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Old January 2nd, 2009, 03:44 AM   #1
bboy_u
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RTW Trip - 8 months, 5 continents, 35 countries

I recently completed an 8-month round-the-world trip with my wife, visiting 35 countries and 74 cities/towns. It was an awesome experience seeing the world, something that will profoundly affect the rest of our lives. My advice is to do it while you are young and fit!

I created a short slideshow documenting our journey. I hope you enjoy the video as much as i did making it. Comments are welcome!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X810g3fCuY
(you can click "high quality" just below the video for better quality)

Since this is a skyscraper forum, I will only show cityscape pics from my trip, starting with our first 3 countries in Asia (Taiwan, Japan, South Korea):

Tokyo's Harajuku district, where you can dress as crazy as you want


Tokyo's sea of skyscrapers at night from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. This is just one direction! I swear, no city I've been to rivals Tokyo's urban density


Famed Shibuya district with its scramble lights


View of Taipei, Taiwan, from my aunt's window. Not many scrapers in Taipei, only Shin Kong Life Tower (seen in the far background to the right) and Taipei 101


This is a "bike lot" near National Taipei University


Taipei 101. It towers over anything in the city. The buildings lights change for each day of the week, in case someone forgot the day?!


Housing projects in Taipei


Efficient and cheap light rail


This is Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest city, located on its south coast. The biggest building in the pic is Tuntex 85 Sky Tower. BTW, peace signs are a requirement when taking photos in Asia


Seoul's Namdaemun Market. Notice the lady with a huge plate of food on her head, and the 7 ft piles of clothing


Gate of Deoksugung Palace lit up at night. There are historic palaces and temples throughout the heart of Seoul. The city does well in restoring and achieving a balance between old and new


Cheonggyecheon Stream, a newly restored waterway through the city center. The area around the stream used to be a shantytown, and the gov't painstakingly injected money and time to restore it. Damn, we need something like this in Toronto!


Dongdaemun Gate


We visited the Korean DMZ. Here in the JSA (Joint Security Area) the S Korean soldier spends ALL day staring down at the N Korean dude on the steps, and vice versa. Quite tense. We entered one of the blue UN buildings and officially crossed the border to N. Korea!


Pagodas in Gyeongbokgung Palace


We hiked up Mt. Dobongsan to check out the view. In the foreground are crazy rock climbers. In the background is an overwhelming sea of apartments. Pure density man


Jogyesa Temple with thousands of lanterns lit up for Buddha's birthday


If people are still interested I will continute posting pics! This is only 4 weeks into our trip! Thanks for your time and comments are welcome
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 04:56 AM   #2
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Amazing pictures! I'm so jealous, I wish I had 8 months to spare so I could do what you guys did!

Keep them coming!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 04:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing. This is really inspiring. Please keep the pics coming.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 05:45 PM   #4
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I've watched that video about five times now.... love how you chose the Coldplay song, and that opening part taken from a moving train is inspired... looks like a professional clip!
More pics, please!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:59 PM   #5
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Awesome shots keep them coming
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:04 AM   #6
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Nice stuff!
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:42 AM   #7
bboy_u
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More Asia pics

Thanks for the comments guys!

Here is another set of cityscape-related pics, from Beijing, Shanghai and HK:

The Great Wall is amazing to see in person. It's unreal. You can't believe that the wall was done by manual labour


We visited the Qing Tombs, where many of the Qing emperors are buried. This is the Spirit Tower


The main focus of the Beijing trip was that my wife ran a half-marathon on the Great Wall. In her words, you "walk" on the wall for about 10k, and the rest you are running in the villages beside the wall. Notice the people making their way down that steep hill!


Rem Koolhaas' CCTV Building back in May. Probably finished by now.


Tian An Men Gate, with one of the few remaining public portraits of Mao


The view from the top of Tian An Men Gate. This is where Mao stood to announce the proclamation of the People's Republic of China in 1949


The Forbidden City had some reno's going on in preparation for the Olympics


View from People's Square of Shanghai Museum and surrounding skyline. Very peculiar "futuristic" architecture in this area to say the least


View of 460m Shanghai World Financial Center on the left, and the 421m Jin Mao Tower on the right


Overlooking Century Park in suburban Pudong. Check out all the condos


Night shot of part of Shanghai's skyline outside my bro's window


Obligatory Pudong skyline shot from the Bund


At the Urban Planning Exhibition Center, this is a crazy massive model of the city of Shanghai, which included buildings to be constructed up to 2020!


This photo is unrelated to skyscrapers but fascinating nonetheless. Babies in Shanghai walk around with slits in their pants and no diapers. I guess this is environmentally friendly and this will help babies be pottie trained faster? Anyways we saw this kid take a huge dump on one of Shanghai's busiest streets and his dad is wiping his bum. Poor kid couldn't hold it I guess!


Our friend's condo complex in suburban HK, where there are 17 identical condo buildings that are over 50 floors! Quite common in HK


Beautiful HK skyline from Kowloon. Notice it isn't sunny. It was cloudy and rainy almost every day


Hong Kong in its awesome lit-up glory. I don't think HK would be a model city for energy conservation


View from the 43 floor of Bank of China Tower. The big phallus is IFC 2


Lippo Towers. Crazy


You can see Bank of China Tower through the reflection


Chillin' atop the Peak with a spectacular view of HK. Cloudy once again


HK's lack of space calls for endless towers


Night shot walking back down to our hotel from the Peak


To recap the last two photo sets, here are some personal observations:

Taipei:
- not many tall buildings
- dense population
- cheap and efficient light-rail transit
- insane amount of bikes and motorbikes

Tokyo:
- unrivaled sea of urban density
- the city that never seems to sleep
- most sophisticated and extensive transit system in the world
- place where you can visit 50 times and each time is a unique experience

Seoul:
- mini-version of Tokyo (similar to how they say Toronto is mini NYC),
- people never sleep either (some malls close at 5am!?)
- unique historic palaces and temples all around the city centre

Beijing:
- SPRAWL, Dusty and polluted (cars, dust from gobi desert, rapid construction)
- only things cool are cultural places, prefer Shanghai over Beijing

Shanghai:
- clash of old/new generations, west/east cultural influences, poor/rich, chinese/french colonial/modern architecture
- definitely a city unlike any other, a must visit at least once

HK:
- in my opinion, the awesomest skyline ever, based on natural setting (harbor, mountains), extreme density, exotic allure, and originality in architecture. will be even more impressive as the Kowloon side further develops.
- more anglicized than people realize (most speak english)

For people who have been to these places, let me know what your thoughts are! Thanks everyone for your comments and have a great weekend
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Old January 4th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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I would like to add some more photos to continue the Asia leg of our trip, with Vietnam:

Looking out from our hotel in Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake


Motorbikes are the vehicle of choice in Hanoi


War Museum displays this famous downed US B-52 from the Vietnam War. The Flag Tower of Hanoi is in the background


Typical street in Hanoi. Check out the awesome balance this lady has. She was walking briskly too


Halong Bay is the most beautiful natural scenery we have seen yet. It is a designated UNESCO Heritage Site. The waters used to be polluted but now there is a concerted effort to preserve the bay


Awesome view from the top of a cave


Cute boat kids. No seriously, they are boat children. Their families live on those makeshift houseboats in the background


Only recently were helmets required when riding a motorbike. They are trying to decrease the amount of road fatalities. Over 10,000 people die every year on the roads of Vietnam


On our way to Perfume Pagoda, 75 km south of Hanoi


Steps going down to Perfume Pagoda, basically a temple in a cave in a mountain


Nice scenery in rural Vietnam


Boat ride along Ngo Dong river in Tam Coc. Dude is using his feet!


Happy boat kids


Tam Coc means Three Caves. You can actually row your boat into these caves


In Hanoi again, Hoan Kiem Lake with the red bridge


Hanoi lacks a developed infrastructure (and all of Vietnam for that matter). The roads are crap, there is no transit system, many of the buildings are old and crusty. But Hanoi possesses a mysterious beauty that I can't really explain. There is a clash of old french colonial architecture, communist monuments, and growing attempts at modernizing the city. The people are so nice, and genuinely content and appreciative of whatever simple life they lead, something that us Westerners lose sight of and need to improve on.

We only visited North Vietnam. Our hope is to visit the South sometime in the future. Vietnam is definitely a fascinating experience. So much history and culture.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 09:37 PM   #9
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What a fantastic thread and video although it made me a little sad in a way as there are so many many places that I want to visit. Thanks bboy.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 08:03 PM   #10
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Fantastic thread absolutely!
I will wait for more pics from your trip
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Old January 6th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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Please continue posting your photos!
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Old January 7th, 2009, 10:22 PM   #12
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keep them coming. Great job. Post more videos if you can
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Old January 10th, 2009, 01:51 AM   #13
bboy_u
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Thanks for the comments!

Here are pics of Kuala Lumpur and Cambodia:

A few views of the Petronas Twin Towers in KL. Very impressive when seen in person






The somewhat underwhelming KL Tower


Views from KL Tower. You can see that KL is quite sprawling


Cricket grounds?


Similar to Taipei 101 in Taipei, the Petronas Towers overwhelm everything else in the city




The Jalan Petaling Market on Petaling Street. A huge market selling tons of fake purses, t shirts and pashminas, the usual stuff


The KL popo. Don't mess


Central Market - built in an Art Deco style with more arts and crafts


View of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building from Merdeka Square


Many markets in KL. Here is a big one in Little India


A man makes fresh sugar cane drink in the market


Look how big the jack fruits are!


Check out this huge vat of soup


Tuk-tuk ride in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Roadside vendors


Murals in Angkor depicting history and the events of the Khmer peeps in 12th c.


Bridge heading towards Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


The Angkor ruins are are decorated in high detail. These female dancers are called Apsaras, symbols of beauty




One side of the walls of Angkor Wat. I look like an ant in this photo


What an awesome sight! To appreciate the sheer size of the temple, try to find my wife


Half-restored bridge


Our driver Nak just chillin in his ride


Kid: "One dow-ler, ten pose-cahds"
Wife: "No thank you"
(Repeat x150)
This kid followed her for literally 10 minutes. He wins an award for persistence. She is too smiley and too nice so hawkers constantly gravitate towards her


Actually there are families living within the temple grounds. They eke out a living by trying to sell souvenirs at each temple site, as they are not allowed to sell anything at the markets


Ta Prom - The trees are centuries old and the roots have penetrated the ruins


Ta Som


Between temples, we walked along roads with people playing traditional Cambodian musical instruments. As if the poor, cute kids weren't enough to tug at our heartstrings, these men were survivors of landmine accidents. Some are missing a few appendages. I was feeling their beats and gave away the money we were going to use to buy postcards


Recap:

We were only in KL for a few 3 days, but we found the mix of people fascinating. There are many Malays, with Indians, Chinese. Many Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. Also, it was extremely hot and humid!! Crazy hot

The Angkor temple ruins in Cambodia are amazing, a must-see in everyone's lifetime! Definitely one of the awesome "wonders" of the world

Next stop: Scandinivia Part 1! Finland and Sweden
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Old November 19th, 2012, 12:08 AM   #14
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thanks for sharing
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Old November 19th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #15
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amazing thread....updates would be nice.
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