Country Counter

I have a dream … I would like to travel and visit every single country in the World. The problem is that day by day the World is becoming a very dangerous place. Look at this list of countries (For E.g.), not in any particular order:

  1. Venezuela
  2. Columbia
  3. Honduras
  4. Iraq
  5. Syria
  6. Central African Republic
  7. Nigeria
  8. Burkina Faso
  9. Somalia
  10. Yemen
  11. South Sudan
  12. Afghanistan
  13. DR Congo

It is not clear how I will manage to visit these countries, as of now 🙁 Each day I check the newspapers, I see more countries getting added to this “dangerous” list. Anyway, all I can do is to plug away and hope that time will “heal” the problems these countries are facing. Luckily, there are many other countries which can satisfy my travel urges in the meantime 🙂

Note: In my “Country Counter” (below), I am not including countries I was taken to as a child (E.g.  Italy, Iran Etc.). Also, I have included India.


Country Count == 57


My Top-5 Countries and the reasons “WHY”

Note: The list is not in any particular order.

Russia A huge country with Tsar opulence (Palaces, Museums Etc.) and the majestic Siberia …
Norway The Top-Dog as far as scenery goes … The Fjords are a must-see. The towns are so cute … Well, how about the Winter? 🙂
Uzbekistan A new entrant, knocking off Oman.

The main reasons:

  • Cuisine (Uzbek Plov, which by the way is unique in each area, is just YUM!)
  • Majestic Islamic Architectures from the old Silk Road.
  • Registan, Bukhara Old Town, Khiva Itchan Kala Etc.
Greece The islands … Hah! Santorini was oh-so-cute. We had a rocking week over there. Athens is almost the cradle of Civilization.


Duh … 🙂 No Country (so far) has the sheer range of USA. Huge cities, Natural Wonders (Niagara Falls, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Everglades Etc.), Mountains (Rockies), Rivers (Mississippi/Missouri) Etc.

Honorable Mentions: Oman, Jordan, Czech Republic, Turkey, France, Peru, Brazil, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland.


My Top-5 Cities and the reasons “WHY”

Note: The list is not in any particular order.

San Francisco A small city, but a city with a distinct “personality” … Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, the up-and-down Streets Etc. All adds to the charm of the city …
Prague A new entrant, knocking off London 🙂 The Old Town Square, the Christmas Markets, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge Etc. Just a Winter Wonderland … (And I am sure, a Summer Wonderland as well)
St. Petersburg Huge Churches, massive Museums and Palaces … You name it, St. Petersburg has it. One of the most ornate cities you will ever see. The Tsars sure knew how to live it up 😉
Istanbul The pride of the Orient … Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar … Wow!
Paris Ah … What a city! Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe … You can spend weeks exploring this mighty city.

Honourable mentions: Dubai, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Beijing, London, Edinburgh, Oslo, Athens.


Bucket-List Experiences:

  • Trans-Mongolian/Trans-Siberian Rail Adventure
  • 4-day Inca Trail Trek
  • 1-week Cruise with Princess Sapphire
  • 38 states of USA
  • Road-trip through Balkans
  • Greek Islands (Santorini)
  • 5 (of 7) Wonders of the Modern World
  • Bullet Train (Shinkasen) in Japan
  • Unique hostels of Northern Europe
  • Natural Wonders (Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Everglades, Rocky Mountains, Andes Mountains, Iguazu Falls, Gobi Desert, Lake Baikal, Amazon, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Caucasus Mountains Etc.)
  • Amazon Rainforests
  • Oman Desert Road Trip
  • Route-1 Road-Trip in Iceland
  • Silk Road Trip





India: Possibly the most diverse and historic country in the World. This picture depicts a view of the backwaters of my home state, Kerala.


Bosnia-Herzegovina: Stari Most (“Old Bridge”) in Mostar, from the minaret of Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. Mostar is one of my favorite destinations.
Cambodia: Angkor Wat. What an intricate complex it is … I would definitely recommend a Siem Reap visit.
Canada: Niagara Falls, Ontario. I definitely plan to be back in Canada. Such a huge scenic country requires many days.
China: Great Wall of China, Beijing. I have only scratched the surface of China. With so much history, a detailed scrub of China requires several weeks. Hopefully soon …
Croatia: Old City, Dubrovnik. Made a valiant effort to crack my Top-5 🙂 Just missed. The crystal blue waters, the historic cities … What a country!
Uruguay: Palacio Salvo, Montevideo … Once the tallest building in South America. I had really bad luck with the weather when I was in Uruguay.
Paraguay: Palacia de los Lopez, Asuncion. All decked up for the night … Paraguay is typically not high in a traveler’s list. But I have big ambitions 🙂
Peru: The instantly recognizable “Master-Piece” of Peru … One of the “7 Wonders of the Modern World” … I did the 4-day Trek to Machu Picchu. Though during the trek, the cold, the exertion Etc. was overwhelming, I am 200% glad I did that because it has given me many happy memories.
Brazil: Amazonas … One of the many tributaries of the mighty Amazon River … I had a rocking time at Manaus, Tefe, Mamiraua Reserve Etc. The only downside was the mosquitoes! They practically ate me alive … :-0
England: Big Ben, London. London was in my Top-5 Cities list, until I visited Prague 🙂 I hate the weather in England (and London, in particular), but the Country and the City is filled with major attractions.
Finland: Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki. Just like in Uruguay, I was blessed with real lousy weather when I was in Finland 🙁
France: Seine River, from Eiffel Tower. You can see the ominous shadow of the Eiffel Tower. France is yet another Country that will require several visits.
Germany: Munster Cathedral, Munster. Germany is another Country that requires many visits.
Greece: Santorini! A true paradise, if ever there was one … This picture was taken from my phone camera. No matter what device you use, you have to be a real bad photographer to land up with a bad photo … Greece is that beautiful!
1-hong kong
Hong Kong: 2ifc (International Finance Center) … Alas, there is no Sky-Deck or anything. But Hong Kong is a real nice City with excellent public transit.
Indonesia: Ubud Rice Fields, Bali. We had a great time in Bali … The architecture and the art work was amazing.
Ireland: Sculpture of George Salmon at Trinity College, Dublin.
Japan: Skytree, Tokyo. Well worth the trip to the top, for the amazing views of Tokyo. Tokyo is a true Metropolis. Kyoto was more traditional … The Shinkansen (Bullet Train) ride? Awesome!
Jordan: The amazing Petra … One of the “7 Wonders of the Modern World”. Though I had tremendous bad luck to have the “Worst Snow-Storm in 100 years” hit me on the day I was in Petra, at least I got Petra to myself 😉 Explored the entire Petra in the bad weather.
Malaysia: Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur. I love Kuala Lumpur. The weather, the cuisine Etc.
Mexico: Cabo San Lucas … Mexico has some beautiful beaches. Though there are parts of Mexico which are dangerous for tourists, we had a great time in Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta Etc.
Mongolia: Genghis Khan Statue Complex, Ulanbataar. Ghengis Khan dominates Mongolia. His pictures and statues are omnipresent … Understandably so. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of the best parks I have ever seen!
Myanmar: Schwedagon Pagoda, Yangon. Myanmar is filled with Pagodas and Stupas … Never miss the Bagan area. It is a tremendous experience …
Netherlands: Architecture in Amsterdam … The huge network of canals is fun to explore.
Norway: Waterfront, Trondheim, from the Old Town Bridge. Trondheim is such a nice town, I had one of the best jogging experiences there. It was fun to jog all around Trondheim. Oslo is also a very fun city. The Fjords? AMAZING!!!
Oman: Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Muscat. Look at how pristine the Mosque is … I loved Oman. Quite an unassuming country.
Philippines: A Jeepney on the streets of Manila. Among all the things I saw and experienced in Manila, the standout is the humble “Jeepney” … What a variety of colors and styles 🙂
Qatar: Museum of Islamic Art, Doha. I could not spent much time in Qatar. Will definitely go back to explore more …
Russia: St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow. Russia is an amazing country … A must-visit, IMHO. St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal Etc.
Scotland: Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. Edinburgh should be right up there in terms of beautiful cities.
Serbia: Church of Saint Sava, Belgrade. I just wish some of the major sights in Serbia were a tad better maintained. Saint Sava Church is an example. It is very nice, but … Serbia is the home of my Idol, Novak Djokovic 🙂
Singapore: Marina Bay Sands … Singapore is a place my Family enjoys a lot. We love the cleanliness, the modernity and how the city has maximized its limited area.
Slovenia: Lake Bled, taken from the Bled Castle. The climb to Bled Castle was fun 🙂 Slovenia is a very beautiful country. Ljubljana Castle, especially at night, is a sight for the sore eyes …
1-south korea
South Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul. An excellent attraction … A visit to the DMZ is highly recommended as well.
1-sri lanka
Sri Lanka: Sigiriya! The climb to the top of Sigiriya was a lot of fun … The only sad memory of this particular visit was that our van inadvertently ran over a small stray puppy (The puppy crossed the road and for some reason ran right back on the street) … 🙁 But that bad memory apart, Sri Lanka was a lot of fun … Loved the history and the greenery.
Sweden: Gamla Stan, Stockholm. The entire Gamla Stan area is wonderful. Stockholm has many more attractions to offer, though …
Taiwan: A view of Taipei 101 from Xiangshan (“Elephant Mountain”). This viewpoint is very popular, as there were many photographers there. Taipei 101, with its colored lighting, is very nice to see …
Thailand: Khao Phing Kan (“James Bond Island”), Phuket. Seen the James Bond movie “Man with the Golden Gun”? 🙂
Turkey: View from Bosphorus River (Golden Horn) … You can see Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque in the background. Istanbul is in my Top-5 Cities list 🙂
UAE: Sheik Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi. What a majestic Mosque! The conducted tour was well worth it … A better Mosque, I have not seen yet. Really opulent …
USA: Mount Rushmore Park, South Dakota. United States is so vast and offers the entire range of attractions any tourist would want … I have deeply explored 37 states in USA. A few more to go 🙂
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh Museum, Hanoi … Though I was sick this day, I did my best not to miss any of the major attractions in Hanoi. Vietnam is a great country to visit … Tumultuous past, with lot of natural beauty.
Argentina: La Boca, Buenos Aires … What a great city Buenos Aires is. Just missed my Top-5 …
Czech Republic: Prague Castle, from Charles Bridge, Prague. Prague! Czech Republic! What an experience it was …
Austria: Belvedere Palace, Vienna. When I think of Vienna, Salzburg Etc. the 1st word that comes to mind is “Imperial” … Palaces, Castles … What a country.


Kuwait: Kuwait is mainly Kuwait City, with a lot of desert regions surrounding it. Almost 90% of the workforce are migrants and Kuwaiti people constitute only about 33% of the overall population.


Romania: Peles Castle was the Summer residence of King Carol I, who ruled Romania for 48 (!) years from 1866-1914. He had come from Germany to help Romania (formed in 1859) integrate into rest of Europe.



Iceland: What can I say? A more scenic Road Trip is tough to imagine … For such a small country, Iceland sure packs a punch!


Kazakhstan: The country is big, the 9th largest in the World. Grasslands/Steppe cover most of the nation. Got to try Horse meat for the 1st time. Tian Shan Mountains give a tremendous backdrop to the city Almaty.
Kyrgyzstan: Got a real feel for the “Nomad life” in Kyrgyzstan. The Nomad Sports, Nomad Cuisine, Yurts Etc. Had a blast!


Uzbekistan: What can I say? Registan, you beauty! (Especially on a sunny day). So many historical sights. My meals were Plov+Samsa, Samsa+Plov, Plov+Samsa, Samsa+Plov, Plov+Samsa … Hope you get the drift 🙂


Tajikistan: If I had to rank the countries I have visited in terms of sheer natural beauty, Tajikistan would be quite close to knocking the doors of USA, Norway Etc. Simple (but conservative) people, simple life.


Turkmenistan: I am elated that I could visit this country. In terms of “Uniqueness”, it was a great experience. The marbled Ashgabat, the ever prevalent Government, Darvaza Crater, the challenges of “getting in” (Spent countless nervous moments till I got the Invitation Letter 2 days before I was supposed to enter the country!), the friendly people Etc. Memories for a lifetime!


Azerbaijan: The 1st word that comes to mind when I think of Baku, “Wind” 🙂 The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center was SPECTACULAR! What a building. For a small country, it sure packs a range of tourist attractions.


Georgia: Got to be the “least travelled person” in a group of people, for the 1st time in my adult life. Got to try the Sulphur Bath, in true local style. And, Georgians love Graffiti 🙂


Armenia: A small and cute nation. Long history, with beautiful Monasteries. A pity that it is in trouble with its immediate neighbors. I wish there were no more Wars 🙁



Poland: A real pretty country with an excellent train system and a very troubled past.







14 thoughts on “Country Counter

  1. Pingback: Majestic desert experience … [Oman] – One Step At A Time … (George Attokaran's Blog)

  2. Pingback: One of the rare tourists … :-) [Kuwait] – One Step At A Time … (George Attokaran's Blog)

  3. Pingback: No:47 – Romania [September, 2019] – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  4. Pingback: No:48 – Iceland – 2-week road trip along Route-1 [Sep-Oct, 2019] – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  5. Pingback: Nice place for a family vacation … [UAE] – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  6. Pingback: No:49 – Kazakhstan – The land of Steppes, Horses and Borat :-) – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  7. Pingback: No:50 – Kyrgyzstan – A key stop on the historic Silk Road … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  8. Pingback: No:51 – Uzbekistan – One of only 2 double-land-locked countries … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  9. Pingback: No:52 – Tajikistan – A land of pristine natural beauty … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  10. Pingback: No:53 – Turkmenistan – The mysterious “Stan” … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  11. Pingback: No:54 – Azerbaijan – The (relatively-)liberal Muslim nation … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  12. Pingback: No:55 – Georgia – The birthplace of Wine? :-) – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  13. Pingback: No:56 – Armenia – The 1st Christian Country … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

  14. Pingback: No:57 – Poland – Beautiful country with a troubled history … – Mission 193: One step at a time …

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