Our 2013 Country Run-Down

It’s nearing the end of the year and like most people, Andrew and I have been reflecting on what we’ve achieved in 2013 and looking forward to what 2014 holds. This year was very special for us because we finally got out on the road and started travelling full-time; since leaving the UK in March we’ve had the most incredible, extreme ten months of our lives – it’s been tougher yet more rewarding than we ever imagined it would be. Here’s a look back at the places we’ve visited in 2013 and what we loved about them.

New Zealand

The view from Ben Lomand, Queenstown

Where we went: Auckland, Paihia, Keri Keri, Tairua, Raglan, Rotorua, Taupo, Tongariro, Wellington, Golden Bay, Franz Joseph, Fox Glacier, Queenstown, Christchurch.

Length of stay: one month.

What we loved: pretty much everything but particularly the spectacular scenery, the laid-back atmosphere and cleanliness.

What we didn’t love: the prices; accommodation, activity and basic food costs made New Zealand our most expensive country to date, you can take a look at exactly what we spent in our cost post.

Fave places: Golden bay, Queenstown, Taupo and Raglan.

Top travel experiences:  Skydiving, hiking the Tongariro crossing, the Rock Boat Overnight Cruise.

Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

Where we went: Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Rockhampton, 1770, Hervey Bay, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay.

Length of stay: five weeks.

What we loved: the amazing bustling cities, staying with Andrew’s family for a week, holding a koala and meeting all the weird and wonderful animals.

What we didn’t love: the backpacker party scene, the prices and the long distances from one place to the next.

Fave places: Melbourne, Hervey Bay, Sydney.

Top travel experiences: Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, the Neighbours Tour and Trivia Night, visiting Lone Pine and Featherdale wildlife parks.

Indonesia

Ubud Bali

Where we went: Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Kuta, Ubud, Kerobokan, Gili Islands and Senggigi.

Length of stay: six weeks.

What we loved: the prices; as you can see in our cost post, Indonesia was our cheapest country to date. The weather was also incredible while we were there and we saw some spectacular scenery.

What we didn’t love: Jakarta, culture shock, giant spiders, being hassled.

Fave places: Ubud.

Top travel experiences: the Bali Eco-Cycling Tour, our Midnight Tour of Mount Bromo, visiting Borobodour.

Malaysia

View from the Longhouse, Malaysia

Where we went: Kuala Lumpur, Borneo: Kuching, Batang Ai, Sri Aman, Lahad Datu, Danum Valley, Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu.

Length of stay: three weeks.

What we loved: the friendliest people we’ve come across so far, amazing wildlife in Borneo, getting off the beaten track and feeling at home in Kuala Lumpur.

What we didn’t love: over-priced, bad quality hotels, the food – apart from one stand-out meal at Bike and Tours in Lahad Datu.

Fave places: Kuching, Danum Valley, Kuala Lumpur.

Top travel experiences: staying in a longhouse and sleeping out in the jungle in Batang Ai, staying at a scientific field camp in Danum Valley, our river boat tours in Kinabatangan.

The Philippines

Banaue Rice Terraces, the Philippines

Where we went: Manila, Bohol and Panglao, Banaue, Batad, Sagada, Baguio city.

Length of stay: three weeks.

What we loved: pretty much everything; the landscape, the polite people, the mountains, food and incredible treks.

What we didn’t love: the cockroaches, the overnight bus from Manila to Banaue, Baguio city.

Fave places: Sagada, Banaue, Batad, Bohol.

Top travel experiences: Hiking the Batad Rice Terraces, going caving in Sagada, visiting the Chocolate Hills.

Thailand

The River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

Where we went: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Pai, Chiang Rai, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Surat Thani.

Length of stay: three months.

What we loved: the comfort and ease of travel, meeting up with friends and family, staying in an apartment in Chiang Mai, finding great food.

What we didn’t love: overnight trains and buses, some overpriced taxis and tuk tuks and the negative effects of tourism such as rubbish on the beaches.

Fave places: Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Pai.

Top travel experiences: Volunteering at the Dog Recue Project, visiting the Elephant Nature Park, riding the Death Railway in Kanchanaburi (Amy), visiting Erawan national park (Andrew).

Laos

Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang

Where we went: Huay Xai, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Phonsavanh, Xam Neua.

Length of stay: one month.

What we loved: the extremely laid-back people and atmosphere, cheap prices, baguettes, the non-touristy feel, the history.

What we didn’t love: some of the food, the bus journeys and the ATM fees.

Fave places: Luang Prabang, Phonsavanh, Luang Namtha.

Top travel experiences: the Vieng Xai cave tour, our trip to the Kuang Si waterfall, visiting the plain of jars.

A Look Forward to 2014…

We’re rounding off the year by spending a month in Vietnam before heading to Cambodia and swinging back through Southern Laos. Towards the end of February we’ll be flying to Burma before spending a month in Thailand, re-visiting the Philippines and finally exploring Taiwan before heading back to the UK for a three-month visit. In September 2014 the next phase of our adventure will begin when we move back to Asia to work for a year – something tells me 2014 is going to be just as incredible as 2013!

So, where have you been in 2013? Here are the awesome places some of our fellow bloggers have visited:

The Nomadic Family – Oh, the places you’ll go – everywhere we’ve been on the globe
Travel with Bender - How many countries did we travel in the last 574 days?
World Travel Family – How many countries have you been to?
Wagoners Abroad – No Schengen visa for Wagoners Abroad 2013
Renegade Travels – End of year review
Great Big Scary World – 2013: teach, cycle, get arrested, raft, get arrested, start again
Ramble Crunch – So, how many countries have we been to?
Act of Traveling – 20 years of travel: the places we have visited
Capturing la Vita – Our Favourite Family Spots in Tuscany for 2013

31 thoughts on “Our 2013 Country Run-Down

  1. Pingback: End Of Year Review 2013 | Renegade TravelsRenegade Travels

  2. We visited half of those this year. Hope to get to a few of the others next year. Now I’ve added the Neighbours Tour to my list of things to do. LOL.

    • It’s definitely worth doing Manfred, the Neighbours Tour and Trivia Night were awesome. :)

    • Yes we do Alyson. Happy holidays to you and the family. Hope you find somewhere nice to stay. :)

  3. Pingback: 20 years of travel: the places we have visited - Act of Traveling

    • Thanks Jamie, our first year on the road was more incredible than we ever anticipated and has only inspired us to fill as many more years with travel as we can. Exciting to hear you’re heading back to Asia!

  4. Pingback: How Many Countries Have You Been To? - worldtravelfamily.com

    • Thanks Erin, we didn’t spend long in Manila, although we should have explored more. Happy holidays to you and the family! :)

  5. Pingback: How Many Countries Have We Been To? | RambleCrunch | RambleCrunch

  6. Pingback: Our Favorite Family Spots in Tuscany for 2013 -

  7. Pingback: Oh, the Places You’ll Go- Everywhere We’ve Been on the Globe- Amazing Photo Essay for this RTW Family Travel Blog | The Nomadic Family Travel Blog

    • Yes, we definitely know why! It isn’t definite yet but we are hoping to make a decision about which country to settle in for a year once we’ve visited Taiwan in May.

    • Laos is very different to the other countries surrounding it; very, very laid back and slow paced. Definitely worth a look! We’ll be back to sample more ourselves in Feb.

    • Thanks Gabi! We certainly have had a marvelous adventure – can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

  8. Pingback: 2013: Teach, Cycle, Get Arrested, Raft, Get Arrested, Start Again | Great Big Scary World

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