This is the third time I'm writing an end of year review, and it's always nice to have a look back on the places I've been lucky enough to visit.
You can read my end of year review for 2017 here.
You can read my end of year review for 2016 here.
For the first time, I didn't do an extended trip, but instead took a large number of smaller trips to cities in Europe, Asia and North America.
I kicked off the year in Italy, visiting Rome (including a quick stop in the Vatican), Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. I then went to Asia where I returned to Singapore after 5 years. I then experienced a personal highlight exploring Kuala Lumpur and the nearby Batu Caves. It was back to Europe as I visited Vienna, Frankfurt and Zurich in quick succession. I then had a change of pace as I climbed the 'Rock' during my time in Gibraltar. I finally got to visit a city I've wanted to see for a long time when I made the trip to Berlin. As summer turned to autumn I returned to Amsterdam before ending the year with short trips to New York and Edinburgh.
As with the posts the last two years, you can click any of the blue links to read in depth reviews of each location.
When I make a list of my favourite cities in the world, you can bet that Edinburgh will feature somewhere on it. An often overlooked destination in the UK, Edinburgh has history, culture, creative energy and it's the perfect size to explore in a short amount of time. Perhaps best of all, it's one of the most beautiful cities that I have had the privilege of visiting, thanks to its almost uniform Georgian architecture. You can read detailed notes about my visit to the Scottish capital here, but here are the 5 things I most loved about Edinburgh.
Lately it seems as if Berlin is the coolest capital in Europe, and it's not hard to see why. A youthful energy, a creative spirit, reasonable prices, and one of the best nightlifes of any European city has seen an increasing number of people visit the German capital. But it hasn't always been this way. For much of the 20th century, Berlin was a city politically divided. I don't mean in the way the UK is divided between pro and anti-Brexit movements, or the US is divided between progressives and conservatives - but actually physically divided by a wall, with two philosophies so different, it would make UKIP and the Labour Party look similar. The city has rebounded incredibly well since those days, and is now one of the most 'must visit' places in Europe. You can read my detailed review of Berlin here, but below are 5 things I loved about Berlin.
I've wanted to visit Vienna for a long time. It's an often overlooked city, but it's one that is thought of as a quintessentially European city - regularly topping the rankings of the most liveable cities in the world. I finally understood at least some of the hype when I visited. The city is incredibly beautiful - the architecture, the history, the culture - there aren't too many places in the world I've visited more aesthetically pleasing than Vienna. However, as a brown person, be ready for stares. These guys don't have too many Sikhs (I saw one!), and they have a tendency to stare...a lot. Other than that, I'd be hard pressed to say too many bad things about the city. You can read my detailed review of the city here, but here are the 5 things I most loved about Vienna.
Zurich has a reputation for being a grey, corporate, business city with little to offer by way of history, culture or adventure. Now, don't get me wrong - this isn't the most exciting of cities, but it surprised me with its beauty, and there is definitely history and culture. It's definitely a city by the rich and for the rich, so it's been one of more expensive destinations I have visited, but with the magic of cheap flights and some accommodation searching, I managed a trip at a relatively reasonable price. You can read in detail about my trip here, but here are the 5 things I loved about Zurich.
Not many cities have surprised me the way that Kuala Lumpur did. I didn't have particularly high expectations when I visited, but I was completely blown away by the character of this city. Often overlooked for Hong Kong, Bangkok or Singapore, Kuala Lumpur is one of the best examples of old meets new and a must visit city. It has incredible food, jaw dropping architecture, it's cheap and there's a decent Sikh population out there. I had quite an adventure in KL and my detailed review can be read here. You can also read top 5 lists of other cities that I have visited here. As with most places I enjoy, it's difficult narrowing the list down to just 5 things I loved about KL, but I've given it a go.
One of the most storied cities in the world, and home to an empire that helped shaped western civilisation. In many respects, Rome is without comparison. I spent the best part of a week in the Italian capital (and you can read about it in detail here, and my trip to the Vatican, which is not a part of the list, here) and it was one of the most absorbing weeks of my life. The history is unparalleled, the culture fascinating, and the food indescribable (my favourite pizza place was here, not in Naples or New York). I could list at least 10 things in Rome that I absolutely loved, but, with some creative accounting, here are 5 of my favourites.
I originally wrote this list a few years back, but earlier this year I visited Singapore for the second time (you can read about it here). I realised that the things I enjoyed about Singapore had shifted a little, and therefore I probably needed to update this list.
That's exactly what I've done, so read on for my 5 favourite things about Singapore
It's difficult to do justice to a city as spectacular as Naples. It has a raw beauty that is refreshingly unique in an increasingly homogenised Europe. A city that combines traditional architecture with modern skyscrapers almost seamlessly. I'll never forget arriving into Naples and seeing scooters piling on top of each other, street vendors covering the pavements, the smell of food from road side stalls and shops floating over the cobble stoned streets. From history to food, to insta-worthy landmarks, Naples is a city that has it all. You can read my detailed observations of the city here, but below are my 5 favourite things about Naples.
I lived and worked in New York City and found it was unlike anywhere else in the world. And, without a doubt, Manhattan is NYC's beating heart.
The cool thing about Manhattan is that it's split into a number of neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character. The differences between Chinatown, the Financial District, TriBeCa and SoHo are incredible, even though you could walk through each of them one after the other.
Given these differences, I decided that during my time in New York, I would visit every part of Manhattan and then pick some things I really enjoyed. Since my return, friends have been asking for my tips, so I thought I'd share this more widely. This list shows one thing to do in every Manhattan neighbourhood, with the neighbourhoods defined by the city's own political map.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.