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Travel News Mapped

Mark Your Maps: Our top picks for every type of traveller in 2019

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Mapped Staff Jan 01, 2019 9:11 am 65

Okay everyone, get out those maps (and by maps we mean Google Maps or Maps.Me on your cell phone, because it’s 2019). It’s time to mark down your top travel spots for the year ahead.

You’ve seen our coverage of all the travel rankings: Travel + Leisure’s 50 Best Places to Travel in 2019, Airbnb’s top 19 trending destinations for 2019, World’s Best Beaches by FlightNetwork, National Geographic’s Top Winter Trips, etc etc.

But those lists weren’t created just for you. They don’t know you like we know you.

Through a combination of our audience’s feedback, our own globetrotting, discussions with other travellers, as well as extensive stalking of social media users, travel bloggers, and online reviews, we have scoured the globe to find the best destinations to suit each type of trip, for each one of you.

Whether you’re looking to beach bum it up, get that adrenaline pumping, or just get the eff off the beaten path, we’ve got you covered.

These are the top travel spots that you need to to visit in 2019 (according to us, anyway).

Most Insta-worthy

Positano, Italy

 

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Positano is a literal postcard. With pastel-coloured buildings perched densely across the cliffside, lilac bushes framing the alleys and doorways, a pebbly beach dotted with umbrellas and the sea dotted with boats, Positano is what your Amalfi Coast dreams are made of. If your daily Insta Stories had a limit, this would hit it.

Bali, Indonesia

 

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You know Bali is all about that Instagram appeal – don’t try and fight it. The locals in Bali know this all too well, and they have mastered the art of providing picturesque photo spots for tourists – yes it is a cash grab and yes you have to do it anyway. Visit spots like the swing over the twin lakes, the hanging bird’s nest right next to it, the infamous Bali Swing over the jungle in Ubud, the Gateway to Heaven at Pura Lempuyang, or the many life-sized photo frames at the rice terraces. You don’t have to pay for likes, but you can pay for the photos that bring in the likes.

Cappadocia, Turkey

 

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Cappadocia is an Instagrammer’s paradise. Whimsical hot air balloons of all colours fill the skies, and the moon-like canyons, valleys, and fairy chimneys set the scene below. The way the sun rises to illuminate the entire scene with an orangish glow makes it look like a painting. The World Heritage Site certainly wasn’t discovered with Instagram in mind 5,000+ years ago, but now it’s impossible to visit without spamming your followers with more pics than there are balloons in the sky.

Top up-and-coming, can’t-miss-it, get-there-before-the-crowds destination

Sri Lanka

 

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Previously hidden in the shadow of its ‘big sister’ India, Sri Lanka is finally getting on the radar of travel enthusiasts from across the globe. The undeniable allure of this rugged destination comes from its bright culture, palm-lined beaches, wild safaris, and picturesque train journeys. You’re going to want to get there ASAP, and here are 10 reasons why.

The Philippines

 

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You’re going to want to get to the Philippines real quick, because these pristine beaches aren’t going to stay pristine once they are stampeded by tourists (as the island of Boracay is already experiencing). Head to the tropical paradise of Palawan and hit up El Nido and Coron for stunning island tours, beach vibes, rickety scooters for rent, and a rugged untouched countryside to explore.

Cuba

 

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Cuba is said to be frozen in time from the 50s or 60s, with its vintage cars, worn-down buildings, and untouchable local charm. It’s all something that must be seen to be believed, and sooner than later as the effects of growing tourism are looming. We can’t even imagine what it must be like… but we won’t have to imagine for much longer because we have a trip planned this month so we’ll keep ya posted! Follow along on @dailyhivemapped *salsa dances away* 💃

Best adventure destination

Peru

 

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Peru is the ultimate bucket list destination (if you don’t believe us, here are nine experiences that prove it) and every day is an unavoidable adventure. From scaling mountain summits to traversing jungles, to hiking iconic landmarks like Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain, only the true adventurers will come out of this trip having conquered both the altitude and their comfort zone.

South Africa

 

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What kind of adventures are in South Africa, you ask? Safari (Kruger Park is amazing). Road trip along the Garden Route. Shark diving in Gansbaai. Cheetah walks in Plettenberg Bay. Epic hiking up Lion’s Head, scaling one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature at Table Mountain or paragliding off Signal Hill in Cape Town. Partying on Long Street is an adventure in itself. South Africa equals adventure – ’nuff said.

Mongolia

 

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The best travel moments come from connecting with your surroundings and people, and Mongolia over-delivers on both of these fronts. It feels unexplored and serene, meaning you will really get a chance to live “in the wild” and be at one with nature. If that sounds cheesy, it’s because you’ve never experienced it. Whether you’re exploring on the back of a camel or a horse, the spectacular landscapes of the Gobi desert will take you past sand dunes, colourful cliffs, water springs, herds of wild animals, and nomadic people. This. Is. Adventuring.

Most pristine beach

Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania

 

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Africa should be on every traveller’s bucket list, and with Zanzibar being a very foreigner-friendly option, you are going to want to check this tropical island out ASAP. The beaches are e-p-i-c. A short boat ride Mnemba Island is a slice of pristine paradise; we’re talkin’ crystal clear, bathtub-warm water, sand that feels like flour, and an insane snorkel scene. You need to get here ASAP before the rest of the tourists get all touristy on it.

Entalula Beach, El Nido, the Philippines

 

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El Nido is all about the island tours, and you can’t really go wrong with any of the stops along this pristine island-dotted paradise. You’ll see white sand, limestone cliff faces, caves, lagoons, and emerald seas left right and centre. If you time it right, Entalula on the B boat tour will deliver your own personal little beachy oasis. #NoFilterNeeded.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia

 

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This beach reminds us of a white-and-blue popsicle swirl, and it is truly a haven for any beach lover. Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, just a thirty-minute boat ride from Hamilton Island, this Aussie paradise is calling your name in 2019.

Best wildlife experience

Gorilla trekking

 

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This is it, people. Coming face-to-face with a species that is 98% identical to us, but just happens to be about 20 times as strong, is the most humbling and inspiring encounter with our animal friends you may ever have. Here’s our gorilla trekking guide that will tell you everything you need to know about making this dream a reality.

Safari

 

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Is anyone surprised that Mama Africa has snagged our top two wildlife spots? You see safari photos on Instagram and you’re like, cool, there’s an elephant. But seeing them up close and personal is an epic, thrilling experience that will get your adrenaline pumping like no other.

Releasing baby turtles into the ocean

 

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Releasing baby turtles into their new life in the deep dark ocean is a unique experience that will pull at your heartstrings — only one percent survive! Cheer the little guys on as they fend for themselves against the waves, predators, and currents. Read about the experience on Turtle Island in Borneo.

Exploring Galápagos

 

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Throwing this in here just, you know, in case any Galapagos tourism companies are reading this. Galapágos is number one on our bucket list, as it really is the wild wild west of wildlife. Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, fur seals, marine iguanas, WE WANT TO SEE IT ALL. Has anyone who’s reading this been to Galápagos? Tag us in your pics and share your best memory using #dailyhivemapped!

Best winter destination

Banff, Canada

 

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The Canadian Rockies are a winter paradise, with the world-class ski runs, feather-light powder and epic backdrops, not to mention the Instagram-worthy glacial lake action (check out the most popular lakes in the Rockies here). The charming mountain town of Banff is a winter wonderland with all the rustic coziness you crave during the winter.

Iceland

 

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Iceland’s dramatic frozen landscapes, icy waterfalls, glaciers, stormy skies and hot springs have made it a world-famous winter destination, not to mention the super cute wild horses that roam freely. Once you’ve had your fix of the Northern Lights, we’d recommend jumping on a snowmobile to explore the blue-tinged magical ice caves and tunnels – it’s literally like something out of Frozen. *Starts humming ‘Let It Go’…🎶*

Japan

 

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Japan is over 70% mountainous, boasts over 500 ski resorts and receives some of the world’s most reliable snowfall. So, if you’re a ski bunny, it’s worth checking it out. Finish off the day with a warm sake (rice wine) before heading to a traditional Japanese Onsen (essentially hot springs). Beware, etiquette here is strict and you are often expected to be fully naked. Get involved; as they say, when in Rome…

Hidden gems

Capri, Italy

 

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Off the coast of Positano and Naples, Capri is the most precious Italian gem you’ll find in the Mediterranean. The charming architecture, adorable villages, spectacular cliffside views, and azure waters dotted with yachts will have you falling in love with this island faster than the Italians will fall in love with you (and that’s fast).

Arequipa, Peru

 

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Arequipa is known as the “White City,” and its charming colonial-style buildings and cobblestone streets will keep you coming back again and again. And again. Find a rooftop patio to watch the city turn pink at sunset and admire the stunning mountains that serve as a dramatic backdrop to the quaint town.

Ilha Grande, Brazil

 

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A quick boat ride off the coast of Rio, you will find a small island that’s serving up award-winning sandy stretches, panoramic hiking views, and caipirinhas with your toes in the sand. There are no motorized vehicles on this island and it feels very untouched, so make sure to get in on this hidden gem while you can!

Top bucket list experience

Gorilla trekking

 

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Not only is gorilla trekking our top wildlife experience, but it wins for top bucket list experience as well. (Yes, it can win two categories, because it is just that epic). Bucket listing is all about experiencing once-in-a-lifetime moments that you will treasure forever, and coming face-to-face with these gentle giants in their natural habitat is most certainly one of them.

Cappadocia

 

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It’s no coincidence that one of our top Insta-worthy destinations is also one of our top bucket list experiences. Is it even a bucket list experience if you didn’t post it on Instagram? No matter if you’re an adventure seeker, or a nature enthusiast, or you just like seeing pretty things, hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is one you need to check off your list.

Machu Picchu

 

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The lost city of the Incas has a magical allure that bucket list chasers absolutely need to experience. Take the four-day or the one-day trek, or just shuttle up to the gates, to take in this incredible masterpiece and its surrounding nature that you’ve only seen before in photos. Here is our guide to everything you know about experiencing Machu Picchu.

Most beautiful landscape

Canada

 

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Let’s not forget our own backyard – we are truly #blessed to live in such a vast, natural, wild and free country. From snow-capped mountain peaks and turquoise glacier lakes to rugged coastlines and forests for days (literally, you can travel through our forests for days), Canadian landscapes are second to none.

Rwanda

 

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Rwanda is sometimes called the “beginner’s Africa” as it has seen a miraculous recovery since the 1994 genocide. Not only is it extremely clean and safe, but it is also home to some of the most beautiful landscapes of rolling hills and lush vegetation you will ever see. It seems that every section is farmed with crops of bananas, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, rice, tea, coffee, avocados, mangos, you name it. Your eyes will be glued to the window as you journey through the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Peru

 

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The crazy thing about Peru is as you travel through the country, the landscapes change so drastically that at times you’ll feel like you’re on a different planet. The drastic change in altitude as you traverse through the country means that you will go from the coast, to lush jungles, to barren landscapes that allow for very little vegetation or wildlife outside of, you guessed it, the llama family. Road tripping through Peru is certainly a treat for the eyes and the Insta feed.

Top travel blogger obsessions

Bahamas

 

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This choice is as crystal clear as the water here. Beautiful beaches, yes yes, travel bloggers love those. But the Bahamas have nailed the Insta ops — what blogger doesn’t want a selfie on Pig Beach or that infamous pic of floating with the nurse sharks in Exuma? Even an incident with an Instagram model getting bit by a shark wasn’t enough to stop this craze – no pain, no gain, right? (Disclaimer: This is not us giving you the go-ahead to get bit by sharks. This is not the recommended route to Insta fame. We clear?)

Tulum

 

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Tulum is just off the beaten path enough to deliver that rustic, boho feel, and travel bloggers are eating it up. Usually in an Insta-worthy setting, like the one above. Here they can frolic around in their bikinis and pose in front of tropical backdrops while their Insta boyfriend happily (or begrudgingly) snaps away.

Bali

 

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Bali is not getting off the radar of travel bloggers anytime soon. Not with those rice terraces that make the perfect backdrop, and the ever-growing number of human-made photo frames (usually in the form of a swing or a heart). And certainly not with those colourful floating breakfasts in an infinity pool in the jungle. Nope, Bali is here to stay on Instagram.

Best neighbourhoods for street art

George Town, Malaysia

 

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George Town is Insta-famous, and for good reason (seriously, peep its hashtag). What makes George Town’s graffiti so unique is that they often include real physical objects and will incorporate a spot for the model (you) to pose as part of the scene. Known as the Street Art Capital of Asia, you’ll be ‘gramming at every corner in this town.

CBD, Melbourne, Australia

 

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Melbourne is known for its graffiti alleys, which are located right in the heart of the city and take up entire walls and Instagram feeds. Hosier Lane and AC/DC are a couple spots you definitely need to check out, but you can find awesome street art all over the city.

Barranco, Lima, Peru

 

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Barranco is a vibrant, popsicle-coloured breath of fresh air. Not only are the colonial-style buildings here fashioned in adorable pastel colours, but the street art is off the hook. Check out areas such as the Bajada de los Baños pathway or the area around the Bridge of Sighs for incredible larger-than-life works of art.

Pssst – here’s the rest of our piece on the most Instagrammable neighbourhoods for street art across the world if you’re edgy like that!

Most stunning sunsets

Santorini, Greece

 

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There is something about watching the sun go down over the Aegean Sea in one of the most majestic places in the world. The pink and orange hues reflect on the white buildings perched on the hillside around you to give the whole place a magical flow. It’s a daily spectacle that is truly breathtaking, and it takes our top spot for the sunset capital of the world.

Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

 

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We’re not sure what it is, but sunsets in Labuan Bajo are LITERALLY FIRE. This little seaside town is the gateway to the majestic Komodo National Park in Indonesia, home to remote pristine islands and beaches, not to mention manta rays, turtles, and the infamous Komodo Dragons. Looking out onto the sea dotted with local boats and rugged islands as far as the eye can see, sunset spectating from here is insane.

Sahara Desert, Morocco

 

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Touchdown in Marrakech and head out into the desert for a next-level sunset experience. With dunes as far as the eye can see, the way the setting sun illuminates the sandy curves feels other-worldly and is definitely a sunset for the record books.

Best urban destination

New York City, USA

 

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If you’re looking for epic city life, you just have to look to New York. This city never sleeps and is bursting with new trends, opportunities, and an aura of excited anticipation of whatever’s next. We want to be in all the places, but New York is our favourite in the world. You never know what will happen, but your best bet is to just YOLO your way through it.

Paris, France

 

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The City of Love, the City of Life, the city of your 2019. Stroll the streets and admire the stunning architecture, charming terraces, and cobblestone streets. Stop at a bistro for un café and take in the hustle and bustle of Parisian city life. Take a look at our Paris travel guides to make your trip simply parfait.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

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Dubai is the urban heart of the Middle East and is pushing boundaries of innovation left right and centre. Here you can find the world’s tallest building, an indoor ski hill, and what has been dubbed the world’s only seven-star hotel. You want it, Dubai has got it. Check out our travel guides for all the info.

Top party destinations

Central, Hong Kong

 

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Did you know Hong Kong has an INSANE party scene!? We didn’t, until we went. And now every other party place looks like a Sunday brunch at grandma’s (okay, we’re exaggerating, but you feel us). Central is filled with speakeasies, live music, epic skybars, and d-floors that do not quit. If this intrigues you, check out our Hong Kong travelogues to see what else will surprise you about this awesome destination.

New York City, USA 

 

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As the city that doesn’t sleep, of course New York is one of the best places to party in the world. There is a speakeasy tucked into every corner in the Lower East Side, you will feel the jazz vibes from down the block in West Village, and the Meatpacking District is pulsing with rooftop dance parties. Check out our list of 33 epic places to drink in New York City if you’re not convinced!

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

 

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Don’t come to Koh Phi Phi expecting to immerse yourself in rich authentic Thai culture. But do come for stunning natural scenery, fire shows and activities including jump rope and limbo, buckets, Millennials living their best first-time-away-from-home lives, and beach parties till dawn.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

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When talking about the best party destination, there’s no way we could leave out this sultry Latin American city. Home to the infamous Carnival, where you will be blinded by beads and feathers and pizzazz, Rio is bumping every single night of the week. Head to the party neighbourhood of Lapa to sip caipirinhas and salsa dance until the sun comes up. One look at our list of the things to do in Rio and you’ll be buying your thong bikini and booking that flight in no time.

Best place to say “namaste”

Ubud, Bali

 

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It’s no surprise that the remote jungles of Bali make a great backdrop for peaceful yoga practice. Since spirituality is so prominent many places in Bali, it is a prime spot for yoga retreats. Ubud is considered a yoga Mecca, with the tranquil Yoga Barn being one of the most well-known yoga studios in the world. Channel your inner yogi, or try it out for the first time. Namaste.

Costa Rica

 

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With lush rainforests, serene beaches, volcanic backdrops, and rushing waterfalls, it’s no wonder Costa Rica is one of the top destinations in the world for a “find yourself” retreat. Yogis are flocking to namaste in these views, and you can easily find a peaceful patch of paradise just for yourself. If you’re lucky, you might even share it with a sloth!

Rishikesh, India

 

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In the foothills of the Himalayas lies Rishikesh: the birthplace of yoga. The area is home to many temples and ashrams where people come from near and far to study yoga and meditation, and between the holy river and the traffic-free, alcohol-free, vegetarian enclave on the outskirts of the city, it will be impossible to leave here without an altered sense of spirituality.

Best dive spots

Sipadan

 

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Off the east coast of Sabah in Malaysia, the diving hotspot of Sipadan is coveted for its rich biodiversity and coral walls that drop down into the deep blue. You will find turtles galore, sharks, seahorses, all the rays, and tons of other marine life that you never even knew existed. Dive permits here are limited to 120 a day split between 12 resorts, keeping the area pristine and natural.

The Maldives

 

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The tropical islands of the Maldives offer another level of luxury with overwater bungalows atop insanely clear turquoise waters and stunning coral reefs. Islands such as Biyadhoo have some of the best scuba diving in the world, with manta rays, sharks, and fish of all colours of the rainbow. While you’re here, might as well treat yo’self a little extra by throwing in a stay at this insane underwater hotel!

Komodo National Park

 

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Infamous for being the home of the Komodo dragons, who can casually kill you with one bite (don’t worry too much, there is an antidote), Komodo National Park is renowned as a marine paradise. Fly into Labuan Bajo from Bali, and head straight out to the islands for twinkling blue water, diverse coral reefs, and a chance to see more manta rays than you can count.

Best place to party your pants face off

Bagatelle, Meatpacking District, New York City

 

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Bagatelle is a fancy Mediterranean-style white tablecloth brunch until 3 pm hits on the weekends. That’s when the crowd gathers around the bar, the curtains close, the lights fade to black, music volume increases, and before you know it, the service staff is flying on each others’ shoulders in Mariachi or Superman costumes. The smoke machine is blasting, drummer is drumming, and champagne is spraying. Bagatelle is a see-it-to-believe-it situation, and it’s only in NYC. Get the full scoop in our NYC drinks guide.

Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

 

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Any bar on this street will do, but the best party just may be on the street itself. The open-air bars are pumping music of every flavour to keep the drinks flowing and your feet moving. If you’re lucky, the street may just turn into a dance floor — and that’s just on a regular Tuesday!

Motel Mexicola, Seminyak, Bali

 

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Come here for tacos and a delicious coconut cocktail and by 10 pm you’ll find yourself dancing on the stage, joining a conga line, and singing along to classic bangers like YMCA and Whitney’s “I wanna dance with somebody.” This is non-negotiable for Bali, in our humble opinion. If you like the taste of this one, here’s our full list of the best bars in Bali to keep the party going.

For the travelling foodie

Italian

 

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Italy is where carb lovers thrive. Italians are all about appreciation, and you better believe food is at the centre of this charming culture. Pizza for lunch, pasta for dinner, top it off with a gelato, wash it all down with your choice of Prosecco or wine. Here’s where to eat in Rome to get your taste buds rarin’ to go.

Vietnamese

 

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Even on the most humid day (and trust us, days in Vietnam get HU-mid), Vietnam wins the comfort food game for its delicious mouth warming/watering eats. We’re talkin’ about all the adventurous street food, washed down with some pho, and a banh mi for the road. Vietnam’s food is delish, satisfying, readily available, and the best part – cheap! Make sure you opt for the fresh and the sanitary, and you won’t be able to stop eating your way through this country.

Greek

 

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Greek food is mm mm delicious, and definitely worth travelling to the source for. Enjoy a fresh salad with hand-picked cucumber and tomato, melt-in-your-mouth feta cheese, a delightfully flavourful gyro (pronounced “ee-roh”), the most delectable souvlaki, and munch on some olives while you’re at it. Not to mention you’re likely eating all this on a stunning island with views that match the food quality, so that helps.

What are your top travel picks for 2019? What do you agree with or disagree with from this list? We want to hear from you! Share your best travel pics (and picks) using #dailyhivemapped.

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