World Travel 2013-2014, The Big Wrap Up

  • Overall what we did:
    • 5 days in Malaysia wandering around Kuala Lumpur
    • 3 days in Singapore
    • 13 days in Thailand split between Phuket and Bangkok
    • 12 days in Cambodia split between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh
    • 49 days in Japan, mostly in Osaka with a week in Tokyo and day trips to Wakayama, Kobe, Koya-san and Kyoto
    • 7 days in Taiwan split between Taipei and Hualien
    • 14 days in South Korea split between Seoul, Buyeo, Daejeon, Daegu, Gyeong-ju and Busan
    • 12 days in Nepal split between Kathmandu and Pokhara
    • 28 days in the United Kingdom, split between London, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Belfast
    • 2 days in Ireland, all in Dublin
    • 3 days in Belgium, split between Ghent and Brugge
    • 5 days in the Netherlands, split between Rotterdam, Delft, and Amsterdam
    • 10 days in France, split between Paris and Chamonix
    • 1 day in Switzerland, spent in Geneva
    • 3 days in Portugal, split between Lisbon and a side trip to Belem
    • 10 days in Spain, split between Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Tarifa
    • 6 days in Morocco, split between Marrakech, Tangier and a tour to the Sahara
    • 1 day in Italy, spent in Milan
    • 7 days in Greece, split between Athens, Santorini and Kos
    • 13 days in Turkey, split between Bodrum, Selçuk, Denizli, Pamukkale, Göreme and Istanbul
    • 3 days in Bulgaria, spent in Sofia
    • 8 days in Romania, spent in Bucharest, Bran, Sinaia, Brasov, and Sibiu
    • 13 days in United States, spent in Honolulu, Miami, New York and San Francisco
    • 7 days in Canada, spent in Vancouver and Toronto
    • 1 day in Jamaica, spent in Falmouth
    • 1 day in Cayman Islands, spent in Georgetown
    • 1 day in Mexico, spent in Tulum
    • 1 day in the Bahamas, spent in Great Stirrup Quay
    • 14 days in China, spent in Beijing, Xi’an, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai

    from 14 November 2013 to 24 October 2014 (we also spent some time in Canberra, Sydney and Kangaroo Island within Australia)

    Into total we visited 30 countries (including Australia), and 85 cities/towns. We caught 38 flights totalling 116,204 km in the air (flying 3 times around the world) and also travelled by bus, train, tuk tuk, taxi, bicycle, boat, cruise ship, canoe, long tail boat, camel, horse, motorbike, mini van, hot air balloon and car as well as too many kilometres to count on foot.

  • Favourite part of the trip: Very very hard to pick. There were things I loved (and didn’t love) about every country. Visiting Tokyo and London would have to be highlights as they’re two cities I’ve always wanted to visit, as well as the hot air ballooning in Turkey and climbing the Great Wall in China
  • Looking down on Tokyo from Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo, Japan

    Looking down on Tokyo from Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo, Japan

  • Key tip: Be patient and kind. Keep smiling
  • Tips and Learnings:
    • Packing: Pack light, pack for one climate (makes life easier) and most importantly evaluate if you really need what is in your pack. Clothing for three days is more than enough, and your back (and body) will be thanking you for ditching the excess weight
    • Traffic: In South East Asia, anything goes on the roads. Cambodia in particular is rather scary with motorbikes and tuk tuks frequently driving the wrong way into traffic until they are able to merge back into the normal flow. Keep this in mind, and if you have any plans to ride a motorbike or drive in these countries… scrap them as fast as possible
    • Culture & Religion: A pretty straight forward one. Always research the country you’re heading into to see what the predominate religion is (this will affect your clothing choice) and also the local customs and laws. You don’t want to be that tourist that was arrested just because they didn’t realise a kiss in public was illegal
  • Highlights: Far too many to count.
  • Best Country: Personally, I loved Japan, France and Spain. I would love to go back to South Korea and Taiwan as well and wouldn’t mind doing a road trip around the United Kingdom (we missed out on a lot of the beautiful scenery). I think the list of places I want to visit has only grown since this trip…
  • Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom

    Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom

  • Worst Country: Toss up between Nepal and Cambodia. Both countries were beautiful in their own way; however, I strongly disliked the air pollution in Kathmandu (Nepal) and was very ill in Cambodia from the food.
  • Must See Attraction: Really hard to say. I’d say if there is a specific country that you’re interested in from the ones we’ve visited, click the relevant wrap link below to see my thoughts on must see/over hyped attractions. There are so many great (and not so great) things to see and do in each country, and they’re all so different it’s rather hard to compare.
  • Most Over-hyped Attraction: See above
  • Total Cost And now the big one everyone is waiting for… the total cost of this trip was… whatever you want it to be! Muh ha ha. A trip like this can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. For us, we spent exactly the amount of money that we wanted to. We did our budgeting for each country (yes I tracked costs by various categories and I know down to the cent what we paid in each country for each category… yes, possibly slight overkill), tracked our costs and decided as we went whether we were truly interested in spending money on an attraction / sight / place or not. I feel that neither Takeshi or I ended up walking away from a country saying ‘Oh but I wish we spent money on this…’, nor did we blow our budget. Goes to show that entering your daily costs into a well laid out spreadsheet and a bit of planning really does work!

Original Posts:

So where did we go? A map view:

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