From pinkish-red sunsets over the hulking volcanos of Bali to raucous party nights with bucket cocktails and fire shows, here's one tantalizing selection of 21 unforgettable moments that any traveler could have on our Southeast Asia tours…
1. That first meeting with a Thai elephant
For some travelers there's simply nothing higher on the bucket list than an encounter with Thailand's majestic national creature. Don't worry, all our elephant experiences are ethical and done in proper sanctuaries. You'll wash instead of ride, learn instead of exploit. They are just wonderful animals!
2. That first time you stand up on a surfboard on Kuta beach
Kuta in Bali is famed for having one of the world's most accessible and beginner friendly beach breaks. If you've not hit the swells before, then this is bound to be the perfect place to get to grips with the paddle out and the jump up. Trust us, you'll be a surfing convert in no time!
3. That moment the Full Moon Party goes wild
There's one moment in every Full Moon Party when the night just erupts. Neon paint flashes in your eyes, buckets slosh, Chang beers clink, fire shows smoke and shine in the air, and all the 40,000 or more revellers simply goes wild. You'll feel it when it happens!
4. That first sunset on Gili Trawangan
It's worth taking some time out from the Irish bars and Rasta-reggae places of Gili T one evening to head around to the far, eastern side of the island. There, a couple of awesome sunset spots will never, ever disappoint. Just watch as the pink-yellow day fades behind the volcanos of Bali across the water!
5. That first pad Thai
Infused with the fresh flavors of peanut sauce and soy, of tangy lime juice and crunchy beansprouts, the pad Thai is a must-eat dish for any traveler heading to the Land of Smiles. You'll probably nail one (or two, or ten) on just your first night in Bangkok!
6. That first real Balinese coffee
Don't worry, we're not going to make you glug the infamous Kopi Luwak coffee beans that Indo is known for (rumour has it they've passed through cute little civet rats in the jungle). Instead, why not just settle in to learn all about the coffee cultivation on the Isle of the Gods, and sample some of the top local brews while you're at it?
7. That moment you meet more macaques than you bargained for in Ubud
Ubud's so-called Monkey Jungle has to be one of the real highlights of our trip through Bali. Packed with mysterious, vine-dressed temples from centuries gone by, it lives up to its name by hosting hundreds of crab-eating macaques. They're a darn cheeky bunch, so be sure to watch your wallet!
8. That first party down Khao San Road
Khao San Road might just be the only place in Southeast Asia that can really stand up to Koh Phangan on the party front. Wild, sleepless and packed with travelers just like you, that first time you hit its thumping bars and Chang-fuelled pubs is sure to be a memorable one!
9. That first evening Chang with your new travel buddies
It's probably our favorite night of any LBW trip; the night we get to meet that new bunch of travelers. Intros are usually short and sweet, and after a couple of beers in downtown Bangkok, or a meal of soy-sizzling Hanoi pho soup, we're chatting away like we've been friends for years. You'll see.
10. That first glimpse of Maya Bay
There are plenty of reasons why Maya Bay is one of the most-photographed spots on the planet. Made famous by Leo DiCaprio in The Beach, it's a paradisiacal place that we manage to visit while touring the Eastern Islands of Thailand's gorgeous Andaman region.
11. That moment Sa Pa takes your breath away
Cascading rice paddies fall this way and that from the tops of Sa Pa's mist-doused hills. The occasional palm tree sways between the fields. Bamboo-built hamlets clutch the muddy slopes. The rugged karst peaks of northern Vietnam loom on the horizon. You can see how this one's difficult to forget, right?
12. That moment you jump in the Erawan Falls
It's difficult not to be enchanted by the seven tiers of the famous Erawan Falls. Some have sparkling turquoise waters with nibbling fish. Others have natural waterslides. Others have swinging monkeys and beautiful views of the Thai hills. Get ready to visit this one just outside of Kanchanaburi!
13. That moment you're lost in the Chu Chi Tunnels
We'll take you deep into the winding Chu Chi Tunnels, which is where the Viet Cong once lurked in waiting for American troops, coordinating their resistance and planning nocturnal guerrilla attacks. You won't be disappointed you went to see this one while exploring Ho Chi Minh City!
14. That moment you unravel the striking history of the River Kwai
More sobering Asian history awaits along the bends of the beautiful River Kwai. There's an amazing iron bridge and railway here that was constructed under awful conditions by Allied POWs during the 1940s, not to mention some fascinating war museums and cemeteries.
15. That serene yoga sesh on Gili Air
Gili Air is the thinking person's part of the Gili Islands. Quiet, fringed by mangroves, peppered with coconut palms and home to some excellent yoga retreats, it's this serene spot that we use to get our downward dogs on during tours around Bali and the region.
16. That first fire show on Koh Phi Phi
If Koh Phangan is the home of the Full Moon Party, then Koh Phi Phi is the home of the Thai fire show. Every night, the beaches of this rugged island in the Andaman Sea erupt with twizzling fire sticks, fire jugglers, enflamed skipping ropes and more. It's a pretty awesome display to say the least!
17. That moment you realise how beautiful Hoi An is
Hoi An commands a coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site title, and for good reason. You'll instantly realise just how beautiful the place is, with its winding cobbled lanes, Francophone cafes, Chinese soup shops, and dragon-topped bridges of old. Oh, and there's one top-quality golden beach to boot!
18. That moment you nail your Pranayama on the YogaLife
Travelers on our chakra-tuning YogaLife trip get to enjoy regular sessions on Pranayama – the ancient art of tuning your breathing to your poses for spiritual harmony. We've got dedicated on-site tutors than can take you from beginner to pro. Get ready for some inner calm, folks!
19. That first bucket cocktail
No trip to Thailand could possibly be complete without at least sampling the infamous bucket cocktail. These formidable concoctions of energy drinks and who-knows-what spirits are the fuel behind the fire of Full Moon Parties and the Land of Smiles' other raucous nightlife. You're bound to remember your first ever taste.
20. That first encounter with the hill tribes
Whether it's the rustic Hmong peoples of northern Vietnam or the forever-smiling Karen and Yao around Pai in northern Thailand, you can rest assured that you'll always be able to recall the moment you first encountered the traditional folk of these wonderful countries.
21. That first glimpse of Ha Long Bay
Last but not least is the majestic, mind-blowing, camera-magnetizing, kayak-destabilising wonders of Ha Long Bay. We stay here for two nights on our 19-day Vietnam trip, to wonder up at the carved mountains, enjoy the hidden beaches, and just wallow in the sheer magnificence of nature.
We believe that travel is not a reward for working, but the most valuable and impactful form of education for life. We aren’t just a travel company; we were built to introduce you to the rest of the world. LBW Travel is about more than taking vacation time. We connect you with people and offer experiences that will change the way you look at your world. Travel reminds us what is truly important: family, friendship, love, exploration and adventure.
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