I had just arrived on Koh Phi Phi island, and I was exhausted. The very thought of trudging around the island with my oversized backpack in search of a hostel made me grouchy. As I tried to figure out which direction to start walking in, my oversized backpack and I stood in the middle of the walkway inconsiderately forcing the pedestrian traffic to maneuver around me. And then I looked up, and problem solved! I found myself at the foot of the steps of the most glorious accommodation I had seen in months, Phi Phi Hotel.
Chiang Mai was like a breath of fresh air for me – literally: Crisp, clean air filled my lungs as I stepped off the train and onto the platform, leaving me instantly revitalized. A picturesque little city bordered by a river that marked its perimeter, Chiang Mai was the perfect dose of small town life that I needed. Aware of the fact that I only had one night to recharge before I hit the road again, I quickly made it to the centre of town to book the long awaited Trek and Elephant tour that I heard so much about.
As we spilled out of the tightly packed market and onto the road after taking the River Boat, I couldn’t quite figure out where I was. According to my map, I was supposed to be at the foot of the Grand Palace, but all I could see was a long road running alongside some tall cement walls. I figured that the attraction had to be on the other side of the wall, so I began to walk. After a block or so, the street life began to dwindle as the road transitioned into a residential one. Back I went in the other direction. Walking down the tuk tuk-lined road, and alongside the mysterious large cement wall, I had a feeling that I was headed in the right direction.
Forget about airplanes! Flying is often more expensive, time consuming and essentially the dull alternative to getting around Southeast Asia. Stick to land transport – it’s a money and time saver, as well as an adventure at the very least!
Here are the Best Ways to get Around Southeast Asia without Flying:
6 Amazing Free Things to Do in Singapore
[Guest Post by Author Jessica Norman]
Singapore, Southeast Asia’s financial hub is more known as the Lion City.
It is also a great haven for tourists that want to have a fine holiday.
Visiting Singapore can a bit pricey compared to other Southeast Asian
countries but you can have a great time without spending a dime. Here are
great tips to enjoy Singapore for a song.
Stroll down Chinatown
Take pictures of old Chinese shophouses that line the streets of
Chinatown. Some of the temples are free to visit like the Buddha Tooth
Relic Temple which is surely a hit among culture lovers. Chinatown
showcases the Chinese heritage that helped shape the Singapore of today.
Window shopping at Orchard road
Singapore is a shopping mecca but if you don’t have the dough then you can
just stroll and do some window shopping among the numerous high-end and
specialty shops along Orchard road. Orchard road packs a great ambience of
sophistication and modernity that is refinement defined.
Photoshoot at Merlion
The Merlion statue is the most famous photo opportunity for most tourists
visiting the Lion city. The statue adorns Marina Bay in the aptly named
Merlion Park. The statue is the perhaps the most famous landmark and the
highlight of any visit to this wonderful city-state at the heart of
Nightlife at Sentosa
Some of Sentosa’s nightspots offer free cover charge. Sentosa Beach is
usually fee-free to enter. It is best to join in the fun during Friday and
Saturday nights as there are lots of parties going on.
Stroll down Little India
Home to the Indian community of Singapore, Little India can provide the
culture vulture a lot of things to gawk for. The Sri Veeramakaliamman
temple is one of the oldest. You can look for the great saree and if you
happen to visit during one of the fantastic Indian festivals you will
surely get great enjoyment experiencing authentic Indian culture. Little
India provides great atmosphere and lots of exciting celebrations of
Indian culture and way of life.
Trip to Botanic Gardens
Visit one of the most impressive botanic gardens in the world. The
Singapore Botanic Garden is a place for people to enjoy nature and get
some shade from the towering trees and plants that adorn the place. Great
followers of tropical flora can get spot a lot of species thriving on this
botanic garden that is numbered to be more than a thousand.
Visiting and spending time in Singapore need not be expensive. You just
need to know what the free things to do in the city-state are. Singapore
is a place of vibrance and diversity and that alone is a tourist
attraction which you can surely enjoy watching and experiencing.
Jessica Norman is from the website Howmuchisit.org. Whether you want to
find the cost of something travel related or a health procedure, there’s a good chance that it’s here. Feel free to browse her website of more than 3,200 cost
I’m always scrambling for words when people ask me to describe Bangkok.
The capital cities of its neighbouring countries seem to pale in comparison to Bangkok’s vast and thriving metropolis. The sight of flashing lights, tuk tuks jostling with SUVS, and roadside kiosks at the foot of sky scrapers that rub shoulders with ancient temples blew me away. To me, Bangkok was an enigma – I somehow left unsettled with a feeling of disconnect, and totally puzzled as to how I felt about the city.
It irks me when people let one bad experience form their opinion about a country. I find it rather puzzling when I hear people say things like, “I hate Vietnam because I had my wallet stolen there.” Although I’m sure having your wallet stolen would put a damper on your travels, I don’t think it should have any reflection on the beauty of a country and its people. Let’s face it: There are few places in the world where there isn’t someone looking to make a quick buck off a tourist.
It was my second time in Bangkok, and I had just arrived at 11pm, totally exhausted after the long haul from Koh Phi Phi Island. Flashing fluorescent city lights were blinding me, and the irritating combination of horns and nightclub base rang in my ear as I sat in the back of a squeaky tuk tuk in New York City style gridlock. I could see Khao San Road in the distance, so I tapped the driver on the shoulder and asked him to let me out, figuring it would be much faster to walk. Fatigue started to set in, and my backpack felt like it had doubled in weight as I searched for a place to stay. I got a sudden whiff of Indian food, so I let my stomach lead the way. About half a block later I ended up in front of the Rainbow Hostel and Guesthouse, which had an Indian restaurant in its lobby. My mouth began to water as I shuffled around some patrons to get to the desk in the back.
Bona fide travellers long to experience a destination like the locals. Taking a few tours and visiting main attractions just isn’t enough, and often leaves a huge void due to the absence of a true cultural experience. So how can one attain this “true cultural experience”? By volunteering! Working together with the locals grants a volunteer with the unique understanding of a culture – something that is very difficult to gain as a visitor looking in. Read more
I was so looking forward to taking a pleasant scenic train ride along the Vietnam countryside heading for Hoi An. I certainly didn’t expect a bullet train, but neither did I expect snail rail. When I purchased my train ticket from the agent, she provided detailed instructions on how to locate the correct platform and train. Now, there’s something about Hanoi, that even knowing what to expect sends me into panic mode when I see crowds of people rushing around. It was about 6pm when I checked my watch and looked down at my sheet of instructions, according to which I was not permitted to enter the platform until 6:45pm. But suddenly, the big platform doors were flung open and it was as if the entire station jumped up from their seats and made a mad rush for the doors. Read more