It’s the new year again… and that means the blog has made it to 2 years! It’s been another wonderful year of writing and sharing my travel adventures — the passion is still burning stronger than ever and I can’t wait till the new year’s travels start.
But before 2017 really begins with all the travels I have in mind, I want to list down my annual travel reflections. It is my way of being thankful for the amazing experiences I’ve had, and reminding myself that I’m extremely lucky to be able to… well, walk the world. 2016 has been one pretty awesome year — I visited 5 countries, 4 new cities and 7 islands. I roughed it out, became vegan for a week, traveled in luxury, and went for too many sailing adventures than I can remember.
So this is my top 10 countdown of my favorite travel moments of 2016 — I am grateful for each and every one of these memories.
10) Rediscovering Malaysia
Due to Malaysia’s plummeting exchange rates this year, I decided that it was a great opportunity to explore my very own backyard. I’ve honestly been amazed at how much I do not know about my own country — embarrassing, I know. I discovered natural wonders I never knew existed, found out about new islands, stayed in unique retreats, went for adventure activities, and had amazing food journeys. In 2017, I’m looking forward to more.
Read about my local trips here:- Rediscovering Malaysia
9) Trips with My Girls
I enjoy my solo travels; but nothing beats spending some beach time or painting the town red with my best girl friends (and on some trips, guy friends too). 2016 has taken me on all sorts of adventures with them; and because it is not easy finding compatible travel buddies, I’m really grateful that I have friends who travel the way I do.
Some of my girly escapades here:-
Mynn’s Top 10 Things to Know About a Holiday in Koh Lipe
3 Days in Luang Prabang, Laos
8) Luxury Resort Reviews
It’s been a great year of being pampered with luxurious stays at pool villas, restored colonial mansions and beautiful island resorts. I’ve been really blessed to be invited as a guest to some of these places — there’s just something about falling asleep on the most comfortable bed linens, and waking up to super scrumptious breakfast spreads. Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to experience such lavishness in 2017.
List of luxury resort reviews here:- Luxury Stays
7) Exploring Countless Temples
I’ve never visited as many temples and temple ruins as I have this year — I half expected to be templed-out after each visit, but somehow, I wasn’t. I visited a large portion of Angkor’s collection in Cambodia for 3 days, spent a whole morning in Vietnam’s My Son, explored the glittering wats of Luang Prabang, and blended in with the crowds at Bangkok’s elaborate temples. More temples in 2017? We’ll see about that.
Join me on my temple explorations here:-
Siem Reap, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Temples on the Angkor Small Tour
Siem Reap, Cambodia: The Angkor Big Circuit Tour, Banteay Srei and Roluos Temples
The Ancient Ruins of My Son, Vietnam
6) Heading Back to the Motherland
My paternal ancestry is from the province of Guangxi in China. In 2016, I visited the cities of Guilin and Yangshuo in the province, and knowing that I was stepping back onto the land where my ancestors once lived gave me a mix feeling of awe and wonder, and a little sadness. I was completely taken in with the beauty of the place, but couldn’t help imagining how life must have been for them to decide to leave it all. I’m glad I made the trip with my family.
Posts on my vacation to Guilin, China here:-
Guangxi, China: Mynn’s Top 10 Things to Do in Guilin
Guangxi, China: Two Days in Yangshuo
5) First Media FAM Trip
Who would have thought I’d be invited on a media FAM trip? I’ve never even heard of the term until recently; and I can’t say I wasn’t excited. It was a different sort of experience spending an entire weekend with strangers — fellow bloggers and journalists; and the conversations I had opened my eyes to many aspects of traveling, and blogging. I’m happy I came back with a few good friends.
Read about my media familiarization trip here:-
Weekend Getaway to Resorts World Langkawi, Malaysia (Review)
4) Sailfishing in Rompin
On my many trips out to sea, one of them involved sailfishing. I’m no angler, but I couldn’t say no to a media trip for such an experience. I traveled all the way to Rompin in the East Coast of Malaysia to catch one of the most highly priced game fish — and boy, were they enormous! It was amazing watching the real anglers at work; reeling the sailfish in as they jumped about the water. All I did was take a photo before they were released back into the sea.
Read all about my thrilling expedition here:-
Pahang, Malaysia: Sailfishing in Kuala Rompin with Sea Urchin
3) Mother-Daughter Island Vacay
The most memorable island trip I had in the year has got to be the one with my mum. Life has a way of taking your time away from things that matter, and I’m glad I decided to spend a lovely weekend with the most important woman in my life. We talked, we laughed, and we had an amazing time chilling by the beach and getting pampered at the spa. Here’s to more mother-daughter vacations in 2017.
More about my island getaway with mum here:-
Mynn’s Top 10 Reasons to Stay at the Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia
2) Completing my ASEAN List
One of my travel goals is to visit all the countries in Southeast Asia; and in 2016, I finally did it! There are 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries — Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar and Laos; and the final country I had to visit was Laos. Now that this list is complete, should I aim for… the whole of Asia?
1) Yoga and Meditation Retreat
My retreat to the Hariharalaya Yoga and Meditation Retreat ranks as my most memorable travel experience of 2016 because it helped me rediscover myself. It was a life-changing experience being away from the outside world for a week — completely cut-off from the lures of modern society, being vegan, and to spend time just being ‘me’. Practicing yoga and meditation everyday eased up my body, heart and mind; and it was nice to be worry-free, stress-free, and without a care in the world. In the coming year, if a need requires for it, I might head back for a retreat once again.
Find out about the Hariharalaya retreat here:- Hariharalaya Yoga and Meditation Retreat Center in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Looking back, it’s been an interesting year of many travels and big life changes. Thank you for being a part of these adventures by dropping by my blog. The last two years since I’ve started this project has been nothing but wonderful — my little escape to relive the memories.
My travel goal for 2017 is to challenge myself and head for more adventurous activities– diving, hiking,… flying? Here’s to more walking the world in 2017!