3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

When you think of Southeast Asia the instant thought process is beautiful beaches, palms trees and sipping cocktails all day long without a single care in the world. However, there is no need to exclude those inland destinations that often get neglected when planning your next holiday to the famous tourist region of Asia.

Visiting towns away from the coast line does not mean paradise is instantly taken away, in fact, at times it could be the preferred option. When it comes to choosing any amounts of Inland Destinations in Southeast Asia, the choices are plentiful and you are quite spoilt for options when doing your research. How about a lending hand, below are three inland destinations that must be given every consideration amongst many other splendid locations in Southeast Asia.

A man and his bull

Inland Destinations in Southeast Asia.

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to visit in Southeast Asia

Da Lat, Vietnam

Vietnam is full of chaotic cities and glorious coastlines but in the Central Highlands of Southern Vietnam there is another little secret that’s ready to be explored. Da Lat, is the city I am referring to and it is the picturesque scenery, beautiful lakes and a unique township that makes Da Lat a city that needs every traveller’s attention.

Inland Destination

Inland Destination – Da lat, Vietnam.

What’s to like about Da Lat

–          The picturesque scenery –

Within the Da Lat area or the outskirts, the region is full stunning scenery that gives Da Lat its breathtaking views, add the abundance of natural water features and it becomes a photographer’s dream.

Day tours are naturally very popular in the area and a full day exploring the region is the best way to make the most of the outdoors in Da Lat. Hiring a personal driver is the cheapest and most efficient option to get full value in the day.

Da Lat

Ho Xuan Lake in Da Lat.

Where to go

There are plenty of attractions in Da Lat to go and see, like an amazing bakery in down town Da Lat, a host of Buddhist temples and a magnificent flower centre for those who love colour in their life. Here are a few priorities whenever you reach destination Da Lat.

–          Explore the waterfalls –

Da Lat is full of lively waterfalls with many falls situated far and wide in the surrounding region. Grab a personal driver or hire a car and see as many waterfalls as time allows. The popular falls are the Elephant and Datanla Waterfalls, but take a pick.

Da Lat, Vietnam

Elephant Waterfalls in Da Lat, Vietnam.

–          The Da Lat Flower Centre –

Buzzing with glamor and colour, the Da Lat Flower Centre needs no convincing to be on the list of attractions. A short taxi ride or a decent stroll (preferred) from the city centre, the flower centre is full of various plants, flowers and inside attractions.

–          Da Lat Cathedral –

Even if you are not religious, you will love the light coloured Cathedral of Da Lat, that is a popular attractions for all travellers. No entrance fee is required to go inside the grounds of the Cathedral and a few pictures are bound to be taken, for good reason too.

Da Lat Cathedral

Da Lat Cathedral

Where to Stay

Budget stays and boutique hotels are everywhere in Da Lat and if you are travelling with a family, you can save heaps of dollars by staying at the Nguyen Minh Hostel, the hostel contains private rooms, good location, reasonable bedding and all for only $20-dollars a night.

Inland destinations - Da lat

Ngyuyen Minh Hostel in Da Lat.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud in Bali is bustling town that is full of life and character. About an hour inland from the tourist hotspot in Kuta, you don’t always need a beach to enjoy paradise in Bali, not when you have epic shopping, lively streets and stunning resorts with gorgeous pools take in the Bali heat.

Ubud

Inland Destinations – Ubud, Bali.

What’s to like

–          A vibrant cultural township –

A vibrant culture hits you at once upon reaching your destination. Fine temples, an abundance of rice fields, traditional dances and busy streets with lots going on, is the masterpiece that makes Ubud popular for all tourists.

inland destinations Ubud

The markets in Ubud Bali.

Where to go

Culture shows, market places, temples and many more places to see in Ubud, below is a list that is a must in this vibrant, Balinese town.

–          Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary –

Flock to the Sanctuary where the monkeys are out in full force and will at times attempt to jump on you. Not only a nice stroll in a magical forest with monkeys, inside there are wonderful temple structures to gaze your eyes upon as well. All for a small entrance fee.

Monkey forest temple

Temple with in the forest

–          Tegallalang Rice Terrace –

The gorgeous rice paddies fields and the surrounding scenery will get your camera clicking frantically as capture images so beautiful. No beaches in Ubud, but the Tegallalang is more than a fitting alternative.

–          Balinese Legong Dance –

Nothing says culture in Ubud like the traditional Balinese Legong Dances, that has all sorts of costumes and creatures coming out at night, including beautiful women in a traditional Bali dress. These performances can be found in a couple of locations at different times in the evening and locals are giving away flyers at every corner.

Inland destinations

Balinese Legong dance.

Where to Stay

Magnificent Resorts make up most of the accommodations in Ubud and it can be quite costly. Anyway, do your homework and you will find suitable accommodation for any required budget. A stunner of a resort in Ubud is the Alaya Resort, great restaurants, stunning gardens and beautifully interior designed rooms that makes Alaya the pick of the crop when seeking a luxury stay.

inland destinations

The Alaya Resort in Ubud, Bali.

Vientiane, Laos

When Laos is a landlocked country, any city or town within the borders will obviously be an inland destination. Vientiane is the pick of a lot, mainly because it is such a fascination to visit a Southeast Asian capital city where the population is modest and the streets are not saturated with pedestrians and motor-bikes.

inland destinations Southeast Asia

Inland destinations – Vientiane Laos

What’s to like about Vientiane

–          The Laid-back Nature of a City –

Being a less populated city, it is enjoyable to be able to walk down the streets with freedom, unlike other over populated cities in Southeast Asia. In Vientiane, you can cross the road without any major fears of getting run down and walk the markets without every shop owner begging you to buy their items.

The Laidback nature of Vientiane allows you to cool off with a relaxing beer in the bar, easy access throughout the city either by foot or a tuc-tuc and enjoy local cuisine without the need to rush. It’s Vientiane and you are in their time now.

Morning prayer in Laos

Morning prayer in a Laos Buddhist Temple in Vientiane, Laos.

Where to go

Lots to see and do in Vientiane, Laos with many temples, palaces, parks and attractions on offer, below is a list of many of must see attractions.

–          Patuxai War Monument –

The Patuxai War Monument stands proud in central Vientiane for all to see. A monument built to celebrate the country’s independence from France in the 1950’s, gather to the fine landmark and capture 360-views of the city from the top.

Inland destinations

The Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos.

–          Ban Anou Night Markets –

Opened from five every evening of the day, The Night Markets are one of the finest you’ll see. A vibrant atmosphere with good affordable products on offer, where you can also local street food and enjoy river walks by the Mekong River.

–          The Golden Palace –

One of the finest Buddhist temples in the city with plenty of historical buildings that will occupy the photo album. The Golden Palace will take most of your attention with its stunning colour and large presence a clear standout.

The Golden Palace

The Golden Palace in Vientiane, Laos.

Where to Stay

Vientiane is full of affordable hotels or cheap hostels spread out through the city. The Inter City Hotel has spacious rooms and comfortable beds and is as good as it gets if you want a hotel room with all the comforts. The Hotel overlooks the Mekong River and Night Markets, with café’s, Bor Pen Yang rooftop bar and restaurants within close vicinity.

Intercity Hotel

Intercity Hotel, Vientiane, Laos

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

The Tragic Tale Of Clusters Bombs in the Country of Laos

The Tragic Tale Of Clusters Bombs in the Country of Laos

The Tragic Tale Of Clusters Bombs in the Country of Laos

Every country in the entire world has a story to tell in its long history, whether it is the good, the bad or simply tragic beyond any words. War has divided world for years and the sad truth it will continue down that sorrow path. For the land locked country of Laos in Southeast Asia, cluster bombs were tragic tale of war that claimed innocent lives and is still doing so to this day.

If you visit Vientiane City in Laos, be sure to stop by the COPE visitor centre, not only is it a source of artificial limbs and walking aids in the country, it holds a detailed museum that discusses the tragedy of Laos and its people during the Vietnam war and the following years. It is compulsory viewing to enter the movie room and watch feature length documentary on how the bombs destroyed villagers and their children.

COPE museum

COPE Visitor Centre

 

What are cluster bombs?

A single Cluster bomb is about the size of a tennis ball, the bomblets are then cased together into a larger bomb and ready to be air-dropped. Upon being released from the War planes, hundreds of bomblets are separated from their casing and cause explosion on impact, fatally destroying their intended target. Check out WIKI for more details.

cluster bombs

Cluster Bombs on Dispaly at COPE.

 

How it affected the Lives of Villagers

The problem, apart from the cruel act of war, was during the Vietnam war of the 1960’s and 70’s, the US dropped the cluster bombs over Laos, largely because they didn’t want to bring them back to base in Thailand. Millions of the cluster bombs didn’t detonate on impact and tragically the bombs remained live, buried and hidden from the locals who continued to live and farm in the area.

The villagers needed to farm and the children needed to play and in the years following the War, many lives were lost due to impact with the bomb with gardening tools such as a gardening rake or a shovel. Even uneducated children out having fun had contacted the bomb and were tragically killed or injured in the explosion.

If the bombs didn’t kill, at times the limbs were lost from the explosion and that is how the COPE Visitor Centre came about in 1997. A dedicated area for those who need artificial limbs and help in getting back to some sort of function with walking aids and wheelchairs.

 

COPE

Artificial limbs on display at Cope.

 

What has been done to make it right

To the United States credit, in the following years after the war, a lot of money was put into the project and teams were sent in to recover the undetonated bombs. The good news is the detonation rate has improved, but still to this day many cluster bombs remain live and buried in the soils of Laos.

To end the sombre article on a positive note, in 2016, Barack Obama became the first American President to visit Laos for the Southeast Asia summit and made a $90 million-dollar pledge to clear the unexploded bombs.

For great facts about the Cluster Bombs, check out this detailed website, or even better visit the COPE Museum in Vientiane and find out the tragic details for yourself. I know it left an ache in my own heart but it was great to learn about the history of a nation.

Laos War

Weapons of War

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng – Laos

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng – Laos

It’s the perfect healing therapy from the unforgiving Laos heat, relaxing in the cool fresh waters of The Blue Lagoon in the stunning Vang Vieng area. It refreshes the body and the mind like no other, cooling off in the shade of the overhanging trees that keeps the water refreshing at all times and quite a chill when you first step in.

The Blue Lagoon caps off most day trips that take place in Vang Vieng, whether it is kayaking the Nam Song River, ziplining in the hills or hiking the fabulous outdoors. After a hard slog during the peak of the heat during the day, The Blue Lagoon is the perfect conclusion before heading back to the town at night for a couple of cold Lao’ beers.

The blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng, Laos

 

Getting there

As previously mentioned, The Blue Lagoon can be included on any, very affordable, day trips that are on offer in Vang Vieng. Get down to a travel agent, there are plenty in the area, and check out any deals that include or only include The Blue Lagoon. Either that or get your own way there with various taxis, tuc tuc’s or bikes available in the area.
Staying in Vang Vieng? Check out TripAdvisor for hotels.

Blue Lagoon Vang Vieng

Cooling off in the Blue Lagoon.

 

What to do at The Blue Lagoon

  • Chill in the fresh water: It may come as a horrific fright when you first touch the cold water, but you soon get used to it as you take in the crowds of nationalities around you and marvel in the scenery, then you can sit back and take in the nature around you.
    The Blue Lagoon Laos

    Relax in the cool waters.

  • Splash around: Swinging on the rope and landing in the water, jumping on the tyre, or conquering your fear of heights and jumping off the big branch while making a splash in the water, there is plenty of splash to be had in The Blue Lagoon, whether you’re an adult or a kid in the shallower waters.
    splashing at the Lagoon

    Having a splash.

  • Sunbake in the huts: Had enough of the water in the overcrowded Lagoon and need a little siesta in the Laos sun. Get in quick and grab a hut, roll out the large beach towel and have a little snooze in the afternoon sun, just don’t forget to apply the sunscreen.

    Heading to Vang Vieng? Check out this guide to the picturesque town.

Vang Vieng

Picturesque Views of Vang Vieng.

Lagoon Vang Vieng

Get ready to jump off a tree.

 

 

 

 

12 Favourite Pictures from an Adventure in Laos

12 Favourite Pictures from an Adventure in Laos

Laos provided so many memories in my 2017 adventures I found it appropriate to select a dozen of my favourite pictures and show them to the world. From the proud deeds of volunteering to school kids and monks, visiting picturesque Vang Vieng, to the relaxing atmosphere in the country’s capital, Vientiane, it created fond memories that will last a life time.

Each picture has its own relevance, whether it is epic or holds special meaning, perhaps it’s an attraction I fell in love with or a moment when I laughed out stupid. Whatever it is, these 12 pictures are my favourite from my recent adventure in Laos.

 

  1. An Old man and his bull

    It happened by chance really. I was getting in the tuc tuc and this old man is just staring at a bunch of westerners, hands behind back and a stick in his mouth. Whether that is his bull behind him, I am not sure, bulls were constantly roaming the local villages in Laos, anyway I just love this picture.

    A man and his bull

    A man and his bull in a Laos local village.

     

  2. Teaching English to the monks

    In my life I had never had anything to do with monks, I mean how could I unless I gave it a chance. A trip to Laos changed all this and what an honour it was to meet such gentleman, who at the end of the day were as normal as me and you, with a cheeky sense of humour.

    Teaching monks in Laos

    Teaching Monks in Laos.

     

  3. Picturesque Vang Vieng

    Around a 3-hour bus trip from the Vientiane, Vang Vieng provides a scenic change as nature comes to the fore. A weekend in Vang Vieng provided many highlights especially kayaking the Nam Song River and discovering some amazing scenery.

    Nam Song River

    The Nam Song River in Vang Vieng.

     

  4. Pha That Luang

    The main attraction at Pha That Luang is the amazing Golden Palace, with a bit of work going on around the main attraction it made it hard to get a good photo shot. Anyway I fell in love with this gorgeous temple on the inside and out, with large praying rooms inside the walls.

    Phat That Luang

    This beautiful temple is at the Golden Palace.

     

  5. Patuxai War Monument

    The Putaxai War Monument sits large and loud for all to see in the Laos capital, Vientiane. The monument is a celebration from their independence from the French in the 1950’s and I need to tell you that it holds special meaning the Lao locals.

    Patuxai Laos

    The Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos

     

  6. A bunch of Volunteers

    A hike through the hills of countryside Vientiane with fellow volunteers during culture week, ended up with a picnic on top of the rock with a great scenic view all around you. It’s fair to say this is a popular location for all volunteers who go through The Green Lion organisation.

    volunteers in Laos

    A hike with fellow volunteers in Laos.

     

  7. A lone Monk

    Again taken by chance as this friendly monk is walking away after a chat with the group. I quickly grabbed the camera from the bag and took a shot of the lone monk with temples and nature in the background.

    A lone Monk

    A Lone Monk.

     

  8. A time to Pray

    Exploring the Vat Pana Khoun Temple on a lazy Friday, it was fascinating to stumble upon the temple that saturated with locals and monk for prayer time. With rows of people sitting with their logs crossed as a monk is echoing his prayers through a microphone, it sounded very spiritual. As you can see for yourself, the interior design inside is quite stylish.

    Morning prayer in Laos

    Morning prayer in a Laos Buddhist Temple.

     

  9. The Volunteer house

    The volunteer house was quite neat considering it was sort of 3rd world conditions, basic bedding with no air-conditioner and sports field made of gravel (watch those grazed knees). Still with the dirty dam waters, bamboo huts and bridges, it actually made for a pleasant stay at The Green Lion Volunteer house.

    Green Lion

    The volunteer house in Laos.

     

  10. Wat Sisaket

    A lot of temples in the Vientiane City and Wat Sisaket was hands down my favourite temple.  I loved the design, either from structural or the landscapes around. I even loved the fact that I was standing on the grounds of a temple that was around 400-hundred years old.

    Wat Sisaket

    Wat Sisaket in Vientiane, Laos.

     

  11. An overview of Vientiane

    To get the best aerial shot of Vientiane, all you need to do is go a top of the Patuxai War Monument and you’ll get it. Sure it may be hard work climbing the steps, but it is worth it as you get a great view of a fascinating city from a 360 angle. Always nice to see a capital city with little to none high-rise buildings.

    Aerial view of Vientiane

    A view of Vientiane from the Patuxai War Monument.

     

  12. A group photo with the school kids

    Bright, energetic and way concerned that they are not blessed with the electronics that the modernised kids have these days. It was a pleasure and hard work to teach the kids but worth it for the experience. This group shot with students and volunteers was gold, get a  camera out and students storm in from all directions, especially that cheeky little kid at the front, who managed to get himself at the front of the picture and loved every minute of it.

    Laos volunteering

    Volunteering in a Laos primary school.

 

 

A Photo Gallery of Vientiane City in Laos

A Photo Gallery of Vientiane City in Laos

Vientiane City in Laos is only new when it comes to foreigners, opening its doors to tourism in the 1990’s. It makes the capital of Laos a fascinating city to visit, especially if discovering new cultures is your forte. With a gallery of grand things to see, Vientiane should certainly be on your list when touring into South East Asia, except for now why don’t you check out my own little gallery of Vientiane City.

Heading to Vientine? Check out TripAdvisor for hotels.

 

Overview of Vientiane

Overview of Vientiane, Laos from Victory Monument.

Vientiane City

The Vientiane city, does not reach the population of other major capital cities in South East Asia, but the laidback nature can be a welcome change than the hustle and bustle you can accustomed to in other areas. Plenty of markets, temples, museums, café’s, restaurants, bars and shopping make up most up most of the activities in the Laos capital of Vientiane.

 

Vientiane City

The streets of Vientiane, Laos.

Patuxai War Monument

It is what the people of Laos are most proud of in their country, this grand building that stands mighty in the Vientiane City for everyone to see. The Patuxai War Monument celebrates the country’s independence from France and it is a pleasure to visit and view the city from great heights.

 

Patuxai Monument, Laos

Entering the Patuxai.

The Golden Palace

Situated in the heart of Vientiane city, the Golden Palace is one of the most famous temples in the capital. While the Golden Palace in its glorious colour of gold is the main attraction, there are many other temples and buildings to view on the palace grounds.

 

The Golden Palace

The Golden Palace.

Wat Sisaket

You’ll find in this city that temples make up a lot of the city and Wat Sisaket is no exception when it comes stunning temples in the area. It is unique in design with the main temple situated in the middle with a cleverly crafted terrace on the outside which is popular for a prayer with the locals.

 

Sisaket Museum

Sisaket Museum

 

Wat Ho Phra Kaew

This glorious temple that is centuries old, is beautiful in design and has lovely garden features to go with it. Built in 1565 to house the Emerald Buddha come a see in its beauty a rich history of Vientiane City.

 

Ho Phra Keo Museum

Ho Phra Kaew Museum.

Chao Anouvong Park

Situated near the Mekong River, therefore only a stone throw from Thailand, Chao Anouvang Park is the life of the city. Take a stroll through the park and view the statue of King Anouvong, then in the evening check out the Night Markets and get in on some Laos entertainment.

 

King Anouvong statue

King Anouvong statue, Vientiane.

Walk through a local village

If you get the chance venture a little way out of Vientiane City and visit a local village. Check out how the locals live, farm their crops, the houses they live in, the boutique marketplaces and smiles on the villages faces as they get through everyday life without the luxuries of the western civilized world.

 

Laos village

The old man and his bull in a Laos Village.

5 Reasons Why you Should Visit Undeveloped Countries

5 Reasons Why you Should Visit Undeveloped Countries

Underdeveloped countries aren’t those that are necessarily unheard or lack any familiarity, they still get their share of tourist that gather in waves of numbers. Yet when it comes to recognitions, the underdeveloped countries don’t seem to match it with the popular tourist destinations such as Thailand, Singapore and Bali.

Inspired by a recent trip to Laos, a fascinating and cultural, yet underdeveloped country in South East Asia, it had me thinking why such a country was not talked about more often. Sure, it lacked theme parks, flush waterparks or booming attractions that has kids excited at the bit, yet there was so much to discover in a country like Laos, lavish temples, historic buildings and unheard history which was at times truly heartbreaking.

There are many more countries that are similar in conditions to Laos that I would love to visit, especially those that are not saturated with other travellers, or heavy population where it can be difficult to even breathe. Not that I don’t love those saturated areas, at times it is great to have a change in travel plans and see something a little different and a little less luxury.

 

Local Laos Village

A local village in Laos

 

Let’s get into the reasons why you should visit underdeveloped countries.

  1. Western Civilisation has yet to take over:

    Perhaps it should be the American franchises haven’t taken over yet. There is little to none fast food outlets such as McDonalds or KFC. Cities are not saturated with modern glossy stores or shopping malls and decent public transport has yet to make their way into the country. You are visiting a country that still has its own identity and is that a special reason to visit and underdeveloped country.
  2. Culture is well and truly alive:

    Local culture is a thing of beauty, the way they live their everyday life, their family values, their religious beliefs, all values that need to be respected when visiting because. The best thing is that they are not littered with other western civilised countries trying to build their way into the underdeveloped country and crash the local culture, well not yet anyway, but change does happen.

  3. New traditions are to be discovered

    New traditions, new buildings, new historic sites and new people are ready to be discovered. Be the envy of your family and friends as you explore places that are rich in tradition and have history that people know little about. It could make a great dinner conversation.
  4. Explore a local village:

    Nothing says local like stepping into a village, where technology is limited and WIFI is unheard of. The housing is basic, sometimes just bamboo, they farm their own crops and gather their own meat. Still the locals are smiling, the kids are laughing and everyone is pulling their weight to get through the day. It is a great sight to see.

  5. It is generally an affordable holiday:

    The underdeveloped countries are generally very affordable, whether it a hotel room, merchandise from a market, or food in a restaurant, it all comes at a crazy low price and your day to budget is maintained with ease. And isn’t that a good thing for your bank account.

 

What are you waiting for? When planning your next holiday, do something different, visit a country like Laos, or Nepal, perhaps even Cuba and enjoy a different travel experience.

Laos Temple

Beautiful temples are a great sight in Laos

 

Take action – List in the comments below the underdeveloped country or countries you have visited? I would love to know where you have been. Or which country would you like to visit?

Laos

A lone monk walks in Laos