Mingle all the way.

I'd say this visit to Malaysia's proven to be a solid choice. Not only am I having the best days of my trip so far, everything's cheap too. Just when you think you've pretty much seen all of hostel culture, there's still room for surprise. My new local home, Mingle, is one of those places you simply want to be at. A genuinely safe base, right in the middle of Chinatown (currently losing its dodgy edges), where the owner personally takes you out on day trips, for lunch and to super-hip coffee spots. People are not only nice, but generally more mature and experienced than most you'd meet along Australia's east coast.

Right, the first impression's quite overwhelming, traffic tends to be more chaotic and hygiene standards are not the highest, but a solid ground, bit of money and right crowd make it completely manageable. I got an entire list of things to do in other Asian countries (thanks to two sweet, Welsh travellers), decent coffee (had to mention it again), wheatgrass shots and the most flavoursome bites you could ever imagine. No food poisoning or anything of the sort so far: fingers crossed it stays that way.

Making friends at the launderette, bumping into strangers at the bus station, spending an entire day together, dropping by a tea shop, getting to know the owner and being invited to dinner: rarely have I seen (and taken) more chances for the sake of spontaneity. And it's grand. That's why I'll be around in Kuala Lumpur even longer, taking all the time in the world to soak up this dynamic environment and end the year beautifully.

Best holiday wishes, see you in 2017!