On our way to the Okavango our guide confessed that his dream would be to end up reincarnated as an elephant in the delta. About 2 minutes after we arrived all 19 of us on our tour were feeling the same way. This place is beautiful! I mean, seriously stunning. If you visit anywhere in Botswana, this has got to be it. Chobe National Park is fantastic and the Kalahari Desert is breathtaking, but visiting the Okavango Delta was on another level entirely.
Whilst Victoria Falls is well known as a destination for more adventurous types, people who blow their travel budget on everything from bungee jumping to white water rafting, we chose to explore on a shoe string. Since we got back from our year long backpacking trip around the globe we don’t necessarily need to stick to a tight budget in the same way that we used to, but hey, old habits die hard and we’re not exactly what you’d call thrill seekers!
When you only have 25 days of annual leave for adventures, deciding on where to head for your next trip when you have ambitions of exploring as many countries as possible can be a challenge. Even harder in our experience when you’ve had a full year off to travel as you please and need to get used to using as few week days as possible to travel as much as you can!
So, I said I’d never be one of those travel bloggers. You know – the ones who return from an extended trip all full of promises to keep the blog up to date, only to let it sink away into obscurity…
Before our trip to Iceland I was frantically looking at the forecast praying for some sunshine. You see, I’d secretly booked a whale watching and a northern lights tour (aurora borealis) for the first night we were in Reykjavik. The forecast said rain and cloud for the entire week. Great.
Frankfurt is well known as the financial heart not just of Germany but of the EU, and as such isn’t always seen as a tourist hot spot. Most travellers to Germany tend to gravitate towards cities like Munich, Berlin and Cologne or nature hot spots like Kromlauer National Park or the Alps.
When my Mum mentioned that she was headed to London to get her Russian visa application processed I jumped at the chance to tag along. We’ve only been back a little over a week, but I have to be honest and admit that the post travel blues I was trying so hard to avoid have started to rear their head. The idea of an afternoon in London sounded like the perfect remedy.
Long famous for its tigers, India is a brilliant country to invest in a Safari experience like no other. We’ve previously taken safaris in Sri Lanka and South Africa, and the experience we had on our tiger safari in India was right up there with the best of them.
One of the biggest highlights of travel for us has been the opportunity to get to see so much more of the natural world. Getting to know and understand so much more about wildlife from all over the world has been an experience we feel we’ve been so lucky to have.
Ubud is the perfect place to relax in the countryside, explore beautiful temples, eat great food and go for walks in stunningly picturesque rice fields, while Canggu is an awesome destination for surfers and beach lovers. Bali has something for everyone and despite running around trying to fit in as much as possible there’s lots that we missed!
For once in our travels we decided to slow it down when we reached Indonesia. We were considering cramming in many more islands than we eventually managed, but I for one am glad we decided to minimise our two weeks in Indonesia as a couple of weeks isn’t really that long and sometimes it’s just nice to relax!. There is so much to see in Indonesia that you’d need a lifetime or at least many months to explore it anywhere near properly, but really who has that amount of time on their hands!
After the realisation that we weren’t going to make it to China on this trip, we decided that spending two days in Hong Kong would be the next best thing. Although it wouldn’t be quite the same, at least it would provide us with a little taster, and luckily we found that flights from here to the Philippines were pretty cheap which gave us an added incentive to add it to our itinerary.
As I write this we’re sitting in a little cafe in Labuan Bajo, it’s less than 24 hours since we finished our Komodo Island trip and we still can’t believe how incredible our time here has been. In the last three days we’ve trekked on remote islands in pursuit of Komodo dragons, snorkelled with giant Manta Rays and have just generally had three of the most perfect days of our travels so far.
We’ve been lucky enough to see some absolutely stunning landscapes on our travels. From deserts and salt flats to glaciers and canyons, taking in such beautiful places has been a huge highlight of our trip.
In honour of these incredible spots we’ve compiled a list of our all time favourite landscapes (so far!).
One of the best things about visiting Borneo, apart from the amazing nature and wildlife of course, has to be the fact that it’s surprisingly cheap. Even tours are relatively inexpensive compared to many other popular tourist spots we’ve visited on our travels in Asia, making it easy to travel in Borneo on a budget.
As the capital of Malaysian Borneo, this is a larger city than Sandakan but still nothing to write home about. Whilst it looks a little scruffy on first appearance, we ended up feeling safer than expected and one of the real highlights here is the fantastic fresh seafood that you can find in most restaurants.
Brunei was never one of those countries that popped up on our ‘must see’ list. In fact, before we reached South East Asia I have to be honest and say I don’t think I’d ever even heard of it. When we decided to go to Borneo island, we realised it was just a 20 minute flight from where we were staying in Kota Kinabalu and well, it would have been rude not to visit really.
Arriving in the small city of Sandakan early evening we grabbed a taxi to our hostel and got checked in, ready to plan the next couple of days. We stayed at the Sandakan Sea View Backpacker Hostel and while there are a few hostels on this road I’d wholeheartedly recommend this one.