When you think of Vietnam, you probably think of moody landscapes, thick jungles, and the hectic nature of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Very rarely do people think of tropical islands when considering a trip to Vietnam.
There are actually quite a few islands that tend to be less touristy than the mainland, because, well, not that many people know about them. I finally had my own tropical Vietnamese island experience this year on Phú Quốc.
When I was planning my first trip to Asia in 2013, the countries that I was most looking forward to seeing were Thailand and Indonesia. I thought for sure Bali and Thailand as a whole were going to be my favorite spots from my two months of travels.
In reality, they ended up being the biggest disappointments from that trip.
Pink and purple.
If I could describe Laos in colors, it would be pink and purple. There’s this soft haze of pastels that often falls over the country, and it’s easy to see why they call this the romantic traveler’s paradise.
The outline of the distant mountains, the soothing flow of the river, the soft swaying jungle always close by as you walk home from another night of paper lanterns, solo street guitar players, and red brick sidewalks.
This is Laos, a country I’ve been wanting to visit since I first came to Southeast Asia in 2013. I missed out on seeing the country back then, but I knew I didn’t want that to be the case this time I was in Asia.
Kelsey and I quickly made our way to the Saigon Opera House, a short walk from where we were staying, and where we would be meeting our tour group for the day. We had signed up for a Mekong Discovery tour with Intrepid Urban Adventures, and we had a full day ahead of us of agricultural wonders and good food.
This was my first tour with Intrepid, but I had heard great things about them from other travelers and bloggers alike, which made me seek them out. They have tours all over the world, and their Urban Adventure tours specifically are meant to be more focused on the local side of a destination.
To continue my travel budgeting series around Asia, next up is Hong Kong!
Hong Kong was actually my first Asian destination for this trip, but I somehow didn’t get to this budgeting post until now. I think it’s because I’ve spent the least amount of time in Hong Kong so far, so it wasn’t as much of a priority.
But, the time has come to talk about travel budgeting for this metropolitan city. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places in Asia, so it’s good to know what you should budget before you arrive.
To continue my travel budgeting series around Asia, next up is Myanmar!
Myanmar can be a wild card when it comes to budgeting. Although you can research and read blog posts like the one you’re currently reading about what to expect, you can never be too sure when it comes to this country. Prices are constantly changing, as well as the information on Myanmar as a whole.
I wrote up a post on 12 things to know before you go to Myanmar, and it’s a good reference to base your 2017 and later travels. I came across so many posts from 2014 and 2015 in my research, and almost all of them were already out of date.
Last time I was in Southeast Asia, I heard constant stories from travelers in Chiang Mai or Hanoi about their recent treks with local tribes, through jungles and uneven terrain. It sounded adventurous and a tad exotic. Trekking through the jungle in Asia with locals? Yes, that sounds like me.
Unfortunately, that last trip was whirlwind and planned to the day. There wasn’t much room for random treks for two- or three-days, no matter how interesting they seemed. I never made it further then those northern cities in Thailand and Vietnam, and forgot all about trekking until I arrived in Myanmar.
Myanmar is still a mysterious and constantly changing spot in Southeast Asia. This is what you should know about the country in 2017!
I received confirmation for my Myanmar e-visa, and booked my flights to the country soon after from a sweaty, windowless hotel room in Hong Kong. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I’m going to be honest and say that Myanmar is the most challenging country I’ve traveled to as of yet, but that doesn’t mean that it still wasn’t all kinds of awesome.
Myanmar was a unique destination in a sea of backpacker trails and countries that have been overrun by tourism time and again. Myanmar was still touristy in areas, but it also offered a glimpse at traditional Burmese culture and untouched scenery that I haven’t witnessed in quite awhile.
I’m writing this on a train back to Taipei. By the time this post is published I will already be in Myanmar, but right now I still have a few more days in Taiwan. As I’m sitting on the train, I can’t help but appreciate the memories I have from this country. Taiwan ended up being a place I loved even more than I thought I would, and I’m truly sad to be leaving so soon.
I spent just over a month in Taiwan and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I traveled the west coast, made it down to the southern tip, and back up the east coast. I noted the changes in local culture with each new area of the country, but how they also had a few common threads. Taiwan is a place I could see myself living in for awhile if the timing worked out in the future. For now, I’m grateful for what this country has given me.
These are the 38 reasons why life is simply better in Taiwan.
Last time I visited Indonesia it was 3 years ago and I was left with mixed feelings. I only went to Bali and came away with a dejected impression about the negative tourism that existed there. Ubud was the place that restored my faith in the small portion of Indonesia I visited. I vowed to come back to Indonesia for a second time around next time I was in Asia to give it a second chance and an open mind.
Well, I’m officially back in Asia and I’m looking forward to traveling to Indonesia in the next few months to dive deeper into Indonesian culture. I want to explore the many other wonderful places I’ve heard about in Indonesia, and to get away from the touristy side that I didn’t like so much in Bali.