12 things I loved about South East Asia

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1. How cheap everything is in comparison to Europe

To be able to stay at a hotel for £5 a night for one people in Thailand is unheard of in Europe. One of the great things about Thailand is the exchange rate. The Thai baht is amazingly low compared to most of the Western worlds’ currency. Your foreign money goes a long way here!

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The first time I went out to Asia I took too much stuff with me which was a mistake! If you are just visiting for vacation bring an empty suitcase out with you so you can fill it up once you get here. The majority of hotels have a room to store your luggage. Since the majority of clothes and footwear are made out in vietnam, it makes sense that it would be so much cheaper out here. Buy your rucksacks and sandals out here instead of Thailand as the quality it much better. Be adventurous and get handmade shoes or a dress. It is unbeliveable how quickly a dress can be made for you out in Vietnam.

 

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2. Beautiful beaches

Okay, I am being slightly bias here.. but Koh Lanta was my favourite island experience in Thailand. Exploring the islands on a scooter and finding beautiful beaches in Koh Lanta that are hidden and without a sign of anyone else there. Beautiful golden sand and clear blue and turquoise waters lapping the shore.

 

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3. The food

Food is a great reason to visit Thailand. Not only is it considered some of the tastiest in the world but prices are also unbelievable. Eating at a typical outside Thai venue with a main course, a second dish, and drinks for two can can be done for less than £5. Eating out is so inexpensive many Thais rarely eat in. The cost of buying the food would not be a big saving and you’d have to add in the preparation time to your day. It’s easier to go out! Win win!

 

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Vietnamese food is the best I’ve ever tasted (Sorry Thailand!) and dirt cheap to eat out on the streets. Alot of people are wary of eating on the streets and having ice in their drinks.

As long as you order a coke without ice you’ll be fine. Thai food is great but vietnamese definitely wins for me!

We loved sitting in the little red plastic chairs at Bia Hoi Ha Noi, just watching the locals scootering by to taxis, to women with carrying poles and conical hats, to… pointing at something on the menu and ordering it even thought you don’t have a clue what it is!

 

4. Experiencing different cultures and learning useful phrases like, hello and thank you

Learning how to say hello in vietnamese is Xin chao! (sin chow!) and goodbye is Tam Biet. By the time I got the hang of it I had moved to Thailand.

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5. Weather

Depending on the season the weather in Thailand is generally hot and humid. Thailand has three seasons, hot, cool and wet. The humid season typically runs from March through to June. April and May tend to be the hottest months of the year. Rainy season tends to begin after May. The best time to visit Thailand is in January/February.

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6. Swimming in natural waterfalls and oceans that are the same temperature as a luke warm bath

The Ewaran falls are a series of increasingly breathtaking waterfalls just an hour from Kanchanaburi. It’s 7 levels easily accessible with just a little trekking and each one is stunning.

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7. Meeting other travellers

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Hoian, Vietnam

One of the best parts about travelling is making friends in the most random places. You meet so many cool people. Maybe you will see each other again, maybe not but staying in touch on social media is great to keep in touch.

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Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

I generally made friends with other travellers when I stayed in hostels because you are more inclined to talk to each other in that type of environment.

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Bangkok Sky Bar ( The Hangover Part II)

8. Being a millionaire in Vietnam!

Similar to other developing countries, hunger and poverty in Vietnam has existed for many years. I tend to carry a useful amount of cash for the day and hide the rest somewhere discreet.

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1,000,000 Vietnamese dong only = £32.98!

9. Seeing monkeys in their natural habitat

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Koh Phi Phi

 

 

Canoying to monkey beach in Koh Phi Phi and seeing a monkey stranded on a rock in the open water. Another canoyer attempted to ‘save’ it and a stampede of monkeys on monkey island came out of no where scretching and hissing at them. Was the craziest thing I have ever seen. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch it on camera.

 

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10. Hiring a scooter and driving on the freeway

 

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I made a vow to myself that I would never go on a scooter but it turns out I broke that vow. It is an awesome experience but make sure you wear trainers and appropriate trousers as you can get sunburnt really easily.

I read online that it is the policy of all motorbike rental businesses to keep the renter’s passport while the motorbike is being rented. I refused to leave my passport as it is illegal to not have your passport on you at all times in Thailand.

I went on the back of my friend’s scooter in Vietnam, Hanoi which was scary! check out the link:

 

I gave them a copy of my passport and it was fine.  You can pay a deposit instead of surrending your passport for a fee of 5,000 baht but you have to make sure you don’t break anything on the bike otherwise you won’t see your money again.

Even if it is not their fault they will not get the passport back until they hand over heaps of money. Take pictures before you ride off incase they try one!

11. Feeding and playing with elephants

Volunteering for three days in Elephant’s World was a great experience and i learnt that elephants seriously know how to eat!

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12. Using the app Agoda to book cheap hostels and hotels

 

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This app was my saviour. When I booked a reservation with a hotel in Ho chi minh City via booking.com I had so many issues. Firstly the room is only reserved which means what you have booked may not be there and how you have to pay at the end. I love the Agoda app as you pay by debit card and its all done.

”With 160,000 hotels to choose from worldwide and more than 1,000,000 reviews, Agoda’s mobile app provides a one-stop-shop for accommodation booking on the fly.
Got lost sightseeing? Use the built-in map functionality to guide you back to your hotel safe and sound.”

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