2022 has been one of the most exciting years of my life. Apart from being able to overcome my fears and work on my self-concept, I managed to travel to multiple destinations around the world and see more of its wonders this year. In fact, my travel experiences from this year have played a significant role in shaping the person I am today.

From traveling to the top culinary destinations around the world to taking the plunge and catching a flight on a solo trip to France, every aspect of my travels pushed me to make the best use of every experience, allowing me to share a lot more on my local food and travel blog website.

The best part about traveling around the world is that every vacation destination offers a brand-new adventure that you’re never truly prepared for, but that’s how all good memories are made. If you’re someone planning a trip for the first time or looking to experience something new during your travels, let me help you out.

Here are some of my most incredible travel experiences of 2022.

 Exploring the Magnificent Temples in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Back in 2013, my sister went to Cambodia for six months as an international exchange student. Nine years later, she was still in awe of her experience and would never stop talking about how magical Cambodia is. When I first started planning my travels, Cambodia was one of the first countries I wanted to check out, so that’s what I did.

One of the key reasons I couldn’t travel last year as much as I wanted was that most countries had pretty stringent COVID-19 restrictions for tourists. However, when I heard that Cambodia had finally started allowing vaccinated tourists to enter the country for travel, I booked my flight and started creating a Cambodia itinerary.

During my travel research, I came across the Angkor Wat pilgrimage and how special it is for people traveling to Cambodia. It’s safe to say that going on this pilgrimage at the start of the year was one of the best travel decisions I made in 2022. If you’re unaware of what Angkor Wat is, it’s one of the biggest religious centers in the world. While it’s incredibly crowded throughout the year, I was fortunate enough to visit it at a time when it wasn’t as packed as it usually is.

Apart from giving me the spiritual cleanse I needed at the beginning of the year, the Angkor Wat pilgrimage was an excellent opportunity for me to learn about different beliefs in Asia, the influence of the Khmer Empire in the country, and the history of the statues and sculptures in the Bayon Temple.

Lucky for me, the restoration and renovation of the temple had just been completed when I made it to Angkor Wat. This trip gave me some incredible friends and a much-needed moment to reflect on 2021. If you’re planning to go on this pilgrimage soon, make sure you attend the temple during the sunrise for breathtaking views, inner peace, and an incredibly serene meditating experience.

Furthermore, always have your camera on standby during your time there. You don’t want to miss out on any of the Instagram-worthy shots this place has to offer.

a temple

Attending the Popular Tiger Festivals in Yunnan, China

My curiosity and excitement to visit China began when I first watched Bling Empire on Netflix. While I knew I could never be as rich and fancy as the cast in the show, what truly fascinated me was the tiger festivals and the Chinese New Year celebrations in multiple episodes. I remember booking a flight to Yunnan, China, just a couple of weeks after my trip to Cambodia and I made it to its Tiger Festival right on time.

Yunnan is one of the most breathtaking travel destinations in China, known for its mountains, waterfalls, landscapes, and diversity. Whether you’re looking for a culinary destination in the world or a vacation spot with lots of colors, brightness, glitter, smiles, and everything exciting, Yunnan is the perfect place to travel to.

2022 was the Year of the Tiger in China, so we had to trek our way to the Tiger festivals in Yunnan. Trekking and climbing up large mountains was never my thing, but once I made it to the sparkling festival up the Yunnan mountain, it was worth all the leg workouts I did back in February.

If you’re thinking of going to China for a similar experience, make sure you dress appropriately for the occasion. Watch Bling Empire and get more insights on the dress code and explore all the thrift stores near you to plan your outfits on a budget.

people enjoying a bright festival

Living on a Maldives Island for Instant Rejuvenation

The pandemic and all the lockdowns caused by it gave me severe anxiety, especially when it came to international travel. At one point, I only wanted to travel to a destination that would give me some peace of mind and serenity. That’s when I thought I should check out the Maldives islands and what the hype is all about.

My trip to Maldives was also the perfect opportunity to capture some of the most appealing pictures and videos for my local food travel blogging website. Whoever said the Maldives are only good for couples looking for honeymoon destinations has never been to this place all by themselves.

Let me tell you that my trip to Maldives cured everything the lockdowns during the pandemic caused. There’s nothing better than putting your feet on the white-sand beaches or going for a quick swim in the clear island waters. The real estate companies in this destination have done a spectacular job with their luxury villas and vacation rentals available at reasonable rates, helping you save some dollars on your Maldives trip.

It’s safe to say that when you need some travel therapy or a breather after hectic months of working, you go to the Maldives to reset your life and feel fresher than ever.

an island in the Maldives

Impromptu Roadtrips With Explorers in Sri Lanka

Sometimes the best travel experience is when you have more control over what you do and the kind of adventures you’d like to have. Whether you want to take a break and relax, try the local cuisines, go on an expedition, or plan a long road trip with the people you’ve met along the way, there’s no better place to customize your vacation than Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is one of my favorite South Asian countries because of its history and welcoming culture you witness as soon as you enter the country. I remember planning my Sri Lanka trip with my travel advisor, and there was so much to do that I couldn’t decide how to move forward with it.

That’s when I decided to go without a plan and do everything that caught my eye. The wildlife safari and tea plantations are exceptionally famous in Sri Lanka, so that’s how I rented a luxury car and planned a whole road trip with my best friend in Sri Lanka.

Catching the Horizontal Waterfalls in Australia

2022 was special for a wide range of reasons. One of them was that I got to travel to the least cliched countries to explore some of the most fascinating and unusual wonders of the world, including the horizontal waterfalls in Western Australia.

Now you may be wondering what a horizontal waterfall is. It’s exactly what the term suggests. Like any waterfall, it’s a rapid movement of massive water tides crossing the McLarty Range horizontally. Unlike the waterfalls in Bali, Indonesia, you can’t simply stand under the water to experience these horizontal tides.

My mates and I were given the option to either get on a boat or an airplane to witness this magical sight, so we chose to do both because why not?

Australia waterfalls

Witnessing the Marine Life in Fiji

Like most adventurers, underwater scuba diving was on my bucket list for the longest time. Today, it’s one of the most incredible travel experiences around the world. When I reached Fiji with my girlfriends back in September, I was about to quit the idea because of how scary and overwhelming it seemed at first.

However, a couple of days of learning the ins and outs of scuba diving prepared me for what came next. I was able to experience a whole marine paradise that I didn’t want to leave anytime soon. If you need a break from life, Fiji is where you should consider going.

a person scuba diving

With all my travel experiences around the world, I have to say I’ve been incredibly fortunate to share them with my followers and readers on my food and travel blog. My next goal for 2023 is to explore the top culinary destination in the world and try as many local cuisines as possible.

You can now keep up with my travels by following my local food travel blogging website at Irina Bukatik. Feel free to share your comments and concerns with me today!

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