If you know me, then you know that I’m a city guy. Of course I also enjoy hiking, camping and outdoor activities, but for me, it’s all about the cities.
Since I started traveling full-time, about 3 years ago, I’ve been to roughly 250 different cities around the world on 6 continents. From Tokyo to Bogota to Mumbai, my travels have led me to taking in the various cultures, sights and smells of some of the world’s biggest cities.
I love everything about big cities — from taking public transportation, to passing by thousands of random people daily, to having an unlimited amount of restaurants and bars to visit.
And let me tell you, it was a lot harder than it sounds to pick my top 10 favorite cities on earth.. It’s nearly impossible, beacuse cities are so complex and they each have something unique to offer.
I settled on this list of my top 10 favorite cities, but just know that it took me several hours to figure out.
So without further adieu, here they are in order with #1 being my favorite.
1. Seoul, South Korea
Yes, I’m slightly biased because I lived and taught English in Seoul for 18 months, but this city tops my rankings. Talk about a city that truly doesn’t sleep (seriously – bars, restaurants and clubs are open until the last person walks out, usually 7AM). Seoul is an phenomenal city for both eating and partying, and the neon-colored street signs and energetic atmosphere always leaves me amazed. Seoul will always be my second home.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Simply put, Prague is a magical place. I had the opportunity to study abroad there when I was in college, and the city has a special place in my heart. The stunning medieval Gothic churches and castles dating back to the 13th century are just as superb as the simple Czech lifestyle. The best part about Prague? Beer is cheaper than water!
3. Bangkok, Thailand
I’ll admit that during my first visit to Thailand’s capital (Jan 2014), I wasn’t impressed. I thought the city was dirty, overpopulated, and frustrating to tour around. And that’s beacuse I only did the tourist route for 2 days… But now, after visiting Bangkok 5 more times, I’ve realized that this city has everything I could possibly want, and it’s one of the most affordable big cities to live in the world. There are so many things to do, regardless of what activities you like. And the food? Don’t even get me started!
4. Hanoi, Vietnam
The last time I was in Hanoi, I rented an Air Bnb apartment in the old city for 2 weeks and I loved every minute of being there! Vietnam’s capital city, which may seem chaotic (there are more motorbikes than cars), actually has a laid back feel when you dive deeper into the culture. I was often approached my friendly Vietnamese students on the street who wanted to practice their English with me – it was great! Street food in Hanoi is very cheap and delicious, I ate Phô or Banh Mi everyday for less than $1USD.
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
I was hooked on The Dam every since my first visit in 2012. I’ve been a few times since then, and it gets better and better every time! What I love most about Amsterdam is the fact that people prefer to ride their bicycles as the main form of transportation, and I also enjoy how people are always relaxing in the lovely parks. It’s also wonderful how accepting the Dutch culture is — you can be any race, religion, or ethnicity, and the Dutch will welcome you with open arms. Not to mention, it’s nice to be able to legally purchase and smoke weed!
6. Taipei, Taiwan
Can you tell how much I love Asia by now? Taipei is nothing short of a spectacular, friendly and safe city that I really enjoy visiting. Perhaps my favorite part about Taipei are the various night markets, which come alive every night when the sun goes down and goes until the wee hours of the morning. The cuisine and street food in Taipei is AMAZING – dumplings, beef noodles, hot pot, pastries — I always get sick from overeating myself.
7. Kyoto, Japan
As Japan’s former capital city and center for historical culture and traditions, Kyoto is on this list for the amazing Buddhist temples and Zen gardens that left me speechless. When I was there, I rented a bike and rode all over the city through small neighborhoods and back alleys and it was something I’ll never forget! On top of that, the ramen and sushi in Kyoto was the best I had in Japan.
8. Bucharest, Romania
In only the 3 days that I had to explore Romania’s capital city, I already felt a sense of home. It’s a place that I could see myself renting an apartment for a few months out of the year. It’s a very affordable city to live, eat, and work (amazing cafes)– and it surprisingly has the best wifi connection and speed in all of Europe!
9. Chicago, USA
Chicago has been my favorite city in the USA since I was a little boy, and I’ve been more than 30 times in my life. I am a die-hard Chicago sports fan (thanks to my Dad who is from there) and I also have family living in the suburbs. What I love about Chicago, more than the other big cities in America, are the friendly mid-Western people and hospitality. The city skyline is the best in America, and on a warm summer day, nothing beats sailing on Lake Michigan with some friends!
10. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne caught me by surprise. It was my second visit to Australia (my first was to Sydney and I wasn’t crazy about that place), but Melbourne had a lot more diversity and culture to offer. Especially the Asian cuisine… Seriously, I have never been to a place with so many options for Asian foods (Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, etc). Must be from all the immigrants who brought over their food! The Central Business District has loads of cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs that can take years to fully explore. I can’t wait to go back!
So there you have it, my 10 favorite cities on earth. Of course, this list is subject to change over the coming years as I keep traveling, but I hope you learned a thing or two about where I like to visit.
What’s your favorite city on earth?