My Round The World Trip: What’s The Plan?

Only 22 days left before I board that plane to my first destination: Bangkok, Thailand. AND I’M SO EXCITED!! For years I’ve been dreaming about this: traveling around the world! And now it’s about the become reality! How it all started? I was about to finish university and wondered what was going to be next. So when I checked my bank account and realized I could travel around the world if I would work hard and save my ass off for half a year, my mind was set!

Right away I checked the website of a travel agency offering Round The World (RTW) tickets, and saw the perfect itinerary. I checked some more options, thought about it some time, but this first one was just going to be it! I can’t wait and it seems like I’ll be able to tick off many things of my bucket list. And although I really want to remain open for changes, sudden adventures and have the ability to be flexible, this is the plan for now:

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore ….

My trip starts in South East Asia, where I’ll spend 2 months. First I’m going to discover Thailand, starting off in Bangkok. After that I’ll volunteer for a week with a really cool program at a zoo in Kanchubari. Feeding some giraffes, playing with some tigers and scooping some elephant shit.. can’t wait!! (For those first two, that is..) After that I’ll head to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. It sounds like an amazing city with lots of beautiful temples, delicious foods, nice outdoor activities nearby and very different from busy Bangkok. Pretty close to this is Chiang Rai. I’ve to admit I don’t know too much about this place other than that it has a really beautiful white temple which I want to see.

Round The World

Chiang Rai & Halong Bay

After Chiang Mai I’ll head over to Cambodia to visit the beautiful Angor Wat temple complex in the city of Siem Reap. After that I’ll go south west to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s Capital. From there on I’ll make my way over to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) in Vietnam and from there on head north to Hanoi to visit the beautiful UNESCO site Halong Bay.

From there I’ll catch a plane back to Bangkok and go south to the island of Koh Tao. Koh Tao is famous among scuba divers and a place where many will get there scuba certification and so will I!

Round The World

Part 1: South East Asia

I’m planning on getting my open water and advanced open water certification there and dive some more afterwards.

Next is Malaysia! From Koh Tao, I’m going further South to Kuala Lumpur to enjoy some city life. And I would love to also make a quick stop in Malacca, a city with a fascinating history and which was, among others, colonized by the Dutch for a while.

The last stop in South East Asia will be Singapore. From there on I’ll fly down to Australia, but hopefully first take a swim in the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool if anyone can help me get in without having to pay for a room! (If that’s you, please, please, please help me tick this one of my bucket list!! Leave a comment below or hit the contact button!)

…. Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, …

From Singapore, I’ll fly to Australia and spend a month there. I’ll catch the bus from Melbourne along the north-east coast up to Cairns. I don’t really have a plan yet of how long I’ll stay where, and doing what, but these are some things I really don’t want to miss: the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Sydney, Phillip Island, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Fraser Island, the Whitesundays Islands, Magnetic Island and Cairns.

After Australia, it’s only a short flight to New Zealand (relatively seen), and so that’s next! I’ll take a month to discover both the north and south island, including places like Auckland, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, Tongariro National Park, Wellington, Abel Tasman National Park, Franz Josef glacier, Queenstown and Mt Cook. Again, I’ll be doing this by bus!

Round The World


By the time I leave New Zealand, fall will almost start and so to keep up my by then extreme levels of vitamin D, I’ll go over to Fiji! Honestly, I didn’t have a clue about Fiji but when the lady at the travel agency said that there’s a bounty island called Bounty Island there, I of course had to check it out!

This will only be a short stop before heading off to what has been on top of my list for a long time: Hawaii! Okay, okay, I’ll admit. On a flight back from Beijing to Amsterdam back in 2012, I watched an episode of the police series Hawaii Five-0 and was sold. Didn’t miss an episode ever since and now I just need to go. It just seems like such a magical, fascinating place! (Well done CBS, well done!) I’ll probably spend about a month here, till half of June.

Round The World

Part 2: Oceania

… And after that… I’m not sure.

I really want to make a cross country trip through the US, either by train or campervan. I might apply for a job at an amazing educational summer camp in New York which I’ve been involved with for years. I might decide to visit one of my best friends in Peru. I’m not sure. We’ll see when time gets there. There is still half a year left to figure it out and lots to enjoy, experience and look forward to first! I’ll keep you posted!

Round The World

What’s after that? Not sure…

Have you been to any of these places and do you have any recommendations, local insights, tips, off the beaten path recommendations, or anything that could in any way be helpful to make my trip even more epic? Please comment below!!

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37 Responses to My Round The World Trip: What’s The Plan?

  1. Wauw wat een gave plannen zeg! Enorme diversiteit aan landen, heel gaaf!

  2. Ashlin says:

    You will love Chiang Mai, it is one of my favorite cities. The scuba diving on Koh tao is the best I have ever done; you will have a blast. Good luck and have fun on your trip!

  3. Reni says:

    Oh wow, I wish you a fantastic trip and lots of great experiences. So cool that you plan to learn to dive. We did our scuba diving instructor course in Koh Tao. We loved the island even if it was pretty crowded we found quiet places and beaches.
    And well Chiang Mai is a great city too. I’m sure you’ll love it and be prepared, you may stay longer than expected.
    Looking forward to read more about your adventues.

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Thanks Reni, thats great to hear! Any tips for good spots on Koh Tao? Or Chiang Mai? Cool blog btw! I’m definitely going to take a close look at your articles!!

  4. Do not plan to be in Kuala Lumpur between 18th-23rd February. That’s Chinese New Year Eve – Day 4 of Chinese New Year. This is when I will be around because it is my hometown, but this is also when most people who live and work in Kuala Lumpur will go back to their respective hometowns. The city will be like a deserted town with nothing much going on.
    If you want to get a feel of CNY in KL, your best bet would be the week before the date I mentioned, that’s when the pre-CNY atmosphere will peak.

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Uh oh, that’s exactly when I was planning to be there. Not because of CNY, but because I’m leaving from Singapore on the 25th. Hmmmmm.. Thanks for the heads up, will try to shuffle some things around!

  5. Lies says:

    Your trip sounds amazing! When you’re in Chiang Mai, make sure you visit the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for abused and tortured elephants. I volunteered for a week at the sanctuary and it was an amazing experience.
    You can also go there on a day trip, feed and bathe the elephants.
    There are no elephant rides or shows there (You’ll get to see a video why that is)

    Chiang Mai Night market on Sunday is a must! And get plenty of massages while you’re there :) Cheap and oh so relaxing!

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Hi Lies, thanks for the recommendations and great that you volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park! Sounds like an amazing experience and I’m definitely going to try to volunteer for a day. I actually already wrote about them in a post on elephant abuse in Thailand: And can’t wait for those massages!!

  6. Andrea says:

    That is sure to be an incredible experience! Can’t wait to read about your upcoming adventures :)

  7. Mike says:

    WOW, sounds like an amazing itinerary. It’s going to be a mindblowing experience, I have no doubt.

    I recommend to visit the Skybar of the Traders hotel in Kuala Lumpur. At night you have the most amazing view of the Petronas Towers. Drinks are quite expensive, but one cocktail really enhances the experience (there’s a pool in the bar as well).


    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Haha yeah I’m excited about it!! And thanks a lot for the advice!! Will definitely try to check that out!! Pool in the bar – epic :p

  8. Carolin says:

    Wow, what amazing plans you have ahead!! I am currently in Thailand, but out of all, Australia is my absolute favourite and Hawaii is high on my list to travel to as well. Hope you have the best time and meet some incredible people :)

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Thanks! And sounds like you’ve a great plan yourself! I really can’t wait for all those places :) Enjoy Thailand!

  9. Looks like an amazing itinerary!! We left Thailand a few weeks ago and, while we may not be THE authority in the country, if you have any questions please feel free to ask!
    We got our scuba diving certification on Koh Tao and it was truly an amazing experience – we can answer questions on that as well!

    When are you planning on being in Vietnam? We head there in Jan for several months. Perhaps our paths will cross!!

    All the best and happy travels!! We look forward to reading about your adventures!

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Thanks so much! Will definitely let you know if I’ve any questions. Seems like you’re making an amazing trip yourselves! I’ll probably be there at the end of Jan so we might indeed cross paths! I’m looking forward to reading your posts! Have fun!!

  10. Nikki says:

    Doe je NZ met Stray? Is wel een geniale keuze. Afgaande op je bucket list zou ik dan zeker gaan paardrijden bij Blue Duck Station, was een van de vele hoogtepunten van mijn reis daar. Tevens de 134 bungy jump doen in de buurt van Queenstown, en raften bij Rotorua of Rangitata (heb zelf alleen Rangitata gedaan maar was erg gaaf). Hanggliding doen bij Abel Tasman, ice climbing bij Franz Josef Glazier en zwemmen met dolfijnen bij Kaikoura en je kan weer wat experiences van je bucket list doorstrepen :)

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Yes met Stray! Super bedankt voor de tips, dit komt mn bucketlist ten goede! Ik ga ze gelijk opschrijven. Klinkt alsof jij ook een mooie reis hebt gemaakt ;)

  11. Sounds like a fabulous adventure. You’re starting with places I have yet to travel so no recommendations from me, but it will be fun to follow along to see how it all goes. I am headed on an adventure tour to Vietnam in the spring so after that I can compare notes. Bon voyage!

  12. Laura says:

    This sounds absolutely incredible. IF you have any questions or want any suggestions for Australia or NewZealand i can definitely help you out. I spent a year two years ago in Australia and Im currently in New Zealand!

    Get ready for the time of your life!

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Thats great Laura, thanks so much! A year in Australia sounds amazing! I don’t think I’ve any specific questions yet as its still going to be a while, but I’ll let you know when I do! Enjoy NZ!!

  13. ian says:

    Groovey! RTW tickets can work very well for plans like this, and they do make things a bit cheaper; it didn’t work for me because I’d planned on going to somewhat obscure destinations …

    SE Asia is a fantastic part of the world; don’t feel you need to go every single Buddhist temple/wat as they will get same same eventually, but there’s certainly enough other variety in those countries – did you contemplate a quick trip into Myanmar/Burma? Careful too, Singapore is pretty expensive, compared with the rest of SE Asia.

    Melbourne and Brisbane are lovely cities – I’ve been to the Sunshine Coast just North of Brisbane a couple of times (mmm Australia zoo, Noosa Headland forest and beach) but as you’re planning Fraser Island anyway there’s no real need to go there.

    Did you consider Vanuatu as well as Fiji? I wanted to go there – trekking up volcanoes for instance. It looked really interesting, am slightly disappointed I didn’t make it, and with hindsight I’d have done that instead of Perth/Fremantle.

    As for the end of your trip, well a road-trip across the USA is a classic idea; either LA-Vegas-Chicago-Detroit-New York or SF-Arizona-Memphis-New Orleans-Miami sort of trek. My only problem with the USAi, being British (and I have this problem with Australia as well), it’s a bit too much like home; it doesn’t *feel* like a holiday, if that makes sense?

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Wow Ian, so great advice! Indeed, it turns out there are a lot of temples all over. Can’t visit them all, but did 2 great ones so far and loved them!

      I did think of going to Myanmar, but I would love to see the pagoda’s and they’re a little too far a way to get there for like a day or 2. Plus, its rather expensive to get there for such a short trip. I might do a day trip when I get to Chiang Rai though. And yes, I head Singapore is expensive Won’t be there for very long, but my flight to Australia leaves from there, so I need to go there. And it sounds like a nice city too.

      Nope didn’t consider Vanuatu to be honest, just went straight for Fiji.

      End of the trip.. If I do the cross country it will be the south track, but going north from New Orleans to Chicago as a friend of mine lives there, and from there on to New York. Can see your point, but as I’m from the Netherlands its already quite different to me and I’ve started to love the US over the past couple of years so can’t wait to get back there!

  14. Dirk-jan says:

    Enjoy your trip and have fun!
    When you have a chance to go to Peru, try to visit Cuzco with her big history of the Inca empire, and don’t forget to visit Machu Picchu the Inca ruïnes high up in the mountains, really breathtaking! Take 2 days for machu picchu ( day 1 arrival in Aguas Caliente by train, day 2 for visiting machu picchu). Advice on day 2 to be as early as possible -4am!- at the bus which brings you to machu picchu, you’ll have the best sunrise and possiblity to climb the huayna picchu (limited tickets available!). Enjoy

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Great advice – thanks so much! I definitely want to make it there. Very much hope I’ll have some funds left by then! :)

  15. Alana says:

    When do you arrive in Cambodia? We’ll be there for 2 weeks starting mid-January.

  16. Mette says:

    Hi Hester,
    I will be living in Pokhara, Nepal from July – October. If you get the chance, please come by!

    • Flying Dutchgirl says:

      Wow really! Cool! Lucky you! I’m heading the other way, but perhaps I can make it over! What will you be doing there? x

      • Mette says:

        I’ll be doing fieldwork for my master thesis with women from local villages. I’m very excited. I will be there from july – october, so if you have the chance come see me :)

  17. Zilla says:

    Mooie route!

    Wanneer ben je in Maleisië of Singapore? Ik ben er in April. Zou leuk zijn je te ontmoeten.

  18. Leonie says:

    Wat is je totale budget voor deze wereldreis?

  19. Leonie says:

    Wat is je budget voor je reis?

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