The Highlights of 26 Months Traveling & Living Around The World

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I’m currently 40,000 feet above earth flying from Brussels to Philadelphia.

I’m about three glasses of red wine deep, and it’s bringing out some serious emotions.

HOLY SHIT…I’M GOING HOME…

For those who haven’t been following along for that long, I haven’t been in America since June 2014.  That’s right — it’s been over 26 months since I’ve been stateside.  While that may not be too long for some travel blogging nomads I know – it’s a very long time for this guy.   

It’s pretty crazy for me to think about everything that has happened in the past couple years, and all the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with.  

Not to be too cliche — but the past two years of travel and living abroad have shaped me into the man I am today.  I’ve learned so much about the world, and what I want for my future.  

I’ve established goals, discovered new passions, and have realized that ambition is key to a successful life.  

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While my future plans are still somewhat up in the air –  I have a much more clear idea about the type of life I want to live.

As one of my favorite travel quote says:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.   – Mark Twain


I’ve pursed my dreams of traveling the world while I’m young….

I may not have a fancy car, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, or own any property…

But I’m filthy rich in life experience.


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So I’m going to utilize this flight to write down some of my most memorable travel highlights and achievements from the past 26 months of traveling, studying, working, and living abroad. 

I’m writing this post not only as a fun recap, but as a personal memoir to to reflect on these life-changing experiences.


To give you a general idea of where I’ve been, here’s the basic timeline:

June – August 2014 – Summer in Barcelona/ European Travels

September 2014-2015 – Full year backpacking around Asia

September 2015 – May 2016 – Life in Sydney

June 2016 – Singapore & Sri Lanka

July + August 2016 – Back to Europe / Balkans / Flight Home


So without further ado…let’s take a quick look and reminisce at the past couple years of my life…

#JONESAROUNDTHEWORLD


 Summertime in Barcelona

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Since I decided to complete my Master’s Degree online, it meant that I could choose to study anywhere in the world.  Well, when my backpacking trip to South America got cancelled, I immediately knew where I wanted to go.

On June 5th, 2014 — I flew on a one-way ticket to my favorite city in the world: Barcelona, Spain. 

This was the beginning of this epic 26 month adventure.  I spent 2.5 months in Barcelona, and had some of the craziest and most unforgettable moments of my life.  

Barcelona is known for it’s exceptional nightlife, so I was a tad bit worried about balancing my studies and my love for quality techno — but I managed to get straight A’s in my classes, and had the time of my life with some really awesome people. 

I’ve lived in Barcelona for two different summer seasons now (2012 & 2014), and I can confidently say it is the one of the best places in the world during this time of the year.  The amazing food, vibrant culture, and insane nightlife will always keep me coming back for more.

NOS VEMOS, BARCA


Sonus Music Festival

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After a very hectic “goodbye week” in Spain, I made my way over to Croatia to hit up one of the better music festivals I’ve ever attended.

SONUS exceeded all of my expectations.  The music was simply incomparable to any other festival I had experienced, the location on Pag island was stunning, and I spent the week with two of my best Dutch friends from Eindhoven (De Gekste!).    

Dank u wel Joost & Stijn.  Looking forward to our next reunion!    

Besides a lost iPhone and damaged liver – it was the perfect ending to my summer in Europe.


Launching This Website in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

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First off — I actually didn’t even really care to visit Sri Lanka.

The only reason I flew there was because I was maximizing my United Airlines miles I obtained through savvy “travel-hacking”.  But I’m so glad I did, because Sri Lanka has now become one of my favorite countries to travel through.

During this first trip to Sri Lanka, I spent about 10 full days in Arugam Bay, and it was the first time I truly felt like a long-term solo traveler.  I stayed at this place called The Beach Hut (an absolute must for anyone traveling to A-Bay), and this is where I launched Jones Around The World

I had been preparing to do so for awhile, and finally got around to it.  This was almost two years ago now, and I can’t believe how far this blog has come. 

I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging, but starting this website marked the beginning of a completely separate journey. 


One Month Exploring Bali & The Gili Islands

Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I made it back to South-East Asia — and the first stop was Bali, Indonesia. 

This month was seriously awesome.  Not only did I get the chance to meet-up with some family, but I had such a blast exploring new parts of Bali and Gili Trawangan.  

It was also great that one of my friends that I met in Vietnam decided to fly all the way out from Hawaii to travel with me for a few weeks!  Shoutout to Elaine!   

From the moto explorations of Bali, the booze cruises and sunsets on Gili Trawangan, and the awesome fellow backpackers I had the pleasure of meeting — this month in Indonesia definitely had to be included in my travel highlights. 

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Becoming an Honorary Kuala Lumpur Expat

During my first trip to South-East Asia, I had the pleasure of meeting an extremely friendly Kiwi girl named Danielle, and older Aussie bloke named Hutchy.  I met them while backpacking in Langkawi, and I had no idea that meeting them would have such a drastic impact on my future. 

Because of these random travel friendships — I was able to see a completely different side of Kuala Lumpur, and I got the opportunity to become friends with a solid group of expats from all over the world. 

In the past two years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Kuala Lumpur, and while I may have never had a full-time job there, I do feel like I became an honorary expat. 

To my KL / Regalia crew — thanks for all the good times, the poker games, and the mojito nights.

Water & Lights show at KLCC

Water & Lights show at KLCC


Wonderfruit Music Festival

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I haven’t attended many music festivals in Asia, but I would defintely say that Wonderfruit is hands down one of the best parties you can find in the region. 

The vibe, the venue, the food, the people — everything was just perfect. 

Shoutout to Jesse & Scott for being absolute legends.  I’ll be seeing you lads out in Bangkok soon enough I’m sure!  

You can read my full Wonderfruit Review to get a better idea of what I experienced.


Christmas on Koh Tao

The idea of spending Christmas on a tropical island may sound a bit strange, but it was such an incredible experience.

The backpacking culture is very alive and vibrant on Koh Tao, and it was awesome to meet and party with some awesome people from all over the world, as well as be with one of my best friends Cathy on Christmas day!  If you ever get the chance to spend the holidays in Thailand, I would highly recommend it!

If I close my eyes, I can picture myself back there watching the sunset, with a beer in my hand and a santa hat on. 


NYE Full Moon Party & Jungle Rave Shenanigans on Koh Phangan

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Ohh, Koh Phangan – where do I even begin…?

I actually attended two different Full Moon Parties during my first trip to South-East Asia, so I definitely knew what I was getting myself into this time around. 

New Years Eve on Koh Phangan was absolutely mental, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing the NYE Full Moon Party – I am glad I experienced it for myself. 

This was one week full of neon colors, buckets of Thai whiskey, and dancing until the sun comes up with a global mix of friendly strangers.

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Purchasing My First DSLR 

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If you ask me now…when I really started being a travel blogger — I would tell you it was when I bought my first DSLR camera. 

niI spent a couple days researching the “best DSLR for beginners”, and the top result always seemed to come back to the Nikon D3300 

So I treated myself to an early birthday present — and shelled out close to $500 to purchase this bad boy.

I’ll be honest — I had no idea how to use this camera at first, but I knew that photography was something I wanted to get into, and did my best to learn how to use my new camera.

Looking back on my photos from my first few months of having it, I’m horrified about how truly awful I was.

Travel photography has become a passion of mine, and I’m looking forward to purchasing some advanced camera gear and improving my skills.  

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Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant cities in the entire world.

I found a $42 flight from KL – HK, and couldn’t wait to visit a new city during their biggest holiday of the year.  

It might have been ridiculously expensive week, but I think it was worth every penny.  The firework show was quite impressive, the Hong Kong Pub Crawl was a blast, and crossing off Hong Kong Disneyland (being from Anaheim) needed to be done.

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Backpacking The Philippines.  The best month of my life…? 

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I spent one month in the Philippines, and I have nothing but the fondest memories of those 30 days.  I really do think it’s the most beautiful country in South-East Asia, and the entire trip just went so perfectly. 

My Philippines Itinerary article is one of my most read blog posts, and it’s been amazing to help people plan their travels throughout the country.  I regularly receive comments, emails, and messages from people who are about to embark on a trip there, and I’m so glad that information that I have written has made a difference in their travels.

From the amazing island hopping experiences in Palawan, swimming with whale sharks in Cebu, and partying it up in Boracay – this was a month that I will never forget.

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Master’s Degree = Completed

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Most people thought I was crazy to travel the world while simultaneously studying for my Master’s Degree — but I realized is that all you need is a little bit of time management and responsibility, and handling the workload was completely possible.

After about 1.5 years — I finally finished my Master’s Degree in Business Management & Leadership.

I can’t even begin to explain how good of a feeling that was.  I submitted my final assignment in El Nido, Palawan — and celebrated by partying on a private island in the middle of this gorgeous archipelago. 

Don’t know how many other people can say they’ve experienced something like that before…


Loving Life in L-A-O-S

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When I think back on all of my travels through South-East Asia — Laos was easily the most surprising country of them all.

I have no idea why it took me so long to travel through Laos, but the experiences I had in this country were some of the most memorable.  

From relaxing on the 4000 Islands, waterfall explorations through the Bolaven Plateau, and the tubing madness in Vang Vieng — backpacking Laos was almost too much fun.

I also had the pleasure of traveling the country with two really amazing English girls!  Shoutout to Meg & Eliza for an incredible time!  Can’t wait to see you guys again sometime…


One Month in Chiang Mai & Songkran Water Festival

In the travel-blogging / digital nomad community, renting an apartment in Chiang Mai is extremely popular — and I wanted to experience what everyone else was talking about. 

So I found myself a nice studio apartment on AirBNB for $280 U.S.D for the month, and decided to slow down my travels a bit.  I had been on-the-go for quite awhile at this point, and was in desperate need of some rest & relaxation.

It started off with one of my all-time favorite travel experiences: SONGKRAN water festival.  This was just 3-days of epic madness running through the streets of Chiang Mai armed with a water gun.  Check out my Songkran Video below, to get a better understanding. 


Moto Ride from Chiang Mai – Pai

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While most people opt to take the $5 bus through the winding mountains of Northern Thailand, I knew renting a moto was going to be the best way to get to Pai.

Thanks to the power of Facebook, I met an awesome Aussie bloke to make this journey with, and even picked up a fellow backpacker on the road.  Shoutout to Damo & Ilona!  🙂

Everyone loves to talk about how amazing Pai is, and I finally understood what all the hype was about.  There’s tons of incredible things to do in Pai, the food is delicious (and cheap), and the nightlife is surprisingly hectic! 

It’s one of those destinations where you plan on staying two days, and end up staying two months.  I could easily see myself moving to Pai sometime in the future. 


The Paradise Lifestyle on Gili Trawangan

My favorite island in the world…

After a quick return visit to Bali with a friend from California, I decided that living on Gili Trawangan was something I desperately wanted to experience.

So I managed to land a job at the main party hostel on the island called Gili Backpackers.  This place is actually now called Gili Castle, as the island government made the decision to ban all hostels.  

I fell in love with the paradise lifestyle on Gili T.  I was constantly surrounded by wonderful people from around the world, going on epic booze cruises, and showing people around the nightlife hotspots. 

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My days were filled with swimming alongside turtles in perfectly blue waters, and my nights were filled with pub crawls and Joss shots. 

I even got a job offer to stay and work as a bar promoter as well as sell tickets for the booze cruise, but the time had come for me to leave.  I definitely wasn’t ready to go, but my time living on Gili Trawangan was absolutely perfect.  

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Sailing Through Komodo National Park

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This four day trip sailing from Lombok to Flores was easily one of my favorite things I’ve done in South-East Asia. 

The trip was jam-packed with idyllic islands, unbelievable snorkeling, and gorgeous sunsets.  I was also very lucky to share this experience with a stellar group of people from a dozen different countries.

If you ever get a chance to visit Indonesia — exploring Komodo National Park should be a top priority!

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Malaysian Island Adventures

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After returning back to Kuala Lumpur from an epic 2 months in Indonesia — it was time for me to actually explore more of Malaysia.

I spent almost two full months exploring the Perhentian Islands, Pulau Kapas, Tioman Island, and Langkawi.

This was when I truly fell in love with Malaysia.  I was constantly left stunned by it’s natural beauty, the delicious food, friendly culture, and budget travel options.  

I really do think Malaysia is the most underrated country in the South-East Asia.  

During this time was also when I decided to buy my Working Holiday Visa for Australia – probably the most influential decision of my life…

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Paradise…


California Visits

When two of my friends from high-school messaged me on Facebook asking to join me out in South-East Asia, I was so stoked to travel with them for a bit.

I spent two weeks with Rashad in Bali and the Gili Islands, and spent about one week with Gina in Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi.  It had been a long time since I had seen both of these awesome individuals, and we have some pretty epic travel stories together now.

Thanks for the visit guys.  We’ll definitely have to make traveling together a bigger priority!  I know that neither of you guys like long-haul flights, but I promise i’ll make it worth it.

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Moving to Australia & Getting Settled in Sydney

Cheers!

Cheers mate!

To be honest — my life was kind of a mess when I initially moved to Sydney.

I had been traveling for so long at this point, finances were running extremely low, and I was just a bit of a wreck.  I didn’t have any decent clothes, was nervous about finding work, and made this huge life decision to move to another country.

I tried not to let it show, but I was dealing with quite a bit of stress.  It really took me awhile to get settled in Sydney, but I think that’s normal for anyone who just spent over a  year backpacking around Asia.

If it weren’t for the generosity of my mate Ed, and the Ferguson family, who let me stay at their house for the first 5 weeks I was in Sydney — I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

I started making decent money, found an affordable house to live in, and finally felt settled in Sydney.  I paid off my debt, was able to save money by utilizing websites like OZCodes, and started to feel like I was getting my life together…

I was no longer a backpacking nomad.  I found a home.  While my plans to move back to Sydney have been unexpectedly postponed, I know I’ll find myself living there again in the near future.

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There’s no place like home…


Halloween Forest Raving

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Being American — Halloween is a pretty big deal to me.  

Fortunately, the Sydney squad all rallied together, and we made the journey to a secret location for one epic party called The Afterlife.  

It was the first music event I attended in Australia, and was also the start of a beautiful festival squad.  We were missing a few key members, but we definitely made up for it at future events.  

Read my full Afterlife Event Review for a better idea of what this experience was like.    

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My First Press Trip as a Travel Blogger — INDONESIA

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I had been blogging for a little bit over a year and hadn’t really made too much money or gotten anything in return for all my hard work…

This website was started purely for hobby purposes, but it’s been really cool to see Jones Around The World grow into something much bigger. 

This was an all-expenses paid trip to Bali, Lombok, and Komodo National Park.  The trip was hectic to say the least, but it was such a solid experience with a wonderful group of fellow travel bloggers.  

If you guys are reading this — thanks for an epic trip everyone!  Was a pleasure traveling with you, and looking forward to our next press trip together! 

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New Years Eve Celebrations in Sydney

Since it was my first New Years Eve in Sydney, I knew that I had to check out the legendary firework display over Sydney Harbour.

So I joined my friends Ellie & Kenny (who were visiting from KL), and cruised out to the park at Mrs. Macquaries Chair.  It was a long day of eating, drinking, and taking photos.

We were all a bit surprised they packed in so many people into this small area to watch the fireworks, and didn’t really provide any entertainment.  But I will say that the firework display was the best I have ever seen.

Field Day

There’s no better way to start the year off right then to hit up an outdoor music festival in downtown Sydney.

We got the whole squad, looking good in our tye dye, and had one epic day dancing to Golden Features, Boys Noize, and Disclosure.

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The House of Shifting Sands

Rent prices in Sydney can get pretty ridiculous at times, so when I was offered a room in a house in Randwick for only 180 per week — I quickly accepted.  When I initially moved in, I was actually only supposed to stay for 3-4 weeks, but the tenant who was supposed to take the room no longer could.

Living in this house was one of the best aspects of my life in Sydney.  It was affordable, it was comfortable, and the house had such an amazing vibe.

But the only way to describe this house is — Organized Chaos

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Why?  Well, because we had a total of 9 people living in that one house.  We had 7 people sleeping in rooms, and 2 extras who used the house but slept in a tent outside, and a car in the driveway.  While it may have been slightly inconvenient, messy, and chaotic at times — it worked for us.

Everyone in the house got along really well, and had a few really epic family parties.  🙂

It was called the “House of Shifting Sands”, because there are always people coming and going, and moving out / moving in.  I’m sad to share that this house is no longer being leased by old my roommates, but I was so glad I got to share that house with them all.

Special shoutout to Tim, Kylie, Niels, Aidan, Rene, Daphne, Jarrod, Giorgia, Ben, Alistair, and Dennis!


The Yacht Social Club

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“Sydney Harbour Is Our Playground”

When it comes to last-minute decisions I made while in Sydney, this might have been the absolute best one.  The location, the music, and the atmosphere is unlike any other party in city.

But that should be expected, right?

Yacht Party in Sydney Harbour?  Yeah…count me in.

Read my full review of The Yacht Social Club, and I guarantee you’ll be adding it to your bucket list.


Buy Tickets for the 2016 / 2017 Season


Joining the GoPro Family

When you grab the attention of a company as big as GoPro, you know you’re doing something right.  I was so stoked to receive the invitation to join the GoPro family.  Having just recently attended their Launch event for the Hero5 and GoPro Karma, I’m excited to continue to use their amazing products are produce some stellar content.  #BeAHero

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Return to Rio

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Looking back on my time living in Sydney, I would have to say that my weekend of camping and dancing at Return to Rio was hands down my favorite weekend in Australia.

Not only did I hear some of the best music I’ve ever heard (DIXON crushed it), but I met some of the coolest people there.  The atmosphere at Return to Rio is hard to explain…I guess you just have to experience it for yourself.

The next Return to Rio is happening in November 11-13, and I’m seriously contemplating flying all the way back to Sydney just so I don’t miss it.  It was THAT much fun.  I’ll be rocking my Zebra Onesie when I get back…

Read my full Return to Rio review to get a better understanding.


#TuneSquad at Groovin The Moo

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This was the last music festival I attended while living in Sydney, and it was definitely good fun.

While there were a lot of aspects of Groovin The Moo I didn’t really enjoy – our squad totally crushed it with our festival gear.

Amazing day of dancing with good friends to quality tunes.  Safia, Golden Features, and Alison Wonderland played incredible sets.

TUNESQUAD–ASSMEBLE


Love & Loss in Sydney

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When it comes to dating – traveling had always kind of inhibited any type of long-term relationship.  But since I was living and working full-time in Sydney, I was able to start seeing someone.  While this relationship had turned into something quite serious, it has recently ended in a rather unexpected, immature, and shocking fashion.  These things happen though, and I’ve learned the hard way that people aren’t always what they seem to be.

As the saying goes…

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

But sometimes I’m not too sure about that…


Sydney Going Away Party

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Was a bloody ripper mate…

I’ve always enjoyed throwing house parties, and my going away function in Sydney was one hell of a party.  It was great to get all my Sydney mates together in one place, and spend one final evening of debauchery with some of my favorite people in the world.

I hate goodbyes…but I’m already looking forward to my “welcome back” party.  🙂


Singapore in Style

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The first stop on my summer travels was the beautiful city / country of Singapore.

I had visited a couple times before, but this was the first Singapore visit with my DSLR — so I spent 3 whole days running around the city taking pictures of absolutely everything.

I gotta say– I think I got some pretty epic shots.

I was also hosted by the amazing Westin Singapore hotel during my stay, and lived it up in pure luxury.

Was the perfect beginning to my summer travels…

I also bought a new MacBook Pro at the Singapore Airport – which was desperately needed.

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June in Sri Lanka + #TBCAsia

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Sri Lanka was the first country I ever felt like a true “solo traveler”, and as previously mentioned, was where I launched Jones Around The World.

So when I got invited to be a hosted blogger for TBC Asia, I could not have been more stoked to return to where it all began.

I spent the entire month of June traveling around this stunning country, and I feel like I could have easily stayed another month or two.

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Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Attending my first Travel Blogging Conference was definitely the highlight of this month though.  It was incredible to meet and travel with some awesome fellow bloggers!  I learned quite a bit, and left the country feeling inspired to achieve much more when it comes to this site.

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Photographing Paris

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Paris is a city I have visited on numerous occasions during my time working as a European travel guide, but I was excited to get back for a repeat visit to take photos of absolutely everything.

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s a reason for that.  It really is a gorgeous place, and I had a solid 3-day stay running around the city.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best weather when I was there, but I still managed to get some cool shots.

I stayed at an amazing hostel called Les Piaules, and enjoyed a nightly glass of wine on the rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

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Balaton Sound

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If you haven’t already, make sure you check out my article on why I think Balaton Sound is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

I only went because I knew I needed to get out to Eastern Europe, and found a flight to Budapest for 40 euro the day the festival began.  So I applied for the press accreditation (after the deadline has passed), and received the amazing news that my application had been approved.  This last-minute trip was slowly coming together.

The issue then was that I had no friends to go party with, and no where to stay – but thanks to the power of Facebook, I got lucky and found an open spot with some truly incredible people.  They welcomed me into their little rave family with open arms, and we had such a solid time partying it up at the beautiful Lake Balaton.

Shoutout to Baywatch Crew!

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Exploring Budapest + Belgrade

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After an intense week of partying at Balaton Sound, I was looking forward to a bit of relaxation — but there is little down-time in the life of a travel blogger.  I spent the week re-discovering my love for Budapest, and then taking a night-bus down to Serbia.

Budapest – It definitely is one of my favorite cities in the world.  There’s so much to explore, delicious food (and beer), and it’s very cheap.

Belgrade

 I wasn’t too happy about my time spent in Belgrade.  I had awful weather the entire time I was there (mid-July), and the city just felt a little bleehhhh.  I did find some delicious food, and learned a bit about the city – but I do think I need to head back to the city again.  I had heard so many great things about this city, and I’m not quite sure what I missed.

Apparently Belgrade has some of the best nightlife in the Balkans, but I was still detoxing from the epic bender that was Balaton Sound.

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Three Week Balkan Road Trip

I honestly don’t even know where to begin…

The Balkans has been a region I’ve been dying to travel through for years now, and this road trip completely exceeded all my expectations.

I joined forces with two other travel bloggers, the devilishly handsome Dan Flying Solo and the ridiciously fun Lili’s Travel Plans, and we hit the road traveling through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece.

Randomly enough, I had actually never even met them before this trip.  I think we all took a gamble to embark on this three-week road trip with strangers met through the internet, but it ended up working out perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for better company.

The entire trip was jam-packed with beautiful sights, friendly people, and scenic drives.  I fell in love with the Balkans, and can’t wait to explore more of the area in the future.  🙂


BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Beautiful bridges, winding roads, and stunning landscape were three of the highlights of this amazing country.  Road tripping through Sarajevo, Konjic, various lakes and viewpoints, and Mostar.  This country was constantly surprising me.

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MONTENEGRO

This was definitely the country I was looking forward to the most.

Before visiting Montenegro, I had only really heard about the Bay of Kotor though, so everything else we saw was an added bonus.

Durmitor National Park was hands down my favorite aspect of traveling through Montenegro.

We got our car sorted all thanks to AutoEurope  and was left speechless while we drove through and marveled at the natural mountainous beauty.

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ALBANIA

I’ll be honest – the main reason I was looking forward to traveling through Albania was because I had heard it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe.

Albania completely blew me away.

We spent around 9-10 days going through Albania.  The highlights were Lake Komani, Berat, and driving along the entire coast of the Albanian Riviera.

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CORFU, GREECE

We all made our way down to Corfu because the flights were so much cheaper leaving from Greece.  I wasn’t even planning on exploring the island, because I had been to Corfu a couple times before…but WOW.

Corfu is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s a pretty massive island, and me and Lili spent two full days driving around the island checking out the best beaches and view points.

Oh…and the food.  I could easily live off of Greek food for the rest of my life.

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Flying Back Home

Over 2 Years and 2 Months.

Total:  805 Days…

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That’s me overlooking my hometown of Yorba Linda

The time had finally come to make my way back to Southern-California (where I’m currently writing the end of this blog post).  I’ll admit that it felt a bit strange at first, but now I’m thoroughly enjoying my time catching up with friends and family, eating In-N-Out, and saving up money for whatever adventures come next.

I’ve got some really exciting options for the next year or two, so I guess I’m just currently waiting to see how a few opportunities work out.


So to wrap up this massive 5000+ word blog post, I just want to give a massive shoutout to everyone I had the pleasure of spending time with these past couple years abroad.  You’ve all had an impact on my life in one way or another, and I’ll never forget all the incredible adventures we’ve shared.

Traveling is truly about the people you meet while on the road, and I’ve been fortunate to forge friendships with some fantastic people from all over the world.

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Love you guys!


THANKS FOR READING!


Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

20 Instagrams That Will Inspire You to Visit LAOS

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During my extended travels in South-East Asia, I absolutely fell in love with Laos.

It took me a really long time to get there, and I’m actually really upset with myself that I hadn’t visited earlier.

I honestly have no idea why I waited for so long, but now that I now — I’m always telling people about how amazing Laos is.

If you’re backpacking through South-East Asia, definitely check out my Laos Backpacking guide.  This is a great resource for your future travels.

I’m almost obsessed with Instagram — so check out these 20 posts that will definitely inspire you to visit Laos!


1 )  Kuang Si Waterfalls

Definitely one of the most instagrammed places in the country.  I’m sure you can understand why.


2 )  Sunsets in Don Det

Hakuna Matata.  It means no worries.

It's official. I'm in love with Don Det, Laos

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


3 )  Swimming in The Blue Lagoon

You’ll want to spend all day here…

The Blue Lagoon. A great place to spend an afternoon in Vang Vieng…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


4 ) Exploring Vang Vieng

Vang vieng, Vientiane Province. By Aaron Geddes #vientiane #vangvieng #namsong #laos #love #Like #facebook #pages #laospictures #laopdr

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


5 ) The Gibbon Experience

2 or 3 day zipling adventure through the Laos Jungle?  Sounds like a damn good time.


6 )  Monks on Monks on Monks

The Alms Giving Ceremony is a must when visiting Luang Prabang.

Wat sensoukharam, Luang prabang Photo: Massimo De Nino #LaosPictures #Laos #LuangPrabang #Asia #ASEAN

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


7   Tad Yuang Falls

While exploring the Bolaven Plateau, you’ll see tons of amazing waterfalls!


8 )  Forever Chasing Waterfalls

Khone Phapheng Waterfall.  What a beaut.

Anyone up for white water rafting…?

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


9 )  Motorcycle Adventures

Easily one of the best countries in the world for some two-wheeling fun.

N13 Road Northern #Laos #Asia #ASEAN #LaosPictures

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


10 ) Hammock Life

I’ll be here all day…

Enjoying the sunset view over Mekong river from my bungalow terrace in Don Det, Laos.

A photo posted by Sasu Loimulahti (@loimuphoto) on

 


11 ) 4000 Islands Bliss

Tranquility.


12 ) Hot Air Balloons in Vang Vieng

Not a bad view, eh?


13 ) Kuang Si Falls

So damn breathtaking


14 ) Just R-E-L-A-X

Don Det is easily the one of the chillest places in South-East Asia.


15 ) Luang Prabang View Point

So charming.

Experience the charm of peaceful life in Luang Prabang. #ThaiAirways #LuangPrabang #Laos #FlyTHAItoLuangPrabang

A photo posted by Thai Airways (@thaiairways) on


16 )  Out for a Stroll

Discovered this gem while randomly exploring Vang Vieng.

I don't ever wanna feel…like I did that day. Take me to the place I love…take me all the way

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

17 )  Patuxai Monument

Not much to see in the capital city of Vientiane, but it definitely has it’s charm !

Patuxai, Vientiane Laos By Yul Kwan #patuxai #vientiane #laos #thailand #asian #asean #asia #love #like #facebook #pages #laospictures #lao

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


18 )  Seven Waterfalls in One Day

While exploring the Bolaven Plateau, you can see 7 different waterfalls in one day!


19 ) Laos Landscape

It really is incredible!


20 ) Oh, and Beer Laos is AMAZING

No shirt. No shoes. No problem.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


LAOS IS AMAZING


 

Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat:  JonesATW


Top 50 Instagram Posts of 2015.

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A total of 270 posts, and received over 166,489 Likes on those photos! 

This was truly an amazing year of Instagram for me.  When I started out the year, I barely had over 1,000K followers, and now I have over 21K followers.  It’s been incredible to see people from all around the world follow my travels, comment on my photos, give me recommendations, and build an Instagram community.

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I get emails from people who follow me on Instagram pretty regularly asking me for travel advice, blogging tips, and ask many other questions.  It’s been really cool to truly inspire people through my photos, and I’m hoping that I will have continued success in 2016.

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING EVERYONE!!!

These are my favorite 50 Instagram posts of 2015 !


1 ) EUPHORIA

Gili Trawangan sunsets.  You can’t get much better.

I think I've died and gone to heaven…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

2 ) PARADISE

Bring a book and some beers.

3 )  COLORFUL

Watching the sunset at La Plancha in Seminyak.

4 )  BRIDGES

Follow me.  Let’s go an adventure.

I don't ever wanna feel…like I did that day. Take me to the place I love…take me all the way

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

5 )  BORACAY

Boats & Sunsets

Beautiful Boracay…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

6 )  FIREWORKS

Happy Chinese New Year from Hong Kong!

GONG XI FA CAI !!

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

7 )  VANG VIENG

Sunset Laser Pointer…

First sunset in Vang Vieng. Laos just keeps getting better and better.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

8 )  SUNSET RESORT SWIM

…Yes, I’m obviously staying here.

"Pool area is reserved for registered resort guests only…" Well, rules like this one are meant to be broken…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

9 )  I’m On A Boat

Indonesia Booze Cruising

Yachts and hoes…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

10 )  SAILING VIEWS

That color though…

11 )  ISLAND HOPPING

 

12 )  LOOK UP

Expecto…PATRONUS.

13 )  COTTON CANDY

Sugar clouds…

Who wants cotton candy?

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

14 )  GREEN

I like that bridge…that is a nice bridge.

15 )  SYDNEY

My first sunset in the city was a good omen…

16 )  LOST IN TRANSLATION

I’m just looking for dumplings…

17 )  PERFECTION

You’ll never want to leave Pulau Kapas, Malaysia.

18 )  LAS CABANAS

Deep-house tunes, beer, and good company.

19 )  LANGKAWI

“Alright we’re here for one hour for snorkeling and swimming”…

Island hopping tour in Langkawi for $8 is worth every penny.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

20 )  INFINITY

Always up for a swim in my favorite pool!

Back at my favorite place in Kuala Lumpur.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

21 )  REFLECTION

Who am I….?

22 )  ULUWATU LUXURY 

Drinking beers in an infinity pool while watching Bali sunsets.

If you need me, this is where Ill be…Mu Resort Infinity Pool in Uluwatu

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

23 ) WATERFALL

I went chasing waterfalls in Laos…

I've never found time spent amongst nature to be a waste of time.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

24 )  PALAWAN

Island hopping in paradise…

Just another day exploring paradise.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

25 )  COCONUT

The best way to beat that humidity while exploring temples.

Nothing hits the spot more than a fresh coconut on a humid day in Thailand.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

26 )  BALI BEACH CLUBS

Bintang all day…

Viewpoint from the entrance to Finn's Beach Club in Uluwatu. A tad bit expensive for Indonesia, but worth every penny.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

27 )  RIPPLES

In time…

If i ever start a rap career, this is gonna be the cover of my first album titled "Ripples and Reflections"

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

28 )  HEAVENS

Zeus…?  Is that you…?

Pulau Kapas wasn't only beautiful during the day. Every afternoon and around the sunset time the clouds and sky put on a little show.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

29 )  RELAXATION   

I didn’t move from this spot all day…

30 )  MESMERIZED

That Hong Kong Skyline will leave you speechless…

I had been walking around Hong Kong all day and needed to rest my legs. Luckily I found this spot to take a few minutes, and enjoy the view.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

31 )  CLOWNING

I couldn’t find Dory though…

Look who I found…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

32 )  HAKUNA MATATA 

I don’t know why.  But this reminds me of Lion King somehow…

33 )  IDYLLIC

I swam to that island…true story.

34 )  FERRY LIFE

Anyone down to head to the Opera…?

35 )  RESORT CRASHING

Happy Hour at the Pool Bar.  Yuppp….

Cocktails in paradise…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

36 )  GILI LIFE

My daily view walking along the beaches of Gili Trawangan.

To stay here for another month or not…? Tough decision…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

37 )  O-M-F-G

What a view…

38 )  BLUE LAGOON

Tree jumping, rope swinging and swimming all day.

The Blue Lagoon. A great place to spend an afternoon in Vang Vieng…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

39 )  JUNGLE FALLS

So damn cold.  So damn refreshing…

40 )  DON DET

One of the most relaxing places in the world…

41 )  CHEERS MATE

First beer in Sydney with a view…

42 )  SYDNEY SNORKELING

G’day fishies.

43 )  SERENITY

So damn pretty…

44 )  JEEP

Always keen for a little exploration…

45 )  COASTAL WALKS

Bondi – Coogee Coastal Walk FTW…

46 )  KOMODO NATIONAL PARK

Who is down to live aboard…?

47 )  HAMMOCK LIFE

Help me.  I’m stuck….Actually, just bring me that book.

I'm all about the hammock and beach volleyball lifestyle…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

48 )  GETTING HIGH

…on life obviously.  I was in Indonesia.  Not trying to get executed…

49 )  GETTING WET

It really was pouring rain…

50 )  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2016 started off in a great way…

 

Which one is your favorite…?

 

2015:  The Best Year Of My Life

Shoutout to all my Instagram followers out there!  I love reading all your comments, and glad you all enjoy my photos!  If you like following my travels on Instagram, please help a blogger out and spread the word!  Jones is traveling around the world.

 Are you on Instagram?

Who are your other favorite people to follow on Instagram?

Let me know in the comments sections!

SHARE THE INSTAGRAM LOVE

10 Fun & Awesome Things To Do In Malaysia

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A visit to Malaysia is bound to be nothing less than a trip you’ll never forget! There are so many things to see and do in Malaysia, that wherever you go, you’ll surely run into something unique and surprising! Whether it is food, adventure, shopping, or entertainment, Malaysia never ceases to surprise its visitors. The country is blessed with astounding natural beauty too, including pristine beaches, the world’s oldest tropical rainfrest and the oldest national park, ideal for hiking enthusiasts.  Check out this list of 10 fun & awesome things to do during your next trip to Malaysia!

1) Snorkeling / Diving around The Perhentian Islands

Easily one of the most beautiful parts of the country, spending a day on a boat exploring the underwater life around the Perhentian Islands will be a highlight of your vacation.  You’ll be left speechless at the underwater life, beautiful corla, and you’re also pretty much guaranteed to see a couple turtles!

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2)  Genting Highlands, Kuala Lumpur

Welcome to the ‘City of Entertainment’ – Genting highlands – a magnificent resort perched on a hilltop, about 50km from the city of Kuala Lumpur, offering the coolest getaway to re-charge yourself! Home to the only casino in Malaysia, Genting Highlands also offers indoor and outdoor theme parks, over 50 fun rides and about 150 outlets comprising numerous restaurants and shopping centres.

3)  Exploring the Cameron Highlands

Just a bit further north from the Genting Highlands, you’ll find yourself mesmerized incredible green and luscious rolling landscapes.  Choose between jungle trekking, exploring tea plantations, or stunning view points.  The Cameron Highlands is a visit to

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4)  Butterfly Park Tour, Kuala Lumpur

Who wouldn’t want to recall childhood day trying to catch colourful butterflies, or trying to fly like one?! Serenity of nature, a beautifully manicured garden with lush greenery and colourful flowers, and a haven where one can relax on the benches or soak in the sweet incense of exotic flowers, the Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur is a must-visit! An ideal destination for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers, this is the largest butterfly park in Southeast Asia, where you can admire up to 6000 butterflies from over 120 species!

5) Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi

Time to bid goodbye to all your worries and gear up for some excitement! Go snorkelling or swim with the colourful fishes at the Pulau Payar Marine Park. This uninhabited, well-preserved marine park, surrounded by coral reefs and ideal for an extensive array of water-sport activities, is one of the most exciting places to visit in Malaysia. If you are not a fan of water-sports, go and check out the surrounding hiking trails or simply sit back and admire the endless ocean – a diverse mix of shades of blue!

6)  Try Malaysia’s delicious Cuisine!

Do we even need to mention the food trails of Malaysia? Malaysian cuisine is not about a few particular foods, rather, it’s all about the country’s culinary diversity and dynamic mixture stemming from its multi-ethnic population of Indians, Malay, Chinese, Eurasians, and the indigenous people of Borneo. Malaysian food is all about letting your senses tantalise your taste buds by sampling the best dishes of Malaysia. Truly, feasting on the heavenly Malaysian cuisine on your holiday is a one-of-its-kind experience which shouldn’t be missed!

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7)  Experience Paradise on Pulau Kapas

While not one of the most well-known islands in Malaysia, Pulau Kapas might just be the most stunning islands I’ve ever visited.  This idyllic island is just a short 20 minute boat ride from the mainland, and will keep you there much longer than expected.  With no roads on this island, you’ll truly experience the laidback island lifestyle.  There’s amazing snorkeling just a short swim off the beach, crystal clear water, and a few amazing spots to eat!

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8)  Khoo Kongsi, Penang

One of the best things to do in Malaysia is visiting the famous Khoo Kongsi clan house. Hidden in a maze of alleys, this clan house was built more than 100 years ago. One of the country’s hidden gems, the grandest clan temple is surrounded by tall buildings, and inside clan temple, you will witness elaborate murals and carvings that reek of a rich history. Believers come here for religious reasons, while non-believers come to feast on its ornamental architecture. Whether it is a New Year’s celebration or a cultural show, the grandeur of this place has to be seen, in order to be believed.

 

9)  Cable-car ride and oriental village tour, Langkawi

Not a hiking enthusiast? Not a problem! Hop onto a cable-car that will take you to the peak of Mount Mat Chinchang, from where you can soak in legendary views of the fascinating island of Langkawi. The breath-taking scenery, the rustic ambience enhanced by rich flora and fauna, and the spectacular limestone formations – Langkawi is an idyllic retreat. Experience the thrill of speed while riding the longest free-span single-rope cable car ride of the Oriental Village through the virgin forest of Langkawi, and immerse yourself into in the serenity of the environment.

10) Rooftop Views in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has made this list a few times already ,but for good reason.  Whether you’re enjoying a drink on a helipad, or swimming in one of the most amazing infinity pools, you definitely can’t miss the opportunity to get an amazing view of the city from up above.

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I collaborated on this post with the awesome people over at HolidayMe to promote some of their amazing tour packages in Malaysia!  As always, all opinions are my own, and think Malaysia is an incredible country that I strongly encourage people to visit!  

Like this post?  Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for more adventures Around The World…

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand: Instagram Checklist

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Welcome to Thailand

Thailand is one of the most incredible countries in the world.  Planning a trip out to this beautiful destination can sometimes be difficult though, because there is SO much to see and do.  I’m here to help.  I’ve spent a decent amount of time living, working, and traveling through Thailand, and want to make your trip planning as smooth as possible.

This Is Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand — told through Instagram.  

Everyone loves sharing their travel photos on Instagram, and if you manage to post your own versions of these amazing Instagram ideas, I guarantee you will have seen just about everything Thailand has to offer!  Enjoy!  You might not have the best camera for travel, but you can still get some beautiful shots all throughout Thailand.

Playing With Elephants

When you come to Thailand, it should a top priority to hang out and play with some elephants.  Just be careful where you choose to do this.  Find an ethical Elephant Sanctuary and make sure they are taken care of properly.  (Photo: @vodkapond)

Rooftop Dinner & Drinks in Bangkok

There are lots of incredible rooftop bars in Bangkok, and they provide the perfect place for some excellent photography!  Order a beer, enjoy the view, and start your night right in Bangkok. (Photo: @nodestinations)

Koh Tao Viewpoint

Definitely one of the most Instagram worthy spots in Thailand is this view point looking over Koh Nang Yuan off the coast of Koh Tao.  Such a beautiful spot, and only a 10 minute hike to get. (Photo: LifeBeforeWork)

Live and Love the #IslandLife on our #Thailand tours! #KohTaoViewpoint

A photo posted by Lifebeforework (@lifebeforework) on

Scuba Diving Photo

Make sure you check out some of the best dive spots in Thailand, and capture some beautiful underwater life with an underwater camera!  (Photo: @Alessiazamparini )

Full Moon Party

Whether it’s your “scene” or not, no trip to Thailand would be 100% complete without experiencing the Full Moon Party at least once!  Koh Phangan is one of the craziest party islands in South-East Asia, and you have to experience the madness for yourself!      (Photo: LifeBeforeWork)

Double tap if you've experienced a Full Moon Party! #Lifebeforework

A photo posted by Lifebeforework (@lifebeforework) on

The Container in Pai

Pai is absolutely incredible, and one of the best parts about traveling in Northern Thailand.  It’s become a popular destinations for budget backpackers, and there’s never a shortage of things to do in Pai.  If you find yourself in Pai, make sure you make your way over to the Container!

Straight up chillin at the container…

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

Railey Beach

Railey Beach is absolutely gorgeous, and is also one of the best places to go rock climbing in Thailand.  You can easily spend a few days in this area.  Spend your days on the beach, island hopping, or rock climbing.  No matter what, you’ll fall in love with Railey & Ton Sai Bay.    (Photo:  Rodrigoduzsinski)

Maya Bay

The famous film location of the film “The Beach”, this stunning bay has made Koh Phi Phi one of the top tourist destinations in all of Thailand.  Visiting Maya Bay will leave you speechless, and one of the asbolute best things to do while on Koh Phi Phi.     (Photo:  mellohama)

Longtail Boats

The colorful decorations on the Longtail boats make them completely beautiful, and perfect for photographing.  Especially when paired with the natural landscape, beautiful waters, or a gorgeous sunset.    (Photo: AboutThailand)

Krabi

A photo posted by Thailand (@aboutthailand) on

Playing With Tigers

 It’s a popular debate in Thailand whether you should visit the Tiger Kingdom or not, but it’s also one of the more popular tourist attractions.  When planning your trip, make sure you do your research, and find an ethical organization you can go through.  You definitely don’t want to support the drugging of these beautiful animals.    (Photo: R_begley)

We survived the Tigers anyway ? #changmai #tigerkingdom

A photo posted by R_Begley (@r_begley) on

 Buddahs & Temples

After your first day in Bangkok, you probably might be “templed out”.  You will have seen so many temples and buddahs, that you might not care to see any more, but a lot of them are absolutely stunning, and perfect to throw up on Instagram.    (Photo:  thailandinsider)

Songkran Water Festival

Celebrating the Thai New Year is one of the craziest experiences you can have in Thailand.  This three-day nationwide water fight is an insane party, and will definitely make you plan a trip back the following year.  Check out my Songkran 2015 Review!

Songkran was one of best experiences ive ever had in Asia

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

Street Food Paradise

Who doesn’t like delicious meals that only cost $2-3…?  (Photo:  katiesjournal )

https://instagram.com/p/1QPP8bRna-/

Floating Market

The floating markets in Thailand are a really interesting sight that you need to see to believe.  Buy some souvenirs, fresh fruit, or just go to witness with your own two eyes.  (Photo: ThailandDLuxe)

Exploring Ayutthaya Temples

Ayutthaya is the perfect day trip from Bangkok.  There is a whole bunch of different temples to explore, and all of them are stunning!

Nothing hits the spot more than a fresh coconut on a humid day in Thailand.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

Khao San Road

No visit to Bangkok would be complete without throwing up one Instagram from Khao San Road.  Your choice between the full road itself, the insect vendors, or even the Ron McDonald who is shown doing the “wai”.  (Photo: ThailandDLuxe)

One guess what road this is? Khao San Road, Bangkok #bangkok #thailand Credit @imdoingmythang

A photo posted by Thailand Luxe (@thailandluxe) on

Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint

One of the most beautiful view points in all of the Thailand is making the brief hike up to the top of Koh Phi Phi.  It’s absolutely stunning, and provides the best photographic points in Thailand. (Photo: @omg_that_chick )

Island Hopping / Snorkeling Tour

Get yourself on an island hopping and snorkeling tour, and explore the beauty of this country.  Everything about it is perfect — the water temperature, the landscape, and the underwater life.  (Photo:  BangkokAirways )

Watching a Fireshow

Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, and Koh Samui all have some really impressive fire-shows every night.  Don’t miss out!  (Photo: @bkbnbkk)

What fireshows have you seen and who has the best? #fireshow #thailand #phuket Credit: @bkbnbkk

A photo posted by Thailand Luxe (@thailandluxe) on

Fresh Coconut Lifestyle

Nothing beats a fresh coconut on a hot day in paradise.  (Photo: livingcookiesdream)

Long Neck Ladies

Interesting, beautiful, and all very friendly!  (Credit:  julchacha )

#longnecktribe #thailand #vscoasia #vscothailand #vsco #тайланд #тай #путешествие

A photo posted by Julia Gurevich (@julchacha) on

Loi Krathong Lantern Festival

Pictures don’t do this justice.  You have to experience a lantern festival at least once during your travels in Thailand.  Head up to Chiang Mai around the beginning of November.  It will be a spiritual experience!  (Photo: drewhopper )

Koh Tao Sunsets

Koh Tao boasts some of the absolute best sunsets in all of Thailand.  Grab yourself a Chang beer, listen to some music, and enjoy.  (Credit: @savrick)

Markets, Markets, Markets

Everywhere you go, there will be markets.  If you’re in Bangkok, make sure you check out the Chatuchak weekend markets when you’re there!  (Photo: ThailandDLuxe)

Tuk Tuk Rides

“TUK-TUK!?  YOU WANT TUK-TUK?”  (Photo: ThailandDLuxe)

White Temple in Chiang Rai

Quite possibly the most beautiful and photogenic temple in all of Thailand.  If you’re in Northern Thailand, don’t skip this marvelous place!   (Photo:  BangkokAirways )

 

If these amazing instagram photos don’t make you want to book a one-way ticket to Thailand, then I don’t know what will.

Have you been to Thailand?  What were you favorite Instagram spots? Let me know in the comments section and I can add them to the list!  

 If you want more pictures from Thailand, make sure you follow these Instagram accounts:

ThailandDLuxe // ThailandInsider // ThailandTexbook

TravelInThailand // Thailand.Addict // BangkokAirways

AboutThailand // LifeBeforeWork 

Thanks for reading!  If you’re planning a trip to Thailand anytime soon, feel free to contact me with any questions.  I’d be more than happy to help out anyway I can!

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The Perhentian Islands: Perfectly Picturesque [Photo Essay]

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Welcome to Paradise…

This was my second time to the Perhentian Islands, and it was a very last minute.  I was in the Cameron Highlands, and had no idea where to go next.

The price to get to Taman Negara (a short bus ride away) was a staggering 70 MYR.  Where as, I could go a long bus ride, and round-trip ferry transport to the Perhentian Islands for 120 MYR.

I’m so glad I decided to come back to these idyllic islands, because I truly fell in love with The Perhentian Islands.  I think you will to after you check out all my photos of them!  True paradise.

The Beach Is The Perfect Place to Relax All Day

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You can walk over to the pier, and snorkel along these beautiful rocks

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There are some spectacular views from higher up…

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The Water is Perfectly Blue…

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You Can Swim To This Private Beach

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The Snorkeling Trip Takes You This Amazing Beach

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You’ll See Some Cool Stuff Underwater

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There’s an Awesome Fire-Show Every Night at 10:30 P.M

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It’s Definitely a Hard Place to Leave

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I went to the Perhentian Islands with the plan of staying 4 nights, and I ended up staying 9 nights.  I met some awesome people, had a couple great nights out partying, and a lot of fun relaxing on the beach.  

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Work & Play In Australia Contest

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Ever dreamed of heading down under to the beautiful country of Australia, or as the cool people say, “Oz”.  Well it’s actually not that hard.  It’s probably one of the best ways for people who love traveling to begin a nomadic lifestyle.

If you haven’t heard before…if you are between the ages of 18-30, you can apply for a working holiday visa.  This basically entitles you to live and work in Australia, open up a bank account, and live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

It’s an incredible opportunity, and I’ve had several friends complete a working holiday visa in Oz, and no one has ever said a bad thing about it.

The minimum wage in Australia is pretty high at $17.29 AUD per hour.  So if you’re working, you can SAVE a lot of money if you want.  Rent prices, alcohol, and food are much more expensive as well, but if you are smart, you can definitely figure out ways to cut costs.

THE CONTEST

The great people at Go Overseas have partnered with Tourism Australia and have created an amazing contest with over $25,000 worth in prizes.

First Prize — Gets free round-trip airfare to Australia, working holiday visas covered, program fees covered or discounted, and free travel insurance.

12 Runner-Up Prizes —  Working holiday visas covered, program fees covered or discounted, free travel insurance, and bonus prize possibilities.

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HOW TO ENTER

This is a free-contest to enter, and does not take TOO much time — although for a great submission you should spend a bit more time on it.  Check out the entire application process on the contest entry page.

You’ll enter in your personal information, and answer questions about the type of activities and programs you are most interested in.  There are 12 different programs to choose from — with something that would interest anyone.  The 12 program providers will decide on their own winner who will have their program fees waived (or heavily discounted).

You are given an option to add a Creative Photo & Personal Essay.  This is your time to show why you are the perfect candidate.  

This is an incredible opportunity, and there will definitely be thousands of applications, so if this is something you feel strongly about — try to make your application shine, and stand out from the rest.

Application Due Date: July 30, 2015.

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7 REASON WHY YOU SHOULD ENTER

  1. If you want to live and work abroad, Australia is one of the best places to do it.  The country is full of amazing cities filled with backpackers, and it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
  2. The earning potential in Australia is phenomenal.  Even if you just work at a restaurant or bar, you’ll be making great money.
  3. Australian people are awesome.
  4. There are going to be 13 prize winners!
  5. Australia is a massive country, with so many incredible places to visit.
  6. Working and living abroad during a young age will give you a whole new perspective on life.
  7. There are a lot of awesome music festivals in Australia.

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If you’re looking for an exciting new opportunity, then this contest should definitely be something you enter.  Even if you don’t win one of the prizes, start looking at the working holiday visa, and start planning your adventure down under.

ENTER NOW

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Batu Batong: The Best Snorkeling of My Entire Life!

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Just a couple days ago I encountered hands down — the best snorkeling of my entire life.  I joined Uber Scuba in Labuan Bajo, Flores on one of their dive trips.  The entire experience was really great, and I would highly recommend diving with them.

I still don’t have my PADI certifications to go scuba-diving (hearing problems), so I only could free-dive, but it was still amazing.  I saw turtles, sharks, a manta ray, and so many different types of fish I can’t even count.  If you’re coming to Indonesia, you NEED to make sure you plan a scuba or snorkeling trip to this dive spot — Batu Balong, Flores, Indonesia!

WELCOME TO BATU BATONG..

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IT MIGHT JUST LOOK LIKE A ROCK…BUT LET’S TAKE A LOOK UNDERNEATH

I had to hold my breath for the longest I think I ever have in my entire life to catch up to this turtle to get the perfect selfie with it.  You can’t really tell, but this is actually pretty damn deep.   

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I DO LIKE THESE PHOTOS, BUT IT HONESTLY DOES NOT EVEN DO IT JUSTICE FOR HOW AMAZING IT WAS.  IF YOU FIND YOURSELF AROUND KOMODO…MAKE SURE YOU SNORKEL / DIVE AT BATU BATONG…


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Video: High Fives Around The World

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I came across this video today and it’s too good not to share.  The guy’s name is Craig Lewis, and he saved up enough money, quit his job, and traveled the world for a little bit over a year.  He went to 36+ countries in that time, and compiled this compilation video.  I’ve always respected people who figure out cool ways to document their travels.  Well done Craig.  It’s a great video!

Check out the video below, and follow Craig on Instagram and Facebook

Video: 3 Years of Travel in 3 Minutes (Lessons and Adventures)

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Awhile ago I discovered this awesome company called High On Life.  I found my way over to their youtube channel, and must have watched at least a dozen of their videos.  These guys are truly an inspiration.  What started out as just some friends who started out making youtube videos, has turned into a successful travel, music, video, and clothing company.  Check out their full story here.

3 Years of Travel in 3 Minutes easily one of their most popular videos, and once you watch it — you’ll understand why.

“What does it feel like to be present? To be here in the now and fully experiencing this moment. Free from any weight of the past or any anticipation of the future. Just free. Free to realize that only you can control how you feel. About anything. Free to see things for what they are and free to give your time and energy to what really matters.
Accept the fact that everything that makes up your world is there because you attracted it with your own thoughts. Realize that you can control your thoughts and emotions. There’s no big secret. Just choose to think better feeling thoughts. Listen to your emotions and chose to feel good. You can decide to be in a place of attraction and abundance.
What do you want to do in your life? What makes you tick? What makes you feel awe? Don’t be misled into thinking that you’re supposed to do anything. You are supposed to do only what you chose to do. The world is vast and full of possibilities. Follow your bliss. Get out of your comfort zone. Stop looking for reasons why you can’t and look for reasons why you can.”  [divider]

This is just one of their videos.  If you liked it (which I’m sure you did), then make sure to check out more of their stuff on their youtube channel.

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Why I Almost Booked A Ticket Back to California Yesterday

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F.O.M.O = Fear of Missing Out.  

Now, I’m no stranger to being away from California for long periods of time.  From studying abroad, moving to Italy for two years, spending two different summers in Barcelona, beginning my Master’s Degree in the Netherlands, and backpacking Asia for almost a full year now — I love being abroad.  I thrive being away from home.  With that being said, I was so close to cashing in my American Airlines Miles, and booking a ticket back to the States…But Why?  Why would I do such a thing?  I had just spent the most amazing day floating down a river in a tube drinking Beer Lao, meeting fellow travelers, and playing various drinking games.  Well…I’ll tell you why.  

COACHELLA.

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If you don’t know what Coachella is, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you… It’s one of the most well-known music festivals in the States, and easily one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to.  Hands down.   

Because my intense thirst for travel and worldwide adventure, I missed Coachella in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Pretty much everyone I know from back home goes every year, and it’s always been hard to see all of them post pictures and statuses from their experiences every year.  However, with that being said, it wasn’t too difficult because I had never experienced Coachella for myself.  I always thought, “Yeah, I’m sure it’s a damn good time, but hey, I just went to a Spa Party in Budapest, or went on a booze cruise around Capri; so I can’t really complain”.

This finally changed last year though.  Due to a family wedding happening in April. I knew I would be home at the same time, and it time for me to understand all the HYPE about this incredible 3 day camping festival.  Coachella Virgin.  I had plans on going Weekend 1, but that couldn’t happen, and went Weekend 2.  But it was actually great, because just like traveling– music festivals are all about meeting new people!  And I gotta say, our Coachella crew kicked ass!

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It’s already so hard to think about these people raging on the Polo fields without me.  But I’ll be there in spirit guys.  We ended up all meeting in very random ways, but it ended up working out perfectly.  We all cliqued, and had one of the best weekends together.  I’ll definitely be missing the camping, the vibes, and the craziness.

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It’s even hard for me to believe it’s been a year since it passed by.  Life has ben flying by while I finish my Masters Degree, and I even remember swearing to my friends back home that I would make it back to CA for Coachella 2015.  Well, unfortunately — I’ve made the decision to stay abroad, and miss out.  But I will be missing out for something pretty damn cool…SONGKRAN — The Thai New Year Water Festival.  So I can’t be too upset.

To all the homies going to Coachella this weekend.  Have a blast!  Wish I could make it, but I’m over here exploring the world.  With that being said, if anyone wants to buy me a flight, and a ticket…I’m sure I could make it back.

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Eat, Move, Learn: 3 Videos That Will Cause Serious Wanderlust

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STA Travel is one of my favorite airline companies for finding cheap flights for students and people under the age of 26.  In the past couple years, I’ve found a few other resources that I like a little bit more now, but it’s still an amazing company.  I remember seeing these youtube videos awhile ago, and thought I would share them for those who haven’t seen them.  Each of them is only a minute long, and will make you want to pack your bags and MOVE, EAT, and LEARN = WANDERLUST

Move

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[divider]LEARN

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