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Travel guides covering numerous destinations across the globe with a focus on: must-visit cities, places of historical and culture significance including Unesco World Heritage Sites, and opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitats.

Read up-to-date tips and advice for expats based on my own experiences of expat life including our recent move to Australia.

 

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Best travel experiences of 2017

Best travel experiences of 2017

BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES OF 2017

Well what a year it has been! We have visited 7 countries this year of which Dubai (UAE), Thailand, Sweden and Malaysia were for the first time and I returned to Denmark for a 3rd time (my husband’s first visit) to see more of this beautiful country and of course we have finally moved to Australia! We have had some amazing experiences and have thoroughly enjoyed the last 12 months discovering new places as well as exploring more familiar ones in more depth – I added another 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK to the site and we had a great time learning more about our birth nation of England too.

So what have been our best travel experiences of 2017?



Favourite place


Penang. Without a doubt the best surprise out of all the places we went this year. In fact we loved Malaysia full stop and it is somewhere we intend to see a lot more of in the future. Penang with its beautiful street art, delicious street food and friendly inhabitants left as lasting impression on both me and my husband and if you haven’t yet been I cannot recommend highly enough.

I love Penang sign

 

READ MORE
Your need to know guide to the street art in Penang

 


Favourite landmark


So many contenders for this spot! But Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge take the prize for this! It is one of those iconic images that is so familiar so to actually see it in real life was fantastic! I wasn’t overly enamoured with Sydney but I am sure we will get to see more of it in the future (I want to spend New Year’s Eve there and my husband wants to walk the bridge)

A view of Sydney


Favourite airline


We flew a lot this year and actually made it onto a Dreamliner for the first time! Flying from Dubai to Bangkok with Emirates on the Airbus A380 was amazing! The fact that it feels like you are in something the size of a football field about to take off is a little surreal but the space, the lack of noise and the cameras that enable you to see below and above the plan at all times is great for someone a little nervous of flying (me!)

a view of sunset from an airplane


Favourite attraction


This was our second visit to Singapore and Gardens by the Bay is a new attraction and must-do experience which opened since our last visit in 2013. It was brilliant and we enjoyed the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and the beautiful light show in the evening at Supertree Grove. I have yet to write up about Gardens by the Bay for the blog but it is in the pipeline!

Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

 

READ MORE
15 of the most spectacular laser, water and light shows in the world

 


Favourite meal


This is soooooo hard to choose! Penang’s street food was the best and we ate some much over 4 days (luckily we walked a lot!!). We also experienced a Korean BBQ in Sydney with some old friends of mine who are Korean and this was just a brilliant meal with great company.

And finally we had the most delicious fish and chips EVER in Bowen in Queensland – the fish is fresh (so fresh the boat was moored at the back of the shop!). I have had some great seafood since we have moved to Australia but that fish was simply delicious!

a family eating at a Korean restaurant

 

READ MORE
My top 5 things to do in Bowen Queensland

Coldest place


This is easy!!! Freezing to death while taking photographs of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen was a moment my fingers didn’t forget in a hurry! It was minus 3568 degrees and my hands literally turned white when I took off my gloves! Beautiful city though and we do love visiting European cities in winter but I would like to visit next time in summer to explore Tivoli Gardens!

 

READ MORE
Top things to do in Copenhagen in Denmark

 


Hottest place


Dubai! It was 48 degrees and impossible to walk around in for more than a few minutes at a time! Not sure we will return to Dubai as we didn’t really find it that inspiring but maybe in their winter there will be more to do! Mackay in Northern Queensland which I called home for 3 ½ months takes second place!Hot and humid but a beautiful place to visit!

Dubai boat

Mackay beach

 

READ MORE
Things to do in Mackay Queensland

 


Favourite animal encounter


This has to be in Australia doesn’t it! I can’t choose between 2 amazing experiences this year – Platypus at Eungella National Park and kangaroos/wallabies on the beach at Cape Hillsborough.

platypus at Cape hillsborough

 

READ MORE
What you need to know about finding platypus in Eungella National Park

 


Most memorable experience


One of the reasons I travel is a strong desire to find out about other people and how they live their lives so when I had the chance to visit a sugar cane farm and find out all about life for a cane farmer I jumped at the chance. We were so lucky to have been given this opportunity thanks to my friend Denise whose brother owns and runs the farm. We asked lots of questions, learnt a lot and had a absolutely fantastic day out. Once again a huge thanks to Denise, her brother Peter and family for hosting us on your farm.

sugar cane farmer

Peter working on the farm

 

READ MORE
Visiting a sugar cane farm in Northern Queensland

 


Best beach


Whitehaven beach is probably one of the most famous beaches in the world. With good reason as its sand is like no beach I had ever been to before. It is literally like walking on flour it is so soft. The beach is beautiful, the sea warm and inviting and it’s in the Whitsundays a dream destination!

Cruise Whitsundays have some fantastic trips from Airlie Beach/Hamilton Island and this is a destination we will be returning to!

Whitehaven beach

 

READ MORE
Visiting Whitehaven Beach at the Whitsundays in Queensland

 


Best hotel


Overall favourite goes to Hotel Muntri Grove in George Town Penang. Beautiful room, fantastic location and wonderful staff make this a total winner for us. Book this hotel here!

Wonderful hotel and lovely staff made Hotel Muntri Grove our top pick this year!

The most luxurious hotel we stayed in (we didn’t stay at ) was the Hotel Chatrium Riverside in Bangkok. Being upgraded to a suite probably sealed the deal for this hotel! We hadn’t actually booked this hotel but ended up there after a disastrous first night in another grotty hotel which left we with food poisoning. Book this hotel here!

Hotel Chatrium Bangkpk

fantastic view of Bangkok

The hotel with the best location has to be Rose Bay Resort in Bowen – a few metres from the beach – what more could you need! Book this hotel here!

a picture of a beach in Bowen

The hotel with the best architecture was definitely the one in Copenhagen – the Hotel Bella Sky.

Book this hotel here!

Hotel Bella Sky in Copenhagen

The hotel with the best breakfast and the most beautiful setting was Pethers Rainforest Retreat at Tamborine Mountain on the Gold Coast Hinterland. I will be reviewing this stay soon so keep a look out if you are planning a trip to the area soon!

Pethers rainforest retreat


Best reunion


I travelled to Denmark with my husband this year and visited Copenhagen for the first time. This was not my first time in Denmark and we were able to travel to Aarhus in Jutland (my 3rd visit) for a reunion with a good friend who I had last seen 21 years before! Susanne and I had met 27 years earlier when we  both worked as au pairs in a French ski resort. Seeing her again after so many years was magical! We will meet again and hopefully next time in Australia when she visits with her 2 children!

A Danish family sit around the table

 

READ MORE
A guide of things to do in Aarhus Denmark

 


Worst travel experience


Food poisoning in Bangkok was the low point of this year. It left me exhausted and not particularly full of energy to explore a city I have wanted to visit for years. Unfortunately it left me with bad memories of the city and truthfully I am not keen to visit again. Hopefully though visiting other areas of Thailand will enable me to see what it is that people love so much about the country!

a buddhist statue in thailand best travel experiences


FAVOURITE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE – UK


Definitely Saltaire in Yorkshire for this one though we did visit Kew Gardens and Blenheim Palace too this past year – it was really interesting and we had a great day out there.

 

READ MORE
A guide of things to do in Saltaire

 


FAVOURITE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE – WORLDWIDE


YIKES! How do I choose ….so many amazing places! I won’t include the Great Barrier Reef yet as i don’t feel I have properly seen it yet even though I lived just off its southern reaches. So again I think Penang will win – it really is the most wonderful place to visit!

 

READ MORE
Travel bloggers choose their top 6 places to visit in Malaysia

 



So this year we visited 7 countries: Denmark, Sweden, Dubai, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia but what has struck me is that a lot of the travel was about PEOPLE – the people we met old friends and new and that is for me one of the most amazing things about being able to travel!

Next year we will be focussing on our new home and spending as much time exploring Australia! So watch out for posts from Melbourne, Uluru, Cairns, Port Douglas, the Daintree and the Barrier Reef. And of course lots of weekend trips in the Brisbaane area too!

I hope my travels have inspired you! Where are you planning to go in 2018?

 

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8 Comments

  1. Pauline
    December 31, 2017 / 8:06 am

    Very interesting Tracy. We too have visited Copenhagen and Singapore , Saltsire and Sydney enjoying them enormously too. Penang is now on my bucket list.
    We might even get to Australia and look forward to reading more about your exploration s there. X

    • TracyJane
      Author
      December 31, 2017 / 11:04 pm

      Thanks Pauline – would be great to see you over here ps come over via Penang!!

  2. Linda Tallett
    December 31, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Fantastic post Tracy, you have certainly crammed a lot into 2017!! Looking forward to 2018 and what travels that brings you!!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      December 31, 2017 / 11:03 pm

      Thanks linda! A lot more of Australia in 2018 i think!

  3. January 1, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    What a lovely post. You have had a wonderful year, hoping 2018 brings more happiness, travel and adventures for you! #getgone

  4. January 23, 2018 / 2:18 pm

    Wow you had a fabulous year! Favourite airline Emirates? I cant agree more! You’re lucky you flew A380 from Dubai to Bangkok 😀 I only had a chance fly this beauty from London to Dubai and back, but from Dubai to Bangkok I had to fly some smaller plane! Sorry to hear about the food poisoning! While I was there I was really tempted to try all those famous street foods but I was too worry about my stomach so I didn’t took the chance. And wow! Meeting your friend you worked with 27 years ago that must have been amazing! I had no idea the au pair program was already a thing back then! I was au pair 8 years ago and I would love to meet some of the friends I made back in Germany ! I wish you more amazing adventures in 2018 especially that you moved to Australian now! ( so jealous ! 🙂 )
    Ada recently posted…My Road Trip to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore by busMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 9:18 am

      Yes au pairs have been around for a long long time! Thanks for all your lovely comments! The street foods were delicious it was a bad hotel room service that got me unfortunately!

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HI THIS IS ME – TRACY

Hello from Australia

Traveller, teacher, train lover, and milkshake connoisseur.Now living and working in my 7th country and experiencing life in Queensland, Australia.

I write to inspire others whatever their age to explore the world - near and far!

I have travelled for over 30 years including solo in my 20's , as a single parent in my 30's and now in my 40's and beyond with my husband. House sitter and aspiring grey nomad a life of location independence is my goal.

Over 40 years ago I dreamt of a life well travelled and that is the life I live!

Dream it, plan it, do it!!

Tracy

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”
-- Michael Palin