Packing for 3 months backpacking in Southeast Asia: what to bring

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Backpacking around Asia is incredibly exciting and one of my best experiences to date, both of the times I've been. The second time, however, I definitely nailed it more with packing my bag, ensuring it wasn't too heavy and leaving room for things to bring back with me.

If you're planning a three-month backpacking trip to Asia, here is my packing guide on what to bring.

The main piece of advice I always say when packing a backpack is to bring what you think you need and then half it because, you can buy things along the way, especially clothes.

Packing for 3 months backpacking in southeast Asia: what to bring

Clothes and shoes

When it comes to packing what you're going to wear, you need to think light, versatile and layers. I visited South and southeast Asia which meant most of the countries were incredibly hot. However, due to the culture and countries with cooler climates, I ensured to bring clothes which would cover me and keep me warm as well. As an example, this included:

  • 2 Pairs of shorts - I brought a denim and cotton pair.
  • 3 T-shirts - I only brought one with me and ended up buying two out there as I realised I needed them more than I thought.
  • 2 Vest tops - perfect for layers.
  • 3/4 Crop tops - small, ideal for wearing with shorts and trousers.
  • 3 Pairs of trousers - you could easily only bring one and buy them out there.
  • 2 Light jumpers - thin and compact ones.
  • 1 Rainproof jacket - invest in an easily foldable one.
  • 1 Demin jacket - not a necessity but you could bring a compact jacket instead.
  • 3 Bikinis - you only really need two.
  • Knickers and socks - I brought two weeks' worth and there was never a time I ran out as that's usually how often we'd do a big wash.
  • 2 Bralettes - personally, I barely wore them. 
  • 3 Pairs of shoes - Walking shoes, good quality sandals and cheap flip-flops. I brought Converse, Birkenstocks and a cheap pair of flip-flops to use for shared bathrooms in hostels and any pools.
  • 1 Sarong - useful for covering up religious sites.


For accessories, I wouldn't say you need to bring an awful lot and it depends on what you count as an accessory too. I minimised a lot of things when packing, to prevent myself from carrying a heavy backpack. As an example, this included:

  • A small backpack - perfect to carry your everyday belongings in it.
  • A bum bag - a life saviour in keeping your valuables safe.
  • A pair of sunglasses. 
  • 1 Sunhat.
  • Hair ties/clips.
  • Minimal jewellery - don't bring anything with value; I lost a few earrings in the water and I was very gutted.


Toiletries can be personal to a lot of people and travelling for a few months, you can feel out of depth what to bring. However, for the most part, good quality toiletries are easy to come by in popular cities and countries across Southeast Asia. I stocked up on a lot of toiletries for the trip and it was probably the thing which weighed my bag down the most - and I realised I didn't need to bring it all. As an example, this included:

  • Toothpaste and toothbrush - only bring one of each to get you started.
  • 2 Solid shampoos and conditioners - you may want to bring more if you wash your hair a lot ( I only wash mine twice a week).
  • Soap bars/shower gel - this is up to you. I brought three soap bars as I knew they would weigh less but did not use them all.
  • Deodorant - I use Wild deodorant which means I packed two refills with me but you can easily pack one regular and buy more when you're there. 
  • 1 Face SPF.
  • 1 SPF lip balm.
  • 3 Suncreams - or more. Finding suncream for cheap and the brands we know and love is tricky across Asia.
  • Razors - I use Estrid which meant I brought 3 different replaceable heads.
  • Minimal makeup - I brought BB cream, concealer, powder, mascara, eyebrow shadow and bronzer. 
  • Flannel/makeup remover - I have one of those microfibre flannels which removes makeup with only water.
  • Rollerball perfume - For days when you want to feel a little refreshed.
  • 1 Hand gel.
  • 2x Wet wipes 
  • 1x Multiple packs of tissues (but be prepared to always buy these).
  • Medical kit - I brought painkillers, anti diarrhoea, diaralyte, vitamin C, anti-septic cream, anti-bite cream, anti-histamine,  anti-travel sickness, plasters and my medication.
  • Mosquito spray/gel/bands.
  • Hand wash detergent - to wash your clothes on the go.


Gadgets can vary for the type of trip you're looking to have, whether it involves moving around often and a budget travel vibe or only doing a couple of places with a luxurious trip feel. I'm not an overly big gadget person and didn't bring too many things with me, only the essentials. As an example, this included:

  • 1 Portable charger.
  • 2 Phone chargers.
  • 1 Extention lead.
  • 1 Multi-use travel adapter.
  • 1 Pair of headphones.
  • Instant cameras/GoPro - we got gifted two instant cameras for our trip and loved taking random snaps. I didn't have a GoPro but it's a very popular thing to bring!

Handy items

Other than your clothes, toiletries and gadgets, there are many things you can bring on the trip for convenience and to help you out as you travel around. As an example, this included:

  • 1 Waterproof phone case.
  • 1 Drybag.
  • 1 Chillis (or similar) water bottle - you can refill this at water stations or use bottled water to keep it cool.
  • 1/2 Travel journals - there's nothing better than documenting your trip through thoughts.
  • Travel insurance - is not necessarily a physical thing but a must to buy before you go.
  • Padlocks - to keep your backpack secure.
  • Packing cubes - perfect for organising and repacking your bag.
  • Travel pillow and eye mask - for comfort as you travel along the way.
  • Photocopies of important documents - just in case you lose them.

Packing tips

I like to consider myself a professional at packing, considering how often I travel and as it's like second nature to me (although there is always room to learn). Having everything packed is one thing, but packing is another and here are some tips for packing your backpack efficiently:

  • Utilise packing cubes - packing cubes are a lifesaver with backpacks as you're able to organise your belongings into separate cubes and pull them out with ease. And, it's also beneficial to put them in the bag too as you can pack the cubes in an order which fits.
  • Don't pack too many nice things or a lot of white clothing - travelling over a long period means your clothes are likely to get stained, discoloured or ruined. Most laundry places don't wash clothes conventionally and won't get stains out. With that in mind, avoid bringing white clothing as it doesn't travel well, especially if you stain it and also avoid any clothes you want to bring home in perfect condition.
  • Wear your heaviest shoes - backpacks can get very heavy and you want to minimise this as much as possible and that means, taking out your heaviest shoe.
  • Pack the things you need with you in your day backpack - whether you're heading to the bus station, train station, airport or to the boat docks, pack the things you need with you as it's easier to access them.
  • Put your heaviest thing in the bottom of the backpack - this makes it easier to get everything else out.
  • Don't pack a full bag - you'll undoubtedly buy things along the way on your travels and should leave room for that.
  • Roll and fold - the only technique you need to be thinking about when it comes to packing your clothes in packing cubes. This method helps save space and put more clothing in each bag.

  • Make use of the compartments - backpacks are designed with many clever pockets and it's essential to use as many as possible, as it usually provides more space.
  • Bring laundry bags - you don't want to put your dirty clothing with your clean clothing and that's why a designated laundry bag is great. It'll also help to know which things are dirty and ready to be washed.
  • Avoid packing actual books - as a big bookworm, this was hard as I love the feeling of a book in my hand. However, backpacking for a long period, you have to get used to entertaining yourself with minimal things. I ended up downloading books on my phone and reading from there. It wasn't the same but I managed to get a lot of reading done!
  • Write a packing list - to stay organised, write a packing list before you go, ensuring you don't forget anything or remind yourself to buy something.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What advice would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

Well hello to you my reader chums! I’m a big fan of a murder mystery or any crime-related fiction that I couldn’t wait to give this one a read after raving reviews.

If you’ve heard about this book and are keen to learn more, here is my honest review of How to kill your family by Bella Mackie.

Book review: How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie


The plot line follows Grace Bernard and her drive for revenge, revenge on her family. It follows her life story as she sat in a prison cell relaying the murders she planned out and achieved, whilst being incarcerated for a crime she didn’t. The story is told from Grace’s perspective and reads like a diary without the instalments. It’s honest, emotion-led and addictive to her perspective.

Characters and relationships

The characters and relationships in this book are interesting concepts as it’s told purely from Grace’s perspective with no influence on anyone else. Grace is a very distinctive, bold, angry and honest character. She speaks her mind, exactly what she’s thinking with no second thought. Grace is intelligent and holds all her emotions in, spending years planning the murders to every detail. She is weirdly dedicated to something so truly awful towards people she’s never met.

The other relevant characters include her mother, who Grace describes fondly with love and care for her. She’s one of two characters which Grace describes as love, the other being her best friend Jimmy. They grew up together and it’s the only present person in the novel she truly cares about and has focus on, aside from her killing spree planning.

The Artemis family are Grace’s victims and every member in Grace’s eyes is horrid, selfish and a waste to the world. Her dad, Simon in this family, hurt her mother so incredibly deeply and it spurred Grace’s revenge to kill them off one by one.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed this book thoroughly for various reasons. As it was written from Grace’s perspective, the book has a fast pace and read more like a conversation than a story which I loved, because it had an emotive dialogue. The book heavily focused on dark humour and took the emotions out of killing people. It was strange and shocking.

I loved the structure of this book as it sped along at the right pace, moving from the present to the past, with Grace sharing her current day-to-day in prison, and moving back in time to what happened with her plans. To me, the structure was clever and enticed me more to read on, so much so, I was addicted to what happens next in the plot.


I’m not going to give anything away but the ending was a little bit of a disappointment in all honestly. I felt like the writer could have ended it in many other ways, rather than throwing a different plot twist in. 

I hope you enjoyed this review. What are you currently reading? <3

How to stay safe backpacking Asia

 Well hello to you my reader chums! One of the most popular questions I've been asked about backpacking Asia is, 'Did you feel safe?' and honestly, yes for many reasons. Like any destination, it's important to learn the ways to keep safe as unfortunate things can happen anywhere.

If you're backpacking Asia soon or planning a trip, here are my best tips on how to stay safe backpacking Asia.

How to stay safe backpacking Asia

Invest in a bum bag

Pickpocketing can happen anywhere in the world and it's always best to be prepared. One useful item is a bum bag or a money belt as it's kept right in your middle, next to you, preventing someone from easily grabbing anything from you. I would store my valuables in the bum bag such as money and my phone and then put everything else in my day backpack. 

Padlock your items

Along the pickpocketing line of advice, protecting your goods is key. You can do this by padlocking your large backpack and everyday backpack, preventing pickpocketers from getting in. You can also buy backpack covers to store your backpack in when you fly - which is convenient to pack but also prevents anyone from trying to get into it on the luggage belt at the airport.

Share your location with family/friends

You never can plan when you're in danger and this is why it's so important to share location with family or friends back home, especially if you're going off the beaten path. This point is also even more important if you're travelling solo. I updated my family daily with where we were, informing them we were safe. But, you can also easily share live locations in areas where you feel extra unsafe.

Prepare for mosquitos 

Mosquitos are everywhere in Asia and some are harmless whereas some can be harmful. To care for yourself in every possible way, firstly, you need to get the recommended vaccinations for the countries you're planning to visit. Also, you need to invest in mosquito repellent. You can buy it before you go as well as the armbands you can wear too, however, I found the best repellants in Asia. To save yourself luggage space, you can stock up whilst you're travelling.

Get travel insurance

I cannot stress to you enough the importance of travel insurance. Wherever you go in the world, you should get cover but especially when backpacking as it comes with its own dangers. Choosing travel insurance can be overwhelming but the key thing to remember is to declare all of your medical conditions and ensure all the activities you're planning to do are covered.

Watch out for locals trying to scam you

Scams are very common across backpacking destinations in Asia, especially in heavily touristy areas. It's important to know what to look out for and always try to haggle prices down. Many people will try and convince you to pay more as they think they can get away with it. Due to this, ensure you do your research on each destination on the common scams. One example is drivers will 'suggest' going to other places as they're driving you around and end up charging you more at the end. With that in mind, ensure you agree on a price before getting in any vehicle or ordering a Grab if they're available in that country.

Don't drink the tap water 

It's probably obvious, but tap water isn't safe to drink across Asia. Instead, you'll need to buy bottled water or fill your bottle up with water machines.

Get an international driving permit/motorcycle license if you want to rent a bike

It's the natural thing for backpackers to rent a motorbike or scooter to drive around and naturally many travellers have accidents. Due to this, don't be like us and miss out on getting the right licencing to drive a motorbike. When you have the right permit, if you get in an accident, you will be covered for the medical costs on your travel insurance (but always double-check your policy) and it'll help you feel more confident on the bike.

Go to ATMs attached to banks

Be careful where you draw cash out. Typically, I saw no danger in getting money out anywhere. Yet, to be safer, go to ATMs attached to banks as you have the certainty of protecting yourself and your bank account.

Take more than one bank card 

Things can easily get lost when travelling around; we definitely lost a couple of items between us. Considering this, bring more than one bank card along as a backup in case you lose a bank card and you can still access your account. I had my regular bank card, Monzo card and my travel money card as well.

Keep a list of emergency numbers 

Emergencies happen, that's life, even when you're living your dream life. If it happens when you're surrounded by other travellers or locals, they'll help you out. However, if you're on your own, this is where an emergency numbers list comes in handy. I always had it on my phone in the Note app in case I needed it.

Pack a medical kit

Accidents happen as well as illnesses, especially with new foods. I'd recommend packing a medical kit with essentials such as plasters, painkillers, anti-diarrhea tablets, dioralyte powder, anti-septic cream and any of your other medications. I wouldn't say you need to bring this everywhere, but it's good to have it in your room and with you on the long travel days.

Bring a portable charger

Phone batteries aren't the most reliable and you don't want yours to run out in case you need it for directions for example. We always had a portable charger on us for that reason and in case we needed to quickly search for something on Google.

Use your intuition

Intuition is a powerful thing. If you don't feel safe for whatever reason, get out of that situation to a place where you feel okay again. Our instincts can often save us from bad things happening as they pick up on them before we're physically aware.

Dress appropriately 

Some countries in Asia are a lot more modest in how they dress and it's important to respect that to avoid drawing attention to yourself as a tourist, and also to be respectful of their culture.

Be careful with the traffic

Traffic across Asia is insanely scary as it's heavily populated with motorbikes and that means weaving in and out of them when crossing the road. You need to be mindful when crossing the road about how dangerously locals drive and the side of the road they drive on.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

11 things I've learnt from backpacking Asia

 Well hello to you my reader chums! If you haven't seen my latest travel post then you'd missed out on my return from my three-month backpacking trip to Asia. I'm sitting here reflecting and grateful for the phenomenal trip I had - it was an experience for many different reasons.

11 things I've learnt from backpacking Asia

If you're planning to go backpacking or are keen to hear about my experience, here are 11 things I've learnt from backpacking Asia.

I can do things I never thought I would

Travelling pushes you in ways you don't ever expect and I'm grateful for an experience to push me out of my comfort zone. The last time I went backpacking, it tested me in a culture shock way, getting used to their norms. However, this time, I had to push myself with culture shocks again, but the main push came from overcoming my biggest fears. 

I'm not a countryside person and still have a massive fear of the water and this trip tested me in every possible way. We went on numerous hikes, in pretty steep mountainous places including the Cameron Highlands, the Pidurangala Rock and Komodo Island. The views I saw from these places were beyond amazing and the skill to reach the top really pushed me to my limits. With the water side of things, I'm so surprised how much I went snorkelling in the deepest parts of the water and jumping off the boat too. Past me would never have done this and I'm very proud I had the encouragement of my partner. 

Authentic street food is the one

The food across the entire three months was simply perfect; I love being able to try various cuisine from the kottu in Sri Lanka, and pho in Vietnam to nasi goreng in Indonesia. The food was always full of flavour and the majority of the time, very moreish. I always found that street food made the best kind of dish as locals have a way of making it extra delicious. And, there's always something really wholesome about watching them make it on their cart or stall. 

I'm very lucky to be English

I'm already aware of how privileged I am to be from the UK and to be born British. However, I didn't realise how lucky I was on the other side of the world as English is the common language everywhere. Most countries in Asia would learn English as their second language meaning locals always knew a little bit of English even if it was only a common phrase. It also meant it was easy to communicate with accommodation staff and any other travellers we met. Because English is also spoken widely on other continents, we had no trouble speaking to other travellers from around the world as that was mutual ground. 

There's kindness wherever you go

I probably already knew this one from the amount of travelling I've done. Although, it was certainly emphasised on this trip with the many locals we met along the way who were always keen to help us out, whether that was offering advice, directions or just generally wanting a photo of us. Despite the many issues with scams and trying to be conned, between that, there were good locals; very happy people who would smile and greet us. 

You can find beauty in the little things 

In the society we live in, we're always aspiring for the big experiences and seeing the most amazing sights. I found that even though experiencing and witnessing the world's wonders was beautiful, the little moments in between were just as great. The times when we were walking through colourful streets, local markets, cycling in villages or watching the sunset. It's the little things which made the trip ever so magical.

Everyone has a story 

Without trying to sound obnoxious, when you go travelling, you realise going travelling doesn't make you special. But, it's learning the reasons why people go travelling is what makes the experience wholesome when meeting people. I loved hearing people's stories, whether that was about them quitting their jobs to travel, moving to a new country or working alongside their travellers. There were plenty of reasons for travellers to go travelling and learning about their backgrounds, who they're travelling with, what they're up to and their funny stories was brilliant to hear. 

Social media is a time filler

Social media is a great procrastination method as when I find things overwhelming, I'll scroll. On this trip, I was so in awe of everything we were doing that there were days I didn't even have any want or mean to scroll and it was really refreshing. It's made me realise I want to spend more time away from social media and when I find my mind wandering, to do something else rather than reach for my phone.

Don't let something bad stop you from doing anything

Although the trip was packed with dreamy sights and experiences, every day wasn't perfect and there were certainly down moments, including a motorbike accident. We were very lucky it wasn't serious but it did shake my partner and me up for a bit. Instead of letting it get in the way of the rest of our travels, we embraced it and continued with all we planned to do. Not everything goes to plan and at that moment you have two choices, but we learnt to not let bad situations stop us from doing anything.

Money isn't everything

In a place where people have so little materialistically, they give so much. The locals I met in every country including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia were happy living their lives. They were empowered by the connections they had with others, the communities and how they lived. Money really isn't everything. It can help you live a comfortable life but at the end of the day, it's not what's going to make you feel fulfilled. Fulfilment comes from connecting with others, learning about new cultures, trying new things and appreciating what you have.

The freedom of travelling is everything 

The freedom of travelling around for a long period of time is enlightening. It's a wonderful feeling getting up every day not knowing what the adventure will bring and not having any responsibility about where you need to be or where you're going. You can be fully present in the moment instead of rushing into a 'normal' everyday life.

It's not important what you do but who you spend it with

The older I get, the more I learn how important the connections you have in life are. This trip especially emphasises this learning point as I saw the way families interacted and spent most of their time with each other. We all have dreams and all want to be something, but what's most important is when you achieve them, who is supporting you. I also realised who were the special people back home and how excited I was to spend time with them when I returned. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. What lessons have you learnt from travelling?

Thank you for reading <3

10 years of Della Loves Nutella - what I've learnt

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I cannot believe I'm typing these words and today is 10 years since I started this blog. I never thought as a sixteen-year-old that ten years later, I would still be typing away my thoughts on my website. It's an incredible milestone and I'm sitting in awe by myself that I've been able to commit to this for a decade.

10 years of Della Loves Nutella - what I've learnt

Blogging has certainly changed over the course of a decade and I have too (no doubt) I've definitely learnt many things in that time about myself, about blogging and my writing journey. My writing has changed exceptionally and I've actually followed my dream of becoming a writer something I always wanted. Take a look at my first-ever blog post - I was too cute and I can see how passionate I was from day one.

Today, I wanted to share a bit of a reflection post on everything I've learnt about blogging and writing to honour ten years of Della Loves Nutella - here's to ten years more! 

I am a writer

It has taken me years to actually introduce myself as a writer, which may seem weird. I always thought I couldn't say I was a writer until I had my books published or got my name in a big publication. However, I've learnt, to be a writer, all you need to do is write and I should own that. I've always aspired to write and spend my life writing, and it's exactly what I've done. I've spent the past decade documenting my life, experiences and thoughts on this blog. And, I've spent nearly 8 years developing my craft in marketing, working in that industry in roles, heavily involving writing and building up a career as a freelance writer. I've written 5 books and started a 6th. 

Writing is a part of my soul and it makes me the happiest. I love how this past decade I've proved to myself that I am a writer and I now own that sentence. My name is Della and I am a writer. I'm excited to see how much I develop in my writing over the next ten years.

Writing is about passion

Keeping a blog for 10 years certainly has had its hard moments with writer's block, being dissuaded by statistics and getting lost in the blogging community. But the main thing I learnt through all of that is writing is about passion. It's about expressing yourself and your thoughts through words, in spite of the topic. The best articles I've written on my blog have been from the heart and about personal experiences. They've been an opportunity for me to share what I've learnt in the world, in the hope it would help someone else. 

I've undoubtedly enjoyed the times when blogging meant exciting events, brand deals and freebies, but for me, I got the most out of blogging when it was me and my words, sharing my passion on my little internet home.

You'll always find your people

This goes for online and offline. When I started this blog, I was a lot and confused teenager, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life. I had big ambitions and things I knew about myself, but unsure of the direction to go. And ten years later, I've learnt how you'll always find the right people for you. You're not too weird or too much of an outcast to meet the people for you, whether that's friends or a relationship. The connections I've met through the years have changed immensely as I have grown but as I've come into myself, I've gravitated towards the people who match my energy and grow with me.

Within the blogging community, it's something I'm lucky enough to also have found because many bloggers have similar interests and passions for writing, and are supportive of my blog. It has been a pleasure to meet and talk to people over the years of blogging, with the many blogging tags (hello throwbacks), Twitter chats and collabs. Most of these were in the early stages of this blog but I'll never forget them.

The internet isn't what it's cracked up to be

Don't get me wrong, I'm forever grateful for the wonders of technology and having this blog online in the first place, but, for me especially as a teenager, the internet wasn't always a positive space. I started this blog at sixteen and at the same time I got a Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr account and this was before everything was monitored or people understood the complexities of social media. It was also before everything was exceptionally picture-perfect and false, the way we know Instagram to be today. And although it wasn't as false, it was still very detrimental. The 'like' function on Instagram and Facebook even didn't do wonders for my mental health as an impressionable teenager and I can't even imagine what kids and teens go through today.

This is why I say the internet isn't all it's cracked up to be because even though it can be positive, its fakeness, creates a false illusion for many people, and that illusion pushes people to aspire for something that isn't real. It gives people fake hopes and dreams for a perfect life. Life isn't perfect and that's the beauty of it. Life can be messy, life can be spontaneous and that's where the funny stories and random moments occur. It's when we learn the most about ourselves. Getting the perfect photo may be fun but it never captures how powerful a moment in life can be.

Being you is the best thing

I preach this all the time but I believe living authentically is something we all deserve. In the blogging world, there have been many trends and times where a certain topic/product/brand has been spoken about and everyone decides to hop onto it, and that's great, but it takes away from originality. I can remember when I did jump onto trends, it was fun, but it wasn't me. It was me trying to fit in, the same way I did in school - conforming to wider society. I preferred the times when I'd had an idea to write about and rolled with it. The writing was mine then, my ideas, my thoughts and my narrative; it wasn't directed by anyone else.

This principle about being yourself is very overused as a term but one of the most important pieces of advice we can listen to. Living authentically means you'll attract the right energy for you; that means with relationships, hobbies, career and even how you feel about yourself. Life feels calmer when you're not living for someone else, but yourself. 

Leaving writing to rest is key

Writing for ten years consecutively means I've learnt a lot of writing tips to improve my writing and one of the best ones is leaving the writing to rest. When I first started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing and wrote a blog, and then pressed publish. As time went on and my writing craft developed, I learnt writing and leaving it meant editing was a lot easier - and the finished product was often better. Now (and what I've been doing for many years) is writing a blog post and letting it sit for days or weeks before I go back and edit it, then press the publish button.

To not be afraid of loved ones reading my writing

For years I kept my blog a secret as I was embarrassed about what my family would think about me sharing my writing on the internet and if it was good or not. It's still something today I don't really mention as it started as such a secret project. Although, as I got older and started writing professionally as part of my job, my confidence has grown with sharing my writing with others and being proud of my work. I think with most writers, we are often our own critics, but it's usually better than we believe. I even recently let my partner read one of my fiction novels and he really enjoyed it! It goes to show that you never know how good you are until you put yourself out there.

Read the work out loud

I say this writing tip to everyone and it may sound obvious but it has done wonders with improving my writing. After letting the work sit for a while, I edit by reading the work out loud as it helps me ensure it's in the right tense, the grammar is correct and it sounds good. I sometimes do this multiple times to be sure it is perfect.

Hobbies are incredibly important

This blog has given me a focus for the past ten years as it's always something I went back to; it has always been part of my routine and I've loved every minute of it. It showed me how important it is to have a hobby you're committed to and an opportunity where you can be passionate about something. Della Loves Nutella started out as I wanted an online journal and it's turned into an online space documenting my adventures, and sharing my advice wisdom and growth from a teenager to an adult. It shows with the right courage, commitment and love for a hobby, you can make something wonderful which means the world.

I am loved

Starting a blog as a depressed and lost teenager, I never thought I would be in a position where I felt truly loved and truly happy. Obviously, life is up and down and I'm very much working on my self-love journey. However, at the age of 26, I can say, I'm feeling content. I love myself, I love the person I've grown into. I love how I'm still growing and learning every day, and how I'm working towards my different goals and passions. I love my partner, and I love the friends and family that surround me. I love how I've created a life of travelling, incredible memories and living spontaneously. I love how I've overcome my fears and continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. I love how I can be myself freely and live my life how I've always dreamt of.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When did you start reading my blog?

Thank you for reading <3

3 months backpacking Asia: my experience

 Well hello to you my reader chums! It seems very strange typing away on this blog after three months away. This has to be the longest time I've not written on here in nearly a decade which honestly I still can't believe. As many of you know I've been dreaming of going backpacking again after my last trip in 2019, however, the pandemic meant the next trip happened a lot later.

3 months backpacking Asia: my experience

However, it happened in the best possible way, sharing the experience with someone I love. Travelling around Asia to put it simply was a whirlwind and dream all in one. I'm still in awe of the incredible sights, worldly experiences, endless delicious dishes and insta-worthy sunsets I had the pleasure to experience, plus the opportunity to learn about seven different countries and their cultures.

I visited Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia, spending on average two weeks in each place. I spent the longest time in Indonesia (three weeks) and the shortest time in Singapore (three days). Although the timeframes varied, I felt my partner and I had a good chunk of time in each location to see everything we planned to visit and immerse ourselves in the culture.

I've had many questions about 'What was your favourite place?' and 'What was your favourite experience?' and it's hard to pinpoint, however, there are places and moments that stood out. 

3 months backpacking Asia: my experience

My favourite countries were Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. A few of my favourite experiences included the elephant safari in Sri Lanka, visiting Mount Bromo and Komodo Island in Indonesia, snorkelling in Thailand (lots of marine life) and Indonesia (manta rays, turtles and marine life) and cycling around the rice fields in Vietnam and seeing the lanterns in Hoi An (Vietnam). I also adored sunset dreaming on the beaches across every country, hiking in the Cameron Highlands (Malaysia), kayaking in multiple locations, climbing Pidurangla Rock (Sri Lanka) and seeing the iconic lakes in Coron (Philippines). Eating endless street food, roaming around new cities and towns and meeting locals all rank highly with why the trip helped me grow, learn more and fall in love with the freedom of travelling all over again. 

I thought the best way to talk about my experience was to break down my perspective on each country and what I loved as well as found challenging. 

Sri Lanka

3 months backpacking Asia: my experience

I've been dreaming about Sri Lanka for a long time as I've heard many incredible things and honestly didn't know what to expect until we arrived. The country exceeded my expectations in many ways considering its gorgeous nature scene, the kindness of the people, the non-touristy feel it had, and the amazing temples we had the pleasure to see. I think back to Sri Lanka with fond memories especially as it was our first place, making the culture shock real. For most of the trip, there weren't many tourists, providing us with the opportunity to travel authentically, live like the locals and learn more about their way of life. It wasn't until just over halfway through Sri Lanka that destinations became more touristy and we experienced a different side of the country. 

Sri Lank elephant safari

I loved it all; I loved how we experienced watching elephants in the wild, visiting tea plantations, hiking through the countryside, experiencing scenic train rides, sampling the cuisine, visiting some of the best temples and enjoying the chill side of the south coast, swimming with turtles. My favourite places had to be Ella, Anuradhapura and Dambulla for the general vibe and experiences. 


Singapore light show

Singapore was a short visit compared to the rest of the countries as we were only there for three days. However, we had the opportunity to soak up the city life (even if it rained for a good chunk of it) and experience the complete opposite of Sri Lanka with its luxury vibe and pristine surroundings. To me, Singapore was a combination of London and Dubai with its quirky cafes and tall skyscrapers. The destination had a very clean appeal with a lot of 'perfect' sights to see plus the price tag for everything was very expensive. I loved experiencing the highs of this city, watching the famous light shows and mooching around as it gave me that London feeling.


Kuala Lumpur twin towers

I had no initial expectations of Malaysia apart from I assumed it would be similar to Thailand as they're right next to each other. However, I was pleasantly surprised with my experience travelling around this country because it was incredibly diverse in everything we did, what we ate and the culture as well. From temple hopping, city living in the capital, hiking up mountains and through tea plantations to discovering its cool, hipster towns, wandering through night markets and riding the world's longest cable car. Malaysia had a unique appeal and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different religions and experiencing their way of life. It was definitely a lot more modern and built up across all areas of the country we visited which surprised me also.

Cameron Highlands hiking

My favourite places in Malaysia had to be Penang (especially Georgetown), the Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur. The capital was busy and crazy but I fell in love with the city appeal, whilst the Highlands was peaceful and the perfect spot to push me into the hiking way of life and Georgetown had a hipster vibe that I could have soaked up for days.


Koh Lipe snorkelling

It's not a backpacking trip without visiting Thailand and as my second time in the country, I didn't plan to stay there for too long because, on my previous trip, I was there for five weeks and on this occasion, spent 8 days there. Thailand is a place that instantly feels like a dream with its friendly locals, delicious food and paradise-style beaches. This trip to Thailand consisted of two beach locations and one of its cities and I loved every part of it. 

Chiang Mai temples

Koh Lipe and Koh Lanta were heaven on earth. Koh Lanta is my favourite island and as my second time there, it didn't fail to disappoint with some of the best sunsets. Koh Lipe was honestly paradise with its crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkelling, kayaking and soaking up the sunshine. Whilst, Chiang Mai is temple heaven with a cool hipster appeal to it and my favourite night market for clothing, food and everything in between. My time in Thailand warmed my heart and I forever want to revisit it as its charm is a unique one, even if the tourism levels are rising.


Train street hanoi

I've been dreaming about returning to Vietnam since 2019 and I fell in love with it as soon as I arrived. But, there were many places I had missed off my list including seeing the rice terraces and visiting the iconic Hoi An. This time around, two weeks of exploring and immersing myself back into the Vietnamese way of life was everything I thought it would be and more. The food was out of this world, the people were so kind, and the culture was super authentic. It had to be on par with the non-touristy appeal of Sri Lanka, despite it being such a popular destination. We still found many restaurants would only have Vietnamese menus and many local people didn't speak a word of English. And although that made things more challenging, it added to the authentic appeal and taught us about the culture more.

Mai Chau cycling

Thinking back to Vietnam and my heart is so happy. I remember how sad I was to leave the country and move on to the next ones as we did many highlight-worthy things there. My favourite places were Hoi An ( I could have stayed there for weeks), Mai Chau (the quaintest village for rice fields), Hanoi (the bustle is unique) and Halong Bay (my second time there and I'm still in awe). Also, some of my favourite experiences included cycling around the rice fields in Mai Chau, being in the midst of Hanoi, kayaking in Halong Bay, wandering around Hoi An and doing a cooking class and many more.

Halong bay kayaking


Philippines sunset

The Philippines was the one location that I wasn't the biggest fan of for many reasons but I still enjoyed my time there overall due to some incredible snorkelling experiences, lakes and beach views. It's a destination that is definitely suited more to a holiday budget rather than a backpacker one as I found things to be a lot pricier than in other locations in Asia, as well as transport, costs too. One of the reasons I think I wasn't the greatest fan of the Philippines was the food and how western it seemed. When we arrived in Cebu City, fast food chains were on every corner and it didn't have the same feel as other Asian cities. Also, the food is very meat-based and quite unusual, and I struggled with that as for me, food is one of the biggest draws to a country.

3 months backpacking Asia: my experience

Despite the negatives and not necessarily being thrilled with our first destinations in the Philippines, I enjoyed the second week in the Philippines as El Nido and Coron featured two of my favourite water tours we did on the trip. The beaches in these destinations were dreamy, the water was super clear and the snorkelling in Coron had to be the best we saw in the country! The Chocolate Hills tour in Bohol is also worth a mention because it gave us the opportunity to experience the countryside. With this in mind, it definitely meant leaving the Philippines on a high and experiencing some paradise-worthy islands. I think if we had only visited these two locations, my view of the Philippines would be completely different. Plus, the local people here are some of the happiest we've seen.


Dream beach Bali

Indonesia was where we spent the longest and I'm thrilled we did as it exceeded everything I initially thought about the country. I was a little apprehensive because of everything I read online about how strict the country was with rules, but I found the overall experience here to be liberating, and eye-opening and offered our favourite experiences of the trip.

Ubud Bali

We got to experience the dreamy beach life on Bali, the Gili Islands (although I have to admit these were pretty overrated), and especially on Komodo Island with the best snorkelling of the entire 3 months (we saw manta rays and many colourful fish/corals). We also experienced climbing up a volcano (and seeing the sunrise over it), visiting incredible temples in Bali and Yogyakarta, seeing monkeys everywhere and eating the best food. Indonesian people were also wonderfully kind and typically wanted to talk to you, which was lovely. We met many sweet locals across our time here who really helped us see the best of Indonesia and love it as much as they do. 

Komodo Island

There you have it - an insight into my trip. Sitting here writing this, I feel incredibly emotional about the whole experience. I feel very grateful, blessed and in awe of all the phenomenal things I was able to do. I can't wait to write about each place in more detail and share my tips and advice overall.

And - a shoutout to all the incredible food we ate along the way. I'm missing Nasi Goreng, Pad Thai, Kottu, Pho, Vegetarian spring rolls, Banh Mi, fresh juices and many more dishes.

3 months backpacking Asia: my experience

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where is next on your bucket list to visit?

Thank you for reading <3