Travel

My Top 5 Travel Destinations

I’ve been meaning to do a blog like this for a while now and I’m finally getting to it. As I’m thinking about my top travel destinations, I’m realizing that I haven’t actually done an individual blog for all of them so watch out for those blog posts – coming soon. Ok, this is going to be tough, but, let’s get to it!

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Mark and I jumping for joy at the Taj

5. India
Where to start with India? Firstly, I think India is a place that you either love, or hate, there is no middle ground with India. Myself and Phil are divided on our opinions because he hated it, and will never go back, I loved it and would love to go back and explore more of India. It’s important to point out that even though Phil will never go back to India, he is glad that he experienced it once and would never tell anyone not to go there. India is overwhelming, overcrowded and it is a total shock to the senses, but those reasons are why it’s such an interesting place to visit. And I will say, India is the most interesting place I’ve visited, in particular Varanasi, which is one of the holiest cities in India. I will never forget our trip to Varanasi as I’ve never been anywhere like it before. Ii’ll delve more into Varanasi in my India blog post. Rajastan and Udaipur were also brilliant. Rajastan because we went to Ranthambore National Park and got up close and personal with 3 tigers which was INSANELY lucky as they are so elusive. And Udaipur because they had a lot of cool buildings and it was probably one of the cleaner cities that we were in.

4. South Korea
South Korea holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first country I moved to alone,

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Picture taken on Jeju Island, South Korea

just over 8 years ago. I had the best experience there and absolutely loved the people, the food, the culture and the place itself. South Korea is just a crazy, wacky fun country and there are so many cool and unique things to do, it’s also where I found my love for Noraebang (private karaoke rooms!). It has everything, the big cities that never sleep and have amazing nightlife, loads of fun museums if you’re into that and ridiculously cheap spa’s that you can sleep at called Jimjilbangs and of course you can visit the DMZ and get as close to North Korea as you’re probably ever going to get! I lived in Incheon and went to Seoul quite a bit, Busan is also a really fun area but the beaches there are ridiculously wedged during summer, Daebang is also fun and has a weird teddy bear place where you can rent these small rooms and play the wii and there’s giant teddy bears everywhere!

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Giant penis in Loveland, South Korea – see, wacky!

 

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Giant Buddha at the Golden Temple, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

3. Sri Lanka
We went to Sri Lanka during the same trip as India. We spent 10 days there before we headed to India, and we absolutely loved it. It was a fantastic country with amazing people and even better food! We took the very lazy option and hired a driver for 5 days(which you can organize through any travel agent or tour group there). We started in Colombo and went to Negombo for 2 days and then started with our driver from there. We knew we wanted to go to Kandi and then to Dambulla as we had booked into a 5 star resort there for 2 nights (Heritance Kandalama Hotel) and wanted to see Sigiriya Rock. We weren’t interested in any beaches (I am a pale freckley Irish girls who gets burned through windows lol) but there are loads of beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka too if that’s what you’re looking for. So, we told the driver the places we knew we wanted to go and then he made some further suggestions. We were happy with that. We stopped at tea houses, farms, we went to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala, The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is a famous temple, and the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, and that’s just to mention a few things. When we were booking the driver, the tour office booked us accommodation along the way, for 2 nights as we already had 2 nights booked and the two places they booked us into were small and lovely with great food! Our driver then dropped us back to Colombo where we stayed for our last night. Both myself and Phil often say we wished we had spent longer in Sri Lanka.

2. Peru

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Breathtaking Machu Picchu

We went to Peru in October 2016 and we both absolutely loved it. I did a whole blog post about our 10 day trip so I won’t repeat myself here but I highly recommend it. It gave us a great taste of South America and now we can’t wait to travel more of South America and we had the best ceviche ever in a restaurant in Lima! Machu Picchu was even more stunning than I could have ever imagined and you actually cannot appreciate the full beauty of it from a picture, however, a word to the wise, take altitude sickness pills as I was badly affected by the altitude both in Cusco and Machu Picchu. We spent a couple of nights in the jungle in Puerto Maldonado and it was such a great experience. We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 nights there. Our trip started in Lima and went like this Lima-Cusco-Machu Picchu-Cusco-Puerto Maldonado-Lima. It was a lot to squeeze into 10 days but we loved it. If you want to read about my 10 day trip in-depth including hotel and restaurant recommendations, go here.

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Fantastic views on South Island of New Zealand

1.New Zealand
And finally, number 1! Anyone who knows me know how much I love New Zealand and both myself and Phil always say it’s the place to beat for us. We were there for 7 weeks in 2011, during the Rugby World Cup and still often reminisce about it. I can’t put into words how amazing that country is. It has everything and the scenery is simply stunning, not to mention that they are famous for their adventure activities there AND their wine!! I mean, that’s all I need really! New Zealand was actually the place that got Phil into wine and coffee, he hated both before that trip! New Zealand is beautiful, everywhere you turn, but in particular, the South Island is spectacular. We rented a camper van on the South Island and travelled around that way for 3 and a half weeks, and it was just the best time we’ve ever had. Anyone out there who is thinking about travelling in a camper van, just do it, it’s brilliant. We got to see pretty much the entire South Island but in our time and at our pace. As for adventure activities, wow, I’ve never been anywhere else where you can literally do some crazy fun activity in every small random town! We did a skydive in Queenstown, white water rafting in Rotorua, a crazy sky swing thing over a cliff also in Rotorua, a zip line in some random town in the south island and another crazy swing above a forest in the middle of nowhere on the south island! Even though we spent 7 weeks travelling New Zealand, I would go back in a heartbeat!! You can read my earlier blog post about Fiji and New Zealand here.

Until next time 🙂

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