Mabuhay from the Philippines! We’ve just arrived in Manila and we can’t wait to spend the next month slowly exploring various parts of the Philippines, a country that we’re revisiting simply because we’d enjoyed it so much the first time.
This is the first stop on our itinerary as we transition into full-time travelers and digital nomads – writing, taking photos and blogging along the way. Many people have been asking us how we’re going to juggle travel and work – if you’re curious to know how it goes, stay tuned as we update you here every week on all the highs and lows of our location-independent lifestyle.
From the Philippines, we’ll then fly back to continental Southeast Asia, traveling overland through Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, China and (wait for it…) North Korea! By summer, we hope to be traveling on the Trans-Mongolian railway from China through Mongolia all the way back to Europe. It’s not our first time traveling in Southeast Asia, but it sure is our first time slowly making our way overland – so we’re looking forward to see every inch of the region. Here’s a quick look at our rough itinerary and what we’ll be doing at each country, so if you’re in the area, be sure to let us know!
Feb to March: The Philippines
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking our time to explore a few of the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines. Starting off in Manila, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines has arranged an action-packed itinerary for us where we’ll get to swim with whales sharks in Donsol, go wakeboarding near Legazpi, visit Panglao Island and go on a food tour in Manila. For the rest of the time, we plan to go on several scuba-diving trips with Monarch Sands Resort in Dumaguete before heading to Sumilon island and spending time working on the beach.
End of March: Vietnam
Starting our journey possibly from Ho Chi Minh city, we plan to take the train to travel along the coast all the way north traversing through Nha Trang, Hue, Hoi An up to Hanoi. Along the way, we hope to get to know Vietnam more – the first time we were here, we really liked it here. In Hanoi, we’ll be taking a few days to head out to cruise Halong Bay; and if time permits, we’ll catch the train up to get acquainted with the tribes and rice terraces of Sapa. We’ve only got two weeks in Vietnam though, since we need to meet some friends up in Thailand.
We’re excited to be meeting some friends in Chiangmai, where we’ll spend at least a week to work and unwind. Then we’ll train it down to Bangkok mainly to apply for our visas and meet up with old friends. A few days in Bangkok for Songkran should be quite the highlight – followed by taking the train further down south to the Suratthani region and then island-hopping to Koh Samui and Krabi, where we’ll be staying at the Amari Resorts. We’ve also partnered with Hostelbookers, who will be providing part of our accommodations in the entire trip – including on Koh Lanta, where we’ll relax for a week or two.
This part of the trip is one that I look forward to most: Myanmar has always been in my radar and I’m stoked to finally get the chance to visit. We’ll be staying in hotels arranged by Myanmar Travel – starting from its capital Yangon to the spiritual heart of Bagan then Mandalay and ending the trip in Inle Lake. We haven’t decided what we want to do thereafter, but a visit to the Golden Rock Temple is definitely in the works.
May to June: China
In the second half of May, we intend to cross the borders over to China – traversing through Guilin, Chengdu, Xi’an and up to Beijing. China Odyssey Tours has kindly invited us to explore the country with them and they’ve planned an excellent itinerary which includes cruising down the Li River, farming in rice fields with locals, visiting a panda research center in Chengdu, and exploring the legendary Mount Ermei. I’m really excited about China since I’ve seen very little of China and this overland trip will definitely give us a better glimpse of my ancestral land.
June: North Korea
We’re both stoked to visit North Korea, a country that’s been largely cut off from the outside world and where travel is so controlled. We will be traveling with Koryo Tours on the five-day Spring/ Dragon Boat Festival trip, starting our journey in the capital PyongYang, followed by hiking on Mt Ryonggak then Kaesong and finally DMZ, the line that divides North and South Korea. Few people have had the chance to go to this unexplored part of the world – so we’re really looking forward to it.
After North Korea, we’ll spend a week or two back in Beijing, China, before hopping on the Trans-Mongolian train, slowly traversing through Mongolia, Siberian and eventually arriving in Russia. We might then head back to Spain for a summer break before heading off again!
That’s what we’ve got planned for now, we don’t know where we’ll go next – follow us to find out!