2017 was the year I started backpacking around the globe in two amazing solo trips: Argentina and South East Asia. Two very different destinations, one huge backpack and one brave and excited solo traveler, me, that dreamed of conquering the world and doing the impossible-possible. Within 1 year I traveled twice, starting at a month and a half and after a few months back home, traveling again for two months. So, what were my most favorite places in 2017, the places that will take your breath away, make you sweat, cry and smile and be happy like you have never been before? Here are my top 10 the places you have to visit in 2018!
10. Port Barton, Palawan, Philippines
Sleepy and magical village in the middle between Puerto Princessa to El Nido. If you are looking for a place that hasn’t been discovered by tourists yet, take the time and visit Port Barton, go on an island hopping tour, visit star fish island, have lunch on beaches when your boat is the only boat there, relax on your own private beach- you will be pinching yourself the entire time.
9. El Cerro de 14 Colores-El Hornocal de Jujuy
Most people know about Cerro de 7 colores- the rainbow mountain in Jujuy, but very few know and able to reach El Cerro de 14 colores. Some say that there are more than 20 colors and when you reach it you understand why – the mountains are stunning in colorful layers, seen best when it’s not as cloudy as on the day i was there. Arriving there is possible only by a special van you can book in the Humahuaca village, right next to the church. The 4*4 will take you and your friends into the mountains, revealing the beautiful landscape of Jujuy, Cactus and hills everywhere until you reach the final destination. To get close to the mountains and enjoy the view, you will have to descend about 3,500 down, so bring coco leaves to help you get up on the way up. It was truly a remarkable day, just sitting there, admiring the view and wandering on nature’s wonders.
8. Iguasu Falls, Argentina
I heard a lot, but a lot about these waterfalls. But, I thought to myself ‘these are only waterfalls, i have seen waterfalls before, so what?’ Let me tell you, these waterfalls are a force of nature, they are absolutely remarkable and will definitely put everything you have thought or seen in perspective. Their magnitude, vastness, beauty and forces will make your jaw drop to the floor. Visit for the butterflies, for the jungle atmosphere, and for the waterfalls, trust me you have never seen anything like this before. I have been only to the Argentinian side and it is definitely the best side, since you can explore the falls up and down and enjoy them from any angle, whereas the Brazilian view offers only a panoramic view.
7. Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Picturesque and green, Tam Coc is a gem, located 3 hours from Hanoi, in Ninh Binh. I stayed in a backpackers hostel in the valley, with a lake in the front and the stunning mountains all around. On my first day i took a bicycle and headed to Mua Cave, famous for the 700 ancient steps taking you up to a view point of all Tam Coc. A couple of days later I was lucky and the rain stopped, allowing me to go on a boat ride in Trang An, which is so much better than Tam Coc’s boat ride, yes, there are two. I was there in October, the weather was great most of the time, but expect some rainy days and unfortunately floods, if you choose to travel during this time.
6. Hoi An, Vietnam
The city of sunshine- painted yellow houses that remind you of the sun and lanterns, colorful lanterns that send you their light, like the sun rays. This picturesque city was a lovely surprise and so different from other cities in Vietnam, I can honestly say it is the most colorful and magical city i Vietnam. Great food, atmosphere, beauty and so many corners where you can just sit, have coffee and enjoy the views. Oh, and there is a hidden beach for you to discover.
5. Floating Village Kampong Phluk, Cambodia
Built from wood, standing in the middle of nowhere is the village of Kampong Phluk in Cambodia, an hour from Siem Reap. Getting there is only possible by boat ride. I was captivated by the houses at first, colorful and big with boats beneath them. Once we got to the village itself, the tour guide explained that at least 3 families share each house and a few years ago there was a fire that burnt the houses to the ground. The village can enjoy electricity only after 5pm and when you are there women with babies will come up to you trying to sell stationary, while small boys run around with no clothes on. We all enjoy stunning views, great food and the luxury of traveling wherever we want, but not everyone are that privileged.
4. Pinagbuytan Island, Palawan
The Philippines are the most spectacular place I have traveled to. There are no words to describe how Palawan captivated my heart and souls. The water is clear blue, with creamy white clouds in the background and above you palm trees that make you feel serene and wonderful. In addition, the Philippino people are the warmest, welcoming and friendliest people I have ever met. Do yourself a favor, book your flight ticket to the Philippines right now!
3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
In sunrise or sunset, Angkor Wat is spectacular. My favorite temple was Bayon temple, famous for the many faces watching you from the every angle. Every temple in this complex is unique and nothing like the temple you saw before, with stunning carvings on the walls and passage ways you can explore all day, until 5pm at least.
2. Coron, Busuanga, the Philippines
This beautiful island is famous for its diving sites. But, it’s landscape and earth will take your breath away. Small green hills, views points to the sunset in every restaurant, Kayanagan lake, amazing spots for snorkeling and the countryside you will want to explore on foot. I met some of the most amazing people in Coron and will definitely go back- because I still have a lot left to explore and Coron is forever under my skin.
- Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina
Climb up was one of the hardest and challenging things I ever had to do. When climbing up the Fitz Roy, you have to check the weather forecast and choose a clear day, otherwise the wind will blow you away, literally. The adventure begins when the van drops you off at a specific point in the national park, from which you begin trekking and almost 3 K”M to the top. You then reach the steep stairs, joining a few more travelers, climbing with you to the most famous peak in Patagonia, after Paines Del Tores. There were many points along the way I wanted to stop, go back, sit and cry and points when I turned around and saw the magnificent views and decided ‘ok i keep going up.’ Eventually you reach the top and the landscape, the view is probably one of the few moments in my life that I actually started crying. Blue sky, clear blue lagoon, Lagoon de los Tres, with Fitz Roy in the background with its snowy top…oh the majestic view and emotions i felt when i was there, just overwhelmed and thankful for staying brave it is true what they say it’s all about the road and not the final destination, except this destination.
So, these are my top 10 for 2017, I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings, hopefully my post will bring you to one of these amazing places.