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My favourite spots in South-East Asia

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Published: 26 October 2017

Author: Zak Samuels

I enjoyed everywhere that I went on my travels; it was the most amazing four months of my life. The following few places, however, would be some of my favourites over the course of my trip.

Scuba diving on Koh Tao

This was, without a doubt, the single greatest experience of my entire life. I booked my course with Ban’s Diving resort on Koh Tao (there are numerous other schools on the island as well), which includes a classroom-based training session as well as half a day to practice your scuba skills in the pool. There’s nothing that anyone can say, or any video that can do justice to the experience of your first proper dive. It’s like entering a completely different world, the sea life and corals are so vibrant and beautiful you wish you could stay down there forever. It’s a great social experience as well, I was in a group of eight people for both my open water and advanced courses and you all end up bonding really well over everything that you saw on the dives. Just make sure to watch the levels on your tank and don’t run out of oxygen like I did (don’t worry I obviously survived)!

Hiking in Chiang Mai

I went on a three-day hiking trip in the mountains in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. This was my first experience outside of the cities and the views were absolutely breath-taking. We stayed in a small farming village the first night, and our tour guide told us the history of the village and the difference in culture between all the different tribes in the area. Despite my technology addiction it was really nice to not have Wi-Fi and interact with people properly for a change! The second night we stayed in a small hut next to a waterfall it was a great spot to have a swim and a few drinks with all my new friends. On the final day after walking for a few hours we took rafts back down the river to our starting point.
There are various hiking tours available in the area, if you find yourself there make sure you book one of these, it’s a great opportunity to see the natural beauty of Thailand and learn a little about the rural culture while you’re at it.

Hiking in Chiang Mai

I went on a three-day hiking trip in the mountains in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. This was my first experience outside of the cities and the views were absolutely breath-taking. We stayed in a small farming village the first night, and our tour guide told us the history of the village and the difference in culture between all the different tribes in the area. Despite my technology addiction it was really nice to not have Wi-Fi and interact with people properly for a change! The second night we stayed in a small hut next to a waterfall it was a great spot to have a swim and a few drinks with all my new friends. On the final day after walking for a few hours we took rafts back down the river to our starting point.

There are various hiking tours available in the area, if you find yourself there make sure you book one of these, it’s a great opportunity to see the natural beauty of Thailand and learn a little about the rural culture while you’re at it.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Getting up at 4am, taking a particularly bumpy tuk tuk ride in the pouring rain doesn’t normally sound like my idea of a good time. But when the sun comes up over the lake in front of the temple complex you see why this is the south-east Asia experience that everyone recommends. I won’t go into too much detail as there are countless articles online, all I can say is that it’s definitely something you need to experience if you find yourself in Cambodia.

Following the Ho Chi Minh trail

This was something that I hadn’t planned on doing and booked impulsively. Me and my guide Hue spent five days travelling by motorbike following the Ho Chi Minh trail before ending up in Hoi An. His slogan for the trip was “I’m going to show you the real Vietnam”, and I felt that he delivered. The Vietnamese countryside is absolutely stunning, most ‘easy rider’ tour guides explain the history of the country as they take you along, at times this is very sad, you can still see the devastating effect that the war had on the country. We stopped at a few small museums along the way, and you learn things about the American-Vietnam war that you don’t normally see from a Western perspective.

Driving through the Vietnamese countryside is truly captivating, after doing this trip I really wished that I had bought a motorbike upon entering Vietnam, the five days I did wasn’t nearly enough! They’re fairly cheap to buy as many backpackers sell theirs when they reach Hoi An/Hanoi. My biggest regret of the entire trip was not taking more time to travel the country this way.



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