Long Beach, Koh Rong, Cambodia

Dancing with Plankton in the Waters of Koh Rong, Cambodia

With a glass of cheap local whisky loose in my hand, I’m deep in conversation with a group of travellers in Koh Rong, Cambodia, bundled up close to a flickering campfire. A mix of nationalities, some of the group I’ve known for weeks and some only a couple of hours, yet our mutual adoration of travel and adventure has bonded us instantly.

We’re all smiles, the conversation flowing effortlessly. I’m twenty-two years old and two months into an epic eight-month-long backpacking trip around Southeast Asia. Life is very good indeed and my new nomadic and unperturbed lifestyle is a welcome change after a difficult past year living in London.

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Six of My Favourite Spots in Sydney, Australia

As my time in Sydney, Australia slowly draws to a close, I’ve already started reflecting on my life here. All in all, it’s been an incredible and memorable year, full of wonderful highs as well as some heart-breaking lows (which usually involved me having to say goodbye to some of the amazing people I’ve met out here.)

I moved to Sydney, Australia straight from travelling around Southeast Asia for eight months. I was knackered from the non-stop moving about, and I wasn’t entirely convinced that setting up in a city on the opposite side of the world from London, my home, was a great idea.

The friends I were travelling with in Southeast Asia were going back to England, and this also made me feel a bit funny about the move. Plus, I had some health issues towards the end of my trip. All these factors together meant I wasn’t in the mood to start afresh in a new country and make new friends.

Yet the opportunity was there, and I didn’t want to have any regrets. I swallowed my doubts and powered on.

It turns out it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve met some special people and my year here has been one of the best I’ve ever had. As I write this, I feel slightly sick to the stomach that soon I’ll be leaving this beautiful country.

Sydney has been my home in Australia for ten months now, and I’ve fallen in love with it. The city is full of lively suburbs, dreamy beaches, and memorable spots that I’ll always hold close to my heart. Here are some of the places that stood out for me.

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Boracay beach

Beach Time and Beers in Boracay, The Philippines

I was extremely excited to head over to the Philippines six months into our travels in Southeast Asia. The Philippines seemed to be off the Southeast Asia ‘banana pancake’ trail, and I’d heard that it was a unique country to visit. But I had been warned that our first stop, Boracay, is known as the party spot of the Philippines and is extremely busy and touristy. So, I mentally prepared myself for the ‘Brits abroad’ type of tourist or a similar crowd that frequent Thailand’s full moon parties regularly.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, Boracay is a tourist hotspot. But, it seemed to be a buzzy holiday destination for those living in the Philippines and other countries in Asia, which was new to me. After settling into our hostel (MNL beach hostel – which was pretty good), I was keen to grab a beer and get to know some of the locals.

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Perhentian kecil

Pristine paradise in the Perhentian islands, Malaysia

Our time spent in Malaysia consisted of visiting some really cool places, including the likes of the lush jungles of Taman Negara and the bustling atmospheric city of Kuala Lumpur. However, my favourite spot in Malaysia were the idyllic Perhentian Islands, hands down. Why was this, you may ask?

To put it quite simply, the small grouping of islands situated off the coast of Northeast Malaysia are absolute postcard perfect paradise.

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Koh Rong sunset

Koh Rong, Cambodia: Beach island paradise

Oh Koh Rong, where do I even start? This small Cambodian island is about an hour’s ferry ride away from Sihanoukville on the mainland, and after hearing great things from many other backpackers, me and my travel buddies had been keen to check out the island for a long time. And boy were we impressed!

Back mid-February, as our boat pulled into the docks of Koh Rong, it immediately became blindingly obvious that I’d be enjoying myself there. The water was a dazzling hue of aqua-blue, the sand looked luxuriously soft and white and the teeny-tiny shops and restaurants along the beachfront were buzzing with backpackers. But that was just the beginning.

Koh Rong beachfront
Not a bad first impression…

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A fire show in Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville: The party town of Cambodia?

When I think about my time in Sihanoukville, I struggle to come to a conclusion on how I feel about the place. Described in the lonely planet as the party capital of Cambodia, I didn’t expect too much. Beaches, bars and booze – yup that’s basically what we got. After pretty much travelling mainland throughout our trip, at the sight of seeing a stretch of sand and some sea we were all keen for some sun and swimming. But whether I liked Sihanoukville or not? I’m still not sure. So, here’s what I thought of Sihanoukville; the partying and the beaches, which is, in a nutshell, all there is to do there!

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Si Phan Don's Four Thousand Islands

What is there to do in Four Thousand Islands, Laos?

After successfully completing the Laos Thakhek bike loop, some of the group decided to head down South for some chill time in Si Phan Don, more commonly known as ‘Four thousand islands’. We stayed on one of the more popular islands, Don Det, which is still a tiny little place very much backpacker orientated with a cool hippy vibe. We were there for four nights but again like in Pai in Northern Thailand, when I look back at our time spent there I struggle to pinpoint exactly what we got up to! It is very much a place to hammock-dwell with little planned. Many travellers we met said they had ended up spending a lot longer there than anticipated, simply enjoying the sunshine and having a chance to relax without rushing around doing activities and excursions.

So, what exactly did we do?

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