Travel Plans 2020

Next year I will be embarking on one of the biggest adventures I have ever decided to take. I will be backpacking Thailand and Bali and maybe a few stops in Vietnam and Cambodia (If I can save the money of course). Plans for this trip started in my final year of University where I was worried over my next steps for the future.

What would I do once I had graduated? Would I get a good degree? Would I find a job?

And backpacking was nothing but a dream. However, as I came to live back home and I began to think more about my future I realised travelling was something that I had to do. In mid 2019 my 2020 travel plans began to take place. I watched numerous travel vlogs, read blogs and researched way too many travel tours. Ultimately, I have decided to use TruTravels and IntroTravels. Both tour guides consist of group tours with travel packages, which prices include accommodation, activities and some meals. Perfect for the first time backpacker and perfect for the first time SOLO traveller.

When and where would I go?

After plenty of google research upon the weather temperature and rainfall I found that if to travel to Thailand the temperature is pretty similar all year round. Therefore, there is no right or wrong month. However, it is probably best to note that though the sun might be shining the rain may be pouring through the months of June to October, where there is a higher chance of rainfall.

Bali on the other hand has pretty similar weather conditions with the temperature reaching 30 degrees almost every month. Conversely, Bali has higher chances of rainfall through from January to March and October to December.

How much money would I save up?

After having many conversations with others who have backpacked around Asian countries and looking into many articles upon the price difference of England to Thailand. I decided I wanted at least £6,000 or £7,000 that includes the cost off flights, trips and spend whilst travelling. To reach this goal I have been working two jobs every weekday and weekend and putting so much money away each month. To reach a goal you have to work hard!

What trips do I want to take?

Looking at each and every trip that TruTravels and IntroTravels had to offer I finally came to a conclusion of which tours I wanted to take.

23 Day Northern Thailand & Full Moon

Experience a bit of everything with our Northern Thailand and Full Moon Experience. Start in Bangkok and finish in Koh Phangan as we take you to all the famous hotspots and some less known favourites. From visiting temples to snorkeling boat trips, and of course the world famous Full Moon Party. There are so many activities on this trip, giving you a well-rounded balance between culture, partying and island adventure.

TruTravels

Activities

River cruise on the River Kwai
Erawan waterfalls day trip
Half-day bike ride around Ayutthaya ruins
Chiang Mai temple visits
2 Day Jungle Trek
Overnight Hill Tribe village stay
Half day zip-lining
Elephant sanctuary
Lod Cave visit
Pai’s hot springs
Cooking class
Day trip to Chiang Mai Canyon Bangkok River Cruise & Temples
Thai Massage & Overnight Train
Khao Sok National Park
Floating Bungalows
Swimming, Tubing & Kayaking
Boat Trip Around Koh Phangan
Snorkelling & Waterfalls (Seasonal)
Bottle Beach
Muay Thai Lesson
The Challenge Lake
ATV Riding (optional extra)
Sunset Pool Party
Full Moon Party!

Bali & Beyond

Our amazing Bali & Beyond trip takes you through some of Indonesia’s most epic destinations – From the awesome surfer town of Canggu, through the rice terraces of Ubud and tropical paradise of the Gili Islands. We then head off on an adventure east to the traditional villages and stunning waterfalls of Lombok before boarding our private live-aboard boat and set sail for 3 days. You will explore remote hidden beaches, epic viewpoints before landing at the Komodo Islands and meeting the dragons who still roam freely across the land. If you want to see some of the best bits of Bali and undiscovered Indonesia…This is the adventure for you!

TruTravels

Activities

Taman Ayun Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Surf Lesson
Tegenungan Waterfall
Local Markets
Cooking class
Monkey Forest visit
Rice Terraces
Volcano Viewpoint
Snorkelling with Turtles
Bike tour around Gili T Visit Sasak Village
Benang Kelambu Waterfall
Beach hopping
Moyo Island
3D/2N Live-aboard boat trip
Epic Viewpoints
Snorkelling with Mantas
Pink Beach
Komodo Islands

Vietnam & Cambodia

Experience the best of Vietnam and Cambodia on our biggest adventure yet! Over 21 incredible days you’ll discover crazy Hanoi, experience the stunning Ha Long Bay, stay on your own private island, go crab fishing with traditional fisherman, soak up fascinating local culture, learn to cook delicious Vietnamese food, snorkel around tropical islands, explore the famous Angkor Wat temple and much more!

IntroTravels

Activities

Walking & Rickshaw Tour of Hanoi
Night out in Hanoi
Overnight Boat Trip on Ha Long Bay
Sea Kayaking
Private Island Stay
Local Homestay Experience
Bicycle Tour of Ninh Binh
River Boat Cruise
Dragon Mountain Viewpoint
Visit Local Markets
Basket Boat Crab Fishing 
Vietnamese Cooking Class
Mekong Delta Experience
Local Village Visit
Cu Chi Tunnels
S21 Prison With Local Guide
Tuk Tuk Tour Through Phnom Penh
Locally Guided Tour of the Killing Fields
Kayaking Trip
Koh Rong Island Boat Trip
Snorkelling
Sunset Cruise
Local Markets
Pepper Plantation
Khmer Cooking Class
Locally Guided Walking Tour of Siem Reap
Floating Villages 
Angkor Wat Sunrise Temple Tour
Farewell Dinner

Preparing for your adventures.

Travelling is something that people either do or don’t do. But either way, travelling is one of the worlds greatest adventures. Although I wouldn’t say I am as worldly wide as I hoped, I do have a reasonable amount of knowledge upon the area, that I’m willing to share. If you’re here, reading this post you’re either:

A) a traveller who is interested in how other people prepare

B) a newbie traveller, looking for all the advice they can get, or

C) simply curious.

There is no right or wrong in preparing to travel, of course, there are the obvious things that you have to do before you step on a plane and adventure out into another country. But realistically, you can prepare how you want to do it. If you’re going to a destination after destination, some people would rather book before they leave their home country. However, others are more interested in the pure adventure and just going where the wind takes them. I, personally, would rather book beforehand. Although I do love adventure, without the lack of organisation, I would have an anxiety meltdown.

I have travelled a fair amount of times and still, one of my favourite things to do is read articles, watch YouTube videos and admire people’s photography skills, this to me gets me motivated… inspires me to travel and see the world for what it is. However, almost everytime I read or watch or view something relating to travelling there is always some new advice that I come across. Travelling, is constantly changing and developing. Advice is everywhere.

“Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.”

Travelling is a daunting aspect, whether you’re an avid traveller or new. Every time I step onto a plane, after countless of times being on one. I get a wave of panic, have I forgotten something? what if I don’t like where I’m going? what if it isn’t the great experience I expected? what if I don’t see the places I want to see? But, this is something you have to get over time and time again. It is understandable, you’re going to a new country – maybe alone, maybe with people that you hardly know – most of the time, the culture is different in comparison to your own, people live in a way you could never imagine, language barriers come to clash, you may have never come across some of the food dishes in your life. But although, all these reasons are scary for the individual traveller. They’re also the reason you wanted to travel in the first place.

Therefore, to travel, these are my main tips and tricks:

  • Plan, research & budget: If you wish to take a year out to travel, for this, I would ideally start to plan and research a year or two before. Of course, this all depends on your financial status and whether you can afford the places you wish to go. If not, how long will it take you to save up for those places? Get a job and put so much money away every month. Have a goal target for the years end. Research where you would like to travel to and what type of places you would like to visit once there. Of course, you will be on a time frame so don’t have the expectations that you will be able to see and do everything in a certain country.
  • Bank accounts & SIM cards: Inform your bank that you’re going away. If you’re taking your debit/credit card with you and start to splash the cash, your back will become suspicious about spending abroad and may lock your account. Not something you would like to entertain on your travels. Of course, ring your bank before you travel… sometimes they have offers that can make spending cheaper with your card when abroad. Depending on how long you spend in a country, you may want to consider getting an international SIM card, check the offers that your phone company provides. However, if you plan on spending a month or longer in a country you might want to consider getting a local number.
  • Important documents: Remember you will need your, Passport (maybe even photocopy the identification page just to be on the safe side), you may need to carry around a Visa document, as well as travel insurance, health information and drivers license. It all really depends what you intend to do whilst travelling and how long you’re staying for.
  • Packing: Do not over-pack! This will become an annoyance. Of course, it all depends where you are staying and how long you are staying for. Remember there are always shops abroad. If you really need something, you can buy it there! Don’t pack what you’re unsure of.
  • Who are you travelling with?: It’s always good to know beforehand who will be coming with you or, will you be going alone. If you’re travelling with someone, make sure they won’t back out last minute and leave you stranded. Although, if you have no one to travel with, you can always use apps and website that allows you safely to meet other travellers.

“We have nothing to lose and a world to see”

Regardless of what I’ve written and all the advice that I have given, the most important and vital thing that you can do whilst travelling, is to have fun. Enjoy being in the now, make memories, make friends, laugh, cry… do it all and say YES to everything. Make it a memory of a lifetime.

My Travel Bucket List

There is a lot of places that I would love to travel to before I die. Too many in fact, that I don’t think I could possibly keep track off. However, I thought I’d write as many of the places that I could think of here and maybe one day I will write a post about my experience in one or more of these destinations. Now, I must state these are no way in any type of order.

Great Barrier Reef
Australia

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Photo credited to Mark Gray

A beautiful and magnificent sight that stretches more than 3000km up the northeastern coast of Australia. The worlds largest set of coral reefs with 400 different types of coral and 1500 species of fish. There has also been a variety of whales, dolphins and porpoises. As well as this, there are six species of sea turtles and 17 different sea snakes. Although, if you’re still not convinced by such a picturesque landscape and species, then the fact that the reef may no longer be around in the next couple of years due to rising sea temperatures that have been bleaching and killing the coral might tempt you to see it before its end. It certainly has me.

Dubrovnik Old City Walls
Croatia

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Photo credited to Rich Edwards

According to playwriter, critic, polemicist, and political activist George Bernard Shaw, someone so enchanted by such a beautiful city said that “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik” and referred the place as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. A scenic old town that was also the setting for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. So, a fan of Game of Thrones? Then you should definitely visit. There is also a variety of Gothic and Renaissance churches, alluring Venetian palazzos with carved fountains. The perfect place to capture so stunning landscape shots.

Temples of Angkor
Cambodia

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Photo credited Michael Aquino

Now, who wouldn’t want to see these magnificent and quaint temples, one of the worlds greatest to the Hindu God, Vishnu and the greatest monuments of the Hindu Kingdom. A temple so extraordinary, cut from thousands of sandstone blocks and carved floor-to-ceiling with legends from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. Angkor wat has a complex of more than 1000 temples, shrines and tombs that create a literal city. So, if you want to see what beautiful sites the world has to offer Angkor wat should definitely be on your to-do list.

Salar de Uyuni
Bolivia

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Photo credited to Cody Gough

Such a beautiful landscape and one of the worlds largest salt flats is Salar de Uyuni. Hotels such as the Palacio de Sal – built solely from salt and when I say built solely from salt, I mean that the walls, floor, ceilings, furniture and even the sculptures are made from salt. It is a literal statement. Taking a tour across the Salar de Uyuni a magnificent scene where the surface water transforms the floor into a mirror. Who wouldn’t want to see something so alluring?

The Ubud Monkey Forest
Bali

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Photo credited to the monkey forest Ubud website

Who wouldn’t want to visit a bunch of monkeys in their habitat? Roaming around freely. The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex in Bali, Indonesia. It is a truly magical and enchanting experience and anyone would be lucky if they had the chance to experience such a place. According to the Ubud Monkey Forest website, there are around 600 monkeys residing in the forest. The forest uses the Tri Hita Karana concept, a traditional philosophy “stating three ways to reach physical and spiritual well-being”. Therefore, not only do you get to see a variety of monkeys yet kind find a sense of peace.

The Northern Lights

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Photo credited to Jamie Carter

Who wouldn’t want to see such an illuminating and fascinating sight? The perfect place to capture such mesmerizing images. Whilst most people travel to Europe to see the auroras, you can also view the lights in Northern Alaska. I’ve read, that the lights are at their most intense during the months of September and March due to the Earth’s tilt in relation to the sun. There are a number of places where you can stand and watch the northern lights such as; Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada.

Thailand Islands
Thailand

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Now, who wouldn’t want to see the beautiful islands in Thailand? Ko Phi Phi is the largest out of all the Thai islands and provides beautiful infrastructures and views.  If you’re into rock climbing, scuba diving and hiking then Koh Tao is the island for you. Becoming more popular in the tourist factor, a variety of bars and nightclubs have opened to regulate to such population. If you’re more into the views such as magnificent waterfalls, white sand beaches, rainforests and coral reefs then adventure off to Ko Chang.

Torres del Paine National Park
Chile

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Photo credited to Ecocamp Patagonia website

This stunningly beautiful landscape found in the lakes and mountains of Chile is truly a magical and enchanting place. Torres del Paine National park is the perfect place to disconnect yourself from everyday realities and place yourself within the unfathomable mountains. So large and monstrous in size, you seem almost insignificant to the world. As well as this, you can explore Chiles capital Santiago – a city full of dance, theatre and music.

Of course, there are so many places that I would love to visit and hopefully, one day I will. But for now, for today I’ll only share a few destinations.