My 6 favourite place is South East Asia are those where I felt most in touch with myself. From urban places teeming with life to rural locations where life seems to run at half the pace I’m used to.
Here they are
My 6 favourite places in South East Asia
(in no particular order)
- Luang Prabang, Laos
There is one word that perfectly describes this town on the Mekong: slow. Maybe because it took me two days travel on a slow (!) boat to get there from the Thai border. More likely though, my means of discovering Luang Prabang were only a prelude to what I was going to find there. Together with my then-travel mate I walked along the colonial streets, taking in the smells, the flavours, the colours and sounds. It is still a very special place in my heart which I hope I will some day be able to revisit.
- Angkor Wat and the temples near Siem Reap, Cambodia
I have yet to meet the person who was not mesmerised beyond imagination by Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples. Despite the crowds, the places ooze magic. I have found the surrounding temples to be best explored by bicycle (thus avoiding the crowds travelling by tuk-tuk), while the temples further out gain by renting a tuk-tuk (plus driver) for a day and enjoying watching daily life happening to the right and left side of the road, while bigger tour groups will go there by bus.
- Erewan National Park near Kanchanaburi, Thailand
This National Park is famous for its seven-tiered waterfall which is simply stunning. You start walking to the upmost tier, cool down with a quick swim in its basin, then take your time walking downhill again, stopping as often as it suits you for photos or more swimming. Be aware of the often overly-curious monkey!
NB: You will have to leave your food at the entrance while your water bottles will be marked. It may seem a nuisance to you but this happens thanks to the stupidity of many tourists that will a) throw their empty bottles away and b) feed the monkeys.
- Bangkok, Thailand
As already mentioned in this post, Bangkok is such a vibrant city that it managed to catch the heart of the country-person that I am at our first encounter. It’s incredibly intense but in such a captivating way that I couldn’t escape its obvious charms
- Hoi An, Vietnam
“The city of tailors” has so much more to offer than cheap suits and inexpensive dresses: Its colonial-French architecture gained it the status of World Cultural Heritage and the food offered at both the market and its many wonderful cafes (many of them overlooking the river) will make you want to stay for much longer than it will take to get a pair of tailored pants.
- Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia
Even though, Malaysia and I hit it off the wrong foot my few days at Taman Negara National Park is among the reasons I will give Malaysia another chance one day. It took us three-something hours by (longtail) boat to arrive at this little town in the middle of the jungle which looked exactly like I had imagined it: lush green, tall trees, lots of wildlife – both big (monkeys) and small (let’s not get into too much detail here). For the first night I booked a night walk, where we walked the jungle for a couple of hours (keeping VERY close to each other so as not to get lost) and spotted everything from tarantulas to wild deer and even the foot print of a tiger (to be honest, I didn’t mind not coming across a tiger in the wild, at night). The next day or two I hiked along the many, well-marked jungle trails in the tropical heat before taking a historical train up north to Kota Bharu, journeying through dense forest before it gave way to fields and eventually human habitation.
- Similan Islands, Thailand
Twice did I get incredibly close to diving there (something that’s on my bucket list), twice it didn’t happen. The second time I at least managed to get on a boat and snorkel there – and it was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined. The water crystal clear you will be able to spot parrot fish and the odd turtle from the boat, without so much as getting your feet wet. If you decide to “get down” though, you will not know where to look first as the variety of fish and other sea life of different shapes and sizes is simply stunning. Third time lucky, I guess.
What are your favourite places in South East Asia?