Destinations

2015 Travel Highlights.

At the end of the year, I like to reflect on the the past twelve months and today I’m excited to share my top travel highlights!

I’ve kinda split this post into two sections. This way I can share the top places I’ve visited and my favourite experiences of the year.

So without further ado, here are my favourite places I’ve visited in 2015…

Koh Samui

Towards the beginning of the year I spent a week of pure relaxation in Koh Samui. I stayed at Beach Republic, which is located in a quiet, somewhat secluded location at the far end of Lamai beach.

1 Due to the quite location of the resort I spent the majority of my time chilling at a cabana, enjoying the sun, swimming and eating incredible food. Of course I had to indulge in a few spa treatments as well. The luxurious accommodation and excellent service provided at the resort made it hard to leave. However, I had visited the island once before with a friend of mine for a spa break and we didn’t leave the hotel, so I really didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.

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2Once we hired a bike and got out of our luxury bubble I realised that the island still has a lot of naturally beautiful spots, despite it’s reputation for being over developed. My favourites being Na Muang waterfall and the viewing point.111

3China

I simply couldn’t pick only one place as the highlight of my time in China. This was my first time visiting the country and it was definitely an interesting experience to say the least!

I had people coming up to me taking pictures, getting lost in translation, trying new food not knowing what it was 99% of the time and using bathrooms where there were NO DOORS on the toilets – it’s safe to say there was quite a culture shock.

6I was based in Chengdu, which is the capital of Sichuan Province and famous for it’s spicy cuisine, which I fell in love with. Honestly, yu xiang qie zi is my new favourite dish of 2015.

8I visited the Giant Buddha in Leshan, which is so imposing standing at 71 meters high! Along with the Giant Buddha, there is a huge park where you can see many different shrines.

5And as you all know, I absolutely adore Jiuzhaigou National Park. I’m not going to go into detail about it here as I have dedicated a blog post to it already. But I had to mention it as it is one of my memorable moments from my time in China.

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Koh Rong

I’ve been to Cambodia many times, but I had never visited Koh Rong. I had planned to go there with my friend several times, but every time we made arrangements something went wrong – there was a storm or we missed the boat etc.

There is now a fast boat to the island which cuts down the travel time from Sihanoukville to only 45 mins, so I simply had to finally visit the island. I decided to stay on Sok San beach which is on the more remote side of the island, with only a few guesthouses and bungalows dotted along the 6km of beach. It requires you to take another boat to get there from the main port. It was SO worth it.

25This place is an idyllic paradise, I spent my time there swimming in the clear turquoise water and relaxing on the pure white sand. We had the beach to ourselves for the majority of the time, only encountering a few other people.

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It is truly a magical place and I thoroughly recommend anyone visiting here if you have the chance. Not to sound cliche, but go now! Before it loses it’s rustic charm, there are already plans for further development and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on experiencing this slice of paradise as it is now.

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Koh Chang 

I spent a couple of days on Koh Chang and I would absolutely love to visit again, it has such a laid back vibe to the island. I stayed at Emerald Cove which is located on the secluded Klong Prao beach. When I’m visiting Thailand, I prefer to stay in quieter locations because then you have the option to visit the busy resorts or simply unwind in peace, the perfect compromise for me.

23One of my favourite moments was listening to live music at the resort’s beach bar, sipping a cocktail and watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.21

22Gdansk 

It’s official, I have a new favourite city – Gdansk. This is one of THE most picturesque places I’ve visited, whilst most of the building were rebuilt after WWII, the city is filled with 17th century style buildings and every corner you turn you’re presented with another beautiful cobbled street.1819

I must admit that visiting during the festive season was a magical experience. Shopping at the Christmas market and seeing the Christmas tree being lit up was amazing.16

And if you are interested in history, then you have hit the jackpot. Gdansk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which played a large role in bringing down communism in Europe. Such an interesting place to visit!17

Now that I’ve recapped some of my favourite places of 2015, here are some of my top moments from throughout the year…

Hanging out with old friends

Having the opportunity to meet up with some of my friends in different places around the world has been one of my favourite experiences of this year.

112113114As well as meeting up with old friends, I’ve gained new ones along the way. Travel bonds people together so easily and is good for the soul.115

There is nothing better than spending time with awesome people in awesome places.

Visiting Pandas in Chengdu

Again, I have already wrote a blog post about this. But, I met some pandas and it was amazing.1213

Exploring with my Grandparents

I went on a trip to Turkey with my grandparents and we had so much fun together!

11We enjoyed the old town of Side checking out the 2nd century ruins, walking along the cobbled streets and shopping in the bazaars.

910We also took an unexpected trip to a waterfall which was so beautiful.

116Sky Bar in Riga

As you know, I love view points so much! I always try to get to one when I visit somewhere new, I think its the best way to see a place.

One of my favourite travel moments this year was warming up with a hot chocolate and this incredible view after a cold morning of exploring Riga.1415

2015 has been an interesting year for me with many high points and incredibly challenging moments.

Here is to a new year full of travels and adventures, where ever you are in the world.

xo Gemma

I’m Gemma, a travel blogger who is in love with exploring new places. Follow me for luxury travel tips, travel inspiration and photography from around the world.

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