Have you ever needed to go back to visit a city?
(I’m not talking about having to return to eat more pasta in Italy or hanging ten on the crazy surf in Hawaii because you can’t get enough.)
During my travels there have been a few key cities around the world that I need to go back to in order to give them a second chance. Cities who fellow travelers rave about and for whatever reason i didn’t see it.
My List of Second Chance Cities:
This was our first stop in 2012. I think there is always a transition period when traveling, getting back into the swing of finding good street food, navigating unknown streets and international communication. We only spent 1 week in Hong Kong, during Chinese New Year when the city is already in a craze. We got out and saw a lot, but there wasn’t that immersion that we love. We walked around at a distance, enjoying what we saw, but still completely culture shocked for our first time in Asia.
Everything was harder than it needed to be. We struggled at which food stalls to sit down at, we questioned who to talk to and for most of the time our sleep schedule was completely off thanks to the time zone change. We’ll be back Hong Kong!
I went into our trip to Bali with a very Eat Pray Love expectation and quickly realized the island is to Australia what Cancun is to the U.S. Our first stop was the Kuta/Semniyak area and my peaceful Bali I longed for was no where to be found. Instead, we fought the traffic on our motorbike, drank with Australians and learned to avoid the hundreds of touts on the beaches. After a week, we left for Ubud, which had more of the same, but at least we could easily get outside the city on a motorbike and enjoy the beauty of the island. We talked to a lot of locals that insisted the northern coast was more serene and closer to what we were searching for. Unfortunately, 2 weeks in Bali had exhausted me and we jumped over to Gili Air for the remainder of our visa to sit on an island small enough to walk around in an hour.
We got lucky, our two guesthouses in Bali were more than we could have asked for. Teka-Teki House and Bali Moon Guesthouse were two stays that left a big imprint on our trip. Despite all of Bali’s craziness – we would go back solely to visit these! If anyone has been to Bali and loved it, I am interested in hearing where you suggest visiting and what you suggest doing!
You might have read my first post covering Vietnam. I loved Saigon, but the rest of the month was just meh. I sat on beautiful beaches and ate a lot of spring rolls, but I think my expectations were so high for Vietnam, that the entire country didn’t have a chance. I still can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that made our visit to Vietnam our least favorite place. Maybe we moved to quickly through the cities, maybe we didn’t meet the right people, and we definitely didn’t sit down at the right food stalls because nothing seemed to click. Looking back 9 months later, nothing bad happened or so negative to make me not want to return… but I maintain a neutral “meh” attitude towards my travels in the country.
Based on the reviews of many of my fellow travel writers, I want to give Vietnam another chance. It isn’t on the top of my list since I have a long list of other cities to visit…but one day I’ll return and hopefully gain a new perspective.
I never expected to be writing Buenos Aires down as a city that needs a second chance. We rented an apartment for a month and really focused on getting work done, improving the blog and building our side projects which we are now working to launch. We were in Spanish classes 20 hours a week and the rest of the days were spent mostly inside with our heads in our computers.
We visited BA during the winter months, it rained 90% of the time and was cold outside. We ate really good food, fell in love with Malbec and explored the many parks when the sun came out. It didn’t help that the only time our personal safety was threatened was right as we arrived in the city. I honestly look back at our month spent there and can say I liked BA a lot…but I didn’t love it. I want to love it.
There is so much to see and do in Buenos Aires, there is so much culture to love and I want to go back and experience it again…hopefully during the summer next time.
What is on your list of second chance cities and why?