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My Top Dream Destinations

My Top Dream Destinations

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on January 12, 2011

Zion National ParkDespite having our plans pretty well set for spending our sabbatical time in Indonesia I have dreams and desires of visiting other places as well.  Let’s face it, there are plenty of cool destinations in the world that look totally kick ass.  This is my travel destination hit list.  These are not all the places I want to visit one day but they are the ones that I’ve had on my mind for quite some time and have cast a spell on me for whatever reason.  So here they are in no particular order.


Two words here: Angkor Wat.  I’ve seen incredible photos of this temple and I’ve always had this desire to go and photograph it in my own way. We also have friends who live in Cambodia and run a Church there that does work in some of the small villages around Phnom Penh and we’d love to go help out in any way we can; get out into the countryside and really get a taste of Cambodia.


Almost everyone I know has been to Thailand and raves about it.  I keep hearing about the people, the beaches, the parties and the food.  I really want to go just to experience what everyone is talking about. Plus have you seen photos of some of those islands like Ko Samui?  Talk about a fantasy.  My camera cries out to go there.  I’ve also wanted to go and experience and photograph the floating markets.


I’ve been fascinated with Malaysia ever since transiting through the airport in Kuala Lumpur.  First off the airport there is quite nice and I figure any country with a welcoming airport must be a place worth checking out.  The language spoken in Malaysia is Malay which is very similar to Indonesian so my language skills will be of some benefit.  I also hear that the beaches are world class.  I’d also love to climb Mount Kinabulu; the tallest peak in Southeast Asia.


The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page – Saint Augustine

China is a huge country and one could spend a lifetime exploring it and not see all of it.  To spend a few months here exploring and photographing would be a dream come true.  I’d love to see the Great Wall and travel the Beijing-Lhasa Express which traverses 2,500 miles of country through permafrost and towering mountain passes reaching an elevation of 16,640 feet.  I do believe it is the worlds highest train.

Kingdom of Bhutan

Bhutan is a landlocked kingdom located at the eastern end of the Himalayas.  I’d really like to go explore their largest national park which is Jigme Dorji.  The park covers all 3 climate zones of Bhutan and ranges in elevation from 1400 to 7000 meters.  If I could get a photo of a snow leopard or a barking deer my dream will have been accomplished.


Who hasn’t wanted to go to Kathmandu?  My chief desire to travel to Nepal is to be able to photograph the mountainous region along the border with China. I better start working out now so I can make it at those higher elevations.  I don’t think I am up for climbing Mount Everest but I bet I can find equally impressive peaks to photograph from.

New Zealand

Ever since seeing the Lord of the Rings movies I’ve had this desire to see New Zealand and hopefully bump into a hobbit or two.  One thing that I think would be cool would be to complete the great walks of New Zealand.  These are 9 premier walks throughout the country and through some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer.  Sounds like a great way to see and photograph New Zealand.


I’ve got a few friends from Cameroon and everything they have told me about the country makes me want to book a flight today.  From the friendly people to the food and the beautiful colors and clothing, I think it would be a fun place to hang out with my friends.  About the only thing I wouldn’t look forward to is getting a yellow fever vaccination which apparently is required for entry.


Yeah, I know what you are thinking.  Here I’ve listed all these International locations and then I throw Utah into the mix.  Well, I’ve been to Utah once before to experience Zion National Park and loved it.  I spent a week camping out in the back country enjoying the beauty and solitude of the park.  I definitely want to go back and not only hike the back country of Zion again but also see Arches and Canyonlands National Park.  The geography of this area is just incredible. 


I have one reason to visit Lebanon…falafels.  Seriously though, after seeing Anthony Bourdain do a “No Reservations” episode in Lebanon I knew I had to go and check the place out.  I’d love to just do a total food tour of Lebanon and eat my way through the country, one falafel at a time.

OK, those are my top dream destinations.  What are some of your top dream destinations?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Wu January 12, 2011 at 2:36 am

Wow you got quite a list. I really want to visit China also and Malaysia.


matt January 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Hi Sarah! Yeah, China is up there on my list. So much to see and do there. What part of China would you like to see the most?


Mark Powers January 12, 2011 at 10:18 am

Great list, Matt! In the past, I have gotten to do a bit of China, Thailand and . . . Utah. 🙂 Angkor Wat, Bhutan and Nepal are definitely on my list, as well. Most of my dream destinations focus around percussion styles to study: Brazil, India and Peru are a few that I must hit at some point!
Mark Powers recently posted..A Year In The Life 2010 Review


matt January 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Hey Mark! We should plan a trip to Bhutan and Nepal. You drum and I’ll photograph you.


ayngelina January 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

Angkor Wat is one of the few places that really live up to the hype. Here’s my best tip:

When you go there for the sunrise everyone goes to a big pond on the left and it’s so difficult to get a photo with everyone elbowing. But… if you go to the right side there is a small pond and no one is there and the reflection is just as amazing.
ayngelina recently posted..Parades are for suckers- unless you want to change the world


matt January 14, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hey Ayngelina! Thanks for the tip! I’ve made a note of that for when I am there taking my million dollar photo.


Heather January 12, 2011 at 11:46 am

We’ve got a few shared destinations! My list includes Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand and even Utah! But the top of my list has been the Galapagos islands for as long as I can remember. The giant tortoises, marine iguanas, seals, all of the wildlife, really, has always facinated me.


matt January 14, 2011 at 1:27 am

Hi Heather! The Galapagos Islands would be awesome! Maybe we’ll see each other in one of our shared dream destinations.


Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World January 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Oooooh, Utah!! And Alaska. Colorado! I can live in any of those states. Considering how big US states can be they might as well be countries. For some reason though, I have little interest in SE Asia… maybe I’ve had enough of it growing up? Eh, I dunno.
Jill – Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..Let’s Be Nosy- Simon and Erin from Never Ending Voyage


matt January 14, 2011 at 1:29 am

Hi Jill! I can’t wait to take my wife and kids to Utah so they can be amazed by the beauty of places like Zion and Canyonlands. And you are right…the size of many of the states (especially Alaska) are like countries and you could spend a lifetime exploring everything they have to offer.


Magda @DestinationWorld January 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Great list of amazing places. If you like places like Angkor Wat then consider adding Bagan in Myanmar to your list. In my opinion the place is mind blowing and leaves Angkor Wat looking small and unimportant 😉
Magda @DestinationWorld recently posted..5 top reasons to go on a career break trip


matt January 14, 2011 at 1:30 am

I looked up Bagan and am just amazed by the photos I saw. So incredible! I’m going to have to add it to my list of places to photograph. Thanks for mentioning it.


Irene January 29, 2011 at 4:04 am

Awesome list! China and Malaysia are also in my list. My number one for Asia would be Japan. I love their culture, language, and food. I also want to go to California. So many places and things I want to see there. =)
Irene recently posted..2011 – It’s going to be a great year for online workers!


matt January 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Hi Irene! Yes, Japan would be incredible. Lots to see and do in California. It’s a giant of a state.


Ronee February 19, 2011 at 12:32 am

You have a nice list out there. Read you are on a sabbatical. Try checking out Japan and also the Trans-Siberian. My dream destinations were France,USA,Germany, Japan, Bali and New Zealand. Been to all just need to hit New Zealand. Also do hop to Mauritius, its a paradise island.


matt February 21, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hi Ronee! We’re not on a sabbatical just yet but planning to be on one soon. Would love to get to New Zealand one day. Who knows maybe we’ll see you there?


Nisha May 4, 2011 at 10:13 am

ahhh some nice destinations … I have been to Malaysia and its a great place, I would def recommend it …
Nisha recently posted..Golfing Holidays


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical May 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hi Nisha! Malaysia. I’ve always wanted to go there. Closest I’ve been is the airport in KL. Any particular areas you would recommend?


Tee May 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm

That’s a pretty bold statement saying Bagan will make Angkor feel small and unimportant lolz! Most people assume that there are only temples at Angkor lolz! Have they been to other places like the land of the Pyramids in Cambodia LMAO! It looks exactly like the Mayan temple! Behold! A new Pyramid is discovered in Cambodia and it will put the temples in Bagan to shame!


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical May 11, 2011 at 12:14 am

Hi Tee! Tell me more about the Land of Pyramids in Cambodia. I may have the opportunity to go there before heading to Indonesia. You’ve piqued my interest. Cheers!


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