My time in Hong Kong ended prematurely, as Covid restrictions became stricter from January onwards and our teaching moved online from Semester 2, I decided it was safest to move out and continue my studies remotely. Whilst I was sad to leave Hong Kong, as I loved spending my exchange there, I was excited for where I would go next. I planned to go travelling with the friends I met at HKU for the rest of the semester and study remotely.
First Stop- Thailand!
So, on March 4th I left Hong Kong for Bangkok and spent 2 months in Thailand. We spent a few days in Bangkok, exploring the temples in the city and trying lots of food before travelling south to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Phuket. I spent the most time in Phuket, finishing my assignments and visiting places at the weekends. Highlights would be a boat trip to Koh Phi Phi, touring the islands and going snorkelling. Compared to Hong Kong and the UK, the cost of living is really cheap and you can often find meals for £1-2!Read more: Goodbye Hong Kong…
We then made the trip to the north of Thailand, visiting Chiang Mai, Pai and Chiang Rai. The temples are a standout in these places, as well as visiting an elephant sanctuary and the Golden Triangle, where you can take a boat trip along the river which separates Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. I really enjoyed Thailand and if you ever get the chance to visit make sure not to miss the North- I almost didn’t go as it was a bit out of the way but it’s definitely worth it as the north and south are so different.
Heading to Bali
After travelling in Thailand, we headed to Bali. My highlights here would be going to the Uluwatu temple to watch a traditional Balinese dance at sunset, exploring Ubud- famous for its rice terraces, temples, monkey forest and waterfalls, visiting Lempuyang temple that overlooks Mount Agung and taking a trip to a neighbouring island Nusa Penida. My pre-conception of Bali was that it was more of a laidback beach holiday destination. However, I found the culture there the most interesting and the local people were so friendly and happy to tell us more about where we were visiting. As Bali has only just reopened to tourists, the locals were really happy to see more people visiting again. Our taxi driver even took us to his local restaurant, called a Warung, and invited us to cook lunch with him- it ended up being the best food I tried in Indonesia!
Going to Seoul
The third stop on our trip was Seoul- and currently where I am! I’ve really enjoyed being back in a city and the food here has been the best of my travels so far. I’ve had Korean Barbeque, Korean Fried Chicken, Kimchi Stew and Cold Noodles- all of which I would recommend. Seoul has a lot of interesting landmarks to visit- so far I’ve been to Gyeongbokgung palace and Changgyeonggung palace, two of the five palaces in Seoul where the royal family lived. Bukchon Hanok Village was also really interesting as you can see traditional Korean houses and architecture. I’m also looking forward to visiting the museums in Seoul to learn more about the Korean war and history behind it.
The final destination before I fly back to the UK is Vietnam. Travelling for the last 3 months of my exchange was unexpected but I feel so lucky I got to do it! If you do your exchange in Hong Kong then definitely take advantage of your location and travel before returning home! Due to Covid, I wasn’t able to visit Macau or China, but I would also recommend to do this once restrictions ease as I wish I had the chance to visit.