South East Asia to Suit Every Type of Traveller
The region of South East Asia is brimming with excitement and activity – and really does have something for everyone. Whether you’re hoping for an experience like Eat, Pray, Love, or you’re tempted by a full moon party (or perhaps both!), there’s a travel itinerary out there for you.
The Adventure Lover.
While adventure can be found absolutely everywhere when you’re traveling, there are some areas which provide more of an adrenaline rush than others. You can seek out opportunities for white water rafting in Bali, deep-sea diving in Thailand, and bungee jumping in China – I mean, if you’re going to do it, why not jump from the highest bungee jump building in Asia, the Macau Tower? For a less intimidating adventure, opt for a trekking trip in Vietnam where you’ll be taken over mountains and rice paddies and more than a few muddy trails. If you’re thinking about making the long flight to Asia, programs like Adventure China will let you experience it all. Regular activities at some Chinese camps include rock climbing and canoeing - and you’ll get extra time afterward to explore and find some truly heart-pumping activities.
The City Slicker.
Buzzy city spots can be found all across South East Asia, with places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Bangkok in Thailand - and that’s not even counting the gigantic metropolitan cities in China. In terms of population, China hosts the top 2 cities in the world in Shanghai and Beijing.
Needless to say, if you’re looking for a city experience, you can find it in Asia. All of these places provide a look into the melting pot culture common in Asian cities - you’ll get a solid dose of aromatic street food and a healthy mixture of old influences and modern touches. Asia is often described as a bit of a sensory overload for most travellers – a single day can have you perusing perfume-rich department stores, breathing in the incense-rich sanctuaries of religious sites, and wandering through pungent fish markets.
For a compact but intriguing slice of metropolitan life, it’s certainly worth taking a trip to Singapore. Despite misconceptions that the city is only worth visiting for its skyscrapers and expansive airport – although Changi truly is impressive – there are also pockets of the city steeped in other cultures and heritages, like Little India and China Town. You’ll also experience some familiarity in Singapore, with a large percentage of the population speaking English, and plenty of international visitors in the destination for business purposes.
The Party Type.
If you’re craving some time to let your hair down and experience the nightlife while travelling, there are plenty of options available for clubbing, pool partying, boat raving and beach bar bustling. One of the things that appeal to many backpackers is the crazy cheap prices of drinks in the region; from pitchers served in buckets to countless deals on shots. And you’ll never be short of a neon night if you’re hoping for a burst of colour.
While you’ll find backpacker bars and club nights across the region, the Thai island of Koh Phangan is really the place to be if you’re hoping for an all-night party. Hosted every lunar season for a full month of hedonistic beach partying, the legendary full moon parties are perhaps the most popular. But for those looking for something a bit less full on, there is always the option to opt for a jungle-based half moon bash: an event more akin to a festival than a traditional ‘party island’ event.
If you’re hoping for some rest, relaxation, and rejuvination, I can’t recommend Bali highly enough. Spend a week or two in the beautiful area of Ubud, and return feeling like a cleansed and perked up version of you. Famous for its array of uplifting yoga classes and healthy living mindset, you can stay among rice paddies and bathe in waterfalls, and feel like the day passed you by in a dream by the time the pinky-orange sunset comes.
Alternatively, if you’re seeking some rest after a few days of partying in Thailand, quieter islands like Koh Samui and Koh Tao also offer an enticing selection of massage parlours and areas for swimming, diving and yoga practice. And if you need a break from the hectic cities of Vietnam, escape to Sapa – or even the slightly lower paced city of Hoi An – for some slower days and a chance to unwind.
The Free Spirit.
For those hoping to try a bit of everything, with no particular agenda, I’ve got one thing to say - just go for it!
Be aware of the time it takes to get to places, and realistically how much you can fit in a day without burning yourself out. Do your research with each place you’re hoping to visit and, if possible, factor in a bit of wiggle room in case you find yourself wanting to stay slightly longer than planned – or if transport fails you and you end up having to stay!
Be open to the ideas of others too, as its often the case that meeting people in hostels or homestays will expand your travel thoughts and have you joining up to tours and trips that you had never even heard of before setting foot in Asia.
So embrace the adventure, and whatever you do – be sure to enjoy the experience it to the fullest!