This is the final part of ranking the best 24 vacations I have been on so far.
Thailand was the most recent vacation I have been on and is truly a beautiful country. We spent time in Phuket, Ko Samui, and Bangkok. The temples in Bangkok are must see and Phuket is a very beautiful place. Ko Samui is very interesting for a day trip around the island, but we became bored after that (the beaches there are not very good). Other negatives were the constant attempts to swindle us and the pollution and traffic in Bangkok. Our kids thoroughly enjoyed seeing animals on the trip and shaking hands with monkeys and riding elephants.
This may seem like a rather odd choice this high, but the truth is for someone interested in history and culture Berlin is top notch. The Dahlem Museum, Egyption Museum, and Pergamon Museum are all top notch. While Paris has the Louvre, Berlin has a collection of museums that compete very well. I know it will be awhile before I am able to travel to Iraq to see Babylon, but I can at least say I walked through the Ishtar Gate.
Between the Louvre, Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and the general grandness and beauty of Paris I found this an amazing city. I have actually been there twice. The first time I did not know French and the second time I did. I highly recommend learning some French before going there as the French are very nice people when you try to speak French.
#3 Dubai and Oman
What really did this trip was a stay in the Burj al Arab hotel, widely considered to be the best hotel in the world. The Wild Wadi waterpark, souks, and a desert trip really made this a wild vacation. My only regret is we left our kids at home thinking it would be too dangerous to take them to an arab country - but the truth is Dubai is very child friendly and they love kids there. This also completely changed my opinions about arabs and led me to be less reliant on the news telling me what people and places are like. The Musandam peninsula in Oman was also gorgeous and I highly recommend it.
Between the ruins (not just any ruins - but the places where the history we read about as kids occurred), the Colliseum, Vatican Museum, and the countless other museums here, not to mention the Italian food and gelato, make this one of my all time favorite trips. My hope is to one day when I retire rent a villa outside of Rome and travel into Rome each day, slowly going through its sites and museums and learning all about this city.
#1 Peru - Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Manu Rain Forest
There is just nothing to compare with seeing a jaguar in the wild, or watching wild monkeys are seeing one of the wonders of the world in Machu Picchu (with Cuzco itself not far behind). Peru ranks with Italy as one of the few places I would travel back to soon and my stay there was unforgettable.