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…
Nestled along the Danube, just an hour from Vienna, is Bratislava. One of the smallest and, in our opinion, most perfectly formed capital cities in Europe.
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.
Having cancelled our trip to Nepal due to concerns about trekking in monsoon season, we did have some worries about visiting India in June / July. I did tons of research and it looked like if we stuck to our planned two week north India itinerary we’d be more or less okay and even if it did rain, it wouldn’t be 24-7. The predictions turned out to be correct and in spite of a few showers we found that our destinations were fairly monsoon proof at this time of year.
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.
Ten days is nowhere near long enough to see what the Philippines has to offer. I have to start this post with that disclaimer and to admit that after just a few days we were wishing we’d decided to stay and explore for at least a month!
We decided that we had time to spend a day in Manila, as we wanted to see at least some of the capital, and two islands. Initially we’d considered just one island but agreed in the end that we wanted to try and experience a few different places.
We approached our trip to Manila with a degree of trepidation, knowing that it can be a city that poses some challenges for visiting tourists. Many travellers either skip over the city all together by flying to Cebu or Kalibo, or choose to head straight from the airport onto another flight to the islands and beaches. We decided though that it would be a shame not to spend at least one day in Manila seeing what the city had to offer.
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.
Money and time… wouldn’t we all love it if we had more of both. Sadly though, after ten months travelling we have only a few weeks until we need to think about heading home and our bank account has definitely seen better days. We’re not letting this hold us back too much though and our recent Borneo itinerary been a massive highlight of our trip.
This two week Japan itinerary gives plenty of time to see the highlights in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima as well as some extra day trips to see even more of what Japan has to offer. Ideally you’ll be able to spend much longer than this, but this is a great outline for two weeks in Japan to help you plan your trip.
We only had 24 hours in San Pedro De Atacama, as the tiny desert town was just a short stop off on our way from Salta, Argentina to the Bolivian salt flats. Turns out that it was one of the busiest – and best – days of our trip and that San Pedro is absolutely packed with amazing things to do. We’ve been meaning to write about it for ages but have only just got round to it, so here goes!
I have to be honest, Newcastle wasn’t one of the original stops we had in mind for our 1 month journey of Australia’s east coast. We met some awesome girls from Newcastle when we were in South America and they invited us to come and see them when we reached Australia, promising to give us a tour of the area. Turns out there’s loads to do in Newcastle, it’s a beautiful little spot in New South Wales that’s a perfect base for exploring the local region and we had an awesome time there.
Kyoto is the best place to visit if you’re looking for a little slice of Japanese history, away from the skyscrapers and craziness of Tokyo and Osaka. I’d say you need at least 4 days in Kyoto to see the highlights. Our trip was seriously busy but we managed to cram in loads – from temples and tea ceremonies to beautiful gardens and some great restaurants. Prepare yourself now, this post is a long one, you might want to get a cup of tea and get comfy – luckily I’ve included about a million pictures so if you like you can just look at those to get you through to the end 🙂