Tag Archives: Southeast Asia

Travel Misconceptions: Thailand

Travel Misconceptions: Thailand | Asia Travel

One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down travel misconceptions or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.

My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.

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12 Things to do in Penang, Malaysia

A Favorite Island in Malaysia: Things to Do in Penang

Note: this post contains affiliate links

I wasn’t sure what to expect with my return to Malaysia this year. The brief time I spent in the country in 2013 was a good experience overall, but it’s also the first place where I was aggressively groped in broad daylight.

Granted, gropings can happen anywhere, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t taint my experience while in the country.

It stuck with me so much that even today, four years later, when I hear a scooter coming up behind me I get a dose of adrenalin and and my sense of awareness goes into overdrive.

I knew I wanted to come back to Malaysia someday to have a more positive experience, and focus on all of the good that the country has to offer.

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Travel Budgeting for Laos

Travel budgeting for Laos - Asia Travel

To continue my travel budgeting series around Asia, next up is Laos!

I finally made it to Laos after missing it during my last trip to Asia in 2013. Since I went in the low season this year, I found it harder in some aspects for traveling around and budgeting.

I still managed to meet quite a few new traveler friends, but starting off my time in the country with a week straight of heavy rains in Luang Prabang, put a bit of a damper on my time, literally.

Offseason or not, Laos turned out to be on par, or even a little cheaper, than its neighboring Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Food and drink especially were inexpensive and accommodation prices varied a lot depending on where I was in the country.

This is everything I spent during my 28 days in Laos!

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Looking Back on 8.5 Months in Asia

Wat Phu, Pakse - Laos Travel

“‘Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”  // Emma Morley (Excerpt from One Day)

When I stepped on that flight to Hong Kong last October, I had no idea how much my life would change in the course of eight months.

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6 Things to do in Phú Quốc, Vietnam

6 Things to do in Phu Quoc, Vietnam

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Explore the stunning tropical Vietnam island Phú Quốc – a side of Vietnam that most people don’t see. Soak in the sun and enjoy these 6 things to do in Phú Quốc.

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 quite a few islands that tend to be less touristy than the mainland because not that many people know about them. I finally had my own tropical Vietnamese island experience this year on Phú Quốc.

But is Phú Quốc worth visiting?

There are a lot of fun things to do in Phú Quốc, and with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, the island is Vietnam’s paradise. I would 100% recommend visiting the island to anyone who is exploring Vietnam.

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Why a Second Visit to Thailand Changed My Mind

Is Thailand Overrated? Why a Second Visit Changed My Mind | Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand - Asia Travel

This is why a second visit to Thailand changed my mind about the country.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

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.

Maybe it was because Thailand was built up so much by other people before I went, or maybe it was just because I didn’t jive with the country at the time. Whatever it was, I hardly enjoyed my time in Thailand and wrote it off that Thailand is overrated and that I probably wouldn’t be back anytime soon.

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Wrap Up: May 2017

May Wrap-Up - The Atlas Heart | Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

May was the month I turned 27! I started the month in Thailand and ended it in Laos, my 28th country. And let me just say, I’m glad my country count is keeping ahead of my age, I think that’s a good sign.

This month included meeting up with one of my close friends, Pascale, who I met in Thailand a couple of months ago. May was also a month of readjusting to another new Asian culture, and finally discovering Laos for the first time, a country I’ve been wanting to see for years.

This is where I went and what I got up to in May.

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My First Impressions of Laos

First Impressions of Laos - Luang Prabang - Asia Travel

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.

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An Ode to the Asian Night Bus

An Ode to the Asian Night Bus

There’s nothing like an Asian night bus to make you think of your own mortality,

The stained curtains swing side to side in tune to the curves as we go around again.

I have The xx on repeat, thinking about all of life’s little defeats and how I got here.

The driver is going 80 on a hairpin turn, the wheels hugging the road just slightly so,

Will this be the last thing I see before I go?

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How to Spend a Week on Koh Chang Island in Thailand

How to Spend a Week on Koh Chang Island in Thailand

Koh Chang Island is home to stunning beaches and endless adventures. Discover why you should visit it and how best to spend your time in this paradise!

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

I visited Koh Chang Island twice over the course of a couple of months and I easily found the draw of this “elephant island”. With its hilly jungles, uncrowded beaches, and the feeling that you’ve reached one of the less touristy spots in Thailand, there is a lot to love about Koh Chang Island.

Is Koh Chang worth visiting? Well, let me just say that I never thought I’d be a long-term island girl, where I’d actually enjoy living on islands for more than a month or two. I love being busy, living in vibrant cities, going to live gigs, finding new architecture, cafes, and street art down alleyways.

But guys, I have to admit, I’m kind of addicted to island life now. And I would say that Koh Chang was the island that started that addiction.

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