10 Places You Must Go in 2008: places I have been

These are the 10 places I think you should experience in 2008, based on places I have been myself, and here are some quick reasons why. I’ll give you my own wish list of ‘it’ destinations for 2008, places I have never been but hope to visit, in the new year.
1. SYRIA: colossal history confronts you at every corner, the world’s best archaeological sites, crusader castles, sublime Umayyad Mosque, bustling medieval souqs, the Mid East’s tastiest food, beautiful Damascene houses, artisans at work, Euphrates River, Dead Cities, Palmyra, Bosra, and the friendliest people in the world.
2. BUENOS AIRES: because it is as buzzy as they say it is, atmospheric barrios, architectural mishmash of architecture, lively markets and parks, fabulous bars and restaurants, great meat and wine, all-night nightlife, traditional peñas, Feria de Mataderos, gritty backstreets.
3. MOROCCO: do a road trip for moonlike landscapes, sublime desert scenery, abandoned mountain palaces, Berber desert citadels set amid date palm oases, then stay with Maryam in Marrakesh.
4. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Broome for Australia’s best beach and sunsets, Monkey Mia for WA’s most tranquil beach and best indigenous walk, spectacular Kimberley & Pilbara regions, Margaret River’s wild coast and wonderful wineries.
5. ANTWERP & BRUSSELS: because Antwerp is Europe’s most underrated, easygoing city and Brussels isn’t boring at all, superb dining scenes, laidback bars, pubs and atmospheric brown cafes, multicultural neighborhoods, lively jazz scenes, excellent museums, cutting-edge fashion, and those fantastic mussels!
6. THAILAND: road trip it off the beaten track, through lush green landscapes of limestone mountains and impenetrable jungle, eat tasty food in small town markets, meet the world’s sweetest people, and well, okay, squeeze in a spa treatment at beach resort if you must.
7. ISTANBUL: after the umissable historical sights, the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Grand Bazaar, Topkaki Palace, and whirling dervishes, explore modern Istanbul, its lively backstreets, vibrant restaurants, bars and cafes, and get on the water for a cruise up the Bosphorus.
8. BALTIC CITIES: TALLINN: beautiful walled old city with perfectly preserved pastel-colored medieval architecture, kitsch experience of trying medieval food, sublime contemporary cuisine; RIGA: elegant art nouveau architecture, great walks, pretty parks and squares, lively pubs; and VILNIUS: laidback vibe, beautiful baroque churches, hearty food, and wild nightlife.
9. DUBAI: for reasons most travel writers won’t tell you: Emirati and Bedouin culture and heritage, the courtyard wind-tower architecture in the Persian Bastakiya neighbourhood, gritty backstreets, Deira ‘Creek’ views from Bur Dubai, hospitable people, superb restaurants, and a lively contemporary art scene.
10. OMAN: majestic forts that make you feel like a kid again set in lush date palm oases, the Musandam peninsula, the Arabian Norway, the pretty waterfront at Muscat with its stunning harbour, and laidback Muttrah souq.