The travel bug is contagious.
The more we explore, the more we want to see, and as that curiosity grows and suddenly the world’s not as big as we once thought it was.
We’re lucky enough to live in the age where we’re only ever a day or so away from being on the other side of the world. With tourism being one of the leading contributors to country’s economies through-out the world, it comes as no surprise that whether you go away for one week a year, or it’s part of your life; we’re constantly craving an escape from the everyday life we know.
The big question is, where to next?
So having a list always helps.
This list is a compilation of my top 10 destinations I cannot get out of my mind.
1: Island Hopping in Indonesia
This was my childhood dream and still is. With between 17 and 18,000 islands, there is much more to the country than the ever popular island of Bali. The country really spreads itself out, both globally and culturally. To discover the wonders of Indonesia, you can take your pick of destinations stretching from the south of Thailand to Papa New Guinea.
As much as I love to plan ahead, with Indonesia I would like to feel my way around, spend some time here and there, and then work out where to go next.
As a water baby, the most important thing for me when traveling is getting to swim everyday and Indonesia is a beach lover’s paradise.
Indonesian islands to explore:
- Wakatobi islands
- Pulau Weh
- Gili Islands
To name but a few.
2: Mangoes and Chocolate Mountains in the Philippines
This is the newest addition to my bucket list, and probably the most likely to happen in the next few years.
The Philippines is infamous for having some of the best mangoes in the world – they even have a mango festival! Despite what most travelers think, the Philippines is a very green country. One of the best sites, that, simply cannot be missed are the chocolate mountains famed for their quite strange “rolling” shape.
It would be rude not to hop on a boat and venture around the 7000 islands that are waiting for you to explore. The Philippines has a strong cultural grounding that remains unique to each island, with open hearts and open minds, most people speak a minimum of three languages; pretty impressive.
Islands of the Philippines to explore:
- El Nido, Palawan
3: Hiking in Mongolia
When visiting Mongolia, it’s obligatory you trek through the country. With a culture that lives for its nomadic lifestyle and being in touch with nature, this is the best way to ‘do-as-locals-do’ and get to know the Mongolian people.
Personally, I would prefer to go on foot, maybe hitch-hike a little along the way, but rumour has it, horseback is the way to go.
Guess it’s time to kick my fear of horses.
Trekking routes around Mongolia for beginners:
- Khangai Mountains
- Khagiin Khar Lake
- Khan Khentii Mountains
4: Learn About Rum and Speak Spanish in Costa Rica & Puerto Rico
Noticing a theme? I love the beach!
The best way to learn a language is to throw yourself straight into it, so what better way?
Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have everything you can think of when it comes to travel: trekking through jungles, great waterfalls white beaches, and of course; rum.
Rum has attracted my attention for it’s diversity, coming from the land of whisky, I learned to really appreciate the craftsmanship of the spirit, with it’s similar processes and interesting blends, I want to develop that same appreciation for rum.
Being an avid Hunter S. Thompson fan, I cannot deny that the idea of coming to these particular destinations came from reading his books. His writing style has this emphatic way of making you want his life, in spite of it’s recklessness; it captivates the wild side in you and leaves you wanting more.
5: Meet Beautiful People in Micronesia
Part of my love of being a traveler is the people you meet along the way.
Wherever I go, I try my best to get in with the locals and discover their way of life, it’s how you really come to love a country. Alongside sightings of coral reef, Micronesia has a fascinating and deeply rooted culture that’s widely celebrated across it’s islands. While the islands are becoming increasingly popular, with mass chains such as Hilton. There are, of course, always alternatives that allow you to establish a connection with locals.
Top Micronesian islands to explore:
6: Do Everything I Possibly Can in Chile
From the vineyards to largest pool in the world to glacier’s and islands: Chile has it all. Cutting a thin slice down the side of South America, the country is far more diverse than the white sandy beaches and desert lands you would expect. So it would be rude not to try and see this for myself.
My top locations across Chile:
- San Marcos Cathedral: Monsieur Eiffel sure did get around the world! Located in Arica, Northern Chile, the church is quite typical of his style, with a more gothic approach to French colonial intricacies that are fitting to the landscape.
- Elqui Valley’s Cerro Mamalluca observatory and the surrounding area: In the daytime, enjoy the valley itself, home to famous Chilean wines, local food and quaint villages, serving an all round relaxing experience. In the evening, you have the opportunity to do some star-gazing at the observatory. The North of Chile is to have clear skies that offer some of the best sights of the universe.
- Trekking in Aysen: One of the most remote regions of Chile, Aysen is a traveler’s wonderland, but it’s not for the faint hearted. Choose your travel style; by boat, on foot or horse, and you can discover the infinite landscapes, glaciers (particularly the Andes), and stumble upon the few humble people of the region. It’s best to plan your trip well with this stop, as accommodation is limited.
7: Trek Through the Islands of Greece
After meeting a friend who has family in Greece, I started exploring the possibility of traveling here and was blown away. White on blue in two of my favourite ways: nature and architecture.
The islands are home to some of the best Greek food, restaurants and also offer trekking, sailing and lazing around on the beach; the perfect holiday, really. With increasing tourism, comes the expected chain hotels, but if you are willing to take a chance, you can find cheaper accommodation upon arrival.
Top Greek islands to visit:
8: Explore the Coffee Shops and Markets of Marrakesh
Steeped in traveler’s history, Morocco’s central city is a maze of wonders: intricate designs, sand stone buildings, trinkets and carpets galore – not forgetting the food! I can only imagine the winding old streets of the medina, around market shops spilling onto the streets with a distinct aroma of coffee, cooking and shisha.
The city’s wonders sound truly enchanting, however the downside is that it’s not recommended for women to travel alone. While I am used to haggler’s and questionable claims that are frequently encountered across Asia, Marrakesh is quite well-known for being the next level up.
And here come’s the least hopeful’s; the more expensive options
9: Go Trekking in New Zealand
Most of my destinations come from others telling or showing me how wonderful it is; New Zealand is with no exception. New Zealand, in my mind, has always been like a more romaticised version of Scotland, made all the more mysterious by Lord of the Rings, which for some reason, gave many people a stronger spiritual connection than that of it’s indigenous roots.
Having met people along the way who have lived there, the sense of adventure, surrounded by astounding beauty is irresistible. Alongside this, and a reason many people choose to travel around a country, is the sheer variety of landscapes and activities that are available.
10: Be a Beach Bum in Okinawa
Believe it or not, Okinawa is home to 150 islands within it’s prefecture. However, the most populated and most visited is the largest; also called Okinawa. Easy to be confused there.
My main attraction to Okinawa is the peace and harmony that radiate from the islanders of Japan, the other is the –now very much evident– love for the balance of beach and mountains. As a traveler I am, perhaps a little obsessed with witnessing the diversity of landscape a country has to offer, and the nature that comes with it, Okinawa has all of that.
While it might seem like too much of a dream to visit some of these destinations, that’s why a bucket list exists. There’s a whole life time to get there.
My next stop: The Philippines
Where is yours?