Why has everyone fallen in love with Southeast Asia?
Over the last few years, more travellers than ever have been venturing to Southeast Asia for the ultimate sense of adventure. And who can blame them? These distant shores have an abundance of culture, cuisine and idyllic scenery to please any explorer. We discuss why the Southeast really is so addictive…
It's budget friendly
Any traveller is keen to get the most out of their money and the Southeast definitely meets these requirements. Depending on how far in advance you book your flights, you can pick up a ticket to Bangkok Airport for as little as £350 one way! When you arrive in Thailand you’ll be surprised how cheap the cost of living is. Eating at the incredible street food vendors can cost you as little as 60 Thai Baht which equates to just over £1, and sampling the delights of local restaurants doesn’t cost you much more either. Accommodation can range significantly across Thailand. Depending on your needs and wants; a clean room with a double bed could cost you between 300 and 500 Baht per night which is around £5-£9 – a real bargain!
The food is incredible
It really is. The roads are littered with street food vendors, offering up some of Southeast Asia’s finest dishes. You can pick up delights such as Pad Thai, Satay Chicken, Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) and Pho for next to nothing. The cuisine in this part of the world is predominately Asian; with common ingredients including rice, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, chillies, dried onions, soy and tofu. Common methods of cooking are stir frying, steaming and deep frying. Indian influences can also be found here, so expect to have your taste buds tantalised with a variety of spices, chillies and other bold herbs and seasonings. With so much on offer, try and enjoy as much food as possible; we guarantee you’ll never eat fresher or nicer food than those found on the streets of Southeast Asia.
The Southeast’s beaches are some of the best in the world. When you’ve looked up pictures of Thailand, most of you have probably come across the island Ko Phi Phi. Made famous by the film The Beach, it was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, but now Ko Phi Phi is one of Thailand’s most famous destinations. With its clear waters, which have been protected by national park status, snorkelling and scuba diving off this island is incredible and a must if you’re in the area. That’s not all Thailand has to offer, the islands, Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Chang also have exceptional beaches. The beaches in Bali are just as incredible, however, Pandawa Beach, in particular, isn't one to be missed. Known as the Secret Beach, this hidden paradise was once concealed behind high cliffs and over-grown shrubbery. Today, there’s an access road allowing you to bask in the beach’s white sand and crystal waters.
Thrill seeking activities
Activities are abundance throughout the Southeast. Depending on your budget and interests you can do anything from scuba dive to take Muay Thai Boxing lessons to visit Elephant sanctuaries. Some of the activities can be quite hair-raising so ensure you’re covered by your insurance to take part – you don’t want to miss out on anything. Not everything is quite as hands on, as the food is so incredible it’ll be rude not to get involved in a cooking class or two or get in touch with your spiritual side with a spot of yoga and meditation.
If you’re looking for culture then you really are in the right place. Buddhism is probably the most overriding religion in this part of the world so there’s an array of temples to explore. The largest religious monument in the world is the Angkor Wat in Cambodia; it represents the early model of the cosmic world. One of the most significant historical sites in Malaysia is Malacca, used as a meeting place in the 15th and 16th centuries for the spice trade between the East and West; it’s full of rich history.
The nightlife is just like university
You can’t leave Thailand without sampling a true Thai beer; Chang or Thai Rum; Sang Som. Not to be messed with, Sang Som really packs a punch and, as a local spirit, it’s super cheap and readily available. Once a month, Asia’s biggest party happens; the Full Moon Party in Ko Pha-Ngan. Get ready to don a tie-dye t-shirt, paint on some UV body paint and drink out of a bucket! This legendary night brings in thousands of party animals from around the world. Gili Trawangan; is the place to party in Indonesia. With bars lining the beach, you can sit back and enjoy the sunsets or party into the early hours, depending on your mood.
It’s pretty obvious why everyone’s obsessed with Southeast Asia isn’t it? Discover more about this incredible part of the world right here.