It’s that time of the year when I usually go back and check my trips. I am based in Melbourne and this makes my flights very very long. I have been living here for 10 years and a 12 hours flight now sounds like a short one.
There are so many islands in the world that would be impossible to visit every single one. I am not that inclined to visit a place, an island or a village, twice. Cities are a bit different, they have not only sites to see but also events to experience, this could be a concert, a play or a musical.
When I think back to some of the islands I visited my brain starts dreaming and my hands starts googling flights and accommodations. These are the islands I would definitely visit two, three and possibly many more times. My rating is mostly based on opportunities for photography, great food, awesome landscape and local people.
#5 Koh Chang – Thailand
Thailand is one of my favorite country. Great food, easy going people, amazing places and so many subjects for photography. This country is one of the most touristic ones in the world and this is no wonder. Finding an island is easy, finding the perfect island is just a bit more complicated.
Koh Chang is not the perfect island by any mean, however it is definitely a great relaxing place, still not over busy and over built as in few other islands and easy to reach. Food is mostly based on fresh fish and there are so many sites for a sunset photo. This is a guide to the top 6 site in the island.
The formal fishing village of Bing Bao is just a photographic mine, not to be missed. Worthless saying that all comes at an affordable price.
#4 Penang – Malaysia
We just wanted to have some time off. We just wanted to have some good food. We just wanted to have an easy “quick” flight off Melbourne. We ended up in Penang after we read so many good reviews about the fantastic food.
I was so impressed by this island that I would not hesitate more than 5 minutes to book a flight and go back. The attraction number one is food, even better than photography, which is quite rare for my personal priorities.
Worthless saying that food photography is clearly a must. We based ourselves in George Town and from there we visited the island. This town is the mecca of Malaysian street food and most probably one of the best “food oriented” place in the world, a personal list that includes any typical Italian or French destination.
I am currently writing a photo guide to this island, so stay tuned 😀 On top the list George Town, the graffiti destination.
#3 Crete – Greece
With so many islands Greece could not be left out of this list. Most of the Greek islands are usually tiny. Creete is big! You can spend either 2/3 months there or just visit it in multiple trips. Decide if staying in the west side or the east side. Do not make the mistake to see everything in two weeks. You will just not have time to see anything at the end.
Photography is just amazing and it goes from the awesome villages, to the deep gorges, the steep mountains and much much more. Food is a dream and you will not get bored with the nightlife if you are into it. Overall a great destination. If possible avoid August, a time when hotels are usually booked out.
The blue color of the sea is just unique to this country and it inspired the national flag.
#2 Gili Trawangan – Indonesia
One of the problems I encounter in most of the places in Asia is pollution due to the vast amount of cars and motorbikes. Kuta in Bali has been the worst so far. However just grab a ferry from Bali and in few hours you are out in Gili Trawangan, a tiny island you can walk around in probably 2 hours with a an easy going fishing village offering places to sleep and eat. The best is that there are no cars and you can only travel by donkey, if you don’t really like walking of course. Fresh water is rare, so remember to bring a special soup for salty water with you.
This island is not anymore a secret however you can still have a relaxed time. There are another two islands in the Trawangan group, quieter, just in case this is what you are looking for.
Photography opportunities are countless. Wake up early and walk to the east side for a sunrise with the beautiful Bali landscape in the background. Go to the sunset point for a lovely end of the day and remember to take a beer with you. Stay in the village to document the local lazy life.
# 1 Caye Caulker – Belize
Our visit to Belize was completely unplanned. We had some spare days and we were in Guatemala. We had to travel back to Mexico to catch our flight back home. We were on a chicken bus and we started talking with few other travelers that highly suggest a stay in Caye Caulker, Belize.
An early bus from Guatemala took us to Belize City and after an easy power boat lift we were in the island of Caye Caulker, one of the most relaxing place I have experienced in my life. The language spoken there is a mix of English and Spanish, so easy going. My Spanish studied in the University helped me to get through and experience the local life, such a great time.
Photography wise expect to find a Cuban/Jamaican style environemnt, therefore plenty of opportunities for great portraits. Just have a chat and a drink first, things are slow here and people like to communicate, to chat. Forget your mobile and Facebook. The landscape is just amazing and the blue color of the bay is one of the deepest I have ever seen in my life.
I think I need to go to the beach after this article. Today in Melbourne is 30 degrees, sunny and blue sky, just perfect for a drink with my sunnies
Enjoy your trip and photography experience.
Full Map of the top 5 islands I would visit again in 2015 for more photography