My Travel Plans: South East Asia, Australia & New Zealand
Yesterday marked an official milestone ahead of my travels. My resignation was finally officially passed over to the big bosses (I handed it in a month early to help give them time to replace me before Christmas) – so that means there’s really no going back now. Not that there was even a chance of me cancelling. My leaving party is on the horizon, I’m planning in lots of visits to see people before I go and I’m making sure I fill my boots with all those yummy Christmas foods in case I’m not back by next Christmas. It’s all starting to become a bit real now and I can’t quite believe how little time I have left at work – by the time you read this I will have just four Mondays left on the job! Everyone in the office is really excited for me, they’re all counting down for me as well. It’s such an amazing feeling to know how hard I’ve worked and for how long, and to now finally see that light at the end of the tunnel – that tropical sunlight beaming down at me. I’ve got just one more round of jabs left and everything else is finally falling into place, my plans are made and I’ve even started organising my travel wardrobe. So I thought it was about time I gave you guys an update on my plans for travelling:
My trip kicks off on January 6 when I fly out to Bangkok. After a couple of days sightseeing, shopping and eating in the city, I will head to the beaches and islands off south Thailand. Of course I’ll be taking in the standard backpacker route via Ko Pha-Ngan, Ko Samui, Krabi and Ko Phi-Phi. I’m looking forward to a lot of time spent snorkelling, swimming and pretending to be a mermaid. I’m meeting some friends when I arrive, so I’m sure there will be a lot of partying and fun to be had – the perfect way to start the new year if you ask me, and I’m looking forward to starting my trip with a bang. I’ll be spending a month and a half covering this ground, then for a complete change of pace, and to get my visa renewed, I’ll be heading to Vietnam for two weeks where I plan to travel as much of the country as possible – a LOT of food will be consumed here and I’m looking forward to visiting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Halong Bay looks beautiful and I would love to go on one of the river tours.
When I head back to Thailand, I’m heading straight to Chiang Mai in the North, where the experience of a lifetime awaits me. I have booked to spend a week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary where I will be caring for, feeding and bathing elephants for the week. It is a dream come true to get to do this and I am beyond excited. I’ve not even set out yet and already I know this will be a highlight of the trip for me! My week there will be followed by another week or two in Chiang Mai, followed by a trip further north to Pai. I’m really looking forward to Pai – I know already from everything I have read and seen of the place that it is definitely somewhere I will be wanting to stay for a while. The next leg of my journey will be to visit Laos for a week or two spent relaxing, taking in the scenery, visiting temples and dolphin spotting. After Laos, I’ll be heading to central Thailand, particularly the national parks and Sukhothai Historical Park. And then I might give myself some more time in Bangkok before heading to Cambodia for a few weeks for another huge highlight of my trip. I’m planning on staying at a yoga, meditation and health retreat for 10 days where I will be trying out a vegan diet, will be visiting the Cambodian temples, spending a bit of time just looking after myself and treating myself to a few massages. I’m really looking forward to this part of the trip and I’m pleased that there will be opportunities for me to explore the country further. I’ll have to head back to Thailand to catch my flight to Oz for the next leg of my journey – at the moment I plan for this to be around May but that is open to change.
Australia is very unplanned at the moment, but I know I have a lot of friends to meet and catch up with – plus I have several people coming out to meet me for stages of my trip here so it’s going to be a busy few months! I’m planning to travel around as much of the country as possible, and I’m hoping my friends will be quite scattered so I can use them as a guide for my travels. I’m really looking forward to checking out the surfing – my goal is to learn to stand up on a surfboard without help. I’m also looking forward to spending some time in the cities, particularly Melbourne, and of course the beaches – Bondi looks amazing! And I do have a little dream in the back of my mind of doing a bit of a Golden Coast road trip, but I’ll definitely need some friends to keep me company. I haven’t decided yet if I will need to work while I am in Oz – I will assess my funds along the way and will see if I want to pick up some more cash. I had planned for three months there, but I already know I’ll be extending it to at least four months.
In New Zealand, I will again be visiting a few people, old family friends, but I’m also looking forward to having some time to myself to explore. I haven’t got a plan yet, but I’ve definitely got a few things I really want to do – like visiting the glow-worm caves, whale and dolphin spotting, I would love to see the Southern Lights, I fancy a lot of outdoor activities, so more surfing, walking and climbing would be good. While I’m in NZ, I’ve also decided that I simply have to get a flight and go to Fiji, no matter how much it costs me. It just looks like paradise and I think I need a little taste of heaven. I have an idea in my head that if I can find a job in Oz or NZ to raise some more cash – I would love to raise enough to stay the full year and to fly back to Australia for new year to watch the fireworks at Sydney Harbour before catching my flights back to the UK via Dubai on January 6. Whew. Quite a trip huh?
I’m still researching places and working out my exact route, so if you have any suggestions or advice, please do leave a comment!
PS. I’d love if you would vote for me in the UK Blog Awards by clicking here and here.
Emma Inks (@Emma_Inks)
I am so jealous I did almost exactly the same trip years ago and it was one of the best experiences, its an amazing time of year to go to South East Asia I can’t wait to see all of your pictures.
Ahhh amazing – I’m sure you’ll have some recommendations for me? I’m so happy to hear how great your trip was – it only confirms further for me that I’m making the right decision! I’ll definitely be posting about the whole thing as I go 🙂
May you have safe travels and all your dreams be so
Thanks Rob 🙂
Taylor Hearts Travel
I’m so excited for you! Australia is really easy to travel and enjoy. In particular, Melbourne is such a great city. You’ll find you meet loads of people there and there are no language barriers to overcome. Looking forward to following your adventures 🙂 x
Thanks Taylor! I’m looking forward to Australia and it will be great having lots of friends there to show me around as well 🙂 Really excited about it all and I can’t wait to see who I’m going to meet! xxx
I am exhausted reading your plans
Planning is exhausting! I’m looking forward to seeing them become a reality 🙂
I owe you an apology as I had sent a longer comment, a nice one
I can’t wait for you to go!! I’m even getting excited for you….again! 🙂
Thanks Meghan! That’s really kind of you 🙂 I can’t wait now!
You’re welcome dear! 🙂
If you’re going to do a Ha Long bay tour you really need to get out for at least a 2 day cruise, if not 3, some of the 3 day cruises include a stay on an island as well.
There are so many boats there, that the 1 day cruises can be really crowded, as all of the boats leave and return from the same place.
The company we did ours with was great, included a free transfer from HaNoi and all the staff were really friendly. Take plenty of water with you though, they charge a fortune (relatively speaking) for drinks on the boats, although food tends to be included.
Ooooh this sounds great! I’ll definitely look into it – thanks Andy! I’m not usually big on boats but determined to beat seasickness on this trip 🙂
I am so excited for you! You are going to have the best time, and the photos are making me wish I was coming along with you!
Hayley-Eszti // http://www.hayleyeszti.blogspot.com
Ahhh thanks lovely 😀 awww that would be the best if you could! I promise lots of posts and pics so it will be just like you’re there xxx
I’ve just moved from the UK to Australia (2 days ago actually!) and really recommend it in general. I now live in Brisbane and really like it, but if you’re going to the Gold Coast i’d recommend also checking out the Sunshine Coast (a lot less touristy and it’s where all the locals go) as it’s really beautiful!
Lizzy from Nomad Notebook
Wow that’s quite a move! How exciting for you 🙂 what prompted the move if you don’t mind me asking? Thanks for the tip – I’ll definitely add that to the list 🙂
I’ve been looking forward to this post for AGES! I am literally SO excited for you – all of this sounds absolutely incredible and I really hope you get a chance to blog about some of it while you’re there. I can’t wait to hear about the elephant sanctuary, I’d love to do something like that one day, elephants are so beautiful <3 xxxx
Awww thanks Jenny! I was so excited to finally write this one – it’s been a long time coming! I really hope I get the chance to continue with the blog while I’m away – I certainly plan to. But we all know life gets in the way while you’re making plans haha – I really can’t wait for the elephant sanctuary, that will definitely be a highlight for me! Lots of pics to come on that I reckon 🙂 they really are – my mum keeps begging me to bring one back in my rucksack! haha xxx
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Wow sounds amazing! My boyfriend stayed at an elephant sanctuary in chang mai (possibly the sme one!) And it was the most memorable part of his s.e.asia travels. I’d love the meditation retreat! In fact, it all sounds brill – you’ll love it x
Ooooh I think that must be the same one! I’m doing the volunteering thing for a week – so excited!! Aww that’s so good to hear – I think it will be amazing to be up close with such amazing animals 🙂 Yeah the retreat was a great recommendation from a friend – really looking forward to going. 🙂 xx
amazing plan!!! 2015 will be perfect 🙂 enjoy!
Thank you! I will – hope yours is awesome too 🙂
I’m an Aussie, and I have just moved to the USA this week. Australia is truly the most beautiful country you will ever visit. I would definitely recommend working if you have the visa. It’s a 457 one year visa and if you do 3 months in a remote or rural area you get your second year visa. It’s the best way to visit the real Australia, please don’t think that Melbourne and Bondi are it. The best beaches are undoubtedly in Western Australia, where we also have a lot less people so they aren’t so crowded! Lots of backpackers to their 3 months on a cattle station, which is the industry I generally work in, and it truly is a life changing opportunity if you end up at the right place, I know about 10 people who just haven’t left yet, and some have even been sponsored to live here because they don’t want to leave the station. Head on over to http://www.centralstation.net.au and go to ‘blog’ then select the ‘backpacker stories’ category and you can read first hand the experiences they have, if you need help I can definitely introduce you to some of the amazing places (backpackers are a big part of our industry but some stations are much better than others, so it’s always handy to have a recommendation both ways 🙂 )
I look forward to following your trip!
Hi Stephanie – sorry for the late reply! As you can imagine I’ve been travelling all over the place! So lovely to hear from someone who has lived and worked in Oz and your advice is so helpful – noting down the good beaches. I will definitely need to work at some point when I am there – unsure what field it will be in just yet but I do have a log of friends working over there in several industries and am hoping they will be able to hook me up with work ☺️ I will definitely check out your blog – I’m sure it will be real helpful for me! Thanks so much for your comment! Xxx
If I am correct you must obtain the right visa before you enter the country
Your Aussie friends can verify
Seen too many iTubes border control where people are rejected
Not a damper just have fun
Haha don’t worry it is all in process!
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