After such an epic 2015 of travel adventures, I can only hope that 2016 is just as exciting. As any true wandering soul, I’ve already started plotting my 2016 globetrotting aspirations, while trying to fit in as much of my wanderlust bucket list into the year as possible. Although I know that my first quarter of 2016 is likely to be spent in India, Germany, Austria, and Singapore, I do have a list of 10 countries that I’ve set my sights on! I’ve been reading guidebooks and day dreaming about these countries for an obscenely lengthy amount of time, especially considering the fact that I have no idea when I’ll be going to any of them. However, this year, I’m really going to try. If I manage to make it to at least 4 of these countries, I’d consider myself extremely lucky 🙂 Most of these countries are already trending in the tourism industry, while others on this list are still in the it’s infancy phase of being discovered.
Just to get everyone up to speed, here’s a map of all the countries I’ve travelled to, lived in, and plan on visiting in 2016. Let’s take a closer look as to why I chose those 10 countries for 2016, shall we?
Countries I’ve Visited ♥ Countries I’ve Lived In ♥ Travel Wish List for 2016
1. Bagan, Myanmar
Before mass tourism hits Myanmar, and especially Bagan, the land with over 3000 temples, I need to get there. This plan was in the works since 2015 but due to time constraints, and also the difficulty in travelling around Myanmar, it’s hard to travel there over a long weekend. This one will require a bit more time allocation. I’ve seen countless pictures of hot air balloons floating over the temples during dusk and dawn, and it looks absolutely breathtaking. I want to have both: to be on the hot air balloon, as well as to sit on the sidelines and witness all those hot air balloons rise up at dawn. The fact that Myanmar has been my neighbour my entire life, and I still haven’t managed to make it there is rather depressing. No more excuses this year though! It’s happening.
Photograph by Alberto Maccagno
2. Annapurna, Nepal
Nepal needs all the tourism support it can get right now. After the heartbreaking natural disaster the nation experienced in 2015, they need our help more than ever. I’ve wanted to travel to Nepal for a while now, however time or opportunity weren’t permitting. Nepal has some of the best hiking trails in the world in terms of stunning landscape views of valleys, lakes, and mountains. As a nature lover, this is definitely a place I need to adventure around. Also, did I mention MT. EVEREST?
Photograph by Chalongwong Manakit
3. Palawan, Philippines
Have you heard of Palawan or El Nido? Well, these few islands are dubbed to be some of the most stunning of the country. The main reason I want to travel to the Philippines would be to do some scuba-diving. Being underwater for such a lengthy amount of time is definitely a fear of mine, but I can’t let a fear hold me back from seeing all the marine wildlife that exists! So hopefully, by the end of 2016, I’ll have my scuba diving license, and another fear conquered.
Photograph by Nethaneel Jao
4. Petra, Jordan
Amman, Petra, and the dead sea alone are enough to convince me to want to go here, set aside the amazing culture and architecture. I was envious ever since my parents booked their spontaneous tickets to Jordan in 2014. I made it to Oman last year because it was more affordable in terms of flight costs at the time. Close enough to Jordan, but not quite Jordan. It’s dangerous to go to Jordan you might say? Let’s blame that on the media, because from what I know, Jordan plays the most diplomatic role in the Middle East region.
Photograph by Burak Korkut
5. Aurlandsfjord meets Nærøfjord, Norway
Norway is known to have the most sensational fjord and landscapes in the world. But this year, it is all about the Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights. Scientists say that 2016 is the last year we will have a change to see the Northern Lights for a very long time. These northern lights go through some life cycle pattern, and will disappear for an entire decade, making a reappearance in 2026. Frankly, I’m not sure I can wait that long, and what’s the guarantee they will ever come back?! Hence, I must go this year. I don’t exactly have a choice now do I? After all, the scientists have spoken. Hopefully I can find time and make a fun road trip out of this, while visiting some friends in Sweden along the way as well, with all this money that I don’t have. So I have big dreams… Oops.
Photograph by Tomasz Furmanek
6. Carvoeiro, Portugal
Portugal is a place I’ve wanted to go to since C. Ronaldo got famous in 2004. That was the initial reason, and as embarrassed as I am to admit this, it might still make up some part of my reason for wanting to go there today. I can’t believe that I’ve covered 90% of Western Europe already, and I still haven’t touched on Portugal. I dream about Algarve, Lagos, Porto, Lisbon, and all things beautiful in Portugal.
Photograph by Chiara Salvadori
7. Chefchaouen, Morocco
A few hundred (or maybe a 1000) kilometers down from Portugal, you’ll find Morocco. I’m hoping I can get there form Portugal by boat, but I haven’t really done my research on this. I guess I want the sea, and a lot of the sand! The culture in Morocco mesmerizes me. I love the colors, the prints, the desert lifestyle, the lanterns, the food, you name it… and I’m probably already in love with it. Because I’m such an arts and crafts geek, this would be my ultimate creative haven.
Photograph by Angiolo Manetti
In South America
8. Machu Picchu, Peru
I want to hike the Inca Trails through the Sacred Valleys and arrive at the Inca Ruins of Machu Picchu. It’s that simple. The presence of culture and history on this trail is impeccable, so even if it takes me a week to get through it while camping along the way, I’m sure it will be worth it. I cannot stop flipping through National Geographic photos and my Lonely Planet guidebook. This would be a dream come true if it really did happen in 2016 for me.
Photograph by Kannan V.
9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The thought of the Iguassu Falls, Corumbá Jump, Serra Verde Express, and everything about Rio De Janeiro just makes my heart jump out of my chest from excitement. Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world with so much to discover, that I really wonder if I’ll ever be able to give it the amount of time it deserves. If it were up to me, I’d want to rent an apartment and live here for 3 months, especially considering we (Thais) can travel through Brazil for 90 days without visa burdens! A girl can dream…
Photograph by Ilia Kotchenkov
10. Matamata (Hobbiton), New Zealand
Sheep! Oh wait no… I meant landscapes!!! 😀 Hobbit houses from Lord of the Rings, caves with glow worms, glacier trekking and extreme sports all sound quite enticing. This might be the place I would consider paragliding, and if I’m feeling adventurous enough, perhaps even bungee jumping… but that really depends on how daring I am the day I wake up. I shy away from heights entirely too easily, but to have a bird’s eye view of the NZ landscapes might just be enough motivation (that’s if I can keep my eyes open).
Photograph by Shaun Jeffers
Bonus: Brennisteinsalda, Iceland
Okay, so I have to put in a last one, which is very far from even becoming a reality at the moment, but all thanks to Justin Bieber’s music video, Iceland will be the ultimate trending travel destination of 2016. Regardless of if you are a Belieber or not, you need to watch this amazing video and fall in love with Iceland entirely.
Photograph by Anna Gortat
So I might be slightly insane and delusional to think I can get through all of this, or even attempt to make it to 4 – 5 of these places with a full-time job. But you know what, I never though I’d make it to 14 countries last year either. 😉 It really comes down to one simple question: How badly do I want it?