A quick summary of my travels!
I lived in Yeosu, South Korea for four years. I moved there to teach English in February 2010, and loved it so much I stayed until April 2014!
I visited Beijing and Shanghai in the summer of 2010. It was my first international trip after moving to Korea. I would say the highlight of this trip was the 14 hour train ride, between Beijing and Shanghai, spent sleeping on the floor of the “Standing Room Only” car.
I spent an awesome 8 days in Japan in January 2011. I was able to squeeze in time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. There is so much more to Japan that I was able to experience, and I would love to visit again some day.
I’ve been to Thailand three times: February 2011, January 2012, and then again in August 2013. I’ve been to Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta, Krabi, and Koh Yao Noi. It’s one of those places that is just so easy to visit that I had told myself I wouldn’t visit a place in Asia more than once until I had cycled through all the countries I had wanted to see; clearly I did not stick to that!
Hong Kong was the first stop on a whirlwind 3-week, 5-country trip in August 2012. It is such a cool place, I just wish we had been there for nice weather! Absolutely a place I would visit again.
Macau was the second stop on my summer 2012 trip– and we were there during a typhoon. To say we were saturated while walking to the hotel is a vast understatement. Regardless, the color and vibrancy of Macau is extraordinary. Another place I would like to visit again some day.
Indonesia was stop 3 on the summer 2012 trip. Truthfully, I was not overly impressed with the version of Indonesia that I saw. I have friends who have been and did nothing but rave about their experience, but Bali fell a bit short of what I had hoped. Kuta beach was just a bunch of drunk bros and basics. To be fair, I had pretty intense food poisoning for a few days, so I could have missed some of Kuta’s redeeming qualities…. I did, however, really enjoy the inland area called Ubud. We stayed in a nice hotel and had a great tour of the area by a knowledgeable hotel employee. That tour was definitely the best thing about my time in Indonesia. I’ll go again, but definitely to the more remote and jungley parts.
Malaysia is another place I’ve been multiple times: it was stop number 4 on the summer 2012 trip and I visited again in February 2014. This is another place I wasn’t overly in love with. It was fine, but nothing extraordinary. I have only been to the western coast (the east coast is “closed” at certain times of the year because of weather- so I hear) and the beaches were nice, but it didn’t offer much beyond a nice coastline.
Taiwan is an underrated destination. I visited in February 2012, with the goal of getting to the Pingxi Lantern Festival. I only saw Taipei and north/northeast and wish I had been able to see more.
Vietnam, an August 2013 destination, was really hectic– which is absolutely part of its charm. For the first time in Asia, I felt as if I was a little unwelcome, but I expected that to an extent. I was able to take in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, and a super quick stint in HCMC.
Cambodia definitely ranks in the top of my favorite Asian countries. I’ve been twice: once in July 2013 and again in January 2014. I’ve seen Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. I loved Angkor so much, I went twice. I think I could live there.
Another place I could see myself living: Singapore! I’ve been twice: the first time was as stop number 4 on the summer 2012 3-week trip, and then I stopped in again in February 2014. Beautiful, clean, diverse, and hot: all qualities I love!
This is one of the more obscure places I’ve been. I experienced this hidden gem in January 2014, while tourism was still relatively new. Getting from point a to point b was not as easy as it is in other Southeast Asian countries- but that is part of the appeal.
I’ll be making frequent trips up north… so many friends up there! I saw Montreal and Quebec in high school, and did Ottawa and Toronto when I was up there in July 2014.
This was an incredible trip. We first stopped in Leon (hiked a volcano, nbd) and then headed to Little Corn Island… expecting to stay for a few days then move on to Grenada and Ometepe… we stayed on LCI for 12 days. We made friends and couldn’t pull ourselves away. While I wish I had been able to experience other places in Nicaragua, I had such a fantastic time with the diverse group of friends we made on LCI, that I don’t regret staying so long.