1 Year, 11 Trips: My 2017 Travel in Review

62 days on the road. 11 trips. 11 countries visited.

Somehow I managed to outdo last year by two days. But as I shared on my 2018 Travel Resolutions, this is also the year I officially hit travel fatigue—not so much on the number of days on the road, but more because my poor brain is always planning my next, next, next trip. This is the most amount of separate trips I have ever taken in a single year:

  • 27-30 Jan: West Sumatra @ Indonesia (4D)
  • 13-16 Apr: Bangkok @ Thailand (4D)
  • 29 Apr-12 May: New Zealand (14D)
  • 31 May-10 Jun: Tanzania (11D)
  • 24-26 Jun: Cameron Highlands + KL @ Malaysia (3D)
  • 1-3 Sep: East Java @ Indonesia (3D)
  • 29 Sep-1 Oct: South Vietnam @ Vietnam (3D)
  • 21-23 Oct: Central Visayas @ Philippines (3D)
  • 22 Nov-2 Dec: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia (11D)
  • 23-25 Dec: Perak @ Malaysia (3D) for this coming Christmas!
  • 30 Dec-1 Jan: Macau (3D) for the New Year countdown!
  • (BONUS) 23 Sep: Singapore Southern Islands (1D, though I don’t count this)

That being said, once I hit the road, everything is good again and there were plenty of moments. I hope my trips below could help plan your next great adventure!

West Sumatra: Lush Canyons & Minang Culture

Rumah Gadang, Minang Kabau Village, Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia

Overlooked by most Banana Pancake trailblazers, West Sumatra is an astounding blend of picturesque scenery (rolling hills, jagged mountains, lush canyons, waterfall-filled valleys), intriguing culture (endless spires decorating traditional houses) and mouth-watering food (rendang is voted #1 best cuisine in the world by CNN).

Read more posts about Indonesia.

Bangkok: Cosmopolitan Break with Temples Galore

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Bangkok was my biggest travel miss and I’m glad I have it rectified. In between friendly Thais, charming floating markets, well-preserved Ayutthaya temples and water splashing during Songkran—I happily acknowledge that the Bangkok hype is legit. I also re-connected with my Thai best friend from my university year and we went all around the city to hunt for authentic local food. It was amazing! =)

Read more posts about Thailand.

New Zealand: Fjords, Glaciers & Bubbling Mud Pools

Milford Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand is clearly a land in the making, with dramatic panoramas crafted by tectonic and volcanic activities waiting to be discovered at every corner. I enjoyed plenty of tramping and surprisingly managed to keep my budget on S$2.7K including airfare for 2 weeks, busting the long-standing myth that you can’t do New Zealand on the cheap.

Read more posts about New Zealand.

Tanzania: Discovery Channel Live

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Unknowingly thinking I would only do one safari in my life, I jumped straight to the main course. After all, Tanzania is home to Serengeti, rated #1 world’s best safari park by experts. But it turned out that every single game drive revealed something new, fascinating and visceral. It never gets tired whether it’s my first or tenth time seeing a lion pride—nature is always mind-blowing. And the dense concentration of wildlife in Ngorongoro is simply astounding and befits its world-class national park status.

Read more posts about Tanzania.

Malaysia: Tea Plantation, Fireflies & Metropolis

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Malaysia was never really my favorite Southeast Asian country until this trip. I had so much fun wandering around Cameron Highlands’ postcard-perfect tea trails, sailing on a boat to watch fireflies blink in the night at Kuala Selangor, but even the skyline of Kuala Lumpur surrounded by mountain peaks surprised me!

Read more posts about Malaysia.

East Java: Land of Volcanoes

Bromo, East Java, Indonesia

This is one of my favorite trips from the year, as it’s the first reunion with four of my closest high school friends in half a decade’s time! That aside, East Java is really charming. There’s something magical about hiking up Ijen Crater in the middle of the night to watch surreal blue fire while thousands of stars blink above us. And there’s something equally phenomenal watching the sunrise in Bromo with sea of clouds down below.

Read more posts about Indonesia.

South Vietnam: Rural Countryside & Chic Saigon

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

This was a company trip which happened to coincide with my birthday. And I love it because it gave me the much-needed retreat where I can just switch off and drift into the lush Mekong Delta on a boat. Finish that off with a drink at a Saigon rooftop bar and a relaxing massage the day after—it’s a winner!

Read more posts about Vietnam.

Central Visayas: Historic Cebu, Bohol Countryside & Crystal Clear Beaches

Virgin Island, Bohol, Philippines

For my birthday, I headed to another Southeast Asia country which I haven’t been before. While it was drizzling, it didn’t stop the beauty of the iconic Chocolate Hills and the rain stopped in time for me to sail to Balicasag and swim with huge turtles! And it was good to take another time off and just chillax by Alona beachside.

Read more posts about Philippines.

Caucasus: The Fabled Lands Linking Asia to Europe

Haghpat Monastery, Armenia

Home to some of the most magnificent ancient Christian monasteries and fire-worshiping temples, all three Caucasus countries charm me with their chic capitals, dramatic mountain scenery and relaxing countryside. In some ways, it actually reminds me of New Zealand but with a plethora of ethno-cultural treasures to offer.

Read more posts about Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.

Perak: A Hipster’s Christmas

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

[Image Credit: foursummer]

While most people treat Ipoh merely as a quick meal stopover, it’s been known to exude street charm and delicious bites which rival Malacca and Penang, hence I decided to pay a visit to Ipoh this Christmas weekend! I am also doing day trips to Kuala Kangsar (the state capital with magnificent Sultan’s palace and mosque) and Taiping (a garden lake city with century-old trees).

Read more posts about Malaysia.

Macau: A Grandiose New Year

Fireworks in Macau

[Image Credit: pxhere]

I decided I want to go somewhere slightly more glamorous to celebrate New Year, and what better option there is than in the gaming capital of the world? Now, I’m not much into gambling, but I’ll happily soak in the vibrant atmosphere and the blinking of city lights as I count down to 2018. Can’t wait for it!

Read more posts about Macau.

BONUS: Singapore Southern Islands

Kusu Island, Singapore

Trivia: Do you know that Singapore is not just an island nation, but it comprises of 63 different islands? I took a day off to island-hop around St. John’s, Lazarus and Kusu. The peacefulness of it all is lovely and this is fast becoming my favorite spot in Singapore to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. P.S. Lazarus Beach is actually quite gorgeous and can compete with the neighboring countries’ shores.

>> How to Book Ferry to Southern Islands <<

Read more posts about Singapore.

Make Your 2018 Travel Dreams Happen

Check out 10 Holiday Ideas for 2018 SG Long Weekends to get inspirations and recommendations.

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