Top 10 From SE Asia

Now that our time in South East Asia is over, we’ve been reflecting back. Over a whisky (or 5), we worked out our SE Asia Top 10.

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Some of the awesome people we met in Vietnam

1. Making Friends in Vietnam
Vietnam

I’ve heard so many people say that the people in Vietnam lack the warmth of their neighbouring countries. I’m not sure if we were just lucky, but we found Vietnamese people to be overtly friendly, particularly in the south of the country.

From people we met drinking in the street, to student tour guides, we felt very welcomed and have come away from Vietnam with more friends than when we arrived.

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Trying to make my own rice noodles. Failing.

2. Amazing Food in Hoi An
Vietnam

Another pick from Vietnam. We hadn’t done any research on the food in Hoi An and were pleasantly surprised by the tasty, unique dishes here and lack of over pricing.

Of course, Vietnamese food as a whole is amazing, but Hoi An is another step above. See Leckie’s Hoi An food guide for more on this.

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Fried wantons in Hoi An

3. Phra Nang Beach
Thailand

Thailand had no shortage of beautiful beaches, and coming from Queensland I like to think myself quite the beach connoisseur, but Phra Nang really is something special.

We were more than happy to spend a week doing not much more than floating around in Phra Nang’s clear waters and snacking on BBQ corn.

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Phra Nang

4. Falling in Love With Bangkok
Thailand

Present turmoil aside, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed passing through Bangkok several times and have been hatching plans on how we could make it a semi permanent residence.

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Images of the Thai King are everywhere in Bangkok

5. Angkor & Siem Reap
Cambodia

We’ve now seen Angkor, Bagan and My Son. They’re all stunning, but the reason Angkor had made this list is that we loved the whole area.

From a tuk tuk ride through the jungle surrounded by deafening cicadas, to 50c beer, to the friendly locals in town and even the seedier tone to Siem Reap – we loved it all. We stayed 3 days, but could easily have made it longer.

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Angkor & Siem Reap

6. Riding E-Bikes in Bagan
Myanmar

Fairly new to Bagan is e-bike rental. The 40km per hour, mobility scooter-esque bicycles allow you to explore areas no tour bus can reach. This meant that for large parts of this day we were completely alone, surrounded by ancient temples, exploring in the dark with our torches. Very, very cool.

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With our e-bikes

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An amazing view all to ourselves in Bagan

7. Inle Lake Cigars
Myanmar

Yes, Inle Lake is touristy, but on comparison to neighbouring countries there are still relatively few people there. Around Inle Lake are many craft shops and cigar makers. These sweet cigars contain ingredients such as aniseed and honey and are hand rolled. If you but at the ‘factory’ then they are much more expensive than in the market, but it will still hardly break the bank.

We enjoyed many a lazy afternoon with a cold beer and a sweet Inle cigar.

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Hand rolling cigars on Inle Lake

8. Jamrock Bar, Railay
Thailand

We didn’t spend nearly enough time here due to sickness, but had an amazing time nonetheless. Sam, the Thai rasta who runs this place is so friendly, even shouting us shots from his own bar.

As the name suggests, there’s a fair amount of reggae being played, but Sam’s happy for patrons to plug in their own iPods when it’s quiet. It’s always quiet.

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Sam from Jamrock and his epic jenga

9. Truly Off The Beaten Track Experiences
Myanmar

We were so lucky on several occasions in Myanmar to visit places that no tourist had ever been before. From seeing newly discovered rock carvings, to requiring Karen rebel escort, to barefoot caving – it was such an adventure and a really, truly unique experience.

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One of our Karen students leading us through the jungle

10. Spiritual God Festival
Myanmar

The word ‘festival’ makes this sound a lot larger than it is. In reality, it was a smallish group of people drinking, smoking and making offerings to their spiritual Gods for 3 days straight.

Our favourite bits included a man in makeup dancing with a bottle of whisky on his head, eyes rolling back and seeing a woman donate. The donation was slapped to the crotch of the makeup wearing man, who then slapped the woman in the forehead with it.

This is something we would never have seen without local knowledge and again, we feel so lucky to have seen it.

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Spiritual God festival in Myanmar

There were so many great moments in our SE Asia trip, but these are our Top 10.

3 thoughts on “Top 10 From SE Asia

  1. Looks like you guys totally had a blast in this part of the world! I also love Bangkok, but after spending 3 months there working / living / commuting, I’ve crossed it off my potential cities to live. But quick trips? Yes, please!

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