10 Things You Must Do If You Want To Really Enjoy Traveling In Asia
Southeast Asia! It's a location very much on its way up! I think it's the greatest place in the world to travel, winter, and maybe even retire.! Consider what you get...
Some of the best, easiest, and certainly cheapest snorkeling in the world is in the warm, clear waters of Southeast Asia. A full days trip, lunch included, will cost around eight dollars! Once in the Philippines I encountered a friendly Italian gentleman in an outdoor bar. He had a pet monkey on a chain, which endlessly fascinated the youngsters in town. Anyhow, in the course of conversation he offered me the use of his private boat and its captain , for snorkeling, if I would pay for gas. That was going snorkeling in style! Should you fail to meet Luigi and his monkey Pepi, though, rest assured that you have only to walk down the streets of most coastside towns to encounter snorkel day tour boat companies. Turtles, small rays, and myraid rainbows of tropical fish are the norm.
2. Scuba diving
Once you have a taste of the other world that is the undersea ocean, you may well want to take it a step further! Scuba diving shops and certification courses can be found in most any decently sized Southeast Asian coastal town. Thailand has a large number of reputable places, with the scenic island of Ko Tao in the beautiful Andaman Sea being the headquarters. For about 40 dollars you can do a couple of escorted dives, after an hours training. This is a good way to, well, get your feet wet as far as diving goes. Take the plunge!
3. Beautiful beaches
Life's a beach! You betcha! And theres plenty of that good life in Southeast Asia. The tsunami was a horrible tragedy, but things are back to normal now, and your resting yourself in a beach chair, drinking a cold cheap beer, is more appreciated by the locals than ever. Air conditioned beach cottages can be had for less than 10 dollars a day, if you know where to look. Rent by the week, or even a handful of days, to get a nice discount! Then hit that beach chair! Be sure to patronize the wandering sellers of barbecued shrimp and fish! Or keep your body in shape swimming in the warm,just so nice and warm, water. Lifes a beach!
4. Wintering in Asia
Heating bills in America, Europe and Canada are pretty high, huh? Spend the winter in Southeast Asia, living there for the winter months, following the plans described in my book! A couple can live well on ten to twenty dollars a day in most parts of Asia. Ten dollars or less for a very pleasent hotel, spend the rest on food and entertainment. Instead of frigid cold days and nights you'll enjoy an endless kalidescope of food markets and bazars. Elephants too!
5. Traveling in Asia
Traveling in Asia couldn't be easier! If you have bought a bus and boat package to get you to a particular island, for example, you will be escorted from the bus to the correct boat! Your traveller/tourist money is much appreciated, and you get great value for it. Its my firm belief that Southeast Asia is becoming the new Europe for travellers. Great sights and people, on the cheap!
6. Wonderful nightlife
Fun fun fun! Not pricey either! Cities like Bangkok and Manila never sleep, and everybody just keeps on eating! Street food stalls are everywhere, and just being out in public and laughing seems to be the national pastime. Transportation/taxis from place to place are cheap and everywhere. Do a dozen scenes while your driver stands by!
7. Ancient temples
Great civilizations with a knack for great architecture have always flourished in Asia. I particularly recommend the magnificent temple complex of Angkor Wat, in a newly revitalized Cambodia. Days of temple viewing, all inside a forest park which is home to elephants and monkeys. And don't forget India! Taj Mahal rules!
8. Great, friendly people
I've traveled in Europe and Southeast Asia extensivly. The only time I was in danger was when I was threatened with a knife by a French waiter. Enough of that! The peoples of Asia, particularly southeast Asia, are genuine, friendly, warm; with a lot of genuine, welcoming Buddhism in them. Thailand, especially, deservess its nickname of "The Land of Smiles". Laos and Cambodia have the market cornered on pure hearts. And everybody loves to practice their English.
9. Great food
I know you already love Asian food! And, thankfully, the best of it is often available at simple, darn cheap food stalls and local, working folk type cafes. I"m ready to travel any thousand of miles just to sit down again for the $1.50 selection of Thai soups at a certain outdoor resturant on Soi Burkow street in Pattaya. Or to chow down again at the block square night market in Krabi. Barbecued fish, seafood omlets, candlelight seating. Then again, there is India...
10. Cheap great hotels
Forget about mortgaging your house so you can pay for a hotel room. Southeast Asia has a wonderful network of cheap clean hotels. In the Indian Himalayas I stayed in four dollar a night hotels whose picture window mountain views would have cost incomprehensable amounts in the Swiss Alps. Room and maid service included. And I say it again-cheap cheap hotels but the service is friendly and the rooms are clean!
Have fun! Don't sunburn, overeat, or party too hearty. See ya in Southeast Asia!
Ken Silver writer, photographer, traveller. Ken has traveled and backpacked the world extensivly. He has written numerous travel articles and trail guides. He's decided that Asia is the greatest , cheapest and most fun continent of them all. His new e-book "Retire to Asia" has been widely praised for its innovative , original approch to using, not just one country, but all of Asia, as a base for traveling, wintering in, and yes, maybe even retiring to! Blueocean Systems founder David Mason calls this book "a quantum leap in travel planning ideas".: www.retiretoasia.com
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