Americans are not known for traveling internationally. I’m a perfect example – I didn’t have a passport until I was 21 years old and, even when I got one, I went to the Dominican Republic for my college senior year spring break – hardly the international travel most people picture when getting a passport. But, in my defence (and that of many, many MANY other Americans), Americans can have almost any kind of vacation they want without having to leave the country. Beaches? Check. Mountains? Check. Theme parks, camping, wineries, deserts? Check, check, check and check. I never felt the need to travel internationally. But then I started dating Jeremy who, as many of you know, is from England. He’s also lived in Italy and in France, played cricket in South Africa, and vacationed in places like Australia and Spain. Hearing his stories made me want to travel. So when we made the decision to move to India almost 4 years ago, I had a goal to fill my passport. I’ve done that, and I have gotten additional pages put in which are filling up as well. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel so much while living in India, and I want to share with you some of my favorite destinations. I know a lot of my readers like traveling, so for any of you who get the chance to travel East, I highly recommend these places, and feel free to ask me for more detail!
- Maldives. The place is STUNNING. Absolutely idyllic. I’ve been lucky enough to go there twice, and we are planning on going once more this year. It’s just over an hours flight from Bangalore so super quick to get to. Each hotel/resort is essentially its own island, meaning you are completely surrounded by crystal clear water that appears stunning shades of aqua, mint green and turquoise. We have stayed at Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa (for our honeymoon) and at Kurumba (for a trip last year). Both places were fantastic in their own ways. Kurumba is less expensive, but that’s probably due to it being closer to the main island, so we saw the main island as well as the planes going in and out everyday. However, the service and food were fantastic & everyone was amazingly friendly! Anantara is that bit further away so you feel more secluded, which is such a great feeling when looking for an extremely relaxing vacation. Not to mention my husband booked us a water villa – there’s nothing quite like sleeping “in” the ocean! Maldives is one of those places that you really can’t get enough of if you like sun, sand and nice weather – very, very, VERY highly recommended if you can ever make it happen.
- Thailand. We’ve been fortunate enough to go to Thailand 3 times in our 3.5 years here. We’ve been to the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok, the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and most recently (last year) stayed in a private villa in Phuket with my best friend and her husband. Thailand just has this feel to it that’s both relaxing and exciting. It’s got lots to do if you want things to do, but it’s also the type of place where you can do a whole lot of nothing and not feel bad about it. I loved trying authentic cuisine and watching how the locals make it look so simple to make. The shopping is an absolute bargain across its many huge markets – I got away with 2 dresses, 2 bikinis, a scarf, a change purse and presents for a couple of people, all for the equivalent of $50! Thailand is one of those exotically charming countries that also seems oddly familiar which is why it’s on my list of favorites.
- Australia. Honestly, our 2 week trip to Australia in November 2013 is probably my favorite of all the vacations we have taken while living in India (our honeymoon doesn’t count since that wasn’t a trip from India; my husband did an AMAZING job planning our honeymoon and it will probably always top my list of favorite trips for so many reasons!) Anyway – Australia! We spent time in Sydney, Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Noosa and driving down the coast to Melbourne where we stayed for a night and spent a day wine tasting at Yarra Valley. If Australia wasn’t so far from home, I’d live there in an instant. It reminds me of a hybrid of England and America. The country is HUGE. You can get any kind of vacation you want and it will more than likely blow you away, yet it’s familiar and comforting in that it’s very “Western”, dotted with pubs, shops and restaurants similar to those I’d find at home. People are super friendly and so laid back. There’s a way of life there that I envy and I’d go back in a heartbeat. If you make a trip and want to know where we stayed, let me know. Happy to share!
- Kabini. This place is in India, and it will forever hold a place in my heart as it’s where Jeremy and I got engaged. That aside though, it would still be on my list of favorites. We stayed at Orange County and the place is just as magical in person as it appears on the website. It’s about a 5 hour drive from Bangalore so we went for a weekend. The food was good, the service and people at the resort are amazingly friendly, and the activities at the resort are simple and really speak to the culture in India. We rode an elephant, went on a safari (and saw a cheetah!) and rode in a coracle on the lake. All outdoor things, capped off by amazing huts which provide privacy and tranquillity. Our hut had a private pool – others have a private Jacuzzi. If you ever want a weekend of relaxation, this is a place to go!
So there you have it, my favorite travels while living in India. We still have time before we leave later this year, and we’ve got a few trips on the horizon, so if I love any others, I’ll make sure to keep you posted 🙂