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STA Travel Blog

Mapped out: 2018′s top trending travel destinations

New Year, new plans, new holiday allowance.

We’ve pulled together our list of the top destinations to visit this year, whether they be an up and coming country or an old favourite making a resurgence. All these destinations are longing to be explored by your wandering souls in 2018…

Sri Lanka | Western Australia | Slovenia | Namibia | Colombia | Georgia | Cappadocia, Turkey | Norway | Guatemala | Utah, USA | Taiwan | Bhutan

 

1. Sri Lanka

 

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A Christmas away from home

I’m Jemma, one of STA Travel’s Digital Execs, email machine and serious Bali beach bum…
It’s quickly approaching the two-year mark now since I spent my first Christmas away from home. Away from the humming of Christmas songs, wrapping of trees in tinsel, yummy nut roasts and endless amounts of chocolate (I really mean drinking). But fear not all the Christmas fans out there, t’was a happy story, this Christmas away from home. And here is what made it oh so very special… 

Turning back time to December 21st 2015, I was stepping off a rickety wooden boat on the sublime island of Gili Meno. Accompanied by four of my best friends, an oversized backpack and an arm full of cotton plaited wristbands. Although our spirits were high (I mean whose wouldn’t be, with a secluded beach to ourselves, the view of Mt Rinjani in the background and £1 beers all day) but still something felt weird. We were four days from Christmas and I was dying to smell some cinnamon gingerbread men, hear the carols chime through the streets or just wear a knitted jumper. Instead, I was slapping on factor 50, taking an outdoor shower and searching for turtles on the reef. (I know you’re thinking. What. Are. You. Complaining. About).

Bali

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Travel Crush: 10 reasons the Philippines is the place to be in 2018

Allow me to introduce myself… I’m Georgie, a digital marketing executive at STA Travel, happiest in the ocean, sun worshipper and summertime fruitarian. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was told I’d be heading on an educational trip to the Mimaropa region of the Philippines this November! We’ve all seen the pictures. The Philippines is the epitome of an island paradise with its turquoise water, white sandy beaches, paraw boats and coconuts on tap. Well kids, it’s even better in the flesh … Here’s 10 reasons why we’ve fallen head over heels for the Philippines.

1. The Underground River

Glide by canoe into the mesmerising caves of stalagmites and stalactites of this UNESCO World Heritage site in Puerto Princesa. Spot bats and swifts as they fly among the ancient rock formations as well as monkeys and crab-eating macaques in the surrounding forests. Be sure to book in advance, this place is popular!

underground river

2. Camping under the stars

Pull up to remote Kalipayan Island and prepare for a night under the stars with nothing but the waves and rustle of the trees to disturb the silence. Go for a late-night swim, and if you’re lucky, catch sight of the plankton glowing and lighting up the way.

camping on the beach

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Solo female travel in Sri Lanka: How safe is it?

Ladies, it’s official. Sri Lanka is one of our favourite travel destinations of 2017, and if you make the pilgrimage, it’ll no doubt be one of yours too.


This little dot in the Indian Ocean may well be well and truly open for business to backpackers now, but the island still has that whole ‘untouched’ thing going on. Think beach huts and hammock-clad hostels on unspoiled tropical beaches, and misty villages high in the hills. Then there’s gorgeous temples, ample wildlife encounters, great food and authentic interactions with some of the warmest locals Asia has to offer.

We’re not usually ones for blanket statements. But to give you an idea of exactly what makes Sri Lanka such an intriguing destination, we’ll say this. It’s a bit like a smaller (ie. easier to get around), chilled out and polite version of its big, brash brother, India.

And it pulls this off without losing any of that charm, culture, or eye-popping colour.

 

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How to spend 8 days in mainland Thailand

I’m Rachael, certified Netflix binger, beer pong fan, and one of the website guru’s at STA Travel. I recently got back from an Asia trip – and by recently I mean 6 months ago, but I’m in denial. Of the places I visited, I spent 6 weeks in Thailand. As well as eating my body weight in curry and 7-Eleven toasties (if you know, you know) I’d like to think I got to know the place pretty well, so this is what I’d tell travellers to do on a 8 day/7 night trip.

Day one

Fly in to Bangkok, because that’s probably the easiest and cheapest to get to. I spent three weeks in Bangkok (not because I’m crazy, I did a volunteering job) so I’ve done a lot there. You could either spend the day visiting amazing buildings like the Wat Pho/Wat Arun temple and the Grand Palace – all beautiful and worth a look, or if you’re more about the markets, head to one of the many floating markets around the city. We decided to get in a taxi and drive to Talin Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom, which were both really close to each other – we preferred the second one as it had much more of an authentic feel to it (the first one was very touristy).

Floating by without a care in the world #floatingmarket #bangkok #canalboat #thailand #authentic #thaiculture

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