Southeast Asia is one of the most marketable destinations for all kind of travellers. It offers so much in value and variety that in recent years tourism has sky-rocketed. Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen at least one mesmerizing photo of the beautiful places in SEA, enticing you with its white-sanded beaches, intricate temples, Buddha statues, the luring green jungle and the natural coconuts ready to sip on. Making it a traveller’s dream!!
There are hundreds of places to visit over there, if not thousands, that offer its visitors some form of inspiration. Unfortunately, some travellers have limited time, so for them making the decision of which places they shouldn’t miss out on their trip becomes a very complicated and stressful situation. To help release some of that stress, we decided to put together a list of all of the places that stand out from the rest and are a ‘must visit’ in Southeast Asia.
Take a look at the ‘Top 7 Inspirational Places to Visit in Southeast Asia’ that will make you want to pack up your bags right now!
Borneo is special because of two things: the rainforests and the friendly orangutans that live in there. Orangutans share 96% of human DNA making them one of the most intelligent primates, and seeing these interesting creatures in the wild can inspire any traveller. Wildlife is unique in parts of Asia, and these amazing orangutans top the lot!
Unfortunately, the rainforests in Malaysia are being destroyed for the search of natural resources; such as palm oil, so their native beauty is slowly diminishing. We hope deforestation stops soon, as the orangutans need their natural habitat to live and reproduce. If you want to go a step further you can sign up to volunteer with them -which includes feeding them first hand.
2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is often the postcard photo of Southeast Asia. With its intricate design and spread out structure these ancient ruins inspire the most to travel to Southeast Asia. Especially if you’ve witnessed the sunrise or the sunset peeking above its pillars.
Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious sites in the world and also one of the most visited – with over 2 million visitors each year-. If you’re looking for cultural kicks and true insights of the history of Cambodia, exploring the incredible ruins of Angkor Wat are a must-see in Southeast Asia.
3. Halong Bay, Vietnam
Vietnam has a reputation of being fast and furious with its millions of bikes and raw and ready culture, but the archipelago of Halong Bay couldn’t be further away from that. Based in the North of the country, Halong Bay offers a set of idyllic limestone islands, topped with rainforests. The laid back and exotic nature of these islands are perfectly complemented with emerald waters, making it an inspiring view for any cruise or boat trip.
If you decide to visit this beautiful place,Cát Bà National Park is a particular hotspot.
4. Rice Terraces, Philippines
Thousands of years old, these UNESCO Heritage certified rice paddies and terraces are like an array of rural steps made for giants. With rows and rows of weaved green platforms in Banaue, situated in the Philippines north, the rice terraces are a must visit. Despite their beauty, still the majority of travellers in the Philippines, who choose the unspoilt white-sanded islands instead, often overlook them. If you’re a bit of an outdoorsy traveller and love a good hike, just seeing the photos of the rice terraces will immediately give you wanderlust.
5. Mount Rinjani, Indonesia
Indonesia is most known for its holiday destination hotspot Bali, with the surrounding Gili Islands a treasure to visit. However, Indonesia is home to 220 million people and certainly has a lot more to it than that. Often seen as the most difficult yet worthwhile hike open to visitors in Southeast Asia, Mount Rinjani offers world-class views. With the peak far above the clouds near, it’s a popular activity to witness the sunrise here. An active volcano based in Lombok, the elevation reaches nearly 4,000 m and is the second largest volcano in Indonesia!
6. Krabi, Thailand
Any list describing the wonders of Southeast Asia wouldn’t be complete with mentioning some of what Thailand has to offer. The country that opened the door for Southeast Asia travel in its modernity, Thailand has many places that inspire and is normally the first stop people go to. With a more commercial outlook than it’s neighbours, it’s easily the most visited. Famed for its Thai islands in the south, the province of Krabi has many a wonder to inspire. With a white-sand stretch of beaches such as Railay, crystal clear waters for snorkelling and scuba diving with a plethora of marine life, and limestone rocks that match of Halong Bay, Krabi will be the place you’ll often see on the front of the brochure.
7. Bagan Temples, Myanmar
With Myanmar opening to visitors only as recent as 2011, it’s recent surge of travellers have only begun to gather pace in the last couple of years. Even though the number of tourists hasn’t reached the heights as expected, the potential is definitely there. The country has limited the access for visitors to a lot of places, however, there are in total 4400 temples and pagodas open to anyone to freely explore. Probably the most sought for sights in the whole country are the Bagan temples, where if you manage to get a good view from the heights, the stunning backdrop of the temples provide a view of the magnificent intricate brick structures, as well as an insight into the history and size of the empires that once ruled this area.
With all the highs that travelling Southeast Asia can bring, it’s important to be well aware of the different cultural expectations, rules and tricks that might turn them highs into lows. With all the talk recently about the ‘begpackers’ busking for money in Bangkok and Singapore specifically, and even further afield, in Colombia where an Australian woman was caught with copious of amounts of cocaine at the airport; it’s something that you might want refreshing on.
Southeast Asia is normally many traveller’s first long term travelling destination, and with the culture being mostly warm, humble and let’s say a little less lawful, it does beg the question what are the laws that would get you in hot water? Before we get into that, we all like to have a good time, but you know yourself, responsible travel is key, or otherwise you might find yourself on the front page of the Daily Mail or Herald Sun.
As we mentioned on our last blog here which described some general travel safety precautions, we wanted to give you the run down more specifically, on a country by country basis. We have also provided a couple links for each country to the current travel advice warnings.
However please note, as you all know we live in some unpredictable times in terms of things like terrorism, civil wars, general unrest, kidnappings and other attacks, so although it is advisable to adhere to the warnings and advice given so as to not put your self in unnecessary danger, unfortunately the world is not predictable, danger can be present anywhere so always travel smart.
Laws, Customs, Do’s & Don’t
Be aware of special invites to parties, scams including transport, firearm activities, money exchanges, ATM reliability & mosquito diseases. There are many parts of Cambodia that still has unexposed live land mines, so always adhere to the signs and advice and never stray from the designated paths. They are doing their best to clear these land mines one by one every year, in fact they are currently successfully using specially trained rats to locate the mines by sniffing out the TNT and are able to sweep a section of land the size of a tennis court in just 30 minutes.
Snatch and grab crimes in Cambodia are common. Keep your bags to your front and away from the roadside. Always hang onto them. We’ve seen the sneakiest of theft, especially at night.
Observe the general Southeast Asia common courtesy customs that we have previously outlined in our previous blog too
As you might of seen, the dealing, use or production of drugs in Indonesia goes hand in hand with the death penalty if caught. Despite many protests from governments and embassies, Indonesia enforces strict laws against drugs. Especially in Bali, a tourist haven, police will often raid venues and might carry out possible urine or blood tests to see if you’ve used drugs. There is a problem with drug trafficking in Bali especially so please keep aware.
Diseases in Indonesia, such as Rabies and Dengue Fever have caused concern and deaths in recent years. Stay away from stray dogs, do not look them in the eye and keep away from groups at night. Most will ignore you but some may be in a foul mood. Be monkey aware too, learn about their behaviours before you arrive, in general though don’t smile by bearing your teeth to them, as bearing teeth is their sign of aggression.
Dengue fever can be less likely if you use mosquito spray, wear loose clothes, don’t drink wild water and use nets and coils as protection whilst always stay away from heavily infected areas as much as possible.
Terrorism in Bali has been well documented especially with the 2002 Bali Bombings that killed over 200 people. Terrorists Islamic groups are a threat across the whole of Indonesia so please report and/or keep away from any obvious or imminent danger if in the event it was to arise.
Avoid attempting to embarrass an Indonesian by shouting or being argumentative, keep things private & reserved, remain calm and don’t take aggressive stances like with your hands on your hips in frustration.
Dress modestly near and in religious temples goes without saying, always show respect. Don’t use your left hand to touch or give things to others, as it considered dirty due to local hygiene practices.
As a foreign visitor it is prohibited to partake in any sexual relations with a Laos local. You can either be fined or in drastic events imprisoned, so don’t be put off if you’re not flavour of the month by some.
Women are to be extra vigilant in their appearance, which includes covering shoulder whilst swimming in waterfalls and at temples.
Photography or visiting military sites is also prohibited, and can result in detention. We all like to go off the beaten track, but in Laos things roll a little bit different.
Like Singapore and Myanmar, it is also illegal for any homosexuality acts in Malaysia. Drug offences apply too and trafficking incurs a death penalty.
Dress modestly is key in Malaysia, it might be hot but that isn’t an excuse. The country is multicultural but majority Muslim which has many local traditions and expectations that you might not be aware of.
Terrorism has taken place here, even just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur as recent as in 2016. Be well aware of this can take place at any time but the likeliness is low.
Health wise, dengue fever has recently saw an increase in the last two years, take the right precautions including spray, nets, coils, loose clothing and avoiding rural areas.
Pirates have once roamed the coasts of Malaysia and kidnapped tourists in the early 2000’s. This isn’t as much of a problem now, but be aware if out at sea or close to eastern Sabah coasts, especially in non tourist or over populated areas. Honestly, most countries won’t pay out any ransoms to pirates anymore so if you do get in this sort of situation, you won’t be looking for any treasure on Skeleton Island. Keep aware at all times off the beaten track.
Myanmar is the most recent country to open it’s doors to travellers and it is only now you are seeing the tourism facilities developing. It is not uncommon to not see ATM’s. Food and water are questionable too. Hostels may not be everywhere, so hotels might have to suffice. You can hire electric motorbikes now to get around such areas like Bagan. Be careful at night in cities like Yangon, where the streets are dark and eerie with all sorts of pollution.
Homosexuality is illegal in Myanmar, and there have been instances where visitors have been imprisoned for committing homosexual acts. Although this is difficult to believe in 2017, some countries are very different to Western expectations.
If you have tattoos, having any religious design below the waste can be a religious offense, which in Myanmar is enough to be prosecuted. Make sure you cover up anything you might have that might be offensive.
You should have some caution in Myanmar due to civil unrest, but you’ll be okay within Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Nay Pyu Taw and Inle Lake. Ngpali Beach has seen some clashes with locals and police. Corruption is rife in Myanmar too.
If entering on a tourist visa to the Philippines, it’s very likely you’ll be asked for your outbound ticket. Most airlines won’t let you into the country without it. Also, police may stop foreigners for identification so make sure you have relevant forms of I.D to provide.
Recent changes have encouraged anyone dealing or using drugs to be killed on the spot, especially if there is a resistance involved. Drugs are in particular severe in the Philippines and there have been millions of deaths already because of drug problems.
Unfortunately despite the Philippines being one of our favourite countries, the risk of terrorism and kidnapping is real. Even in Manila, the capital, there is risk that likely is to affect tourists if actioned. Spin off and affiliate groups to Islamic terrorist organisations can affect anywhere but have mostly focused on areas of Mindanao, Sulu Archipelago and Zamboanga Peninsula. There have been explosive devices and terrorist attacks even in Makati, close to Manila.
Kidnapping is also a real concern in the Philippines, so be sure not to stray away too off the beaten track in areas known for dangers. These include provinces of Sarangani, North & South Cotabato, General Santos City, Sultran Kudarat, Lano del Sur & del Norte, Iligan City and Pangutaran Island.
Singapore is particularly strict with certain laws that can be rewarded with fines, arrest or imprisonment. They even still carry corporal punishment which is an old school method beating with a ratten cane. Mocking, singing, fake I.D, spitting, homosexuality, connecting to unauthorised WIFI, feeding pigeons, not flushing the toilet, smoking in public, being naked, selling gum and littering are all offences in Singapore.
Like many countries in Asia as mentioned, drugs is a no-go and can result in the death penalty.
Since April 2015, it is illegal to drink alcohol in a public place between the hours of 10:30pm and 7am. Only places with a permit can distribute and allow the consumption of alcohol.
Littering in Thailand can be awarded with a 2,000 Baht fine, and it can be an easy arrest for the Thai police. Also, fines for riding a scooter WITHOUT a helmet exist too, so always wear a helmet as accidents happen.
Did you know the legal drinking age in Thailand is 20 years old? Also, it is illegal to drink alcohol in temples or places of worship, pharmacies, public offices, education institutions, petrol stations and public parks.
Very harsh punishments are handed down if you are to disrespect, mock or deface any images of the King of Thailand. Even online, you can be arrested and sent to jail. Any other purposeful acts like damaging the Thai flag or stepping on Thai Baht can also lead to being arrested.
In Vietnam, gambling is illegal apart from in government-licensed casinos. Any disobedience to this can result in heavy fine and imprisonment. Drugs are available in Vietnam but don’t let it fool you because they are illegal with severely and fatal punishments.
Taxi’s in Vietnam can be particularly dodgy, and can rake the metre up high without you noticing. Everyone gets ripped off in Vietnam at some point. Likewise when renting a motorbike, never rent from someone on the street, they have been known to follow you and “steal” the bike back with spare keys!
Contributing or participating in any political actions against the government, or engaging in religious gatherings and actions i.e protests will result in legal actions against foreign visitors that usually means deportation. This includes online actions too, such as blogging.
Southeast Asia (SEA) is the home of tropical beaches, green verdant jungles, fascinating cultures and amazing food. The affordable prices attract hundreds of backpackers who embrace these lands, and because of its beauty and history all kind of tourists are flocking to the shores of Southeast Asia. Whether you’re on a trip for 2 weeks or 10 months, SEA is arguably one of the best places to visit.
However in all countries across SEA, laws and regulations vary, so if you want to enjoy your trip and be safe you might want to know a general overview of how things run in this part of the world. These are of course just broad general tips and advice, always use your common sense too and be respectful of others, especially the locals. We have a more in-depth country by country guide coming up next too.
Here are some basic pointers to know if you choose to visit Southeast Asia:
Overstaying your visas could potentially lead to fines and being banned from returning to that country. The longer you overstay the worse is the punishment. Southeast Asia is amazing; and you truly don’t want to ruin your trip!
Dressing appropriately is expected when visiting all religious and cultural sites in Southeast Asia so make sure you are not bearing too much flesh, specially shoulders and knees. Even though the weather is super hot, wearing appropriate clothing is very important in the vicinity of cities, cultural sites, religion monuments and even some natural attractions. In Thailand for example, it is not allowed to drive WITHOUT wearing a shirt!
Religion and Law
Disrespecting countries monarchies, flags, monuments and even money is a big NO NO, like it would be in any country. However the punishments here are severe, that can lead to arrests, imprisonment or even death. Even taking photos of military sites or being too close to a border crossing is prohibited in most countries.
Touching people’s head, mocking locals, being overly loud, general disregard, disrespect or any type of bullying is extremely offensive and not warranted in many South East Asian countries. Visitors need to be aware that they are in a new country and should respect laws and expectancies that are sometimes completely different from some Western standards. For example:
Ask permission when taking photos of people
Remove your shoes before entering a house or temple
Do not touch monks
Accept gifts with two hands
Be mindful of your public displays of affection to your partner
Due to the rise and rise of tourism there is more competition for businesses and unfortunately some of them are taking quick short cuts that can trick you out of your money. Be extra careful when visiting tourist sights that are popular such as Angkor Wat, Bagan Temples, the Grand Palace and Tea Ceremonies.
Also if you are asking for a tuk-tuk ride or a taxi make sure you negotiate a fair price and itinerary, and/or put on the price meter. Don’t be too easily swayed by strangers and follow your instinct. Unfortunately travellers get scammed in Asia and you need to be aware of that.
Malaria and Dengue Fever do exist in Southeast Asia, in some places more apparent than others. Always use mosquito spray especially in rural and jungle area and always consult your travel clinic first. You can arrange appointments and consultations prior to your travels.
This one goes without saying, it’s pretty well known. Southeast Asia has a strict policy against drugs; wether is the production, supply or use. So the best thing to do is to steer clear of any contact with illegal drugs, as the wrong use can result in arrest, imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Just to give you an example here is the statement from the Kingdom of Thailand website: ‘Violators of laws related to illicit drugs e.g. having and holding for use, or being a producer, seller or transporter are subject to the death sentence.’
NEXT SOUTHEAST ASIA BLOG FEATURE:
Stay tuned for the next update in this series – A travel safety guide by each specific country across SEA.
ARE YOU OUR NEXT TRAVELLO AMBASSADOR:
Do you love travel? Do you have a passion for social media? Do you have a Travello user name and currently use the app? Then apply to become one of our next Travello Ambassadors! Find out more here – Travello Ambassadors
Solo travelling to many is the only way to travel. Coupled with those pre-trip nerves, your courage to go it alone to far-away places will be rewarded with some of the most satisfying experiences that you will ever muster.
Your hard work of doing what you want based on how you feel and when you want will pay off, you meet new friends and you will push your independence all whilst travelling vastly into your unknown world. Travelling solo really does bring out the best in you, as you’re constantly pushed out of your comfort zone and that not only benefits you on your travels, but also in the rest of your life too.
You’ll learn that being content in your own company becomes hugely revitalising, something that only you can be proud of. You will be revelling in your own success in parallel with some of the best days of your life. Yet, despite all the props that come with solo travelling, everyone has to prepare still.
Southeast Asia is a great place to begin solo travelling. The warming culture, social travel scene and affordability (to western costs) are all major factors in why year after year for many, many years, solo travellers choose to unravel their journey here. If you’re a first timer in Southeast Asia we’ve put a quick checklist together for you to consider.
Try To Reassure Your Family
Most families and friends will think you’re crazy for going travelling to Asia alone, to many it will be unheard of. Yet, you’ve made the decision to do it, so just reassure them a bit more you’ve done your research (like reading this article) and you have plans in place. When you’re out on the road, they’ll no doubt get a load of your travel photos anyway, and the odd Skype once in a while doesn’t hurt, to let them know you’re alive.
Book Your Flight
First things first, make that first step and book your flight; don’t wait, you’re travelling solo remember, the longer you put this off the more doubt will set in. This is all on you. It really depends which way you come from, but most travellers begin at Bangkok in Thailand, as it’s seen as the ‘gateway to Southeast Asia’. If you’re on an open ended trip, for example if you are heading out to Bangkok Koh Phangan or the other islands of Thailand, then you only need to book a one-way flight. That might sound scary but exciting too! You’ll be journeying into the unknown with no time limit of when you’ll be back. That is what travelling is all about.
Stay In Hostels
Before you fly out, booking your first few nights accommodation is pretty standard. After that play it by ear as plans always can change, especially if you meet new travel friends along the way. Hostels are the perfect way to meet other travellers, many of who will be solo like you. If you do make it to Bangkok we recommend Nappark Hostel or the soon to be opened Mad Monkey Bangkok. Why? Because these places will have plenty of solo travellers like you, ready to meet and travel together.
Join And Network In The SE Asia Facebook Groups
If you are looking for a huge network of other travellers that have either passed through Asia or are about to then you can find them in multiple Facebook groups for Southeast Asia. These members and travellers are just like you, solo and ready to take the lead into Asia. Post questions (be specific) about which hostels, what attractions to see or simple ask if anyone wants to meet up. You’ll get answers quickly if not instantly. South East Asia Backpacking and Southeast Asia Backpacking are two of the largest groups of their kind on Facebook right now.
Download Travello & Join The SE Asia & Solo Travel Groups
One of the limitations with Facebook Groups though is that it’s not always easy to quickly see and interact with just those travellers that are there right now or about to arrive. So this is one of the best features and benefits about Travello, you can see who is nearby right now, it also notifies you when other travellers have arrived to your destination too. As long as you’re connected to the Internet, you’ll have no trouble at all from meeting other solo travellers that are nearby right now. This is perfect for solo travellers, because you can pick and choose whom you want to meet or if you want to meet at all. One of the great things about going solo is that YOU decide what you want to do, but at the same time you can meet new people to share your travel experiences too! Like Facebook, its also a travel community, so join the conversation on the feed to post your own photo, video or text updates or post your own questions or advice as well.
Get A SE Asia Travel Guide (Online / Book)
It’s always good to carry a paperback travel guide with you, and if that’s what you’re going to do, Lonely Planet or Rough Guides will give you all the basics plus the nitty gritty information. Even if you don’t follow it word for word, you still have a nucleus base of information that gives you a foundation of where to start or where to end up. With all the wealth of information online with blogs, articles and e-books, such as Adventure In You these are also worth considering today too. Reading valuable information as a solo traveller enables you to make your own choices as and when you want.
Tell Your Bank
Nowadays, banks can block cards for the most trivial of use internationally, so it’s important you let them know of your plans. What you can also get is travel cards that reduce costs for withdrawals and transactions too, which saves you money in the long run. You aren’t sharing a bank account with a partner or costs with a friend, so it’s important as a solo traveller you tick this off the list prior to travelling.
Arrange Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is key to travelling anywhere, but in Southeast Asia, where laws and facilities are not the same as you might expect at home, it’s vital to cover yourself. Whether your airline loses your bag, you get things stolen or injure yourself on an exciting excursion; it’s good to know you’re covered. How bad would it be NOT to go with travel insurance, solo and end up losing all your money or luggage, knowing your all alone and have no cover? It would be the worst. There are many insurance companies that will cover you depending where you are from, such as Covered2Go Travel Insurance,World Nomads and InsureAndGo.
Consider Getting Your Southeast Asia Travel Vaccinations
Because you’ll be travelling throughout countries that have environments that can impose diseases and viruses foreign to you, as well as practices and facilities being a little less strict, getting the necessary travel vaccinations is something to definitely consider as a priority. Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, Japanese Encephalitis and Tetanus vaccinations are all common vaccinations to get prior to your travels, with malaria medication purchased in form of oral tablets. Most of the time you will go to your own local travel clinics depending which country you are from. Addition to that, don’t forget to take your common sense with you though too! Think of clothing cover, repellents, water/drinking safety, food and personal hygiene as an example. All very important to not get lax on those, as it can dramatically cut short your solo adventures!
Packing without anyone else packing with you can sometimes be a little confusing. What to take? How many clothes? How many shoes? Well, Southeast Asia is warm even when it rains; so don’t worry about packing too much. Asia isn’t a place to take expensive clothes because they’ll just get outworn and out-washed. Keep things light, t-shirts, singlets, shorts etc, with a pair of long pants, trainers and hoodie or jacket. If you’re taking a backpack, which we recommend because of how mobile you can be, nothing more than a 60L backpack is required as the average traveller, you really won’t need to take that much! Solo travel is not a fashion parade, keep it simple and efficient, buy local if you have to as it will be way cheaper than a big shop before you leave.
Take The Necessities
For Asia, bringing SPF, Mosquito spray, malaria tablets (prescribed) are all necessary. You’ll be in hot weather and the sun can be relentless here. In rural areas, mosquitos can be rife, and with dengue fever and malaria common in some parts like Cambodia and Myanmar, it’s important you take precautions. Don’t forget your shades, a hat, and a pair of comfortable footwear like flip-flops or sandals. You’ll be taking photos probably, so remember to pack your GoPro, camera or smartphone, but that goes without saying.
The best thing about traveling around Europe is how convenient and easy it is to travel from one destination to another, jumping from one culture to the next. In other regions around the world the foundations of the culture and ways of life normally all tie in with each other. Where as in Europe, you could be a couple hours away from a place that is so different to where you’re situated.
The Latin flair of Spain and Portugal isn’t too far from the shores of the UK, Amsterdam, Belgium and Germany, that’s the beauty of Europe, the variety and the history of each nation. Yet, as much as Europe is a place we all can find somewhere we want to travel and to visit, the costs in Europe are remarkably higher than other typical budget traveller destinations, especially Western Europe.
Now, we all know there are must see’s all around Europe, but it’s the cost it warrants to travel, live, eat, sleep and everything else that can become more difficult. We want to travel as long as possible, so with that in mind, we thought we’d come up with some Europe hacks for you to keep your budget tight, but make the most out of your trip.
These are the best travel hacks for making your way all around Europe on a budget this summer.
1. Sign Up To The Free Attractions
Free walking tours are a great way for you to learn the foundations of a place. You get the chance to do some sightseeing and make friends in the tour too. Plus, getting your bearings is always good with someone who knows where and when to go leading the charge. Also, any other free attractions such as visiting an old church, a viewpoint or a beach are always possible to see without cost.
2. Limit Big Tours, DIY
That being said, tours normally come at a price so if you don’t need to go with one, don’t. Travel is about exploring, and doing it yourself is one of the most liberating experiences. If you can take local transportation to a major attraction to save money rather than paying more on the tour, do it! In Europe things can be expensive, and if you do it more often than not this week, you’ll travel longer. However, for sure, sprinkle in the odd group tour if you can stretch the budget if you dont really want to do any planning or just want an easy way to meet and hang out with a large group, just understand what you will be sacrificing with that money though.
3. Don’t Visit Everything
Do your research before; you don’t have to visit every place you’ve read about, as then it only becomes a bucket list journey. Know what you like, what you’re keen on and what you’ve got budget for.
The Colosseum in Rome, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London; these are all monumental attractions that are on anyone’s travel bucket list, no matter what kind of traveller you are. Just bare in mind that some attractions sound better in a listicle rather than what they actually are, but if you want to see the main attractions then keep to that, this experience is for you.
4. Stay With Worldly Friends
In today’s day and age most travelers have a friend or two from destinations afar. Why? The world is more interconnected; people are moving abroad and traveling more. So if you’re in Munich for the weekend and your German buddy whom you shared drinks with one time lives there, hit him up! You get to see things the local way, free of charge and have a friend to go with too!
5. Try Couchsurfing
If your pool of friends isn’t that vast yet, then Couchsurfing is a more official way of staying with locals for free. You get to meet someone new, and hopefully if they’re a good host they’ll take you to some of the budget friendly places you won’t have any idea they were there.
6. Download an App to Meet People
Travel apps nowadays are extremely helpful; they can save you money and time with your experiences whilst on the road. If you want to meet other like-minded travelers with a similar trip, Travello puts you in touch with people near you. You can make contact with them and see what plans they have.
7. Eat Street Food or Cook For Yourself
Eating out in Europe can be a bit pricey, especially if you’re on a tight daily budget. Nibbling at street food sandwiches or baguettes for 4-5 Euro’s will keep you going, but if you have time, you can cook for yourself at the hostel. Pasta is always the easiest dish, and keeps the costs way down too!
8. Pre-Drinks Always
If clubbing is on the agenda, which in a lot of the cases it is at some point during your travel in Europe, it’s best to pre-drink before the main event. European drinks prices in bars can be high depending where you go, so if you need to stick to a budget, finish off some cheap wine before you go out. You’ll save money doing this for sure.
9. Use Car Share Services
One good thing that you can access whilst traveling Europe are car-sharing services such as Bla Bla Car. Things might get a little squashed in a car full of strangers, but the cost will be a lot lower when traveling around a country, or crossing into another.
10. Bus It Instead of Interrail
Bus companies such, as Flixbus, are ideal for traveling Europe. These services run regularly all day and night in most European countries, and also offer a consistent hop on-hop-off service at cheap rates. Although the Interrail has historically always been cemented as part of a travelers Europe experience, being more practical has to be considered if you’re traveling on a budget.
11. Work In a Hostel For a Bit
If you fell in love of a country and want to see more of it, there is no better way to do it than working in that place so you can really explore its environs. Hostel working normally comes in exchange for accommodation and food, which covers some major costs. At the same time you’ll meet other travelers, locals and get to see the best pockets of the place you fell in the love with in the first place.
The Green Season, One Of Africa’s Best Kept Secrets
There’s no doubting that Africa’s wildlife is easier to spot in the drier winters. The thinning bush and the large number of animals congregating around the waterholes make this a choice time to travel. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t deny yourself a trip to the continent in the off peak months.
While it might not always be seen as the best time to head off on a safari, the green season, which runs from November through April, still has its own plus points and these months are ideal for budding shutterbugs.
Better air and light conditions along with dramatic short-lived thunderstorms (an afternoon storm may reward you with a rainbow) make for impressive photography and the longer days mean you’ll be able to spend more time on the game drive.
The summer rains also leave lush green grasses and flowering plants in their wake, the animal action bursting into life during calving season and migratory birds filling the skies with colour.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Zambia’s, South Luangwa National Park isn’t an obvious contender when it comes to choosing a top safari destination, but it’s often dubbed as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. You won’t find all of the Big Five here, as sadly the rhino was poached to extinction some years ago, but its 9,050 square kilometres are home to 60 different animal species and over 400 bird species.
Going from no sightings to spectacular sightings, after ongoing conservation efforts the wild dog population has put South Luangwa back on the map. These curious creatures are often spotted only a few meters away and green season is one of the best times to spot the packs in action.
The concentration of wildlife around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa, and even more reason to visit, leopard sightings in the national park are outstanding.
Where the walking safari originated, you’ll leave with a more intimate appreciation of the bush and proof of its bucket list status, baby impala, larger than life hippo pods and busy carmine bee-eater and stork colonies will fill your view finder.
Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Photo Credit – Johnny Chen
Kenya’s world renowned Masai Mara Game reserve might be best known for the annual migration, however, when the rains head for the plains you won’t be disappointed.
Make sure you bring enough memory cards as green season always holds some surprises, whether you happen to spy a cheetah chasing its prey, herds of wildebeest and zebra gathering beneath the tropical sun or a leopard climbing into a tree to dry off after an afternoon shower.
This time of year tends to be less popular with visitors, so it’s also worth noting that you won’t be going bumper to bumper with other safari-goers hoping to capture the same wildlife on camera.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Green season is also known as the secret season, and the Okavango Delta certainly has its own in store over the summer. The game viewing becomes even more rewarding as the floodwaters withdraw, leaving more areas open for bush walking.
Expect to see large numbers of sitatunga (a swamp-dwelling antelope), red lechwe, and a plethora of migratory birds including the Woodland Kingfisher.
Mokoro safaris will still be available in the heart of the delta over this period, making this the ideal time to combine water and land based wildlife pursuits.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Photo Credit – South Africa Tourism
Admittedly, dry season is one of the best times to view wildlife in the Kruger, but green season still packs some punch.
Toward the end of November and into early December calving season will be well underway. Aside from spotting the newly born wildlife with their mothers, during this period the park also becomes a predator’s paradise and when the summer migrant birds arrive the skies will be awash with colour.
The best time for a beach and bush combo, don’t forget to add in a few lazy summer days on Cape Town’s sun-kissed beaches, as highs of around 28 degrees celsius are the norm in January and February.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is another lesser known destination, but remember it’s going to be even more of a best kept secret when green season rolls around. There will be plenty of big game viewing with substantial herds of zebra and wildebeest and a fair few predators on the prowl to boot.
The place to be if you’re an avid twitcher, you should definitely bring those binoculars as the number of bird species usually jumps from 400 to around 500!
Acacia Africa (020 7706 4700; acacia-africa.com) SATSA membership No. 1931, ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.
BIO: Arno Delport is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa. Uganda is one of his favourite African countries, he says “It has some of the most beautiful scenery and gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife viewing experience. He also has a soft spot for South Africa, his birthplace. Arno says, “With its amazing wealth of wildlife, beautiful beaches, friendly communities and hip city landscapes, South Africa has it all.”
This is a guest post by Arno Delport, Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa
Start connecting with new travel friends from over 170 countries today.
If you and your loved one are short on honeymoon ideas and wondering what to go for, a tropical holiday in New Caledonia is the answer to your prayers. Whether you are a couple that enjoys in strolling down the beach or that thrives on adrenalin, New Caledonia provides thrills for all. Here are 6 reasons to choose this destination for your ideal romantic escape, based on my experience.
Noumea, New Caledonia’s capital is only a three-hour flight from Auckland, which gives you more time to relax and enjoy with your lover. Once you get there, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a true tropical paradise comprised out of kilometers of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water that are just waiting for you to discover them. You can enjoy in a warm climate, with temperatures that go around 26-30oC in summers and reach up to 25oC in winters. You can stay anywhere on this island that stretches over 400 km, or drop by to magical Isle of Pines, a secluded beach that promises romance, relaxation and a slower-paced holiday.
There are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from in Noumea that cater to all budgets. I’d suggest the Hilton on Anse Vata Beach with a stunning sea view and plenty of bars and restaurants in its vicinity. You can also opt for hotel Le Lagon, which is a little further from Anse Vata beach but a great option for those who want to enjoy in new and modern facilities for a medium price. You can explore New Caledonia deals to book a perfect romantic holiday that suits your style and interests.
Food and drinks
Noumea is a multicultural melting pot of flavors, with a taste of French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian or Indonesian cuisine. I recommend Le Roof at Anse Vata beach, an amazing restaurant where you can indulge in French/Melanesian meals. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to local supermarkets (Geant is huge and well-equipped) and prepare a dinner for two. There are also bottle stores that sell amazing French wine at reasonable prices, such as La Vinotheque, so make sure to include that on your menu as well.
For adrenaline junkies
Adrenaline-charged couples shouldn’t miss skydiving at Oua Tom, where you can parachute or tandem jump for 40 seconds of thrilling free-fall. Before jumping you can enjoy in the breathtaking views over land and sea. You can also go paragliding at Oen Toro, in Noumea’s south, or take a chance with a famous full moon kayak tour of the Drowned Forest in Blue River Provincial Park in the west of Lac de Yate.
For laid-back honeymooners
If you’re seeking a proper honeymoon escape, take it slow by spending hours on the beach or enjoying a day out on a nearby island. Enjoy in the intimate atmosphere of the Amedee Island, where you can post each other letters from the Lighthouse Post Office (smallest in the world) and take long walks hand in hand along beautiful beaches.
Explore the lagoon
New Caledonia is the home of UNESCO protected lagoon, the largest in the world. Here you can find an infinite choice of sports and leisure activities. Go diving and snorkeling around rich colorful coral gardens or try out windsurfing, kitesurfing, or fly boarding. In between snorkeling sessions, enjoy in a beach picnic with baguettes and cheese, while absorbing the serenity of the area.
New Caledonia is the kind of place that immediately grows on you and brings you and your partner closer together. The tremendous beauty and slow rhythm remind you of the important things in life that you should appreciate-including your loved one. Take your chances with New Caledonia for a honeymoon you’ll never forget.
1. Travel is the best thing you will do in your lifetime.
Forget having kids, forget forging a cool career, forget buying a big house or owning the latest, greatest car/boat/watch/gadget – hands down, travel is the one life experience that will make you feel most ALIVE. It will feed your soul and will create memories that will be indelibly inked in your conscience, long after your plane has touched back on home soil.
I am text block. Click edit button to change this text.
Start connecting with new travel friends from over 170 countries today.