My wish list for Asia

I’ve been fawning over Vietnam since watching Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” episode where he meets Obama in Hanoi for soup. Something about that entire episode – the careful selection of pho, the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s streets – really made me feel like finding the next cheap flight out of St. John’s.

I’ve been craving pho so hard since then that I’m now desperately seeking a good Vietnamese restaurant in Ottawa. And I’ve never. Even. Been. To. Asia.

Unlike every other travel blogger out there, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore Southeast Asia. I can’t seem to get out of Europe.

And, to be honest, Southeast Asia always struck me as the kind of place I should visit in my early 20s when everyone is a budget backpacker and partying on the beach until sunrise is THE thing to do. Now I know that’s not ALL true, though. (And, really, who cares if it is?)

I’ve got some wheels in motion for later next year, so here’s what I’m thinking. If you’ve been, I’d love some tips. If you haven’t, maybe this will spark some wanderlust too.


Obviously I’d start with this one because FOOD.

The older I get, the more my travels revolve around food exploration. It seems to be a consistent trend with aging, really. Yes, I realize I’m only 30.


But other than slurping down bowls of bun oc in a hole-in-the-wall, I’m aching to see Halong Bay. I’m a sucker for dramatic limestone pillars, emerald waters, and multi-day boat trips. Sometimes I feel there’s no greater way to observe a special landscape than by boat.

The same goes for Lan Ha, an area similar to Halong Bay with 300 karst islands. And white beaches. I’m all about those beaches.


The Philippines is where I want to do my beachy-type travel. I pine for it; nay, I live for it.

Usually my beach trips revolve around the Caribbean, because it’s easiest for me. But ever since I saw photos of the beaches in Boracay, I’m basically never going to be happy until I’m cartwheeling down one of those long stretches of white sand.*


It’s not just Boracay, though. There’s something like 7,000 tropical islands around the Philippines, including the Bacuit Archipelago. Bacuit Bay is basically a fantasy.

*I can’t actually cartwheel.


Indonesia has long been my number one bucket list Asian destination. I can’t even properly plan for this one, because there’s just WAY TOO MUCH to see. Honestly, I’d need months – or however long it takes for immigration to start knocking down my front door.

I’ve always been drawn to isolated island nations. I feel like such places breed a certain sense of originality and culture. (Take Newfoundland, for example.) Plus anywhere near the sea is the place for me.


So you can see why Indonesia is my go-to. The country totals more than an astonishing 17,000 islands (only half of which are inhabited), and there are over 300 languages spoken across them.


It was actually the volcanic landscape on East Java that first sparked my desire to visit, though. Something about the landscape around Mount Bromo is just too dramatic to be believed. I’m aching to see it first-hand.


Alright, Thailand definitely has to be done.

I want to visit Railay and Chiang Mai, and I want to peruse the markets in Bangkok. I’d like to visit temples, and eat weird things on sticks.

Not tarantulas, though. Never that.


And yeah, I’d like to grab some water guns and hose down children at Songkran. And when the one-year mourning period is over, I most definitely want a Full Moon Party on a beach somewhere while drinking questionable drinks from a bucket. Now’s the time, right? I mean, when the mourning is done.

  • November 08 2016

    Myanmar! Don’t miss it. It’s my favourite south East Asian country as its the least touristy! And it makes Thailand look expensive. The countryside is breathtaking and the people are gorgeous. check out my blog for a few photos and posts if you want.

    • November 16 2016

      My interest is definitely piqued! Haha

  • November 08 2016

    Don’t feel bad for not getting to Asia yet, you’ve been to lots of amazing places and you’re only 30. I only went to Asia for the first time this year (two weeks in Hong Kong and Tokyo). Haven’t done SE Asia, but it’s on my list…along with a lot of other places.

    And traveling for food is the best reason to travel. I’ve often wondered how much better pho is in Vietnam than the restaurants I’ve had back home.

    • November 16 2016

      I’d loooove to experience Hong Kong! Although I imagine a city of that size might scare the crap out of me, haha.

  • November 08 2016

    I’ve never been to SE Asia either, which is particularly bad as I’m Australian! Similar feelings to you in that it was Europe that always seemed to call to me… and that was one that was happily answered!

    Great itinerary, my boyf and I are hoping to head over to Vietnam too sometime next year. Hope you manage to stumble upon some cheapo flights soon!

    • November 16 2016

      Hahaha, thanks! Maybe our paths will cross in SE Asia?! When I was planning this awhile back, I kept looking at the map and being all, well, if I’m this far around the world I might as well stop in Australia and NZ too…lol

      • November 20 2016

        Definitely agree that you might as well! What’s another few hours on a plane? Let me know if your plans do extend to Oz. :)

        • November 23 2016

          I totally will!

  • November 09 2016

    Don’t miss Myanmar or Malaysia. Cambodia is one of the best; the people are some the friendliest anywhere. Indonesia is a great stop, as is Vietnam and the rest of the places on your list. Southeast Asia is fantastic and a place you will return to often.

    • November 16 2016

      That’s two votes for Myanmar now! :)

  • November 19 2016

    Don’t miss Malaysia. It has everything from beautiful beaches to cosmopolitan cities. And the food is amazing.

    • November 23 2016

      I’ve heard good things!

  • August 04 2017

    You can miss Boracay (so sorry to disappoint you! It has become really crowded and dirty) but I recommend Palawan (go to Coron or El Nido) and perhaps swing by siargao :)

    • August 09 2017

      Oh man, my wishlist has changed SO much since then! But duly noted!

  • August 12 2017

    “*I can’t actually cartwheel.” Hilarious

    Can I recommend South Korea? I lived there (Seoul) for two years and think it’s a dynamic country, but too few people visit!

    But also, Hong Kong has the best food. The best. I never had just a decent meal there; every one was an “oh my god this is amazing” culinary experience.

    My tip would be to give yourself time in Vietnam – the country is looong and intercity travel times add up.

    Have fun!
    Melanie recently posted…The New Luxury Travel

  • February 05 2019

    Oh my god! The food in Vietnam changed my life! I haven’t visited the beaches yet, but I plan to soon!
    Brytta recently posted…How My Yoga Practice Helped Me Heal From Sexual Assault

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