If you read my recent blog about my top 5 favorite cities in the world, you may have felt a little bit surprised. I mean, of all of the wonderful and entrancing cities in the world, how could I possibly pick only 5 and deem them my favorites? Well, admittedly, I was holding out on you a little bit. The list in my mind of my favorites is definitely longer than just 5. So, here is a continuation of my favorite cities in the world- favorites #6 through #10:

(6) Hong Kong
As one of the most densely populated cities in the entire world, it also makes sense that Hong Kong would be packed full of interesting and unique sights to see and things to do. Between Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and the Outlying Islands, the list of things to do goes on and on. I’ve often called Hong Kong the eastern version of New York City, since hot spots such as Temple Street are dense with lighted signs, billboards, restaurants, colorful buses, and just about every kind of shop you can think of. If you decide to venture away from the traditional temples and landmarks such as the famous Big Buddha, you can even visit Disneyland of Hong Kong.

(7) Venice
As someone who is interested in architecture, it is difficult to not simply be in awe of Venice. Here you can witness examples of Byzantine, Baroque, Gothic, and Neo-Classical architecture, just to name a few. One of my favorite spots in Venice is the island of Burano, which is located in the Venetian Lagoon, and can be reached in an easy 40-minute boat ride. However, Burano features a type of architecture that is quite distinct and different from the famous buildings of Venice, such as the best known palazze of Ca’ d’Oro. Burano is covered with colorful houses and boats that have been painted bright shades of orange, pink, lavender, teal, and yellow. The two main industries here are fishing and lace making. The whole island has a cozy, warm feel that is very charming and impossible to resist.

(8) Panama City
Because I was born in Panama, Panama City will always hold a special place in my heart. But even if you have no affiliation with the area, I guarantee that you will have an amazing visit there. One of the most interesting things to me about Panama City is that there is so much evidence of its Spanish past that has been preserved, and it meets face-to-face with the new developments of the city. You can walk through the narrow streets of the Casco Viejo and feel like you’ve been catapulted back in time, but turn the corner and you’re surrounded by towering skyscrapers, ringing cell phones, and busy shopping malls. Its an amazing place where old and new coexist without clashing.

(9) London
With awesome places like the British Museum, the Tower of London, and the National Gallery to visit, how can you not love London? Here you’re positively surrounded by iconic images, like red phone booths and double-decker buses. One thing I also find true about the city of London is that it makes a great place to visit for those who are new to international travel. It is fairly easy to find your way around the city, and even if you do lose your way, friendly locals who will point you in the right direction are in no short supply. One attraction that surprised me the first time I visited it was Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I suppose I thought it would be nothing more than a cheesy tourist attraction, but the wax figures are really life-like works of art. More than once, I turned a corner and was uncertain as to whether I had come face to face with a wax figure or a real person.

(10) Shenzhen
Shezhen offers just about everything that you could possibly be seeking in a vacation. Plus, it is located conveniently close to my #6 favorite city, Hong Kong. Shenzhen has been called “the shopper’s paradise” for good reason. You can shop in traditional old markets such as Dogmen Old Street, or if you would prefer something more modern, you can venture to one of the modern shopping malls, of which there are many to choose. My favorite shopping center in Shenzhen is the enormous Coco Park Shopping Center, (I passed by the WalMart). After a long day of shopping and museum-going, there is nothing like a restorative soak in the mineral waters of the Shinyan Lake Hot Spring Resort. People have been seeking relief in these waters for over 1,000 years.

Stuart