When you’re born and bred in the western world, the idea of travelling to Southeast Asia can either be an exciting or terrifying thought. For some people, exploring such a vastly different landscape can be a thrilling experience, but for others, it can seem like a nightmare.
However, there’s no denying that travelling to Southeast Asia is an eye-opening experience. With all the different cultures, foods and landscapes around, there’s no shortage of exploration. Another advantage of travelling to Southeast Asia is the cost. While getting a ticket halfway around the world can be expensive, it more than makes up for it when you arrive. The food is cheap, accommodation is very affordable and it doesn’t take much money for you to experience all the unique sights and sounds.
So if a trip to Southeast Asia sounds interesting and you need some travel ideas, here are some practical tips and advice that you can follow.
Only Avoid Tourist Destinations If You Know People
A big tip that a lot of other travel sites will give you is “avoid tourist destinations”. The idea is that if you avoid tourist destinations, you’re going to get a much better experience since you won’t be held down by long queues and big crowds, and you’ll be able to experience a new country in a way that the locals do as well.
In theory, this should make the trip more enjoyable, but this opens you to a number of different issues. For one, you’re going to run into a lot of shady people and potentially people looking to scam you for your money. You might also run into thieves or even eat something that you’re not used to and end up with a stomach ache, or worse, food poisoning. While travelling on your own and avoiding guides can be a great experience, you should only do this if you know people.
If you’re savvy with social media then you might be able to meet people in Southeast Asian countries that you want to meet up with. They’ll also be able to show you around the country and introduce you to a number of different places to eat at, visit as a tourist attraction and also help you get around different cities.
This makes travelling much easier, but it can sometimes be challenging connecting with people overseas, even with the power of the internet. You typically need some kind of common interest, but there are also lots of people to meet through online communities that specialize in meeting new people while travelling.
In short, don’t always follow the advice of other experienced bloggers and travel sites. When you’re a complete beginner travelling to Southeast Asia, you’re going to have a much better time visiting places that you’ve heard and read about instead of trying to explore the country in your own time.
Do Your Research Ahead of time
No matter where you go, always do your research ahead of time. This means looking at places such as Bali Villas Holiday Vacation Rentals to find a place to sleep, it means looking at hotels and reviews before you book, and it also means looking up where you want to go before you arrive. Keep a list of places that you want to visit and it will make things a lot easier for you in the long run.
A good place to do research is actually on YouTube. There are a surprising number of vloggers and travel channels that specialize purely in Southeast Asian countries before the cultures, foods and traditions are so diverse. Don’t be afraid to spend a couple of days watching these videos (ideally together with anyone that you plan to travel with) and write down a list of places that you want to visit.
Many of these travel bloggers specialize in different categories such as food, historic location and so on. Depending on your preferences, it’s worth looking around at a number of different blogs and YouTube channels to get a bunch of ideas.
Another thing to research is the food. Food in Southeast Asia is completely different to what you’d expect in the west, even if you consider yourself a connoisseur of Asian cuisine. This means the tastes, flavors and even ingredients might be very different from what you’re used to, and you’ll want to do a bit of research on the types of food available.
Lastly, always look at travel information as well. Check if there are any travel passes you need to purchase and look for inexpensive ways to get around so you can save even more money when exploring.
Where to Visit
Let’s explore some of the best places to visit if you’re new to travelling in Southeast Asia.
- Singapore – Singapore is a very, very small country in Southeast Asia, but arguably also one of the easiest ones to cut your teeth on. This is because the majority of Singapore actually speaks English due to the mixed nationalities. All the road signs and maps are in English, and only a few select places will stick to their mother tongue.
- Bangkok, Thailand – Bangkok serves as an excellent introduction not just to travelling in Southeast Asia, but also to Thailand in general. With wonderful food, beautiful fights and unmissable cultural experiences, Bangkok is a destination you don’t want to skip.
- Bali, Indonesia – A cultural hotspot in Indonesia and a very accessible location. There are plenty of beautiful beaches and surfing destinations here, making it a great place for those that love to soak in the sun.
Hopefully, this article has convinced you that Southeast Asia is a wonderful destination to visit and also given you some advice on how you can make the experience that much more delightful. Don’t be afraid of travelling to the opposite side of the world–you’ll be surprised at what you can find.