The South East Asian region has recently emerged as a great destination for budget travel. Depending on where you are in the world, getting there in the first place might cost you a fair sum, however when you arrive in the region you will find that accommodation, food, and travelling locally around South East Asia comes at a snip.
There is no doubt that this part of the world will continue to grow in popularity. Already, it is the destination of choice for backpackers and gap year students, while it is also likely to find greater numbers of more ‘traditional’ holidaymakers heading to the region over the coming years.
South East Asia is a large place, and taking a holiday there is not about just heading to one place and staying there for the duration of your trip. So, our first tip is to ensure that you give yourself the time and the flexibility to travel to more than one location.
What are the places you should be looking to see on your journey?
The best experiences in the area unquestionably start with experiencing the best of the mainland. This part of the trip is perhaps best explored on foot, and offers something for everyone regardless of their tastes.
Start in Thailand, and enjoy Bangkok’s eclectic mix of modern high-rise buildings, traditional heritage temples, and amazing beaches. From here, travel to the northwest and take in the stunning forests and wildlife sanctuaries that are found throughout Laos and Cambodia. The latter country is also filled with landmarks that point to the bloody civil war of the last century. Cambodia is a great place to visit given its almost weird mix of haunting and inspirational places, often within reach of each other.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that South East Asia means just the mainland. Heading further to the islands of the region will open your eyes further to the great culture that exists in this part of the world. Indonesia is a brilliant country filled with great cities and friendly, welcoming communities, but for us the jewel in the crown has to be the Philippines. It doesn't matter what you want as a tourist, you will be able to find it across these islands.
Forests, beaches, great cities, marked contrasts between affluence and poverty in a small geographical area, and many more things that will pique your interest are present in the country. It is a great place to visit over New Year, in particular, when parties take place wherever you look, and fireworks are shot into the sky at an unbelievable pace. Manila is unquestionably the best place for this experience – a fireworks display over its world famous harbour area is one of the most inspirational sights to be seen anywhere in the world.
A boat trip around many of the Philippines’ islands will also introduce you to many different ways of life, as well as wildlife that is native to that part of the world, and will bring your South East Asia adventure to an inspiring and unforgettable end.