Gap Year Spots in Asia and New Zealand

Check out Part 1 of my gap year experience here.

As well as visiting Australia, I decided to travel South East Asia and New Zealand. South East Asia acts a perfect stop-off between the UK and Australia. New Zealand is fairly close to Australia so it felt rude not to. Here’s some details on where I went, what I did, and how I got around.

Bali

I chose to do a group tour in Bali because I didn’t have time to plan out activities. This is great for ease but if you want to save money, it’s worth planning out your own travels.

Bali, and the tour that I went on, truly exceeded my expectations. Bali itself was stunning, we did a lot of fun activities and met amazing people. Overall, I was in Bali for 2 weeks and I really want to go back someday.

Some highlights of Bali Intro were the sunrise hike of an active volcano, snorkelling and scuba diving (seeing sharks and sea turtles!), boat trip to see wild dolphins and visit the ancient temples. I honestly can’t recommend this trip enough! Perfect for travelling solo as you’ll meet loads of lovely people.

(a) Gili Air. (b) Tanah Lot Temple. (c) Kuta. (d) Gili Trawangan. (e) Scuba Diving around Gili Islands. (f) Lovina.

Check out the tour here.

To read about my Balinese experience in more detail, check out my Gap Year Travel Journal (Parts 1-4).

Vietnam

The previous experience with Intro Travel was so amazing that I decided to try out another one of their tours. Vietnam Intro was fairly new and I was intrigued. Before that I’d never really thought about going to Vietnam but I’m so glad I did. It’s one of my favourites countries I’ve ever visited!

There is so much to see and the culture is so different. The people are so friendly and the food is incredible. My favourite places were Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay and Hội An. I cannot express enough how much I loved it here! Such a beautiful country. Plus, Intro Travel were fantastic again and took us to the best places.

(a) Drinking beer on the streets of Hanoi. (b) Hội An lanterns. (c) Lying Dragon Mountain, Ninh Binh. (d) Ha Long Bay. (e) Hội An. (f) View of Ninh Binh.

Check out the tour here.

Thailand

One final Intro Travel tour (no I’m not sponsored by them, I just love them!). I wanted one more stop before home so decided to try out Thailand. There’s a lot to do in Thailand from the beautiful islands and beaches, partying, trying out street food and getting incredibly cheap massages. There’s something for everyone! It’s much more touristy than Vietnam and there are some parts I wasn’t fond of (Bangkok). However, there were some beautiful places – Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi were amazing!

I then headed North to Chiang Mai to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary and try some jungle trekking! Plenty of culture and street food too.

(a) Into the Wild Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai. (b) Khao Sok National Park. (c) Wat Arun Temple. (d) Koh Phangan. (e) Monkey Beach, Koh Phi Phi. (f) Koh Phi Phi Lookout.

Check out the tour here.

New Zealand

Considering how close New Zealand and Australia are, and how far they are from everything else, I decided I must visit New Zealand. I spent a month travelling both the North Island and South Island on the Kiwi Experience Bus. New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country and I can’t wait to head back someday.

My highlights include Queenstown, the Bay of Islands and Wanaka! There’s plenty of amazing activities to do everywhere you go, and thrill seekers will love the sky diving and bungee jumping!

(a) Hobbiton, North Island. (b) Mirror Lake, South Island. (c) Black Water Rafting in Waitomo, North Island. (d) Rotorua, North Island. (e) Wanaka, South Island. (f) Huka Falls, North Island. (g) Queenstown, South Island. (h) Tongariro Crossing, North Island. (i) Mirror Lake, South Island. (j) Milford Sound, South Island. (k) Minus 5 Ice Bar, Queenstown, South Island. (l) Lake Pukaki, South Island.

Check out Kiwi Experience here.

So there you go, that’s my gap year experience. I absolutely loved my entire year and struggled a bit getting back to ‘normal’ life. I do miss travelling somewhere new almost everyday and maybe sometime in the future I can go again.

To keep up to date with my travel life, follow my travel instagram @travelling_with_ali.

5 Comments

  1. Wanaka is amazing! It was one of my favourite spots when I was in NZ! Bali is on my list of places to go so I may have to come back to this post!

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