Happy New Year everyone! A look back at my travel in 2018 – 11 countries scratched off my map in 7 trips; another record-breaking year! I have traveled to 41 countries so far, will I hit 50th in 2019? I know, I am still catching up with the trip reports on the last 3 trips 🙂
In Jan. 2018, I made my first step into Southeast Asia: Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, with a short side trip to The Maldives. I finally visited the other famous honeymoon destination to compare with Bora Bora, French Polynesia. You can read my comparison here. Cambodia was spectacular visiting the ancient ruins including the famous Angkor Wat. Island hopping in Thailand was fun and the inexpensive and delicious Thai food…yum. Singapore is a too modern city for me so a quick night over was enough for me to get a taste of it. On the journey home, we got stuck in Japan due to a snowstorm (it was less than 5″ of snow, come on!) where our flight got canceled and we had to spend a night in the airport; I don’t want to ever experience that again.
In Febuary, right on Chinese New Year, we made a “long weekend” trip to Bolivia to see the reflection on the world’s largest salt flat. Unfortunately, there were some bubbles on the water so not a perfect reflection. Nevertheless, the landscape was surreal.
In May, we went back to Asia again but with a quick stop in Sicily, Italy on the way (I found a cheap flight from Boston to Madrid to Japan LOL). This time, we actually see Japan instead of inside the airport only. Japanese are so friendly and polite, it’s probably the safest large city we ever been to with no worry about being pickpocket or scam. In Japan, I get to experienced wearing the tradition kimono where the dressing of it is a piece of art…I spent almost an hour getting wrapped in countless layers and tied by a professional dresser! Next, we headed off to Taiwan; it was food, food, and drink (I love checking out the convenient stores’ drink sections with so many flavors of milk teas). We finished our trip at South Korea where I also get to wear a Hanbok exploring the ancient palaces.
In September, I went to explore more of my favorite continent – Europe. I love Prague, Czech Republic, the whole city is so charming with pastel colored architectures. We did a side trip to the fairy-tale like town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany; I have been waiting to visit it for years. Then, we visited Budapest, Hungary – it was an amazing place for night photography. Lastly, the lake region of Italy exploring the picturesque towns surrounding Lake Garda and Lake Como was one of my favorite road trips.
On my birthday weekend in October, I took my family over to France to see
Mont-Saint-Michel where I actually dreamed about it before I even know about this place. It was truly a dream come true! The quick weekend in Paris was wonderful to show my mom what is Europe that I had visited so many times and hopefully she will stop yelling that I wasted my money traveling!
A few weeks later on Veteran’s Day weekend early November, we tried our luck again on the lottery to hike The Wave in Utah. Despite 5 straight tries, we weren’t lucky enough to win one of the 10 slots, but we visited so many amazing landscape around the area like the White Pocket and Monument Valley.
Another November trip during the Thanksgiving long weekend, I get to experience my first Christmas market in Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn’s Old Town is so lovely and their Christmas market, although small, filled with affordable traditional crafts and food. We had so much fun checking out their Christmas Market that Jason wanted to visit another one next Thanksgiving. We also visited Copenhagen, Denmark to check out their Christmas Market as well. The Christmas market in Tivoli, the second oldest amusement park in the world, generally rated as one of the top Christmas markets but it was not our cup of tea. It lacked the wooden stalls surrounding the Christmas tree type of atmosphere, instead, the individual cute houses scattered in the amusement park with screaming kids on rides.
11 new countries added in one year was another record-breaking year! In 2019, I planned to visit French Polynesia again since I couldn’t pass on the discounted award sale to Tahiti and the Marriott-SPG merger’s sweet spot of booking high-end properties: the St. Regis and Le Meridien Bora Bora at an affordable points rate. I also booked the summer trip to Namibia for safari again and the incredible sand dunes combined with a long-delayed Tuscany road trip. What’s your New Year travel resolution?