise how much heritage this neighbouring town of Malacca has... plus, the fact that it do has some good food too!
3. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
My first time to East of Malaysia. This was one big eye opener on how unique-ly different the other part of Malaysia is. Love the Manukan island & the sotong bakar (bbq squid) most!
4. Kuching, Malaysia
2009 also marks the first time I visited Kuching, which reminded me closely to Penang & in some ways, yes, Malacca. The thing I like most about Kuching is its multi ethnicity where the 1 Bangsa Malaysia is felt most in the country.
5. Hong Kong, China
After over a decade, I finally re-visited the center of Chinese cinema - HK! The best part of this city is that while it embraces to be a modern city, however, it maintains its old traditional things like the tong kang, the tram, and also the food stalls in the narrow alleys.
6. Macau, China
And from HK, I headed to the another bustling city in China (which China city isn't?)... but this one is even more unique where the heritage rightfully remains on the streets. And yet side by side are the mega casino structures gearing for attention!
7. Bangkok, Thailand
I once again visited my most favourite destination, Thailand. Yes, they have the bad traffic jams and people complain about the air pollution.
But the Thai warmth & its ever tourist friendly city makes Bangkok such a wonderful city to keep coming back to! It was this trip too that I first visited the Chatuchak market where independent designs rule!
8. Manila, Tagatay & Boracay, Philippines
My first visit to the Philippines was at the land of mega malls, Manila - the place where I learned the term mall-ing. The malls were huge & impressive - and so is the entertainment industry...! (at least in my eyes). And the people - just as friendly as the Thais!
Yummy food & chill weather on top of the hills, with a good view to boot - that's how I find Tagaytay. This trip opened my eyes on the varieties that the Philippines offer for travelers!
Sea, sand & sun... plus lots of fun, Boracay, is truly one super holiday destination. It gave lots of time to relax yet a lot of sea activities to keep one busy. The long white beach gave beautiful views... and it was here too that I tried my first reef walking!
9. Beijing, China
Once again I was back in China. Having already seen this grand city before, this trip was more work, but still, I managed to find awe in visiting the Bird's Nest... which like everything else in China (& especially Beijing) - is always grand!
10. Frankfurt & Rudesheim, Germany
Frankfurt was exciting as it was my very first out of Asia trip! It was nice to visit a first world destination that is well structured, green & super-ly clean (the cleanest city I've ever seen!).
A day trip off Frankfurt, was this cute looking town with its old heritage buildings... by the side of the famous River Rhine. This whole trip was like walking into the postcard images we all have seen Europe for. Here was also where I tried my very first ice wine! (talk about cold & cold! haha).
11. Penang, Malaysia
Every few years, I make a visit to this island city. The food was as usual - good! But what made this trip different was that I stayed in the heritage area and passed a few new places, which could only be enjoyed most by walking. This allowed me to embrace the heritage offerings of the Pearl of the Orient!
12. Kuala Selangor, Malaysia
Again another half day trip to a place that I've always wanted to visit since years ago after hearing so much about it... Now that I'm in Klang Valley, it was about time. Twinkling fireflies & crabs of many colours at the Nature Reserve makes this a good easy getaway.
13. Cherating, Malaysia
Another weekend getaway... and just a few hours drive from Klang Valley is another beach holiday - Cherating! Lazing on the beach in the night just looking at the star studded sky & releasing turtles into the sea made this one amazing trip!
Looking back, 2009 sure was a wonderful year of travels...! It was great to have been able to combine work + travel this 2009! And it was also nice to have completed most of my travel resoloutions :)
As much as I'd like to repeat what I did in 2009 for 2010, however, I forsee that it would be tougher to combine travel + work next year.
I see myself attending more international exhibitions/ fairs overseas & just taking some time off traveling a bit while there... The likelihood of revisiting some of the places above again for work also seems very likely.
However, for leisure, it would be cool if I could visit these places in 2010 (oh yes, my 2010 travel resolutions!):
Chiang Mai, Bangkok again, more cuti-cuti Malaysia (Malaysia holidays) especially northern Peninsula - Kedah, Kelantan, Perak & Perlis... and either one of the islands of Perhentian or Gems island (maybe Bali too). These seem quite do-able if I manage time well and take these as short weekend getaways! :)
And on top of that, it would be a dream come true if i could visit Japan if not USA... and maybe spend some icy winter holiday! :)
*In 2009, I managed to complete 5 out of 7 destinations from my travel list. It's not perfect, but still resolutions do work! How about you - do u have any travel plans in 2010? :)