By Oliver Jones
In my humble opinion, there is nowhere in the world more backpacker-friendly than SE Asia. The combination of vivid colours and culture, fascinating foods and festivals, and, of course, the fact that everything is cheap, makes South East Asia an amazing place to go travelling!
- Delicious Food: From the street snacks in Bangkok to Vietnamese Pho or Malaysian curry, you simply cannot find better food than in South East Asia. It’s diverse. It’s vibrant. It’s full of flavour. It’s amazing!
- Budget Friendly: Our Challengers have to work hard to fundraise for their expeditions. The good news is that their money goes a long way in South East Asia. Roughly speaking, the same funds that might cover a month in Europe/Australia will probably stretch for several months in South East Asia.
- Ease of Travel: South East Asia is one the easiest places to travel in the world. There are heaps of established bus and train networks which make getting around straightforward. Let’s also not forget that getting a tuk tuk or a bicycle rickshaw is also an adventure!
- #TechFriendly: Whilst we recommend going tech free to really immerse yourself in the experience, it’s nice to know you have a way to message home to Mum or Dad when you need to. Nearly all guesthouses and hostels have Wi-Fi, and it’s typically inexpensive or even free!
- Perfect Beaches: The beaches in countries like Malaysia (e.g. Perhentian Islands) are stunning. They make perfect places to relax in a hammock or jump in the water for a spot of swimming or snorkelling!
- Major Metropolises: Some people are city slickers and feel most at home in the hustle and bustle of a big metropolis. South East Asia has plenty of exciting and fast-moving cities like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur. Perfect for a bit of shopping!
- Solitude: On the flip side to the above, perhaps you’re like me and prefer the quiet life. You never have to travel too far from one of the major metropolises to find your own bit of tranquillity. I’ve enjoyed numerous peaceful and reflective moments whilst travelling, many of which have been whilst I’ve been in the jungle or rice paddy fields.
- Deep History & Rich Culture: Indochina was the stomping ground of some of the oldest civilizations in the world, from the Angkor to the Javans. Whilst time has moved forward and new societies formed, we are blessed to have been left with some extraordinary relics of times gone by. Nobody should go to South East Asia without visiting a pagoda (e.g. Bagan in Myanmar), exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat (Cambodia) or visiting the majestic Borodbur (Java).
- Festivals: Linked to the previous point, there is always some sort of cultural, historical pr religious celebration to get involved with such as Chinese New Year or the Myanmar Water Festival. Getting involved with the celebrations is a fantastic way to experience your destination like a local.
- The People: For me, the most memorable part of any of my visits to South East Asia is the time I spend meeting the most smiley, open and happy people you’ll ever encounter. Despite the torrid times of the past (e.g. Khmer Rouge in Cambodia), the South East Asian people remain positive and forward-thinking. There is generally an optimistic feeling everywhere you go. Everyone from your tuk tuk driver to the ladies selling pad thai from their street stalls will welcome you with a big smile. South East Asia is a happy place!
So, there we have it folks, my 10 reasons why everyone should go to South East Asia so they too can enjoy it as much as I do.