The Favourites of Henrik Jeppesen

Introduction

My name is Henrik Jeppesen, and I am the owner of this website, EveryCountryInTheWorld.com. I visited every country in the world in a journey over more than ten years, starting with a trip to Egypt alone at the age of 17. I did it on a low budget with help from more than 100 airlines and many hotels. I was born in Denmark in 1988 and grew up close to our country’s first national park, where I have spent a lot of time.

I had many challenges in my project, and I did extreme things like hitchhiking with hundredths of cars, sleeping in some public places and sometimes going hungry to bed. I had a big focus on keeping a low budget and following a hard discipline with money-saving to increase the possibility of visiting all the world’s countries.

After visiting every country in the world, I wrote a lot about my travels, and now I find it interesting to feature other travellers and hear great stories. EveryCountryInTheWorld.com is focusing on interviewing big travellers, especially about their favourites and why. Below I have answered some questions myself.

How many days have you approximately travelled?

I have travelled for approximately 3,000 days including domestic travel days. Denmark is a small country, but we have a lot to offer. I have enjoyed many road trips, and I have visited more than 50 Danish islands.

Internationally, I have in addition to visiting every country, visited more than 100 territories defined by the Travelers’ Century Club including Abkhazia, Cabinda, Christmas Island, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fernando de Noronha, Greenland, Kashmir, Montserrat, Ogasawara, Rodrigues, Socotra, South Georgia Island, Spitsbergen, Tibet, Transnistria.

What are three of your favourite countries and why?

South Africa
It’s not each to pick just a few of my favourite countries, as I have a lot of favourites for different reasons. South Africa is usually the one I mention for several reasons. I’ve had some of the best days of my life in South Africa; it’s been fascinating to be there with a lot of exciting things to do. It’s such a diverse country with stunning nature, world-class beaches and some of the world’s best safari experiences. I’ve had a lot of fantastic food in the country too, met fascinating people, and finally, I like the excellent value for money. 

Estonia
Although it might not officially be a Nordic country, for me, Estonia feels Nordic in a lot of ways, and I feel at home there. I feel Estonia is entirely different from the two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, and is similar to Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Especially Finland, which capital is just a cheap ferry ride away from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

I like the culture, sights (especially the old town of Tallinn), the food and the excellent value for money. Excellent because the other (in my opinion) Nordic countries are very expensive, while Estonia is a lot cheaper. You can compare the prices of accommodation and restaurants in Copenhagen and Tallinn, and you get an idea. A truly great place to be and together with Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, probably one of the four countries that surprised me the most during my journey to every country in the world.

New Zealand
New Zealand is an extraordinary country that would probably take the number one spot for me if it weren’t so far away from Denmark as it is. I love New Zealand for its culture, nature, food and appreciate its safety. I’ve had some great hitchhiking adventures here, including my first big trip that was almost 200 kilometres with six different cars before finally reaching a remote lodge that was absolutely stunning and with excellent food. I’ve had some of my best meals in New Zealand, and it’s a country I very much would like to experience a lot more in the future.

Honourable mentions
Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, France, Iceland, Italy, Indonesia, Ireland, Laos, Maldives, Netherlands, Portugal, Seychelles, Spain, Thailand, and Vanuatu.

Are there any countries you don’t enjoy travelling?

Yes, there are a lot of countries I overall didn’t enjoy on my journey to every country in the world. Every country is interesting, but not everywhere feels great. That said, I have had a lot of adventures in countries I didn’t enjoy much and that’s been exciting at the time, but also experiences I don’t fancy having again. For example, I was being denied entry to Benin, like being stopped by a soldier that wanted money in Bangui in the Central African Republic.

A lot of travellers haven’t been to West or Central Africa, and the reason probably is that most of the countries are expensive to visit, a visa is required beforehand, there might not be a lot to experience and the conditions for travellers, like infrastructure, is bad. It is not the case for all the countries, especially West Africa, which has some great countries that are very tourist-friendly like Senegal, but a lot are not.

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What are three of your favourite cities, and why?

Cape Town
Cape Town is, first of all, the most beautiful city I have ever seen with its stunning Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s head. Cape Town is full of exciting things to do, including a lot of stunning beaches and great restaurants. The climate is excellent and the value for money is fantastic. Cape Town is the number one city for me.

Tallinn
Tallinn is my favourite European city for pretty much the same reasons as Estonia is one of my favourite countries. The possibility to live very comfortably in a wonderful city for the same amount of money as living very limited in, for example, Copenhagen. 

There are a lot of great places to eat in Tallinn with good lunch offers, which makes it even more affordable when you get to know the city more and the places to go for the best value. The old town of Tallinn is well preserved, and I enjoy walking around there again and again. Tallinn makes me excited just thinking about it, and if I one day decide to settle down, it might very well be in Tallinn.

Sydney
A stunning city that, like Tallinn, is walkable. Stunning beaches, excellent food, friendly people, great culture, beautiful parks, and I find it very clean, which is often not the case with many cities. It’s the most expensive of the top 3 cities by far, but it is possible to enjoy Sydney on a budget and still have a great time, even without any partnerships. I have stayed at both beautiful hotels and in private homes.

Honourable mentions
Amsterdam, Gothenburg, New York and Paris.

What are three of your favourite hotels or places you’ve stayed and why?

Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Recognised as one of the best hotels in the world by the Travel+Leisure magazine. A world-class safari experience on every level. Fantastic personalised service, an impressive villa, and great food despite the remote location. An outstanding travel experience.

Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Of the approximately 60 private island resorts I have experienced in the Maldives, Gili Lankanfushi is my favourite. Just 45 beautifully designed villas that are all over the water, excellent personalised service and surprisingly great food (which is often lacking in the Maldives), makes it worth mentioning as one of my favourites.

Fregate Island Private, Seychelles
Fregate and North Island Seychelles are two of the most expensive private island resorts in the world. They are also both among the best I’ve stayed. What makes them better than many other world-class private island resorts are the privacy, limited number of other guests, food, the attention on each guest and the attention to details.

Honourable mentions
Glenmere Mansion, USA. North Island, Seychelles. Ballyfin, Ireland. Amantaka, Laos.  Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Indonesia. Soneva Kiri, Thailand. Four Seasons Resort, Mauritius. Soneva Fushi, Maldives. Aman at Summer Palace, China. Singita Lebombo, South Africa. Amanjiwo, Indonesia. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives. The Nam Hai, Vietnam. COMO Shambhala Estate, Indonesia. Falsled Kro, Denmark. Borgo Santo Pietro, Italy. Ett Hem, Sweden. Otahuna Lodge, New Zealand. The Chedi Club, Indonesia. The Oberoi Rajvilas, India. Jade Mountain, St. Lucia. The Greenwich Hotel, USA. Ratua Private Island, Vanuatu. The Datai, Malaysia. Chewton Glen, United Kingdom. Palazzo Seneca, Italy.

What are three of your favourite restaurants and why?

The Test Kitchen, Cape Town
Both the food and service was a world-class experience at this famous Capetonian restaurant. The restaurant has some of the best staff I’ve ever experienced. Friendly and relaxed. The experience started in the ‘dark room’ with special drinks and appetisers before the outstanding main experience at the ‘light room’.

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Inter Scaldes, the Netherlands
Inter Scaldes is a beautiful property in the Dutch countryside with 12 rooms and a restaurant with three Michelin stars. It was an outstanding food experience, and the staff were excellent. I absolutely loved the experience. They had just two Michelin stars at the time but later got the third.

Cheval Blanc, Basel
Just like Inter Scales, I experienced this restaurant when it had two Michelin stars and later got three. Located at the fantastic Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, which is one of the best city hotels I’ve stayed in the world. Extraordinary food and top professional service. Worth a trip to Basel for this experience alone.

What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?

Getting married in Brazil
February 2nd, 2020, was one of the best days of my life. I got married to the love of my life in Sanharó, Pernambuco, Brazil, in front of approximately 450 guests. It was very emotional, and I needed a lot of paper to remove the tears in my eyes and face. It is by far my number one travel moment, and I enjoy watching our wedding video again and again.

W Maldives
Although I didn’t put W Maldives as one of my favourite hotels, it was one of my favourite moments. It was the first time I stayed at a (what I consider) world-class private island resort in the Maldives. Stunning contemporary design, fantastic water villa, great food, and excellent service made it very special.

South Georgia Island
This stunning British territory in the Atlantic Ocean is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The former inhabited village of Grytviken is gorgeous, but the highlight was seeing all the penguins up close at one of the other stops on my Silversea cruise in 2017.

What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?

Food poisoning in the Andaman Islands
In 2014 I had some of the worst days of my life after getting food poisoning in the Andaman Islands at a resort, or rather a B&B called, Ixzire Resort. A fish curry gave me terrible problems. Some days later on the flight back to the mainland, I got breathing problems in the plane, but there was on doctor on board to help. I got oxygen, but I was so weak that I continued to lay down, even during the landing.

Big thanks to The Leela Palace and ITC Grand Chola in Chennai for taking great care of me. The hospital in Chennai was, however, an unpleasant experience. I cancelled the rest of my trip within India and went back to Europe. A few months later, I got breathing problems several times in America. I’m sure it was because of that same fish curry in the Andaman Islands. Since that horrifying experience, I am a lot more careful about what I eat and where.

Robbed Liverpool
I have been robbed four times in my travels. In Liverpool, Xi’an, Brussels and at a ferry station in the Gambia. In Liverpool, when I was 17 was the worst. I was waiting for a train to Manchester in the evening when a young man grabbed a PSP (small video game device) out of my hands and ran off together with another man. I got close to them and offered them money, but they increased their pace.

I was in shock and too afraid to keep following them. Instead, I went to a local police station with the help of a friendly local. I filled a police report, and the friendliness of the local officer meant a lot for me as I think back. I said to him that I was stupid because I used the PSP at the train station, but he said clearly to me “You’re not stupid”. It made an impression on me as a young traveller that was very inexperienced with travelling and interacting with people outside Denmark.

A phone call in Cape Town
In 2011 my mother called me and asked if I was standing. She had something to tell me. My uncle had died of a heart attack. He was a wonderful man, and I was obviously in shock and screamed in the bedroom of my room at Taj Cape Town, while housekeepers were in the living room. They were so lovely, caring and supportive. The hotel team treated me with a lot of care and support, which I highly appreciated.

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What are three of your best travel tips?

Travel light
It’s an obvious one, but travelling light can save you a lot of time and money. It used to be that you just needed to avoid checking in a bag, which is easy, but now some airlines will even charge you for larger hand luggage. The key is to look at every single item and evaluate what you really need. I can recommend investing in the ultra-lightweight Microsoft Surface Go instead of a heavy laptop and bringing a minimum amount of clothes. That’s a good start.

Go for the value
There are many exciting destinations in the world. If you are not planning to visit every country, why not make a list of destinations you would like to visit and go for the cheapest ones. Then the money lasts longer. If you want to visit Norway or Estonia for a year, why not go for Estonia, a lot of things is probably three times cheaper or more.

If you don’t know if you should spend three months in Cape Town or Sydney, why not compare the prices of accommodation, restaurants and transportation, and go for the cheapest option? Now that I have visited every country, and with my budget in mind, I like finding solutions for my travels with excellent value for money.

Prioritise your health
I grew up without learning much about nutrition. In the past years, I have experienced health problems several times, and I’m becoming more and more aware of the importance of exercise and what I eat. For many years I had a poor diet, and I overall didn’t exercise as much as I would have liked. Yes, there are many things to do, but it’s important to have a priority on your health, or there might be a price, maybe even a high price to pay.

The problem as a traveller is often the lack of tasty, healthy options when travelling on the road. Here are some tips on how to combine travel with a good diet. 1. Stay at places with or with access to a kitchen. A lot of travellers prefer Airbnb’s over hotels. 2. Buy fruits at supermarkets. 3. Invest in a small lightweight, portable blender. They are cheap and makes it possible to make delicious, inexpensive meals, like smoothies, even when staying at a hotel without a kitchen in the room.

Do you have any little known travel tips?

I have a lot. One of them is to order a wake-up call if available at hotels, but instead of 6 AM, for example, ask for 5:58 AM, so they are a lot less likely to miss your wake-up call, because that happens a lot, even at great hotels. That is of course only if it’s essential to wake up at a specific time to, for example not miss a flight. If you are staying at a place with room service, you can order it the night before for the time you would like to wake up as another way to increase the possibility you will get up in time.

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