A South East Asian Adventure

Photo of the Amphawa Floating Market near Bangkok, Thailand. Photo from Unsplash.

Photo of the Amphawa Floating Market near Bangkok, Thailand. Photo from Unsplash.

Following my post on South America, another destination I am thinking of traveling to this year (2019) is South East Asia. It’s a destination many people love to go to because the everyday expenses are cheap and there are so many unique cultures, making it a very different place. For me, it will be a challenge to get around because I do not speak or know how to read any of the languages. But, hey, this is part of my travel resolutions! I am also excited to see for myself a place that I also studied the politics at University.

My main interests in South East Asia are: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, and Singapore. Again, this will be another group tour expedition through either G-Adventures or Intrepid Travel. To do a proper job, I may have to spend a month gallivanting around. I do, of course, want to travel to other parts of Asia such as: Japan, Hong Kong, China, and other places. But, there is just so much I can see at once! For now, I’m focusing on the five countries listed below.

Thailand

There is so much to see here, from the Floating Markets in Bangkok, to the numerous islands such as Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, an others, I’m not sure where to start. To be systematic about preparing to travel to Thailand, I think it is important to decide when to go because of the country’s rainy and dry seasons.

Spending time on the islands’ beaches are a must too. I’m not interested in the Half Moon parties as I’m just not that much of a partier anymore. I’d rather tour the Temples such as the Big Buddha Temple. Of course, I can’t wait to sample authentic Thai cuisine!

Cambodia

Many countries in South East Asia have experienced war, tragedy and loss. Cambodia definitely ranks high on that list from the horrors of Pol Pot’s regime. I’m not going to detail it here as it heart wrenching.

Every tourist always sees the temples at Angkor Wat and others. There is so much mystery and enchantment at the lost city. The temple as a historic site has come a long way with looting, illegal excavations and even land minds at one point placed around it. It was on the UN’s list of World Heritage in Danger until 2004.

I’d also love to visit a river village - floating villages with houses built out of bamboo. Other points of interest for me is the city of Kampong Cham and Kampot. Kampong Cham is the third largest city in Cambodia with French colonial history still visible. Kampot is where you can take a breather, with scenic river views and rolling hills.

Vietnam

From Unsplash, by Jonathan Ouimet. This is Ninh Bình, Vietnam.

From Unsplash, by Jonathan Ouimet. This is Ninh Bình, Vietnam.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about traveling to Vietnam. Upon doing research for this section, I have found examples of people who loved it and other who swear on their life that would never return. Hmm…

Some mention the pleasure of eating delicious food in the square, on plastic chairs, surrounded by frenzy of traffic. Others note a multitude of experiences where people have ripped them off, treated them without an ounce of respect as a human being, and etc…

Now that I have read two different opinions, I guess I will have to see for myself.

Bali

I feel like I always talk about this Indonesian Island! I think my interest started with the Movie Eat Pray Love. The scenes in Bali were just stunning! Again, it seems like a bohemian paradise.

Singapore

From Unsplash, by Mike Enerio.

From Unsplash, by Mike Enerio.

This city-state is definitely in its own world. As the cleanest and richest of the countries on this list, there is a certain comfort and security of visiting Singapore. It looks like a beautiful and huge metropolis. Even the airport has a movie theatre and a butterfly conservatory! Yet, Changi Airport is undergoing a crazy ambitious addition, called Jewel Changi Airport. This airport will have a 130 feet-tall waterfall, known as the “rain vortex”. As well, a four story forest garden, Forest Valley, will be part of this insanely incredible airport. Once it opens in mid-2019, I may never leave the airport!

I sense some serious overload from high stimulation and some culture shock from traveling to South East Asia. As uncomfortable as that feels in the moment, once you get over it, you realize how much more of the world you understand and have experienced. That is always my goal when traveling.