Every traveller has a physical or mental list they keep to themselves of places they want to go. These lists have especially come in handy for us when winter approaches or is in full effect and we’re desperate to go anywhere that is warm. Our list is an accumulation of blogs we’ve read and conversations we’ve had with friends and family about their experiences. We hope that some of the places we want to visit and the reasons for wanting to go inspires you. So here it is, in no particular order the top six places we want to travel to in 2017!
This is a new addition to our list, but it’s easy to see why people are buzzing over this rather large African island country. What initially attracted us to Madagascar is the biodiversity. The country has over 10,000 plant species of which 90% of them are unique to Madagascar! There’s beautiful beaches, culture, and food as well. Given it’s relative proximity to places like South Africa and Kenya it might be worth combining Madagascar with another destination.
Thailand comes up in a lot in conversations when friends we know talk about places they absolutely loved that were also extremely affordable. The stories I’ve heard about the food, accommodations, the culture has me seriously thinking of booking a flight to Bangkok and figuring out the rest when I get there. I’ve come to the conclusion that Thailand isn’t a country you can simply see in a week, which is why we’ve been holding off on going till we have at least a few weeks to travel around. If you’re travelling here from North America, your biggest expense will be the flight so you may as well stay longer than a week! Our journey would likely start in the thriving city of Bangkok known for its food, culture, and accessibility. We’d be sure to spend some time hanging out with elephants and swimming in some hot springs while visiting northern Thailand near Pai. A trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without renting a bungalow and spending a few nights on a beach in Railay. Our travels would also take us to the city of Chiang Mai, to explore the city and various temples throughout. Since we love water and beaches we would spend some time on the island of Phuket, but also possibly some of the less populated and developed ones as well.
Morocco is one of the front runners on our list. Just like Iceland, Morocco has been gaining a lot of attention over the past few years as many bloggers and travelers can’t say enough about it. From everything I’ve read it can be a complete culture shock landing in places like Marrakech for the first time. Given its close proximity to Europe it’s also accessible for many Europeans looking for a cheaper getaway that might be a little different than what their use to. Our ideal trip to Morocco includes landing in Marrakech and getting lost in the souks while shopping at the medina. Next grabbing a quick lunch and some Moroccan mint tea in an outdoor cafe. In the late afternoon we will hit the ground and explore the beautiful architecture and beauty of places like Koutoubia Mosque, Medersa Ben Youssef, and The Saadian Tombs. In the evenings we would hangout in our oasis like courtyard at our riad. A few days of this mixed in with a few trips to some local hammams at Les Bains d’Orient, Heritage Spa and Hammam de la Rose and we’d be ready to begin an 8 or 9 day tour that would take us to places like Fes, Tangier, Chefchaouen and Casablanca.
Our ideal trip has us landing in the city of Porto and spending a few nights visiting the Douro Valley while sampling copious amounts of wine and port. A mandatory tour to the Sanedman Cellars and Sao Francisco church would be required. After a few nights of soaking in the culture, warmth and food we would board a train to Lisbon. Lisbon would involve several days scratching the surface of the city centre and frequent trips to Pastis de Belem for their world famous egg tarts. One afternoon would be dedicated to exploring The Betrand (the oldest bookstore in the world) followed by a trip to the market at Mercado da Ribeira to get some delicious lunch. In the evening we would explore the lively neighbourhood of Bairro Alto. There would be time to take a ride on the Tram 28 and explore the picturesque historical Alfama district. Oh, and we can’t forget the beaches! There would be plenty of time spent at the beaches!
India seems like the complete package, and to be honest it’s a little intimidating. The country is massive and the options seem endless for places to go and explore. Half the trouble you might find with booking a Trip to India is developing an itinerary because you might want to do it all! The food, photography opportunities and various cultural experiences are just some of the reasons it’s on our list. There’s plenty of beautiful architecture that range from ancient traditional, modern and also various European influences such as British, French, and Portuguese. There’s beautiful beaches in the south as well as Goa. Goa is a unique place as it was occupied by the Portuguese for over 400 years and only became a possession of India after 1961 annexation. The food, architecture, and people see themselves as being distinctly different than many other Indians. The architecture like the food is a fusion of colour and taste. If you’ve ever had Goan sausages or Goan fried fish you’ll know what we’re talking about. Pondicherry is a seaside city with gorgeous beaches and architecture that is influenced by French and Indian culture. Agra is another top destination for tourists who wish to see The Taj Mahal. Agra is close to Delhi so many choose to stay in India’s capital while visiting the Taj Mahal. Lastly we can’t forget Mumbai! Just a few things on our list for when we visit Mumbai is The Elephanta Caves and The district of Colaba to see The Gateway of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminum (one of the busiest train stations in the world), and of course eating plenty of Bombay food!
What attracts us to New Zealand is not only the natural beauty of the island, but also the tourist infrastructure that seems to be one the best in the world. Everything we’ve read makes us believe that it’s really easy to connect with other tourists and locate temporary employment. Being fluent in English would make it easy for us to navigate our way around the island, especially using many of the hop on hop off tourist busses that travel all over the country. Given the distance from Toronto to Auckland, we would want at least two weeks if not more here.
So our question to you is, where do you want to go in 2017?