If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Whether you’re dying to escape winter, tired of politics at home, or just have the travel bug, I’ve got a treat for you: I’m giving away $150 Australian for travel booking site Webjet!
I’m back with a new installment in my Travel Talk interview series! This time, I spoke to Hilary Leslie of Oregonian Overseas, who is currently in her second year of teaching English in Madrid, Spain as an auxiliar de conversación (language and culture assistant). I participated in the same program from 2011 to 2013, so I was curious to hear about her experiences and travel plans.
Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon… Most travelers to Vietnam know these city’s names well and are sure to include them in their itinerary. But Vietnam is a massive country (far bigger than I imagined!) with a wealth of remarkable places to visit. One of the best? Mai Chau Valley, several hours from Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.
Knowing very little about the region, Mai Chau hadn’t been on my Southeast Asia bucket list prior to my travels, but a friend had strongly recommended Vietnam Backpacker Hostels’ Mai Chau Valley trip, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Vietnam beyond its hectic cities by paying a visit to the valley’s peaceful villages and rice paddies.
I’ve declared it already: 2016 was the best year ever. Since 2011, I’ve summarized my travel-filled years (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), but no year has ever come close to 2016 in terms of the amount of travel I’ve been able to fit in. Brace yourselves: this may be a long one!
I’ve seen it all over friend’s Facebook posts, the media, and in conversations with friends: 2016 is the worst. Can it just be over already? Between terrorist attacks, disquieting politics, natural disasters, deaths of public figures, and just about every other nightmare you can imagine, public sentiment toward 2016 is not exactly the fondest.
For me personally, it’s been an insane year. I rang in midnight stranded outside a dark Havana, Cuba bus station after our ride failed to pick us up in time to join New Year’s festivities. This seemed to become a microcosm for the rest of the year: things never went according to plan, and 2016 proved extremely frustrating at times, but it was always, always an intriguing adventure.
Many visitors to Indonesia’s choose Bali as their destination, and, as I found out this March, it’s a remarkable place, well-deserving of its status as Indonesia’s most popular island. However, Indonesia consists of up to 18,306 islands stretching across 3,181 miles/5,120 kilometers, so there is no shortage of idyllic destinations to explore. Looking to explore an alternative Indonesian location away from the throngs of tourists that places like Bali experience year-round? Consider Cianjur.
Traveling through Asia, when it came to accommodations, I was no stranger to variety. One night, I’d be in a bustling backpacker hostel, the next a $3 per night shack with no electricity, and the next a luxurious five-star hotel. Reflecting on the trip now, I can safely say that getting a taste of all types of travel was one of my favorite aspects of the journey.
Needless to say, however, the “treat yo self” nights stood out quite a bit. And, of those nights, the Sherwood Taipei was particularly unforgettable. I recently wrote about my experience at the five-star hotel in Taiwan’s capital, but the wining and dining there was so memorable it deserved a post of its own.