That headline wasn’t accurate. Travel bloggers are always looking back on our trips, so that we can craft blogposts for you!
Well, as the
world year comes to an end, here’s a looking-back post that sums up my travels for this year. 2017 brought me more than one new place (OMG) + new memories. Come 2018, I’m not sure if it’ll be as exciting as the places I got to visit in 2015, 2016 or this year. We’ll see how the new year goes!
Before I continue, can I just say,
I didn’t expect to travel this much in 2017.
Again, chances to travel appeared and I couldn’t have felt more blessed and privileged to be able to travel. Travel will always be a part of me. I yearn to see and document so many places during my time on Earth.
Highlights & Trip Reflections of 2017
• Stockholm, Sweden •
I waited 5 months to take my first trip out of Singapore.
Trip highlights of Stockholm:
- Solo trip to Stockholm
- Visiting Scandinavia for the first time
- First time in Sweden
- Seeing all the Stockholm postcard views in person
- Staying at a hostel for the first time! If you can overlook the fact that I booked a private room instead of a bunk room. Stockholm hotel prices in the city centre are really madness.
- Experiencing spring in Stockholm! As an introverted traveller who needs quiet time, I’d chosen my travel period for this solo trip carefully. I didn’t want peak travel seasons because crowds and hordes of people are too intimidating to me. Neither do I want days that are very short if the sun was to set early. So, I chose spring, kinda overlooking the fact that the days were really long! The sun sets at 10pm!
- Trying all forms of transport that Stockholm has: trains, buses, trams, boats!
- Saw the loveliest of cherry blossoms in a park!
Stockholm was a lovely, relaxing city to discover. I loved the weather, the views, the experiences, people in Stockholm, and the culture! If you’re considering solo travel, Stockholm is an easy and welcoming (but expensive) place to visit.
View my trip reports from my Sweden trip!
• Bergen, Norway •
29 countries later, Norway remains the most beautiful country I’ve been to.
Trip highlights of Bergen:
- Blessed by fine, sunny weather at the rainiest city in the world (or at least in Europe) – where it rains more than 2/3 of the year
- Waited in the cold to watch the sun go down at almost 10pm, from high up at Mt Floyen
- Got a preview of the high cost of living in Norway, with expensive public transport to begin with. A short bus-ride was S$6, omg.
- Saw the intense beauty of Norway. Norway In A Nutshell was the perfect, a long-awaited experience to witness an incredible amount of Norway’s splendour. A full day of gorgeousness, we were so overwhelmed so many times throughout the day, that often, we gave up taking photos. Sitting back to simply admire the moments became bliss. I have way too many photos to edit, so please hang on for my Norway posts!
- Thought we’ll take things slow for our last day by visiting Mt Ulriken leisurely. Turned out to be an excruciating (but very beautiful) hike down the mountain. That hike reminded me to keep up with my glucosamine pills cos my knees were suffering!
Read more about my posts from Bergen:
• Stavanger, Norway •
You might not have heard of Stavanger, but you should have seen ‘that rock’ before. I would never have considered Stavanger if not for the determination to find out how to get to Pulpit Rock.
Trip highlights in Stavanger:
- Hiked for hours to reach Pulpit Rock. We woke up bright and early, made and ate breakfast, took a car ferry to Tau, and began! After a few hours, finally we got to Preikestolen. The views here were awesome! On other days, the views will be blocked by clouds or fog; we were really lucky.
- Visited the Petroleum Museum. It might sound incredibly boring, but this museum turned out to be interesting! It documents how discovering oil played a big part in influencing Stavanger’s history.
- Checked out of the AirBNB myself after my friends departed Stavanger the night before. Got to the airport for a domestic flight to Stockholm, then to Zurich and back to Singapore
• Bali, Indonesia •
- A huge family trip to Seminyak! The entire family of us (10+ people!) scooted off to Bali for a family vacation. We did all the touristy stuff during the few nights, including taking a day tour, visiting rice fields, seeing the sunset at Seminyak.I would have recommended going to Uluwatu for the most amazing sunset, but time and distance weren’t on our side.
- Finally, I saw a waterfall in Bali, after so many times of going Bali and never seeing a waterfall.
- Got shat on by a monkey. I was taking photos of a monkey in the distance, inside Ubud Monkey Forest, when something dropped onto my arm. Very calmly, I got my sis to pass me tissue paper and simply wiped that shit off. If you wonder, monkey poo is a little like damp sand or mud, but not gross to clean off. Thankfully none of that shit hit my new camera or my hair! It will also be the last time I enter this forest, haha!
- Tried Iyengar yoga. The only thing different this trip to Bali was going to an Iyengar yoga class at a home studio with a garden and a chicken walking around. Due to my short trip, I could only make it for an Intermediate Level 2 class, which wasn’t the smartest thing to do since I’ve never done that style of yoga before. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy the class very much. For now, I’ll stick with Hatha Yoga & Vinyasa Yoga!
• Bangkok, Thailand •
Travel highlights in Bangkok:
- Escaped to Bangkok solo. I’ve been to Thailand quite many times since I was a kid, but never alone. Bangkok is the kind of cities where you’ll prefer to enjoy it with someone else: a partner, girlfriends, good friends or family. This trip was an escape for me, for some quiet time to my own. In retrospect, the time and money could have been put to better use if I had more willpower to be constructive in Bangkok. Nevertheless, now that I’ve been to Bangkok solo, I have a new preferred destination for a solo trip over Bali.
- Longest trip in Bangkok than ever before. 10 days, without my girlfriends to shop with, without touristy things to do like visiting floating markets.
- Changed my hairstyle in Bangkok
- Ate so much Swensen’s ice-cream, Thai fishcakes.
- Took many yoga videos doing the same flows and poses haa.
Posts from Bangkok:
• Ipoh, Malaysia •
- Ate and ate in Ipoh! My impression of Ipoh is still that of a sleepy town, but the food is enough to make you take a trip there! Very different from JB and KL, Ipoh feels like a milder version of Penang, suitable for people who don’t like the buzz and crowds of cities too much.
- Visited a cave temple.
• Cameron Highlands, Malaysia •
- Stayed at a pretty but oh so crappy AirBNB apartment
- Visited amazingly photogenic tea plantations, a lavendar garden, a beautiful hotel for lunch and tea.
- Ate cheap steamboat in town and delicious food at the night market. Try the fried chicken from Malay stalls, and also crunchy steamed corn which they’ll serve in cups. Don’t forget to eat the strawberries while at Cameron Highlands, they turn sour very soon!
- Got stuck in the traffic jams. Never visit Cameron Highlands when it’s a public holiday! The roads were so jammed due to the tourists
- Took the boardwalk at Mossy Forest. This time, we didn’t hike through the forest, instead, only take a convenient boardwalk. A little strange and barely a hike, but still.
• Tokyo, Japan •
- Experienced autumn season in Tokyo again. Another time in Tokyo, this trip, more time was spent in nature than all the usual shopping I tend to do in Tokyo. Am still thinking to put up more tips and guides for Tokyo!
Check out these Tokyo posts!
• Fujikawaguchiko, Japan •
Trip highlights at Fujikawaguchiko!
- Saw Mt Fuji everyday. It was my first time visiting Fujikawaguchiko in the Yamanashi Prefecture. As if spotting Mt Fuji wasn’t enough from Mt Takao in Tokyo, we were guaranteed views of Mt Fuji here, by choosing to stay at Fuji View Hotel (well-named!), and when our activities revolved around the perfect mountain.
- Had a walk near a creepy stretch of the lake. The light at dusk was amazing, but the place somehow still felt creepy, probably because it’s so void of humans.
- Took a sightseeing pleasure boat out on Lake Kawaguchiko (which was how I took the photo above).
- Boarded the most cramped Mt Kachi Kachi ropeway to the summit of Mt Tenko, for outstanding views of Mt Fuji.
- Had onsen everyday at the hotel. Compared to my first onsen experience in Kyoto, the onsen pools were way smaller and had more people each time. The close proximity to other ladies in the pool was a little.. too close for comfort. I was glad I wasn’t wearing contact lenses or spectacles – everything thus became a blurry vision! 😜
- Walked out in the dark and coldness (near zero º) for dinner. I was nursing a flu and cough from lack of sleep and the cold weather, and was taking power naps to recharge. In the evening, we’ll walk out in the dark in freeeeezing weather to grab food. There were just a few family-run restaurants nearby. With barely any light on the road, the hotel had kept huge torchlights for us to use, and reflective straps which you can drape on, so that vehicles can see you. Cool and memorable experiences!
- Hiked up to Chureito Pagoda. More than 300 steps up a never-ending staircase, we finally got here! Getting to the town at Shimoyoshida was full of charm all the way, from the classic-looking train, to a photogenic train station, and the locals’ farms with the mountain in the background. Lovely.
• Bhutan •
I left my heart in Bhutan.
I don’t even know why and how. When I was on the plane leaving Bhutan, I turned to my brother and asked if he’ll visit Bhutan again, because that was what I was trying to get an answer out of myself too. At that time, just like him, my answer was “Not in the short term.” I was truly missing my comfortable life in Singapore, the ease to inhale deeeeeeply, and my super comfortable bed. Add to the fact that I’m a city girl. I need my easy access to drugstores where I can buy skincare and makeup easily, definitely not a priority of Bhutanese’s lifestyle.
Bhutan was: breathtakingly beautiful, unique to discover, yet every bit as uncomfortable as imagined.
Soon after returning to Singapore, memories of Bhutan kept popping into my conscious and semi-conscious moments. It’s like a dream that you woke up from, laughed because it was hard to believe, carried on with your life, and wondered if that dream was real. Did I really go to Bhutan?
There were so many highlights of my trip that till now I still find it difficult to structure Bhutan posts for this blog. Now, I yearn so much to head back to Bhutan, to take in more of it. For now, I can only continue to dream about Bhutan and use law of attraction to make the wish come true.
Read my very useful post addressing the ‘first-world concerns’ you could have about Bhutan!
How was your 2017? Are you ready for the new year?