If asked about my ideal superpower, without any doubt I’d say ‘the power of teleportation’. Now that the year 2017 is just around the corner, join me as I relive my 2016 Wanderlust Goals in 9 Hours.
9:00 AM in Coron, Palawan, the Philippines. The memory still lingers. As we always do, we have to start somewhere else and there’s no other place in the world like my first destination to my 2016 Wanderlust Goals as it is just simply named recently as the Best Island in the World.
To be honest, it’s really hard to doubt Coron once you see it in person, most especially during morning or the afternoon (before sunset) when the heat isn’t at its peak. The view will just leave you breathless. Let the pictures speak for itself. Let me take this opportunity to invite you to visit Palawan. It’s a place worthy to be on top of your bucket list and explore it with your own naked eye, it’s really worth it and will leave you speechless.
The Barracuda Lake is a famous hidden paradise that you must include in your tour. This place is known for its calm yet pleasant clear waters and is surrounded by trees and wonderful rock formations.
The best spots in Coron are scattered in different places and is best explored thru a pre-arranged island hopping tour. It’s best to arrange a full day of island hopping with few hours of stops in between.
A day at the paradise let you re-connect with mother nature. With our all-year round busy schedules, it’s also best to schedule a day, a two, or even a week to unwind here with the important people in your life. After all the hardships, we deserve a relaxing lunch by the sea, an opportunity to swim with the fishes in crystal clear waters, and see majestic views – you name it, Coron has it for you.
10:00 AM Coffee Break and Tour in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I really thought before that the capital of Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh City, but it’s actually Hanoi. But anyway, whenever given the chance, Ho Chi Minh City is a nice gateway for you to start your Indochina Tour because its nearby countries (Vietnam – Cambodia – Thailand) are all accessible by land (long bus trips). Just make sure you book trips ahead of your visit to avoid the hassle of being a chance passenger.
Did you know that Vietnam is known in the world as the world’s second largest exporter of Coffee next to Brazil? About their coffee, the Ca Phe Sua Dua or Vietnamese Iced Coffee (with Condensed Milk) is always my go-to order. Speaking of which, you have lots of cafes to choose from when you visit the city.
Just a reminder, please drink coffee moderately or else, you’ll palpitate. Looking for good food to pair with your coffee? don’t forget to try an authentic national Vietnamese dish, Phở with your wittiest caption on social media.
11:00 AM in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Looking back to my visit this year, I find the capital of Cambodia as the city that I find fragile and left with a heavy heart. During my stay, I went to the Killing Fields Museum that opened my eyes about the reality of Cambodia’s past under the Khmer Rouge and former leader, Pol Pot where they have diminished 21% of Cambodia’s population during their rule.
The visit was a realization that I am blessed to have lived at the present era, that we should all continue to pray for the souls of the fallen victims and for the peaceful years ahead that this kind of tragedy won’t ever happen again.
12:00 NN in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. The Angkor Archaeological Park is the place of a famous Cambodian landmark, the Ankor Wat, largest religious monument in the world. The park is known for picturesque views and there are lots of ruins to explore. The Ta Prohm Temple at the Archaeological Park is the place featured in the famous film Tomb Raider by Angelina Jolie.
Take note to take full meals before go and when exploring the ruins. You must also bring enough water bottles (though sometimes it is already included in your tour package) to quench your thirst since it is really hot there during the afternoons.
1:00 PM in Da Nang, Vietnam. Da Nang is the Central part of Vietnam. It is known for its sandy beaches and the gateway to reach the Ancient City of Hoi An, which is 41 minutes apart. Da Nang is also known for having Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort, which I just stumbled when I researched about the Instagram worthy – places to visit in Vietnam.
The Bana Hills Mountain Resort is has this hybrid of Hogwarts and French inspired vibe and is literally on top of Trường Sơn Mountains. The means of access from the foot of the mountain up is through cable car. This is probably Vietnam’s own version of Disneyland since it happen to house a few enjoyable rides that kids will surely enjoy.
2:00 PM in Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam. If the Philippines has the Rizal Monument, New York City has the Lady Liberty, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, then, Vietnam has the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, the country’s capital. Hoan Kiem means “returned sword” which came from a legend in which King Le Loi was given this magical sword by the gods, which he used to drive out of invading Chinese. Later, he returned the sword to the Golden Turtle God in the lake.
3:00 PM at the Merlion Park, Singapore. Speaking of another landmark, I’m happy that I was able to set foot in Singapore this year (full blog here) and take pictures at the Merlion Park. The last time I went here was when I’m still inside my mother’s tummy. The challenging part for me when I roam around alone is how to take a nice selfie. But good thing self-timer always does the trick.
4:00 PM Afternoon Swim at Balesin Island, Philippines. Out of the 7,107 Islands in the Philippines, there is an exotic destination that features seven areas patterned in seven fascinating countries namely the Philippines (Balesin), Thailand (Bali), Greece (Mykonos), France (St. Tropez), Spain (Costa Del Sol), and Italy (Tuscany) and that is no other than the Balesin Island in Pollilo, Quezon.
My personal favorite is the Mykonos area because it really feels like you’re really at Mykonos or Santorini in Greece. Unfortunately, the island is only accessible thru a private or corporate membership that costs quite a hefty amount which means I cannot go there anytime. But anyways, this is still something we can be proud of since we have this in the Philippines.
5:00 PM Hike at the Elephant Mountain in Taipei, Taiwan and Dinner at Shilin District. Before the sun goes down, there is a place in Taipei that you can visit that has jaw-dropping views of the city with the country’s icon, Taipei 101. This place is the Elephant Mountain, accessible via the Taipei Metro (last station of the Red Line, Xiangshan Station). The views are lovely at the top by sunset.
After the hike, Shilin District (also accessible via Taipei Metro from Xiangshan Station, Tamsui bound) is a must visit for some delicious yet authentic Taiwanese street food and night shopping.
6:00 PM at the Ancient City of Hoi An. I may have expressed my excitement with Vietnam’s (probably) most underrated city countless number of times already on Instagram, but I cannot help it. As someone who has seen the bright lights of New York City, I can say this is the calmer version of the concrete jungle when it comes to its night time spectacle.
If you’re wondering how to get there (aside from teleportation), you can actually book a domestic flights from any of the major points of Vietnam (preferably Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City) to Danang, and from there, pre-arrange a 41 minute shuttle ride to Hoi An. Your hotel could help you with this, if you’re lucky, it’s free with your accommodation.
As you can see, the city’s true beauty truly illuminates at night. I guess I can stay here for the rest of the night for now. What a lovely view to cap off the day. I feel so accomplished to have seen these exciting places. I look forward to new and more places to explore next year. Cheers to a prosperous year ahead of us! 2017, bring it on!