12 Trips in 12 Months – A look back on Paul and Carole’s Year of Travel 2016

12 Trips 12 Months – 2016 has been a really interesting year for Paul and Carole Loves to Travel, and also hitting the big 50!

We both work full time but have still managed to go on 12 trips. Here is our reflection of our adventures in 2016.

Trip 1 of our 12 trips 12 months

We started off with our biggest trip of the year. In January we flew to Singapore for a one night stay before joining a cruise around South East Asia. It was my 50th Birthday year so we started off this four week trip with a special treat – a stay at the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It was the most we have ever paid for one nights accommodation but we are so glad we did, this is a night that we will never forget!

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Marina Bay Sands Hotel

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The largest infinity pool in the world at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel

The following day we joined the Mariner of the Seas Cruise Ship for a 7 night cruise to Thailand and Malaysia. We hadn’t loved Kuala Lumpur on a previous visit, the reason we choose this itinerary was so that we could explore more of Malaysia. We visited Penang, Langkawi, Port Klang all in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand. We had a great week and enjoyed our visits, however, our hearts still lie in Thailand.

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Sapphire Princess also docked and tendering in Langkawi

Following the cruise we flew to Koh Samui, in Thailand, where we have stayed before and is actually one of our favourite places to visit in the world. This time we spent 3 weeks staying around the island and catching up with friends we had made on previous visits. Our first stop was at the Secret Garden Beach Resort. We had only booked a 3 night stay here and loved it so much we wished we had booked longer, but unfortunately they were fully booked so had to move on.

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Beach at the Secret Garden

We wanted to remain on the north shore of the island, and Bangrak was an ideal base. Our favorite Sports Bar, The New Office Sports Bar is also in Bangrak and run by the loveliest Kiwi you could meet Steve, so our next stop was literally up the road at the Bangrak Beach Club. We stayed in the adjoining Dome Lay Bungalows and used all their facilities.

Our next stop was in Lamai, which is a lively resort on the east coast of Koh Samui but not as mad as neighbouring Chaweng. We chose the Weekender Resort because of it’s central location and we were not disappointed. One end of the resort was on the beach and the other onto the main road where there were plenty of lively bars and shopping opportunities.

12 trips in 12 months

The infinity Pool at the Weekender Resort, Lamai

Our last stop in Koh Samui, was to one of favourite places Baan Sijan Villa Resort. It is on the quieter west coast of the island near to the capital Nathon. We love this place and the hosts Janya and Anny were superb, they really do make your stay special, and we thoroughly recommend a stay here.

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Family Suite at Baan Sijan Villa Resort

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Wonderful food at my birthday party

It certainly was a fantastic start to the year and to my 50th birthday celebrations.

Trip 2 of our 12 trips 12 months

Early May, Paul headed off to Madrid in Spain to help celebrate his friend Matthew Clow’s Stag Weekend. It sounded like Matthew had a brilliant time and last night of freedom. A good weekend was had by all, with the highlight being a trip out on the Beer Bike. 16 grown men drinking and peddling around Madrid was a sight in itself!

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Beer Bike in Madrid

Trip 3 of our 12 trips 12 months

Towards the end of May we jumped into our camper van and visited Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The Cardiff Caravan and Camping Park had been recommended to us by friends, so we chose to stay there. The park was excellent, in a central location and we had a great 2 days away.

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Walking to the city centre of Cardiff

Trip 4 of our 12 trips 12 months

In June I headed off to Torremolinos, Spain with the girls to continue the celebrations for my 50th birthday and also to celebrate my friend Kate’s Hen Weekend. We stayed at the Riu Costa Lago Hotel for 5 nights. We had fabulous weather and some great fun, plans are already in place for another girly getaway in 2017!

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Carousel Fun in Torremolinos

Trip 5 of our 12 trips 12 months

My 50th birthday celebrations continued in June (I know how to drag these things out!) and 29 of us took the train to Cardiff for the weekend and partied hard. I feel so lucky to have wonderful girl friends who are such great fun, we certainly had a ball!

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Carole’s 50th Birthday Celebrations

Trip 6 of our 12 trips 12 months

This year we were lucky enough to get tickets to Glastonbury. This was our 3rd Glastonbury experience, and again the weather was mixed but we still had a brilliant time with our friends Dick and Sal.

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Paul and Carole at the Pyramid Stage

Special memories of seeing ELO perform Mr Blue Sky, the fantastic Adele, Coldplay were also superb with the added bonus of Barry Gibb. Despite the mud we had a fun and memorable experience.

12 trips in 12 months

Coldplay on the Pyramid Stage

Trip 7 of our 12 trips 12 months

Paul returned to Cardiff for another weekend to celebrate a very good friend of ours 80th birthday, Bamps. Now there is a man who can still party! As you have probably guessed Cardiff is one of our favourite cities and a great place to party. It is so accessible from our home town of Gloucester too, only 1 hour on the train or by car.

Trip 8 of our 12 trips 12 months

I was unsure of where I actually wanted to spend my actual 50th birthday in July and our friend Tim who unfortunately is no longer with us recommended that we take a Marella Cruise. We are so glad we listened to him as we had the most fantastic cruise sailing around the Adriatic Coast. The ports of call where excellent and the small Marella Celebration Cruise Ship was a great ship to sail on. It was a fantastic way to spend my birthday.

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Thomson Celebration docked in Koper, Slovenia

Trip 9 of our 12 trips 12 months

On the August bank holiday weekend, we attended the Sunshine Festival, a music festival held in Upton on Severn in Worcestershire, England. It was a fun weekend with friends, with some great old school entertainment including Leo Sayer, Bad Manners, and the Bay City Rollers. This is a great festival, we were here before in 2015 too, and have already booked for 2017!

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Fun at the Sunshine Festival

Trip 10 of our 12 trips 12 months

Every year we have been lucky enough to take our two Dad’s on a cruise. We have visited a variety of destinations, and one of our favourites has been Norway. This time we decided to head south and cruised to the Canary Islands, visiting ports including Tenerife and Gran Canaria. We were back on the Independence of the Seas and had a wonderful time. If you are interested in cruising do visit our YouTube channel and see all of our cruising videos.

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Cruising with our Dads wearing our hats won in the Queen Quiz

Trip 11 of our 12 trips 12 months

Due to using all our annual leave for holidays, we unfortunately haven’t been able to house sit as much as we would like to. However, in November we went back to look after two of our favourite dogs in Cardiff. We first met Lip and Shadow in 2013 and have been returning twice a year to look after them. The property is located between the city centre and Cardiff Bay, both within walking distance and Lip and Shadow are a joy to look after.

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Lip and Shadow

Trip 12 of our 12 trips 12 months

Our last trip of the year was with our friends to Bath. We stayed in our camper van for the weekend at the Bath Marina and Caravan Park. A great weekend was had by all, it was a fun time and a great campsite.

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The Girls!

We have had a fantastic year of travel and it has been great looking back. We hope you have enjoyed our 12 trips in 12 months, we know we did! We hope we have inspired you to travel and look forward to sharing our travels with you all in 2017!

Thanks for reading!

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12 trips 12 months