2017 was my most incredible year of travel yet.
Over the last 365 days, I’ve ventured through 7 unique destinations across Asia, and, criss-crossed my way across the globe, back home to Canada for a short but sweet visit. I saw a whole lot of temples, ate a whole lot of delicious street food, and met a whole lot of awesome like-minded expats and travellers that inspired me to continue my adventures working abroad.
Life has a funny way of working in circles. My first adventure of 2017 was Taiwan, a country I fell for pretty darn fast. And now, I’m sitting here writing this post from Taiwan, my new home for 2018.
Here’s a look back at my travel highlights from 2017. What an amazing, whirlwind of a year of travel and adventure it was!
Houtong Cat Village // New Taipei City, Taiwan
My 2017 travel adventures started off on the right paw in Taiwan’s Houtong Cat Village. I’ve had a strange, slightly obsessive fascination with cats for as long as I can remember. So, when I discovered that Taiwan had its very own cat village, I immediately put it at the top of my itinerary. And, I was not disappointed. I spent an entire day surrounded by dozens of new feline friends, with jungle-like scenery and beautiful mountains in the backdrop.
Click here to read more about my day trip surrounded by furry friends.
Arab Quarter // Singapore
Supertree Grove & Cloud Forest // Singapore
I finally got to check off one of the top items on my bucket list! I was itching to see this Singapore attraction for a long time and was absolutely blown away by it. So much so, that I visited it twice. Once during the day and once at night. Both times, I was equally amazed by the whimsical, otherworldly, glowing, colour-changing trees towering over me. This remains one of the most incredible sites I have ever visited in my life.
Batu Caves // Selangor, Malaysia
Love Lane, Georgetown // Penang, Malaysia
My favourite architecture I’ve seen in all of Asia is along Georgetown’s ever-so-charming Love Lane and its surrounding streets. Walking through this neighbourhood is like walking through one extraordinary art exhibit. Impressive, heritage homes line the streets, colourfully painted and decorated with vibrant splashes of street art.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter // Osaka, Japan
I finally got my acceptance letter to Hogwarts! Well… Japanese Hogwarts. And, my bestie since childhood and I got to realize our mutual childhood goals and dreams together, which made this experience all that more magical.
Click here to read all about my enchanting experience at Asia’s very own Hogwarts.
I’ve been temple-hopping my way through Asia for over a year now. But, of all the many temples I’ve seen, Kyoto’s continue to be my absolute favourites.
Click here to read more about my 24-hour temple run through this dreamy Japanese city.
Nara Park // Nara, Japan
This ain’t your average park. Japan’s Nara Park has a staggering 1200 deer who roam freely through its grounds. 1200 of the most friendly deer you will ever meet, I might add. I never thought I would have 1200 back-to-back opportunities to get up so close and personal with normally such timid animals! What a surreal experience.
Click here to read more about my day surrounded by 1200 of the most laid back deer I’ve ever met.
Harajuku // Tokyo, Japan
Eccentric. Lively. Bizarre. Quirky. Outrageous. These are all words that describe one of Japan’s most famous neighbourhoods. Nothing is ordinary here and I am so happy I finally got to experience all of its oddities for myself.
Tsukiji Fish Market // Tokyo, Japan
Click here to read all about the freshest and most mouthwatering sushi I have ever tasted.
Victoria Peak // Hong Kong
I had my best hair day yet at Victoria Peak, where the views are jaw-dropping and the winds are hair-raising. Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities I have ever visited, and the panoramic views from the top of Victoria Peak were absolutely mesmerizing.
A little taste of Europe in Asia. Avoiding the typical casino itinerary, as I’m notoriously unlucky, I spent my day trip marvelling at all the beautiful European-inspired architecture and eating enough Portuguese egg tarts to feed a small nation.
Big Buddha // Hong Kong
Cheung Sha Beach // Hong Kong
I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my 25th birthday! My best friend from home and I spent the day lazing about on the warm sands of Hong Kong’s Cheung Sha beach, with a dozen cows grazing in the backdrop. Who knew this bustling metropolis had such calm and stunning beaches just a short ferry ride away?
Cherry Blossom Season // Boseong, South Korea
My favourite season in the world is springtime in Korea. Each spring, the entire country undergoes a magical metamorphosis. For two, short weeks, the landscape of the whole country transforms into a pink wonderland.
Click here to read more about the prettiest and pinkest spring my eyes have ever seen.
Samgwangsa Temple // Busan, South Korea
Click here to read more about this jaw-dropping, colourful and enchanting temple.
Boryeong Mud Festival // Boryeong, South Korea
Attending the world’s largest mud festival was at the top of my highlights of the entire year. I spent the weekend with my best friend, zipping down mud slides, wiping out on muddy obstacle courses and of course, making mud pies.
Click here to read more about the muddiest weekend of my life.
Jangheung Water Festival // Jangheung, South Korea
Thank goodness this festival came only a week after the Boryeong Mud Festival. The entire week, I was still finding remnants of dried mud in peculiar crevices all over my body. So, attending a festival where they dump a barrel of water on you every step you take was an absolute blessing. Not to mention, this festival presented me with the unique opportunity to fish for eel. My fisherman father was disappointed when I reported back that I went home empty-handed. Oh well. What would I have done with a net-full of eels anyway?
Home Sweet Home // Toronto, Canada
There’s no better feeling in the entire world than coming back home after one year abroad. My heart felt so full for the three weeks I spent back in Toronto and it made me realize how incredibly fortunate I am for the amazing support system of family and friends I have at home (even though I left them for a year… and another… sorry again, guys).
Bruce Peninsula National Park // Northern Bruce Peninsula, Canada
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that your 2018 is filled with some incredible new experiences, adventures, and of course, travels! Cheers!