28 Countries in 365 days of travel~ Hannah’s Top 5 countries revealed

5 favorite places in the world hannah wide

28 Countries in 365 days of travel~ Hannah’s Top 5 countries revealed

Over the past 365 days on our RTW trip we have traveled to 28 countries and backpacked through countless cities. The first 50 days flew by so fast, and we learned early on that keeping a blog up to date and traveling is HARD work. We have so many stories and information to share with you but haven’t had enough time. Stay tuned….But I think it’s time I share with you my favorite countries.

5 favorite places in the world hannah

If I only had a $1 every time someone asked me my favorite place. I don’t have a favorite place, but instead have favorite countries in every part of the world. Let’s start of with some of my travel destinations and why. I choose one from each continent we have visited:

Guatemala

antigua

We spent 17 days exploring Guatemala, most of our time was spent in Antigua which is still one of favorite cities in the world. I tried to learn Spanish, keyword TRIED, I have learned that 5 hours a day 5 days a week with 1-on-1 lessons is a little too much. I did learn a good amount of Spanish, I survived didn’t I? Antigua was a gorgeous city everything about it was beautiful. The architecture of the houses, churches, the volcano in the background, and even the prettiest Mc Donald’s I’ve ever seen.

ronald

Adam fell in love with Guatemala on day 1, when he realized a beer was cheaper than a diet coke. Yes, this is true for 50 cents a beer and usually 60-75 cents during happy hour at a rooftop bar. On top of cheap beer, the food was equally as cheap and good. Even though I was tortilla’d out by the end of time.

Our 3-day trek in Guatemala was a highlight for sure, but at the time of trekking it was a low light. It was intense, and my first “real” hike. I am glad I did it but happy to say I will never do it again! I enjoyed our 3 nights at Lago Atitlan, and wish to return there for some peaceful relaxing nights.

Lago Sunrise-4

Colombia

Coffee Farm Work - Salento, Colombia-9

Colombia was our first stop in South America, and completely different from Central America. We traveled to Cartagena, Cali, and Salento. We feel hard in love for the small town of Salento in the coffee zone. Salento is a small town, we would walk all around town popping in all the little coffee shops and just enjoy the day. We felt so safe here, Salento has a perfect temperature not to hot not to cold. Adam even got to see what it is like to work in the coffee fields. We know we will be back, next time probably for a month.

The Fat Dogs of Salento, colombia-3

Malawi

Malawi - school

Malawi is a country that we fell in love with the people. I saw no evil in anyone, everyone was so happy and full of life. I felt so welcomed here, and I cannot wait to go back. Malawi does not necessary have much to offer in forms of safari wildlife, or activities BUT it is a gorgeous country. We spent 5 days in different camps along Lake Malawi. We visited a school, a school without desks that has opened our eyes forever.  The people of Malawi have so little and need so much help, we hope to return next year.

Malawi Village-2

New Zealand

Kiwi Krawl Day 4-10

Before touching down in New Zealand, every traveler we had met listed New Zealand as one of their top 3 places if not number 1. I didn’t know what to expect, I had high expectations, and I admit I wasn’t let down. We rented a campervan for 2 weeks and drove over 3000km exploring the South Island. Every turn we took we were pulling over to take a picture, as it just kept getting prettier. Make sure to check out our New Zealand video of all our favorite photos here. We did everything from skydiving, whale watching, swim with the dolphins, Milford Sound, wine tasting, hang-gliding, Fox Glacier climbing, star gazing, glow worms, and much much more. We plan to head back to New Zealand, just need to save some money as New Zealand isn’t cheap.

NZ - Kiwi Krawl Day 10-11

Thailand

7 month recap - Koh Lipe

We first visited Thailand in 2012 on our honeymoon, which played a huge part in taking our RTW trip. This year we returned to Bangkok, and we loved it even more than the first time around. We even talked my parent’s into coming to Thailand and started in Bangkok what an adventure that was. Found an amazing cat cafe I was in heaven, not sure what my was thinking…Thailand has amazing islands and beaches, this year we discovered our new favorite Thai Island Koh Lipe, Thailand and rented an amazing beach bungalow steps from the sea it was paradise.

Thailand - Chinatown food

We also ventured up north and settled into Chiang Mai where we rented an apartment for a month. We had a kitchen so we were able to cook some of our favorites from home, but also took a Thai cooking class so we could replicate them in our apartment. Chiang Mai just felt right we joined a gym, had friends, celebrated my 30th birthday, felt safe walking alone, amazing Thai massages for $5 an hour, got my hair done and looks amazing, and so much more. We are planning on returning next year to settle down and catch up on the blog, trying to talk Adam into a 6-month rental. FINGERS CROSSED as I am craving some authentic Thai green curry YUMMY!

7 month recap - Koh Lipe - Penang Curry

So there they are my top 5 countries. Have you been to any of them? If so, what did you think of them? If not, are they on the top of your travel bucket list?

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40 Comments
  • Hannah Wasielewski
    Posted at 13:20h, 24 June Reply

    I’ve only been to Guatemala out of the countries you’ve mentioned, and must agree that it’s beautiful! However, all those countries are on my list, especially New Zealand and Thailand! I’m hoping to visit both of those in 2015 🙂

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:20h, 29 June Reply

      You will love New Zealand just be prepared to open your wallet and take tons of photos. Thailand on the other hand will be super nice to your wallet. They are both amazing but oh so different.

  • Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home
    Posted at 19:30h, 24 June Reply

    Cool to see that New Zealand made the list. You need to do a post on how you keep your figure so good while traveling, please!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:24h, 29 June Reply

      Of course NZ did it’s AMAZING! You are so lucky to call it home. I gained in Africa and I know 2 weeks in Italy isn’t going to be nice to me….stay tuned!

  • Jennifer Causey
    Posted at 23:44h, 24 June Reply

    I get asked that all the time, too. Favorite country or favorite city. Country is between New Zealand, Italy or Spain. City, hands down Rome.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:26h, 29 June Reply

      We are headed to Italy in 2 weeks and our first stop is Rome for 4 nights. Any tips for us? We already have 6 food tour/cooking classes booked…DANGEROUS!

  • Scott
    Posted at 06:25h, 25 June Reply

    Awesome that you guys have been going for a year, seems like you just left. Only been to Thailand, but you make a great case for all of them, especially Guatemala. Cheers!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:27h, 29 June Reply

      It seems like just yesterday, crazy how fast time has flown by. Guatemala is amazing, we plan to return to Central America in 2015/2016 not sure when this trip will end…

  • Rashaad
    Posted at 07:34h, 25 June Reply

    Of the five countries listed above, I’ve only visited Thailand (and I’m dying to return), but I would love to visit New Zealand. Provided I go there during their summertime.

    P.S. I love the picture of Ronald McDonald 🙂

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:29h, 29 June Reply

      We were in NZ November which is like there spring and it was gorgeous. Honestly don’t think there is a bad time to visit NZ. Ronald McDonald in Antigua has it made if you ask me!

  • Cristina
    Posted at 07:49h, 25 June Reply

    I’ve just returned from Thailand and it’s a wonderful country. We visited the Eastern part – Koh Samui, Nangyuan, Tao and Ang Thong Marine Park, where we saw monkeys enjoying their freedom. The beaches are out of this world, especially in Nangyuan and Ang Thong and the snorkeling is incredible in Koh Tao.
    I also enjoyed Bangkok and Ayutthaya (probably my favorite part of Thailand in terms of sightseeing as I haven’t been to Chiang Mai).
    Thai people are not the most honest in the world, but most of them are kind and helpful. It’s a destination I would definitely recommend to everyone, especially to beach lovers.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:32h, 29 June Reply

      We haven’t been to any of those parts of Thailand, YET! Thailand has so many more beaches that we are yet to explore, hoping to lay my beach towel down on a bunch more next year. We hope to return to Thailand and get an apartment for 3-6 months to catch up and get in some more beach time.

  • Gaye @ Pinay Travel Junkie
    Posted at 08:16h, 25 June Reply

    Excited to visit Guatemala! We’re going in August, me thinks, and this post made me more excited. Among these, I’ve only been to Thailand.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:33h, 29 June Reply

      Your going to love it. What part are you going to? Let me know if you want any other tips just send me an email.

  • Maria from Nerd Nomads
    Posted at 03:37h, 26 June Reply

    Great list! Of these five countries, I have only been to Guatemala and Thailand. I totally agree with you…..Thailand is amazing! We have now stayed in Bangkok for 2 months, getting our blog up running. Yep, can relate to your cravings for Thai Green Curry, it`s the best! 🙂 Hope you succeed with talking Adam into staying in Chiang Mai for 6 months.

    Would love to visit New Zealand one day, although I hear it is a big similar to my home country Norway.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:35h, 29 June Reply

      How do you find living in Bangkok? We love Bangkok but unsure if we could stay for more than a week at a time. So jealous you are eating Thai green curry! I will talk Adam into it, just wait.

      New Zealand is amazing you have to go.

    • NZ Muse
      Posted at 20:36h, 15 August Reply

      I haven’t been to Norway, but I can tell you that Iceland is a LOT like to NZ!

  • Jonny Blair
    Posted at 09:52h, 28 June Reply

    Nice list Hannah – liked how Malawi is on this list – it’s a country I haven’t heard much about and will make sure I have it on my radar for my next African adventure now. Safe travels. Jonny

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:37h, 29 June Reply

      Malawi is amazing, you will love it. It isn’t touristy at all and that is why you will love it. The people are what got me hooked, I can’t wait to go back hoping that will be in 2015.

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    Posted at 17:28h, 28 June Reply

    What an exciting adventure you are on!! Guatemala looks absolutely stunning – I haven’t seen many posts about it so it’s great to get an insight of what it is like as a country! Must be hard choosing 5 out of so many unique places all over the world!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:39h, 29 June Reply

      Guatemala is great, only bummer is no real beaches to talk about. Antigua is still one of my top 3 favorite cities. It is so hard to pick our top 5 countries because everyone is so different and special in it’s own way. What is next on your passport?

      • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
        Posted at 16:23h, 29 June Reply

        Thanks for the reply Hannah 🙂 Next for me is Cuba next month – really looking forward to it as it should be a really unique new cultural experience (and of course some lovely beach time!!)

        • Adam
          Posted at 05:24h, 29 September Reply

          Cuba soooo jealous! It’s on our bucket list!

  • Manfred
    Posted at 03:29h, 29 June Reply

    Out of your top 5 I’ve only been to Thailand. It’s so great that I have been here for almost 4 years on and off. I now use it as a base for traveling from and it’s where I call home. Your top 5 looks great though and I will get around to visiting them eventually. But I still have a big list to work my way through.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 14:07h, 29 June Reply

      Where in Thailand do you base yourself? We hope to be back in Chiang Mai next year to base ourselves on more long term bases. You will make it to the rest of my top 5, the problem is the world is to big..

  • Belize
    Posted at 06:06h, 29 June Reply

    Too bad Belize did made it on the list but I am happy you shared with us your top 5 countries.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 13:41h, 29 June Reply

      I love Belize! Placencia we looked at real estate and would still considering moving there as it would be perfect for an expat. The beaches and diving is awesome. It is just so hard to pick 5….I think I need to get back to Belize, a week in Caye Caulker sounds amazing.

  • Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Posted at 10:36h, 29 June Reply

    Happy anniversary!! Sounds like an epic trip!

    • Adam
      Posted at 04:40h, 29 September Reply

      Thanks! It has been one hell of an epic trip!

  • Karyn @ Not Done Travelling
    Posted at 23:17h, 30 June Reply

    Definitely return to Chiang Mai! It’s perfect, isn’t it.

    • Adam
      Posted at 04:41h, 29 September Reply

      I can say Chiang Mai will be seeing us sooner than later, and we will stay for much much longer!

  • Steve
    Posted at 08:08h, 22 August Reply

    Glad to see you liked Chiangmai! After living and working in China for the last six years of my career, my wife and I retired to this wonderful city last summer. You guys sounded like you had a great year!

    • Adam
      Posted at 04:42h, 29 September Reply

      We LOVED Chiang Mai! We are returning in a few months and staying for several months this time around. We’d love to meet up. What a great place to retire in, JEALOUS!

  • Anna Suznjevic
    Posted at 09:49h, 12 December Reply

    Your site is amazing. You have really poured a lot into it and all the links and tips are fab. So interesting to read your top 5. We are headed to Central America next so I’m going to make sure and set aside a decent amount of time for Guatemala. Happy travels from Anna + Oscar

  • Jayne
    Posted at 15:35h, 01 May Reply

    New Zealand is my favourite too and I’m lucky enough it’s only next door so I will be popping over a couple of times this year, one for a ski trip in August to Queenstown then North Island to hike the Tongariro Circuit. Yes I have to agree with Malawi the people are lovely,pity we didn’t get to spend longer there but we were on an overland truck.. Thailand I wasn’t so impressed with on my last visit. I backpacked there in 1999 for two months and loved it then went back with hubby last January as part of our RTW trip and I wasn’t so impressed this time although we love Khao Sok NP and the 5 day liveboard dive trip out to the Similan Islands. Koh Samui was a disappointment, the beaches were dirty and it was too built up. Bangkok drove me nuts but then they did have the protesting on! When it comes to beaches the Philippines rocks! Haven’t been to Koh Lipe though. Central America is on our list once we saved up the money, looking forward to Guatemala 🙂

    Love to know what camera you use? you have some fantastic crisp clear photos.

    • Jayne
      Posted at 15:39h, 01 May Reply

      Don’t need to answer my camera question had I gone to your photography page in the first place then it would have been answered for me!

      • Hannah
        Posted at 10:48h, 25 June Reply

        Glad you found it Jayne! Also email us if you have any other questions.

  • Kate
    Posted at 07:03h, 07 July Reply

    Great pictures and blog. I am planning a couple of months immersion with my 12 and 9 year old to Spanish language school and looking at Guatamala (cheapest). We’ve been in Costa Rica but it’s too expensive. I keep seeing wonderful blog posts about Guatamala such as yours but then hit with quite a few people slamming it as very dangerous. For a mom on her own with kids, what do you think of the security there?
    On another note you make Chiang Mai sound great. Funnily enough it is the only place we didn’t really click with in Thailand. But Hua Hin — I can live there any day. Highly recommend it:)

  • Tom
    Posted at 11:54h, 21 August Reply

    Hannah,

    How do you get such bright colorful photos? Those are great! Love your stuff.

  • Carl Wright
    Posted at 10:10h, 03 September Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I loved New Zealand, but it really was (is) expensive. I got married there in 1988 (my wife is a kiwi), and there was just no work.. But such a beautiful country.

    Columbia is a country I would love to visit. Growing up years ago, on the news I would hear about the drug related crime. So glad to read now that you felt safe Hannah. 🙂

    ~Carl~

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