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Somebody recently asked me for some top tips for travelling in Asia, and I thought I would share my thoughts on this blog. Whatever you get up to, Asia is unlikely to disappoint – but here are my suggestions for making the most of your time away!
1) Eat Local!
Although the fancy hotels and restaurants offer great menus, street food and small pop up stalls offer a true taste of Vietnam. Cheap and plentiful – sitting on a tiny plastic chair at the side of a busy street and choosing random dishes off a plastic menu is the best fun! Accompanied with a cool beer and a bit people watching – eating local is definitely my recommendation!
2) Take your time
Take the time to really experience the place you’re currently visiting rather than zooming off before you’ve even settled in – it’s the best way to make the most of your time. For example, rather than taking a day trip to the Mekong Delta, slow down and match the calm pace of life in the area! Take a small overnight boat and spend time visiting the fruit orchards, small handicraft shops and colourful floating markets that the river is famed for.
3) Sunrise at Siem Reap
Whilst you’re in Siem Reap be sure to get up early one morning and cycle around the Angkor temples as the sun rises, take a long lunch and bit of pool side relaxation before finishing the day with a sunset gondola trip cocktail in hand. Lush.
4) Get off the beaten track in Laos!
If you’re heading to Laos get out of Luang Prabang! Luang Prabang is the cultural core and is THE place to visit but if you add a couple of days to your Laos stay you can disappear off into the jungle and go and explore the less visited, rural side of Laos. You won’t regret staying a little longer and seeing more of this beautiful country.
5) Take a trip to Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, Burma
If you’re off to Burma I couldn’t recommend highly enough that you add an extra day and go and visit the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Kalaw. You will see an endless number of beautiful temples and pagodas in Burma so adding in something a little different is my recommendation. Although not a cheap ‘add on’, a visit to the Elephants is worth every penny and is a real highlight.
6) Hit the beach!
Vietnam, Laos Cambodia, & Burma have lots to offer the passing traveller but nothing beats a few days of lounging on a beautiful stretch of beach in Asia. Pull up your sun lounger, get a fresh coconut, a good book, and relax! After seeing an endless array or temples and local markets, after your elephant trek and jungle exploration, after your cooking classes and buffalo cart rides, your cycle trips and rice paddy visits, your cruises and night trains, after monastery visits and scooter rides, museum visits and waterfall swims – at the end of your trip NOTHING beats a bit o R&R on the beach!
Take me back!