No doubt many of you are wishing to visit the paradise that is South East Asia this year and so I’ve put together my top 5 general tips for travelling the region.
1) Be flexible
When I’ve been travelling around Europe, I have tended to have had a pretty strict structure to the trip. In Asia, where everything is so much cheaper it is far easier to be flexible with your plans. Have a general idea about where you want to visit, cities, any islands in particular or some sites that you have always wanted to go to, but then leave the rest of the planning until you are out there.
Unlike in Europe it is easy to decide to move place in Asia and book a bus/train for the following day!
2) Be open to meeting other travellers
This may apply to those of you who are travelling on your own, but it’s just as great to meet others when you are already travelling as a small group. South East Asia has always been the easiest region to meet like minded travellers in my opinion.
The adventures you’re likely to encounter often form strong relationships with people a lot quicker than usual. And besides, it’s always fun meeting new people from all around the world!
3) Be smart with your budget
This may seem pretty obvious, but its pretty amazing how some people can spend so much money whilst in one of the cheapest regions on earth. That diving course in Koi Tao may seem a great idea at the time but if you don’t really have plans to do much deep diving whilst your away you might regret spending this extra money.
Hostels and food is generally dirt cheap, but some of the touristy activities is where people can end up splashing more cash than they realise!
4) Embrace the culture
On my first trip to South East Asia it was the first time that I had really been to a part of the world considerably different to Europe. The culture and way things are done may be incredibly different, and the only way to enjoy it all is to accept and embrace it fully.
I think that a lot of us from Europe can sometimes be hesitant towards friendly and welcoming strangers, but this can be what they are, particularly from my experiences in Cambodia. Enjoy it and go along with the flow of things.
5) Head off the beaten track
My last bit of advice would be try and stay off the beaten track. Even if its only for a week, try it at least one time. You will be amazed at some of the beautiful and incredibly interesting and eye opening places you will discover in this part of the world. Don’t get me wrong. Go to Angkor, Bangkok amongst others because they are truly great destinations.
But getting away from some of the ‘normal’ tourist hustle and bustle might make you think about the region in a slightly different light. And for the better! Despite what some might say, there is always something o discover, even if it is only new to you!