If you’ve only got one month to travel, the best locations to spend your time are the countries in South-East Asia. It’s one of the cheapest places in the world, with very inexpensive local airfares available in low-cost carriers like Air Asia. Although cross-border buses are cheaper, when you’re pressed with time, buying a planet ticket is much more economical. To get in touch with tour operators or hotels and hostels pre-departure, visit www.lebara.co.uk for cheap international phone calls.
Most of these destinations can up take two or three days in an itinerary, but it’s important to make adjustments where you feel necessary – and to know that this list is far from exhaustive! Here’s a few places you can visit and a short information on each one.
Places to Visit in Southeast Asia
Fly into Bangkok, one of Asia’s biggest travel hubs. Here, you can take a couple of days to drink cocktails on the Vertigo Rooftop Bar, check out the Grand Palace, and maybe do a bit of shopping in one of the city’s many malls. It’s also a good place to touch base with people at home with your pay as you go SIM with Lebara.co.uk and let them know you’ve arrived safely.
Head up into northern Thailand where the pace of life is much slower than in Bangkok and you can get in touch with a more traditional Thai way of life by visiting the hill tribes and villages that dot the countryside around Chiang Mai, as well as exploring the markets of this charming, old walled city.
Cross the border into Laos to visit one of SE Asia’s prettiest towns. You could spend days and days in this French colonial city set on the banks of the Mekong River, discovering the stunning waterfalls, watching the Buddhist monks giving alms at dawn, and enjoying some of the best food in Laos, whether that’s breakfast in one of the coffee shops or dinner from the night markets.
Hanoi and Halong Bay
With no time to spare, it’s time to cross another border, this time into Vietnam. The capital of the country has plenty to offer, but it’s also a base for Halong Bay tours, which are not to be missed. This bay is absolutely beautiful; hundreds of limestone karsts jut out from the glassy water along which junk boats sail on two- or three-day tours.
This quaint, French colonial town in Vietnam is home to hundreds of tailors. Here, you can get custom-made suits, dresses, and anything else in between for a fraction of what it would cost at home.
Saigon (as it’s still known, despite its official name now being Ho Chi Minh City) has a lot to teach visitors about the country’s history through the War Remnants Museum and the nearby Cu Chi tunnels – fascinating relics of how the Vietcong fought their battles from this impossibly narrow network of underground tunnels.
Into Cambodia, and it’s another major city with a troubling past. Visit S21 and the Killing Fields to understand the trauma this country has suffered in the past decades.
Angkor Wat and the other Angkor temples are incredible, but Siem Reap is also a beautiful town in its own right, with lots of markets, restaurants and bars to make time to discover.
Finish your SE Asia whistle-stop tour with a spot of beach time. Koh Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful islands, but also one of the busiest, so for something more low-key and chilled, head to Koh Lanta or the car-free Koh Yao Noi.
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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