- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Go Backpacking in Southeast Asia
Food to die for
Really, Asian food is the number one reason (and could justifiably be the only reason you need) for scheduling a visit to the far east. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s possibly the best food in the entire world. From the street snacks in Bangkok to Vietnamese banquets to Malaysian curry, there is a lifetime’s worth of deliciousness to sample. Nowhere else in the world can you find cuisine that compares to the diverse, vibrant, colorful, and flavorful food found here.
Most backpackers have to work hard to make their money stretch as much as possible. In many places in Asia the pressure is off, particularly in countries like Vietnam and Laos, where you can easily get by on $15 a day on most days. For backpackers and those traveling around the world, that cheaper cost of travel means you can travel longer.
The same funds that might cover a month in Europe might stretch for several months there.
The same funds that might cover a month in Europe might stretch for several months there. And when it’s cheaper to eat out than to even try to cook, you can fully embrace and enjoy your visit without having to stress too much about your wallet.
Ease of travel
While traveling in Europe and Australia can be pricey, Southeast Asia is one of the easiest and cheapest places to travel in the world. Scores of budget airlines and well established bus and train networks make it easy to around, often for just a few bucks. Additionally there is a strong infrastructure set up to help foreign travelers book tickets and get from one place to another.
This was the stomping ground of some of the oldest civilizations of the world, from the Angkor to the Javans and the Champa. A lot of these ancient societies left beautiful structures and relics behind – you can visit the pagodas of Bagan, explore the ruins of Angkor Wat, or gaze at thousands of perfectly maintained ancient temples throughout the region. This region also has a lot of modern history worth exploring, equally epic although not has pleasant. In the twentieth century alone the region experienced the Vietnam War, the terror of the Khmer Rouge and the near obliteration bombing of Laos. The ongoing protests in Bangkok and the constantly changing situation in Burma show that history is an ongoing process and that cities can change nearly before your eyes.
Culturally, Southeast Asia is far too vivid and diverse to sum up in any one paragraph. There are so many different traditions, languages, lifestyles, fashions, beliefs and customs to immerse yourself in and explore, all within a relatively small geographic area. Many Southeast Asian cultures work very hard to maintain their historical rituals and practices, even as modernity sweeps through the area, so finding opportunities to learn about the culture first-hand is never difficult.