It’s that time of the year again, summer is almost upon us and the wanderlust is nudging us to go places and do amazing things! This summer, why not take a break from the ordinary and go backpacking?
Wait! Before you think of the ‘Run-of-the-mill’ Europe backpacking trip, let me tell you, we’ve got something better up our sleeves! South East Asia. Much more affordable and cost effective than the European countries, the destination has something for everybody!
The pristine beaches, quaint and beautiful streets and bustling markets full of goodies from world over! Here are our top reasons why South East Asia should be your next travel destination for the ‘Backpacking trip of a lifetime’.
Heaven For Budget Travellers
Contrary to popular perception, South east Asia is actually a very budget friendly destination for all those who have saved their every last penny to make this trip of a lifetime!
Image Credit: Saranya Chawanrattanasakul – Flickr
Places like Vietnam, Laos, Bali as well as Cambodia are a true haven for the nifty traveller. One can hope to survive for as low as 15-20 Dollars a day including stay, food and travel! Isn’t that awesome?
Travel well and comfortably
Image Credit: Jason D’ Great – Flickr
Thanks to the tuktuks (Local Rickshaws), train networks, scores of bus tracks and budget flying options, travelling in South East Asia is a piece of cake. Often more convenient than taking your own transport or hiring a car, these are the transport of choice for many daily travellers as well. The ferries that operate on the inland waterways are also an excellent option to choose if you want to get to one destination from another.
Throw back a few beers without worrying about the tab
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After a long day of travel, sightseeing and taking in the best that the destination has to offer; it is only fair that you get your ‘me-time’ with a mug of chilled beer by your side. At most places except for Malayasia, alcohol is often cheap and affordable. At Langkawi it is duty free! Which means you can get your fill for as little as 1$ a day! Limit the intake, in case you don’t wanna spend the rest of your vacation perpetually hung-over!
Let your Hair Down
The nightlife of South East Asia is to die for! For all the party peeps out there, you’ll get tired of having a good time but this upbeat haven will not tire you of its wonderful parties. Whether it be a fun gathering with friends or a chilled out atmosphere at one of the hippest clubs in Bangkok, you are sorted!
Image Credit: Joe Stump – Flickr
Wear your shorts at the wooden bars of Vang Vieng in Laos for when you just want to have a good time with a few friends by your side or dress a little more opulently and swagger to the Moon bar in Bangkok or simply wear a nice cocktail dress to a beach side club in Bali. Southeast Asia will surely redefine your idea of a good time!
Bring back stories of a wonderfully diverse culture
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Where on one hand you will find a largely Buddhist influence prevalent throughout the region, a closer look reveals the presence of many other cultures that stay in perfect harmony with each other. The domination of Islam in Malaysia, gives way to the ways of life of the Hindus in Thailand and Cambodia. The culture is evident, it can be seen in the lifestyles, the streets, the language and eclectic attires.
A Peek into the Rich Heritage
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As mentioned earlier, the interaction and coexistence of different cultures in South East Asia has given rise to some of the most interesting features, architecture being one of them. Be it the ingenuity of Angkor Wat, which is a standing example of intense scientific precision or the beauty of the Malacca straits mosque in Malaysia or even the humble monasteries that are centres of interaction in many countries including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Image Credit: Alex Wright – Flickr
If you are a foodie backpacker, then South East Asia is one of the best places to treat your taste buds to. Possibly one of the best reasons to plan your next trip, the legendary street food in Bangkok, the delicate cuisine of Vietnam or the world famous Thai Curries, the list of yummy foods to satisfy your hunger is endless!
Pristine, Perfect and Picturesque beaches
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Save for the landlocked Laos in Vietnam, the whole strip of island countries of South East Asia are blessed with beaches that are like the stuff that dreams are made of. The beach of Ko Phagnon in Thailand is particularly famous for its full moon beach parties that are celebrated every full moon day. Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia too boast of some really great shorelines. Ko Lipe in Thailand is a must visit for those who want to get a taste of real island living being cut off from most of the modern amenities.
Shops, Shops everywhere and every penny to spend
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Shopping in South East Asia is rich with artifacts, apparels, souvenirs and antiques of every kind imaginable. Make sure you don’t miss out on picking up some great clothes, shoes, watches and perfumes! Shop for antiques in Thailand, exotic tailored suits in Ho Chi Minh City or silver filigree jewellery and artefacts in Vietnam. Your bags are sure to get a little heavier and pockets lighter, but believe me it will be worth every penny you spend!
Shorts and Swimwear Every single day
Image Credit: Tim Sackton – Flickr
Boasting of a true blue tropical climate, South East Asia is a destination for which packing is never an issue! You can fill your backpack with as many shorts, swimwear and tank tops as you like. However, keep an umbrella handy as rains can bestow their blessings at any given time. Rest assured though that they rarely last for long, and as a result the temperature cools down considerably.
Get that much needed boost of adrenaline
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THE destination for those with a taste for offbeat adventures, South East Asia has everything from Diving to climbing, from hiking to snorkeling and from bungee jumping to deep sea diving there is something to satisfy every thirst of adventure in you! Do try out bungee jumping in Laos, or diving in Ko Tao in Thailand!
Stunning and diverse wildlife!
Image Credit: Phalinn Ooi – Flickr
Southeast Asia is host to some of the best national parks in the world! The diverse landscapes and forest lands are home to some of the best wildlife that is endemic to the region be it the dense lush vegetation of Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia or the Hoàng Liên National Park in Vietnam. Unique species such as wild elephants, gibbon, Asian black bear and even orangutans can be spotted in these natural habitats!