It’s the time of year again, where we look back with reflection and look forward with determined resolution. The new year offers a blank slate; a glorious opportunity to decide how in which direction do we want to steer our life into. At Traveloka, travel is the heart of everything we do. Here are some destinations which might help you kick-start and hopefully stick to your resolutions.
1. For those looking to unplug: Togian Islands, Indonesia
Thinking about taking a break from social media and technology? Maybe what you need is a digital detox.
While it’s hard to consciously unplug yourself in our internet and data-rich world, try heading to an archipelago of islands where even service provider signals don’t reach. You’ll have no choice but to put your phone and laptop away.
However, if you do, you’ll not only get most of the breathtaking beaches to yourself, you’ll also get to enjoy nature in a deeper and more fulfilling way. There won’t be any Instagram or Facebook standing between you and nature; just the sun, the salty breeze, the calming sea and the powdery sand.
2. For those who want a little more spontaneity in life: Sapa, Vietnam
If you’ve always had an inner Jack Kerouac or Ernesto Guevara in you, it’s time to let it out. Life’s greatest stories, like On the Road or the Motorcycle Diaries, had begun with protagonists randomly deciding to hop onto a motorcycle or in a car and drive somewhere.
Rent a motorbike in Sapa and ride for a few days on the Sapa-Sin Ho loop. These two highland towns are connected by elevated mountain passes which offer anyone who rides through it, stunning alpine scenery – a rarity in Southeast Asia.
Once you’re on the road, you’ll find the destination doesn’t matter nearly as much as the journey itself.
3. For those looking to reconnect with themselves: Bali, Indonesia
If 2016 has been stressful and overwhelming, now will be a good time to stop to catch your breath and recharge. Turn your attention to what truly matters by doing a yoga and wellness retreat.
It’s no secret why Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, flocked to Bali because there’s seriously some healing energy going around in the island of Gods. There are so many spectacular backdrops–rice fields, the ocean, the beach, the lush rainforest–that there’s no way you go there and not find your ‘Om’.
Pick a wellness programme at a studio or hotel of your choice, feast on organic foods, and you’ll return to home, looking and feeling brand new.
4. For those looking to catch the sunrise more often: Bagan, Myanmar
Dragging yourself out of the bed in the wee hours of the morning can be a pain in the butt, but what if it’s to catch the sunrise? Dawn breaks can be magical when you give yourself the chance to see it.
Hone your sunrise catching skills in Bagan. Here, you’re encouraged to wake up at 4am and cycle in the dark to a temple ruin, just so that you can secure a good spot to watch the sunrise. But when you see the sun peaking out of the horizon, sleep depravity will be the last thing on your mind.
5. For those who want more family time: Perth, Australia
A week somewhere with the entire family may be a hassle and sometimes even troublesome, especially when the kids are young and are constantly restless. Try taking your family to a family-friendly city instead, like Perth.
Perth’s weather is mild, the beaches are gorgeous, the locals friendly and there’s no end to attractions that could be enjoyed by the whole family.
Let the kids get up close and personal with native animals in Landsdale Farm or Caversham Wildlife park. There are kangaroos to pet, wombats to cuddle with, and lots of green spots to have picnics on. Sounds like a wholesome family fun, no?
6. For those searching for unique experiences: Kakaban Island, Indonesia
If you’re a daredevil, have skydived, bungee-jumped and swam with the whale sharks, what’s else left in your bucket list? How about swimming with stingless jellyfish?
There are two places in the world where you can do it: Palau and Kakaban Island in East Kalimantan. However if you’re like me, and can’t afford a trip to Palau, your next best bet is Kakaban Island.
Here, for less than USD 20, you’ll be able to go on a tour that takes you out to a mangrove lake filled with millions of bobbing jellyfish.
Be sure to take your underwater camera with you because these jellyfish can be such fascinating creatures to capture.
7. For those looking to be more thrifty: Luang Prabang, Laos
Money doesn’t have to be everything when it comes to traveling to Luang Prabang. You’ll be able to get there via budget airlines, and most accommodations are affordable, some even cheap.
The old town of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO Heritage site, so you’ll end up wandering through crumbling French colonial buildings, photographing majestic temples and monasteries and enjoying a cocktail along the Mekong river for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.
For the more adventurous, you can plunge into the cooling waters of the Tad Sae Waterfall or check out the Pak Ou Caves.
8. For those who want to be fitter and stronger: Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia
If you want to be fit but dread the idea of walking the treadmill for long periods of time, try working out with a goal in mind. Constant cardio and strength training may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have a goal, like conquering Mount Kinabalu, then staying on the couch watching Netflix will no longer be an option.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, is no walk in the park. It is possible for novice trekkers to scale it, but it will be a great test of endurance, both mentally and physically. A good level of general fitness is required. So, reach less for the TV remote and more for those running shoes.
And when you’re all done, there’s no reward better than a triumphant feeling of accomplishment.
Remember, sticking to a resolution can be hard but there’s nothing like taking baby steps. While you’re at it, you are also discovering new places and new experiences along the way. We wish you bucketloads of enthusiasm and determination for this new year.