So, that´s the end of our year around the world. By way of celebration, please don your black tie / party dress for the announcement of the Gap Year Awards “Gappies”.
Best Outdoor Activity
In 3rd place: Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos
In 2nd place: White water rafting in Buller Gorge, New Zealand
And the Gappy goes to…kayaking in the Abel Tasman Sea, New Zealand
In 3rd place: The Pinnacles in Mulu National Park, Malaysia was technically the toughest hike. So steep, that you have to climb virtually vertically
In 2nd place: The Inca Trail
and the Gappy goes to… The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah.
Best Educational Activity
In 3rd place: Cooking class in Hoi An, Vietnam
In 2nd place: Batik class in Chiang Mai, Thailand
And the Gappy goes to…Star-gazing in New Zealand
Best Cultural Event
In 3rd place: Chinese New Year, Malaysia
In 2nd place: El Gran Poder Festival, La Paz, Bolivia
And the Gappy goes to…O-bon Festival in Nara, Japan
Best Historical Monument
In 3rd place: The Great Wall
In 2nd place: Machu Picchu
And the Gappy goes to… Angkor Wat
In 3rd place: Hot Water Beach, New Zealand
In 2nd place: Varkala Beach, Kerala
And the Gappy goes to… Nam Cat Island, Ha Long Bay
In 3rd place: Giggling Tree, Yangshuo, China
In 2nd place: Treetop Lodge, Ban Lung, Cambodia
And the Gappy goes to …El Tesoro, Elqui, Chile
Best Mode of Transport
In 3rd place: Sea Plane, Taupo, New Zealand
In 2nd place: Bamboo boat, Li River, China
And the Gappy goes to…Bamboo train, Battambang, Cambodia
In 3rd place: Shaved ice with adzuki beans, Japan
In 2nd place: Tim tams, Australia
And the Gappy goes to…Pho, Vietnam
In 3rd place: Natural History Museum in New York
In 2nd place: Buddha Park, Laos
And the Gappy goes to…Pinang Peranakan House, Penang, Malaysia
Best Animal Encounter
In 3rd place: In a strong category, third place goes to Madidi National Park in the Amazon. As we were fishing for piranha, we turned around to see a mother and baby tapir (usually nocturnal) crossing the river. Our guide was even more excited than we were.
In 2nd place: A dusk hike in the Malaysian island of Langkawi. Langkawi is more of a beach resort / duty free haven so expectations for wildlife spotting were low. We got about two feet away from a buzzard pinning a lizard to the ground. Then we saw flying lemurs (with tiny babies clinging to their bellies), flying squirrels and flying lizards. All either inside or about ten minutes walk from a big hotel complex – unbelievable.
And the Gappy goes to…snorkelling in the Celebes Sea off Mabul Island, Borneo.
In 3rd Place: Singapore. Many people find Singapore too sterile, too controlled, too boring. It probably wouldn´t have made my top three if it had been the first place we went to, but it makes the list for two reasons: (1) after a month in India, sterility, order and a bit of luxury really hits the spot and (2) it had Elephant Parade! Plus it has great museums, a nice waterfront and all the home comforts you could want.
2nd Place: Hoi An – beach, mini Angkor Wat, amazing food and everyone there tells you that you’re beautiful.
And the Gappy goes to…Tokyo, big, full, colourful, insane.
In 3rd place: Bolivia, salt flats, street parties, amazing wildlife in the Amazon and the picture-perfect Isla del Sol.
In 2nd Place: Japan the craziest place in the world.
And the Gappy goes to… Malaysia, which takes the crown because whereas we only spent two weeks in Japan and Bolivia, Malaysia kept us entertained for six whole weeks and was fabulous throughout. Apart from the time we nearly died on Mt Kinabalu. And the mosquitos in Kinabatangan. And Kuala Lumpur’s town planning department. But apart from that, amazing.
So that’s it from my fantastic year off. Back home now, job-hunting and and that. All subscribers to this blog please feel free to unsubscribe now, because it’s going to get a lot duller from now on.