10 THINGS TO EXPECT FROM THE SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL CIRCUIT
We know it shouldn’t be difficult to convince any budding globetrotter of the delights of Southeast Asia. Still, just in case you need another nudge out the door before clicking 'book now', we've slung together a list of 10 things we love most about this sunny region. Expect odes to shimmering beachfronts and talk of new travel buddies aplenty…
If there's just one thing that Asia surely does better than anywhere else on the planet, it's beaches – sorry Caribbean! Yep, hardly a single brochure for Thailand or Vietnam or Bali goes by without at least one tantalizing shot of those palm-fringed sands and lapping Indian Ocean swells. Of course, there's plenty of variety in the SEA beach department too, from blustery surfing spots to paradisiacal enclaves with powder so white you'll definitely need the sunnies!
Food you'll never forget
It's no coincidence that just the mention of Thai coconut curries or Vietnamese pho soups, Indonesian gado gado or Malay sate grills are enough to set the stomachs of most any a traveling foodie a-grumbling. It's because the cuisine and kitchens of this region are surely one of the tastiest on the globe, with ginger-packed stir fries, chilli pastes, peanut sauces, seafood barbecues and a whole load more up their sleeve!
Sharing beers on the golden sands of the Thai Andaman and partying the night away to the glow of the Asian full moon might seem like the perfect sorts of activities for meeting new mates on the road, and that's because they are! It's just a simple reality of the Southeast Asian backpacking loop that it’s super easy to make new friends. Call it the chilled Buddhist vibes or the fun-loving feelings nurtured by places like Bali and the beach towns of Nam', but from fellow travelers on your LBW tour to other globetrotters you encounter along the way, leaving here with oodles of new mates is pretty much a sure bet!
Cracking party nights
You don't have to come to Southeast Asia to party but those who do are in for one darn hedonistic blowout of all-night beach dancing, fire shows and crazy bucket-fuelled madness. From raucous Koh Phi Phi in the west to the pulsing sky bars of Kuta in the east, the whole region is alive with unforgettable nocturnal opportunities. Oh, and that's not even mentioning the legendary Full Moon gigs of Ko Pha Ngan – perhaps the single most famous beach festival on the planet!
Precisely because the Southeast Asia travel circuit is so popular, the whole region is well-primed for the millions of backpackers who flock here each year. That means the locals are used to dealing with people from abroad, and offer everything from taxi services to tour guiding with a smile on their face. But it's not just because tourists and locals have nurtured a great connection across the area, but also because Asian people just happen to be some of the happiest on the globe. Hey, Thailand ain't called the Land of Smiles for nothing!
Whether it's a salt-sprayed beach hut with front row seats over the Andaman Sea or a high-rise hotel with panoramic rooftop views over the buzzing cityscape of Bangkok, a lean-to surfer shack in Bali or a party-mad hostel between the jungles of Pai, you can rest assured that Southeast Asia is going to throw some seriously awesome accommodations your way. The best part though? Well, that has to be the prices, which tend to be far lower than many other regions of the world.
'Don't feed the monkeys!': it's a warning most travelers heading to this corner of the world are going to have to get used to. Why? Well, because those swinging macaques rarely miss an opportunity to swipe a bit of your meal, or to run off at speed with a wallet in tow! They aren't the only naughty critters you're likely to encounter in Southeast Asia either, because this is the land of fierce-faced langurs and squawking geckos to boot!
Bucket list-busting experiences
There are plenty of reasons why Southeast Asia comes top of so many bucket lists. We're talking about experiences that you simply couldn't have anywhere else on the planet: hitting the virgin surf of Bali; gawping at mysterious fire dances in the Hindu shrines of Indo; swimming in waterfalls in Thailand; diving the reefs of Koh Tao; partying down Khaosan Road; dune riding in Mui Ne – the list goes on!
So long as you skip the torrents of the monsoon season in Thailand, and dodge the rains of Vietnam, then you can pretty much look forward to ceaseless days of sun and high temperatures in this popular corner of the globe. Of course, that's not to say that the wetter months don't have their own draws. They are when the roaring waterfalls are at their most dramatic and the blooming jungles filled with the most life, after all.
Ever since the days when the so-called Hippy Route to Southeast Asia opened way back in the 60s, this sun-kissed region has been the stuff of traveling legends. Today, that awesome rep has been helped by films like The Beach and tales of raucous Full Moon Parties, working to attract more and more people to this wonderland in the east. Still, there are some veterans of the older, golden age of travel still hiding between the jungles and the beaches. You'll spot them whizzing past, long haired, on scooters, or sipping cold Chang beers to distract from the nostalgia.
If you think it's time you headed out and explored the wonderful and bucket list destinations mentioned above, then it's likely you'll love our offering of tours in Southeast Asia. We go from Thailand to Indonesia in search of the top experiences, all whilst partying and making new friends on the road.