Jul 15, 2009 6:11:13 AM
World's 'best' cities? Hmm...
What makes one city better than another?
For some, it’s the culture. For others, the cuisine. Some like proximity to adventure; some like it hot (and beachy).
With so many yardsticks, it must be tough to come up with a solid ranking. Kudos to Travel + Leisure for giving it a try. In their recent ‘World’s Best’ survey results, they’ve listed the top global cities according to a reader poll.
The top 10 cities contain a fascinating mix of the predictable and surprising. We’ve conducted our own (internal) poll to reflect on some of the towns that made it into the T+L list. As you might have guessed, there’s plenty of disagreement.
1. Udaipur, India. Surely a town of wonders - but is it really the best city in the world? Some of our staff could think of cities in India they’d rather visit or live in. One writes, ‘…no Jodhpur? Nothing beats sinking into the Blue City on a rickshaw from the station - like slowly descending underwater, your eyes bathed in blues and greens.’ Another, less poetically, remarks, ‘But the lake has been dry for months!’
3. Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand is definitely one of the world’s top destinations, but poor Bangkok is often regarded as the worst city in the country. It certainly has its charms, but the nonstop traffic jams and hassles would keep this off many a top 10 list.
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina. The lone South American contender, Buenos Aires is nearly universally loved around these parts. A lone dissenting opinion comes from Gus, an Argentine who would never want to be ‘mistaken for a porteño‘.
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand. A second Thai town in the top 10? Seems generous - especially to a staffer who claims, ‘I spent a week there once, and I can’t even remember what it was like. It was that dull.’
6. Florence, Italy. Another sharp divider of opinion. Some are seduced by Florence’s myriad charms, claiming that it tops touristy Venice easily. Others rate other nearby destinations more highly: ‘Go to Siena or Verona instead - all the beauty without the exhaust fumes and sterile Disneyland feel. You won’t get the same feast of art but you’ll hardly starve.’
7. Luang Prabang, Laos. Sleepy LP is the third Southeast Asian entry in the top 10. It’s the highlight of many trips to the region, but most agreed that it’s a bit of a shock to see it so high. If Luang Prabang makes the list, where’s Siem Reap?
For our definitive view, check out The Cities Book, which has a ton of information on all the world’s great towns. Don’t miss out on our cofounder Tony Wheeler’s left-field picks (including Detroit and Karachi).
Did we get it right? Or are we missing something? Tell us what you think.