Welcome t another Travel Tuesday. Remember when you hop around today people’s posts might be themed, so have a fun time seeing what everyone came up with this week. I decided to not write to the theme this week but let Anna from Slightly Astray blog have a space here. This is her last week with us and she is going to be sharing her Top Ten Travel Destinations.
Hello A Compass Rose readers! I’m Anna from Slightly Astray and I will be taking over Bonnie’s blog today before passing my Travel Tuesday co-host spot unto someone else!
For those who may not know me, a quick little introduction: I quit my job as an engineer/project manager to live a life of full-time travel with my boyfriend. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this is where life would take me, and contrary to the glamorous image of full time travelers, this kind of life is not always easy, but I have absolutely no regrets!
I cannot believe that it is coming up on a full two years (on April 1st!) since we packed a luggage each and boarded a one way flight! So for today’s guest post, I thought I would share 10 of my favorite destinations visited (in random order!) in our two years of travel. I loved all of these places for different reasons, but no matter the reason, they have all claimed a piece of my heart.
1. Santiago, Chile
Santiago will forever have a special place in my heart as the very first city we headed to when we started our new nomadic lives. It may not the the prettiest city or have the best food (in fact, some of the food is downright disgusting!), but it is special to me for the fact that this is where I learned to function as a traveler and fell in love with the lifestyle. I think back on my time in Santiago with such fondness for this kind of “first” is truly a feeling that can never be replicated.
Who doesn’t love London?! I was only here for a quick 3 days (because yeah… I’m poor and London is expensive) but I was completely enamored with it! London was the first European city I have ever set foot in and oh what a beautiful first impression it made! I barely even covered a fraction of the city and I’m constantly dreaming of when I can return to walk its streets again.
3. Wroclaw, Poland
Wroclaw is one of my favorite cities in Europe due to the fact that it’s such a perfect little fairytale town. And if I’m being honest, also due to the fact that I fell in love with the restaurant Pierogarnia and still insist that it serves the best pierogies I’ve ever had.
4. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is just plain fun! There’s nothing I can say to pinpoint exactly why I loved it so much, so really it’s just a little bit of everything: the food, the architecture, the cafes, the river, the ruin pubs, the baths… I can go on and on. It’s also an extremely budget friendly destination, making it one of my top places I recommend in Europe.
5. Istanbul, Turkey
The perfect city of east-meets-west! Is there another city as colorful, crazy, and exciting as Istanbul?! I loved hearing the calls to prayer multiple times a day, sitting down in an alleyway to smoke shisha + play backgammon, and seeing all the explosions of colors and textures in the markets. There’s just not quiet another place like Istanbul. And quiet literally… what other city in the world is divided by the ocean to sit on both European and Asian soils?!
6. Koh Chang, Thailand
While this was certainly not the only tropical paradise I’ve been to, it’s the one that made the most impression on me. We stayed on the quiet, untouristed side of this little island for 2 weeks. For a large portion of that time, we didn’t get internet and I took the time to completely unplug and reconnect with my myself. I read a ton, scooted all over the island, swam in the warm waters, and spent hours in the kitchen creating Thai dishes. I felt completely at peace, like I was the best version of myself there.
7. Hanoi, Vietnam
Oh. My. Goodness. THE FOOD! The food in Hanoi is just INCREDIBLE! The entire Old Quarter is packed full with street vendors and eateries, and every single one is delicious… a true foodie heaven! I already liked pho before coming, but this is where I fell completely in love with Vietnamese cuisine (and Vietnamese coffee… and I’m not even a coffee drinker!). A perfect day in Hanoi is just walking around and randomly sitting down at whatever sidewalk eatery that looks crowded or smells good.
Read: 10 Dishes to Try in Hanoi (this is my top viewed post of all time)
8. Taipei, Taiwan
This was the first city that felt truly like home. Again, another city that doesn’t sound too exciting and is not even on most people’s travel itineraries, but it is an extremely fun and livable place. There’s so much to discover about Taipei, from the night market culture to the cafes to day trips. We initially visited for 2 weeks, and loved it enough that we went back and settled there for a whole 3 months, making Taipei the first place we called home for a temporary while.
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
So I think I found a new city as exciting as, if not more than, Istanbul! Malaysia is a wonderful mix of cultures and ethnicities, which results in a very diverse place with some of the most exciting food I’ve ever had on my travels. Kuala Lumpur is a true city of contrasts: insanely modern yet still distinctively Southeast Asian. There’s just an neverending list of things to discover to excite me.
10. Beijing, China
And last but not least, there will always be a piece of my heart reserved for my birth city, Beijing. In the past year, I was lucky enough to be able to spend a significant chunk of time there, both as a tourist and as a Beijinger returning to my childhood home. I was really able to gain a deeper understand for my culture and this country as a whole. China may seem intimidating to visit but once you look under the surface, it is a beautiful country with a rich history and of course, delicious food.
So that’s it! My top 10 favorite places in two years of travel! What were some of your favorite destinations?