1. Malaysia. I bought the cheapest tickets that I could find, and my itinerary goes via Kuala Lumpur (henceforth referred to as KL). And so, I figured, if my plane is touching down in KL, why not spend a few days there?
Things I plan to do there are:
(a) Eat. I love malaysian food. I am going to overdose on hawker food and hope that I don't get too sick.
(b) Go swing dancing. It's my last chance before I get to Japan, and they have a bit of a scene there.
(c) Visit the Batu Caves, climb all 272 steps and try to not have anything stolen by monkeys.
(d) Maybe visit the Kualah Ganda Elephant Sanctuary if funds allow.
2. Korea. Japan's closest neighbour. I have to admit that I don't know much about Korea. However, I do know that:
(a) I haven't been there, so it's another opportunity for a new stamp in my passport, and
(b) They have an annual Swing Dancing Camp in Seoul, which usually attracts international teachers, so it'll be a good chance to keep my skills up to scratch.
3. China. Japan's other close neighbour. Specifically, Shanghai. Mostly, I just want to eat Shanghai Dumplings in Shanghai. There's actually a ferry that runs from Osaka to Shanghai - a 2-day voyage across the East China Sea, which could be quite an adventure in itself...
4. Vietnam. Okay, so this is quite a bit further from Japan - almost halfway back to Australia, actually. But I have friends living there at the moment, which is reason enough to visit, plus I love Vietnamese food, and want to visit Angkor Wat [edit: except Angkot Wat is in Cambodia... I guess the food will have to suffice :) ]
5. Russia. Japan's other close neighbour. It's definitely one of my lifelong goals to travel the trans-Siberian railway. From Japan, it's a flight or ferry to Vladivostok, and then the train ride begins. Or, alternately, I could visit Shanghai, then travel on up to Beijing and catch the trans-Mongolian railway all the way across to Moscow and St Petersburg... and from there, well, where <b>don't</b> I want to visit?
So... which of these trips should I take? What else should I put on my itinerary?