2017 was simply a fantastic year of travel.
Many countries were visited, and many destinations were explored within the individual countries. It helped create many memorable travel moments that will stick in the memory bank for a for a very long time.
From the chaotic Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, to the blissful Khao Lak in Thailand. From the stunning cultural vibe in Ubud, Bali, to the laid-back streets of Vientiane in Laos, 2017 simply rocked and picking the five best travel moments of the year was no easy task.
In fact, to be truthful, choosing the number one travel moment of 2017 was quite straight forward task, with one specific event clearly heads and shoulder in front of pack, in terms of a meaningful and different life experience.
Without any further or do, let’s get into the list and go through the best five travel moments of 2017.
Reflecting on 2017: Best five travel moments of the year
1. Volunteering in Laos
Time Travelled: May/June 2017
To volunteer abroad was an amazing experience and one that will never be forgotten with the people I met and the challenges that were met.
I chose Vientiane, Laos as the location for my volunteering duties that was organised through the International Volunteering Headquarters. The program I was set out to do was to teach English to the primary school kids and at the time I had no idea was I was getting myself into.
Teaching the kids at their primary school was a real challenge to say the least, holding the little one’s attention during class was a difficult task, but when things clicked and we songs were songs, read out the alphabet and counted number, the mojo really got going.
I also had the pleasure to teach English to the Monks and the was an epic experience. The monks had a real desire to learn and that made the teaching all more enjoyable. The class with the monks was full of laughter, cheekiness and special memories that will last a lifetime.
If you get the chance to volunteer abroad, take it, sure it can be expensive expedition, but special moments like these don’t hold any dollar values.
2. Staying at the Amazing Alaya Resort in Ubud, Bali
Time Travelled: March 2017
I have stayed in many stunning resorts during my travels, but for whatever reason Alaya Resort in Ubud, Bali sticks out as the clear leader so far.
A wonderfully designed resort with a strong Indonesian flavour to it, whether it is inside the hotel rooms or out and about on the resorts grounds, Alaya is proud of its Indonesian heritage.
The dining experience at Alaya is five-star standard with two fabulous restaurants to choose from, The Petani and Manisan Restaurants. It is the Manisan that will stir up those romantic strings, with the restaurant conveniently located amongst the rice-fields that comes with a delicious Indonesian cuisine.
Personally, I always rate any resort largely based on the customer service, and the staff at Alaya Resort are top notch, with their friendly greetings and a pampering of the highest order. It made the experience alone at Alaya that extra special.
3. Christmas Wonderland in Singapore
Time Travelled: December 2017
Lights, colours and Christmas carols hovering through the speakers above. Gardens by the Bay is the setting for the glorious Christmas Wonderland in Singapore, and quite appropriate with the Super Trees sparkling high above.
It truly was a savouring moment to wander through the festive grounds and witness many people in high spirits and taking in the Christmas spirit that was well and truly alive, with the magnificent choir belting out a Christmas tune or two.
Everyone got their money’s worth when the amazing Christmas lights display began and it stopped everyone in their tracks with the eyes glued to the spectacular show. For this event, I was fortunate enough to witness the show from high above on the OCBC Skyway and get more brilliant views of Singapore.
4. Exploring the outdoors of Da Lat in Vietnam
Time travelled: January 2017
Gorgeous Da Lat. I ventured to this Southern Central Vietnamese city through recommendation and I’m glad I did. While the city centre is a unique attraction with great food, shopping and a lively atmosphere, the lure will always be to escape to the outdoors in and around Da Lat.
The surrounding area is very green with large hilltops, forests, lakes and magnificent waterfalls to gaze upon. There are plenty of scenic views to be found in Da Lat and the best way to see it all is to hire a personal driver and have a great day out exploring Da Lat. Just don’t forget to charge your camera, you’ll need it for this particular day trip.
5. A family outing into Phang Nga Bay in Thailand
Time travelled: September 2017
Thailand often delivers when searching for those precious moments and Phang Nga Bay in Southern Thailand, delivers on all fronts. For this family outing, we took the Longboat into the Bay and witnessed paradise at its best.
It started with a canoe in the mangroves and the limestone caves, a blissful way to start any day-trip, as you lay back and take in the surrounds around you and with the only sounds coming from the oars hitting the water.
Next the longboat went deep into The Bay and we stopped at the famous James Bond Island for a quick dip, sightseeing and more photo taking opportunities with the little islet made famous in the 1974 James Bond film taking most of the glory.
The experience in Phang Nga Bay ended at the Panyee Island, a floating village, which is not only set-up for tourist and a solid feed at lunch time, it’s also a way to view a unique lifestyle for locals who live on the floating village and yet still have luxuries of schooling, housing and a Mosque for prayer time.
Memorable travel moments of 2017, five of the best, and it could have been many other adventures throughout the year that could have made the list. What does 2018 have in store? Who knows, because I liked to go with the flow and see what surprises will come my way next. Happy travels.