Whenever I look at my Instagram and go through my photos I realize how many things I’ve been able to see and to do. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities, both bad or good, that were given to me.
2015 was an amazing year for me full of changes and challenges. I went to countries I never thought I’d never have the opportunity to visit and was blown away by some of the incredible sites I saw along the way.
First, I started my year by moving to Malaysia which I didn’t know anything about. For the first time in my life I also visited Bali and Thailand, explored the jungle, ate many new meals, and went jungle trekking with the weakest scooter ever.
I also tried to earn some money by blogging and freelancing and after a few months, I realized that it is not that easy as I thought it will be.
Okay, let’s get to it ! These are my top 10 travel moments from 2015. I listed them in chronological order:
10| Moving to Penang/Malaysia
At the end of October my boyfriend got a job offer in Malaysia and he asked me to go with him. At that time we lived and worked in the capital of Maldives which contrary to popular belief is not as beautiful as you probably have been imagining. Despite the fact that we had only been together for 3 months, I agreed and followed him to this country full of different culture, spicy food and nature.
In my opinion, Penang is the most beautiful island in Malaysia. You can get a bit of everything here – a developed city, peaceful country side, heritage city part from colonial times, amazing street art, beautiful beaches and an amazing jungle.
First year was tough for us since I didn’t have a proper job. I tried freelancing to get some extra money but it didn’t really work. However we survived and we were able to afford some trips to surrounding countries.
09| Celebrating Thaipusam
One of my favourite festivals!!! I love it…the people, culture, food and everything…..it is a festival full of colours, smells and tastes!
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that sees worshippers test their endurance and show their appreciation to the Tamil god Murugan through a pilgrimage to holy sites. It’s a true sensory overload and a remarkable display of faith.
08| Celebrating Songkran
Songkran is another festival which took over my heart. It is a celebration of the Thai New Year. How do they celebrate it? With water! It is also known as Water festival.
We went to the Thai temple which is quite close to our house. Once we walked in through the gate everyone started splashing us and shouting Happy New Year. We took some plastic bottles, filled them with water and joined this crazy event. So much joy and laughter. I can’t wait to go and celebrate it this year too! This photo is not mine – I was scared to take my camera there – but you can find my GoPro video here.
07| Trip to Bali
I’d always dreamed of visiting this magical island. Luckily for us, our friends from the Maldives moved there and invited us (thank you Lukas and Tatiana!). Also, my boyfriend used to live there for some time and he still has friends over there. When we decided on this trip I was able to arrange a stay in the amazing Komaneka Bisma resort for a few days. Despite the fact this island is getting quite touristy, I fell in love with it. So many scents in the air, so many colours, so many beautiful buildings and so many nice people – I will never forget my time there.
06| Diving around Nusa Penida
Underwater world of Bali is also amazing. After diving in the crystal waters of Maldives, I’m a bit spoiled. However, I really enjoyed diving in Bali and its gardens of beautiful corals. We were not able to find Mantas and the water was colder compared to the one in Maldives but the corals were so colourful and it looked like a stunning underwater botanical garden.
05| Exploring Langkawi
Langkawi is an island very close to Penang. It takes just half an hour to fly there or three hours in a boat. It is an island for a long-weekend escape from Penang.
You can swim in waterfalls, watch buffaloes in rice paddies or you can just enjoy amazing sunsets while sitting on the beach with a drink of your choice in your hand.
I was told that Langkawi was cursed and people didn’t want to go there (woman called Mahsuri died as a victim of a conspiracy plotted against her and before she was killed she cursed the island for seven generations to come). That’s why the government decided to make Langkawi tax free to attract tourists to the island. I have to say that it was a good move 🙂
04| Being lost in Koh Samui
It was May, I needed to renew my visa and since my friend lives in Koh Samui I decided to go to visit her (thanks Rachel!). I rented a scooter, packed my camera and started to explore this paradise.
I have read many articles about the Secret Buddha Garden so one day I took my scooter and drove there. When I finished I looked into Google Maps and saw that there was a big Buddha close by (3km). Since I was so close, I had to take a drive there. However I did not foresee the road being better suited for jeep jungle trekking. I was alone on my tiny scooter riding in the mud and on the rocks. When I reached to check my phone I realized it had fallen out of the scooter basket – that is how bumpy the road was. Luckily, guys driving behind me noticed and brought it to me together with my sunglasses. What an adventure!
03| Monks’ cave hidden on the coast
Thanks to Geocaching app, I got to know about this hidden place in Koh Samui. It took me a while to find a way there but it was worth it. When I got there I found the monks cave with golden statues and clothes hanging around. It looked that the monks still live there, however I didn’t see anyone but I was nervous and secretly waiting from someone to appear and scare me 🙂
02| Thailand public transportation
Another school break which meant another trip! This time we decided to go to Krabi. We started our journey from Penang around 9 am. We booked a minibus which costed us only 18 dollars. Once we crossed the bridge to the mainland our driver took a wrong turn and instead of driving us north to the Thai border he drove east and realized it after an hour of driving in the middle of nowhere. So we were delayed 3 hours just with this driver. In the end, we arrived to the Sofitel Krabi resort exhausted around 10 pm instead of our planned time 5 pm.
We were not able to book a direct minibus from Krabi to Penang, so first we drove to Hat Yai. When we got there, we were told there are no buses to Penang for that day. Just to Kuala Lumpur. After many visits with different travel agents, we were told that we can take the bus to Kuala Lumpur and they will drop us on the highway. When we asked where exactly, they were not able to tell us. He sent us to change Malay Ringgits for Thai Bahts. When we got back to the office, the guy told us there is no bus for us. Damn it!
So we found another agent who was offering a bus to the borders. So we agreed – many people are passing that way to Malaysia and we thought it would be easy to stop someone once we got there. In the bus I started to write “Penang” on a big sheet of paper as well as writing another one on my iPad. It was pointless! The bus took us somewhere else. No one was going through that part of the border. So we had to walk to the city to find a bus station. Long story short – we took a bus to the city centre, where our friends picked us up and drove us to two bus stations, where we found a bus to the city on the mainland and then caught the last ferry to the island. Pheeeew! It was quite an adventurous and stressful trip, but we made it!
01| Showing my country to my boyfriend
In December, we packed our bags and took a flight to Czech Republic, my home land! I couldn’t wait to show it to Lee. He loves meat and beer and my country is all about meat, beer and culture of course 🙂 And it is very cheap!
We hiked to the hotel Ještěd which is on the top of a hill in my home-town Liberec. Fun fact: it looks like a space racket! We walked around the most beautiful spots in Prague and we took a ghost night tour through some scary parts of Prague.
My boyfriend’s favourite part of the trip was the day we went to a Beer Spa Bernard. A beer spa is you bathe in a hand-made, thousand-litre whirlpool royal oak tub, filled with the natural extracts used to brew Czech Krušovice® beer. During the beer spa, you can draw and enjoy an unlimited amount of genuine Czech Krušovice® beer. We finished our amazing day in Ambiente Brasileiro restaurant where you can eat unlimited meat! 😀 We were on cloud nine!
And this is where we welcomed the year 2016! I hope that the year 2016 will be as unforgettable as the year 2015!