As the year 2017 slowly starts to come to its end, it’s time to have a look at this year’s travel destinations! We started our nomad life at the end of last year so we have basically spent the whole year on the road, living mostly out of our backpacks and moving from a place to another. Every new year, we are playing with the thought where we will possibly find ourselves one year later. We have never been able to answer this question and we really wouldn’t have thought one year back that we would spend the next new year in New Zealand on the other side of the world!
This year has included incredibly many adventures and we have had a chance to see many amazing new places. We have traveled and stayed in 8 different countries that are all Asian countries except New Zealand. One year passed incredibly quickly while backpacking in Asia. We got to visit many of our dream destinations but there are still also many places left to explore in the coming travel years.
Summarized, our travel year 2017 has been incredible! We have lived our dream life traveling in several countries, experienced cool things together and met amazing people. The year couldn’t have been much better than this. Next, it’s time to plan our next year’s adventures. But let’s first have a look at this year’s travels.
Our year started in South Korea where we spent great two months mostly in Busan. In such a long time, we got to know Korean culture pretty well, got local friends and went through the most beautiful sights of Busan. Besides Busan, we also visited Gyeongju, Daegu, Jeonju and Seoul. And we did make a trip to the North Korean border too. South Korea was definitely one of our favorite countries and we are planning to go back there hopefully in the near future.
Thailand was our first real touch to Southeast Asian heat and paradise beaches. During one month, we visited Bangkok and a couple of places at the east coast. We also spent some relaxing time on Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. Thailand didn’t quite beat Vietnam and Cambodia with its charm, but all those countless paradise islands and destinations in the northern part make us want to return later.
While traveling across Cambodia, we saw all the most important sights from incredible Angkor Wat to shocking Killing Fields. We caught a first real stomach bug on Koh Rong so we got stuck on the island for more than a week. Being sick made it a bit hard to enjoy this paradise island but luckily we eventually managed to make a boat trip and explore some dreamy beaches too.
While traveling in Cambodia, we enjoyed peaceful small places like Kratie and Kampot the most. W spent some chilled days in these places without even doing anything special. Cambodia was a great experience but to be honest, we are not that keen to go back there compared to some other destinations. We will see if the road will bring us back to Cambodia one day though.
If somebody hasn’t noticed at this point yet, Vietnam has stolen our hearts completely! We just wrote a post about the reasons why Vietnam is one of our favorite countries. Even 3 months wasn’t enough to see the whole country but we explored quite a lot by riding a motorbike from south to north and also spent a longer period in Saigon. Vietnam is one of those countries where we will travel again for sure!
Even though we spent only two weeks in Malaysia, we managed to fit in some cool destinations and food, food and more food. Malaysia is a number one travel country if you look at the food culture. It’s really hard to avoid gaining a few extra kilos there. Besides food, we liked Malaysia because of its multicultural atmosphere and the colorful mixture of Indian, Chinese and Malaysian cultures. After Vietnam, Malaysia actually felt surprisingly westernized and we were amazed by all that quietness and cleanliness as we had got used to a constant chaos.
We were a bit worried about going to Singapore with our small backpacker budget, but this city destination surprised us really positively! Our couchsurfing host brought us to local food places and we walked around doing all the sightseeing until our legs were completely sore. Eventually we spent the last night at the super modern Singapore airport where you can find all kinds of entertainment from leg massages to cinemas. It turned out that Singapore is a beautiful big city that can also be traveled on a small budget. We had a very pleasant couple of days in Singapore indeed.
As Indonesia is a huge country that consists of thousands of island, we didn’t manage to see that much during one month. We concentrated on exploring the eastern part of Java a bit and spent the rest of the time in Bali, Lombok and Gili Air. Our presumption of Bali was maybe a bit negative because of its touristic reputation but after we got there, we enjoyed it so much that we started talking half-seriously about moving to Bali already after our first day. We’ll see when we can realize this dream but anyhow, we could easily spend a long time in Bali just like that. This was surely not our last visit to Indonesia!
As we have told, we decided to go to New Zealand very spontaneously. This distant country wasn’t a part of our original travel plan at all. Anyhow, the best part of the nomad life is exactly the freedom to go where ever you feel like at the moment. Our discussion about the topic went like “hey, should we move to New Zealand?”, “oh well, why not” and then we just started to clarify all the practical things. As we don’t have any apartment or jobs waiting back in Europe, why wouldn’t we go and live somewhere else for a while.
Moving to New Zealand brought us back to the everyday and working life for a while. At the moment, the most beautiful places in New Zealand including all the mountains, national parks, and hobbit landscapes are calling our names though and we feel like we have started to get enough of Auckland. Anyhow, we will try to spend a little bit more time earning money here before we jump to our tiny Nissan and go explore the country.
How many countries have you traveled this year?