Destination of the Month

The Destination of the Month series has been temporarily halted until further notice. In the meantime, you may want to browse the previous Destination of the Month holders:

1. Lofoten Islands, Norway (91/100, Nov ’16)

Reine, Norway

2. Cappadocia, Turkey (89/100, Dec ’16)

Cappadocia, Turkey

3. Kyoto, Japan (88/100, Mar ’17)

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

4. Vienna, Austria (87/100, Jan ’17)

Vienna, Austria

5. Essaouira, Morocco (85/100, Feb ’17)

Essaouira, Morocco[Image Credit: Julia Maudlin]

6. Erg Chebbi (Sahara), Morocco (84/100, May ’17)

Erg Chebbi, Merzouga, Sahara Desert, Morocco[Image Credit: Lefidele]

7. Ngorongoro, Tanzania (83/100, Jul ’17)

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

8. Santorini, Greece (82/100, Apr ’17)

Agios Georgios, Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece

9. Budapest, Hungary (81/100, Jun ’17)

Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary

Introduction

At the rate I’m currently travelling vs. the time I have to write, I’m pretty much doomed to ever fully share my experience with all of you.

In 2016 alone, I’ve visited 11 new countries; but I have barely blogged much about my 2014 Switzerland experience! This means if I were to continue with my current style of finishing country per country, you’ll never get to hear how it feels like camping on Sahara desert or an Arctic fisherman’s rorbuer.

Thus, I have decided to announce a new feature called Destination of the Month, which will be posted on the first day of every month.

This will allow me to draw people’s attention to check the highlights first and foremost. After all, what’s the point of a travel blog if not to help you all choose the best destination to visit? =)

The Destination Ranking System

Destinations are graded on a scale from 0 to 100 points, which is summated from the following evaluation criteria:

1. Uniqueness (out of 20)

How unique is this place? Does it have a distinctive identity which distinguishes itself from other similar places? One-of-its-kind or out-of-this-world destinations such as Cappadocia‘s fairy chimneys would score really well here.

2. Aesthetic (out of 20)

A slightly more subjective, but inevitably important criteria. After all, we travel because we’re attracted by beautiful sights, architectures and sceneries. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but few would argue with you if you say that Venice is prettier than Pyongyang.

3. Integrity (out of 15)

Does the place retain its original character? Has it “lost its charm”, or as people usually complain, “become too commercialized”? Overcrowding, destruction of local environment, bulldozing of cultural heritage to make way for five-star hotels, insistent vendors, tourist scams, garbage and pollution can ruin travel experience. This criteria is why an impressive city like Dubai ends up underwhelming me.

4. Significance (out of 15)

How would the world be different without this place? Is the scale of cultural/natural importance confined only to the locale, or does it extend to the whole region, or even globally? The most chronic example of this is the Roman ruins, which look the same everywhere unless you’re an archaeologist. And if you’re gonna visit only one, the historical centre of Rome would clearly outrank other ruins on the priority list.

5. Shelf Life (out of 15)

How long will it take before you’re ready to “move on” from the site? If it’s a great destination, you’d probably want to stay there for quite some time, and long to return. Look at Pisa—the Leaning Tower may tick most of the boxes in above criteria well, but it lacks the breadth of activities, so everybody who goes there leave immediately after they take their requisite photos and very few would bother to return.

6. Access (out of 15)

How far and difficult is it to reach the site? How good is the infrastructure? What are the costs? It all boils down to one question: Is it worth it? If a similar experience can be replicated elsewhere nearby with less cost and hassle, then the less accessible option will have one slight disadvantage over the more accessible one.

Final Notes

Comparing destinations are like comparing apples and oranges sometimes.

In essence, numbers and rankings are way too strict to summarize our feelings about a destination. However, it helps us to sort our preferences in a systematic order. As the list eventually grows into hundreds of destinations in a few years’ time, how will you know which one to click first?

This is why I created this rating system. On a grand scale of things, these numbers are not scientific and they should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it serves to draw people’s attention to check the creamiest among the cream of crops first. =)

I might even consider extending this rating system to other destinations, not just the highlights. But we’ll see about that later…

 

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