Is Your Traveller’s Heart Taking You To South-East Asia?

Is Your Traveller’s Heart Taking You To South-East Asia?

Contributed to Fair Dinkum Traveller

When it comes to planning a weekend break, a lot of people don’t need to invest more than a few hours to research the perfect location and the ideal flight to get there. It’s easy to understand why. Between last minute deals and a getaway that doesn’t require a lot of planning, the click and buy generation is taking over the short holiday market.

There’s no shame about it. After all, sometimes all you need is a quick escape out of everyday routine to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t really matter where you’re going if you’re only going to spend a couple of days there. It’s all about not being at home – or at work for that matter – and instead enjoying the taste of life elsewhere, far away from your daily worries. It’s the quick beach break, the cultural city getaway, or the outlandish countryside weekend.

However, there comes a time when you want something else from your holiday, when it needs to be more than a quick bubble of peace. You know the feeling: You’re drained and you want to rethink your life priorities and set things in the right order for you. That’s the kind of life crisis that calls for a long holiday where you can immerse yourself in a new culture, mindset and landscape. You can’t just click and book a long holiday without considering the destination carefully. If you want to come back feeling refreshed and enlightened, you need to aim for south-east Asia. The Far East, as it used to be called, is rich in history, adventures and flavours. More importantly, it offers the perfect spiritual platform to question your motives and redefine your life.

 

Time in Laos

Enjoy South-East Asia at its finest like at Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos.

 

The countries of south-east Asia

If you haven’t got a map of the world at hand, south-east Asia is a subregion of Asia that refers to all countries that are situated in a region south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. For simplicity, it’s said to consists of what used to be Indochina, and the historical East Indies and Malay Archipelago. Geographically, it’s the equivalent of about 8.5% of the world’s population, which makes it the third most populous region in the world – the two others being south Asia and east Asia. In other words, if you’re going to south-east Asia for a taste of isolation, you might have picked the wrong part of the world for that. But the region has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, history and even business if you’re looking to start a new life elsewhere.

 

South-East Asia travellers heart

Lara Croft’s temple in Cambodia

 

INDOCHINA

The French influence in Vietnam

Vietnam was one of France’s most profitable colonial possessions after the country gain control over the North of Vietnam as a result of a victory in the Sino-French War of 1883-1884. As with any colony around the world; the themes of exploitation of raw materials, workforce and other natural resources are to be expected. But the French rule has left in Vietnam a variety of historical architecture and customs that give the country its particular attitude. In fact, French architecture is so dominant that the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An and Hanoi. More interestingly, this isn’t the only vestige of a colonialist past in Vietnam. Indeed, according to https://theculturetrip.com, you can find a culinary influence from patisseries to restaurants in most of the country. In fact, if you’re looking to start your career in the gastronomy industry and learn from the best chefs, Vietnam is definitely the place to be.

 

Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.

 

Thailand, a beautiful country that is shut to foreign opportunities

If you want to enjoy more beaches and less colonialist guilt, take a trip to wild Thailand, and especially Khao Lak. Why there? Because it’s a little less than two hours’ drive from the Island of Phuket, but it benefits from a peaceful and relaxing environment. You won’t find the crowd of tourists you expect so that you can have the sunset, the sandy beaches and the resorts almost to yourself. It’s a little bubble of paradise that awaits you every year between November and May in this area of Thailand. However, you may find it difficult to make a living in Thailand, even if you fall in love with the country and decide to stay. There are very little business opportunities for non-native citizens as a Thai-born person has to own the majority of a company. Only US citizens can own up to 100% of a company in Thailand, but they still need a minimum capital first.

 

Koh Samui

Koh Samui – Thailand.

 

A taste of Lara Croft in Cambodia

If you still remember Angelina Jolie exploring the ruins of a temple in Tomb Raider, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can find these temples in Cambodia. Admittedly; since Angelina went running there in her tiny shorts, the place is crawling with tourists. But with a good guide, you can still see everything and revive your old Lara Croft’s memories. If you’re ready to get up early, you can visit the magnificent Sunrise at Angkor Wat – although be ready to be there before 5:30 am. You can find the famous Tomb Raider’s temple, Ta Prohm, with its intertwined tree roots too. You won’t have much difficulty to imagine life in Cambodia if you’re not afraid to downsize a bit. In fact, a couple of American tourists have made Cambodia their home since 2015 and despite low earnings – less than $35,000 a year – they have all they need. They’re the happiest they’ve ever been in Phnom Penh.

 

Start your spiritual journey in Laos

What if you just want a spiritual awakening for your holiday? Laos is often described as a mystical country by those who have visited it. The most important thing that tourists will tell you about the country is that it remains completely outside the spotlight. There’s barely any tourists in Laos, which means that you can take a good look at ancient Buddhist temples without getting up at dawn to avoid the crowd. Consequently, it’s a great place to find out more about Buddhism and exploring your spiritual side at your own pace. Make sure to attend the Luang Prabang ceremony in northern Laos before you leave. Every morning the monks walk in town to collect the food offerings. You can ask the locals how to participate.

 

South-East Asia - Laos

Temple in Laos

 

The city of the many pagodas and temples in Myanmar

Another great place to explore your spiritual side is Myanmar, and especially Yangon, the city that has some of the oldest pagodas and temples in the country. Some are even believed to date back to the lifetime of Gautama Buddha over 2500 years ago. The oldest pagoda in Burma, the Shwedagon is a 99 metre-high stupa that is entirely covered in gold. It’s a place of pilgrimage for many Buddhists as it enshrines a hair relic of Siddhartha Gautama. You can see it from anywhere in town, and it’s impossible not to feel its aura. If you find your calling in Myanmar and are wondering about staying and embracing a new lifestyle, you might be interested in reading this interview http://www.goaway.sg/life-in-myanmar that explains how the expat life feels like in Yangon. As a general rule, locals are friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Besides, you can experience a frontier market in a Buddhist culture, which makes it both challenging and peaceful at the same time.

 

EAST INDIES & MALAY ARCHIPELAGO

Indonesia, the melting pot of cuisines and cultures

There is no bigger melting pot in south-east Asian than in Indonesia. Jakarta, home to 10 million people, offers a tour of colonial architectures, live music venues and fine dining restaurants, all within a few yards from each other. Needless to say that there’s a lot to see and experience in Indonesia, from a metropole culture in Jakarta to UNESCO-listed national parks and volcanoes to hike up on Java. If you love the creative juxtaposition of cultures, wildlife, and without mentioning the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, you’ll be happy to know that the house prices are low: https://rumahdijual.com/. In fact, you can buy a manor house with garden for the price of a small family home in the UK.

 

South-East Asia - Java

Buddhist temple on Java

 

The country of the thousands of islands

With over 7,000 islands to choose from, you know that visiting the Philippines will be an adventurous experience. In fact, for most people, it can be difficult to know where to start, but here’s a little overview of the best sites to see. El Nido, for Pinoy travellers, offers one of the world’s most picture-perfect seascapes, without mentioning its fantastic limestone cliffs. If you’re wondering what Heaven looks like, El Nido might be the closest thing you’ll find to it. If you want a feel for the old history of the place, spend some time in the UNESCO-listed town, Vigan where the Spanish architecture continues to tell the tales of the past. However, you can forget any dream of making your life in the Philippines: Foreigners are not allowed to own property.

Whether you want to reboot your life or just to clear your mind, south-east Asia offers a multitude of landscapes, spiritual encounters, fascinating cultural backgrounds and exciting business opportunities to help you on the way. All you need is to pack your luggage and start your self-discovery tour.

 

Bang Nieng Khoa Lak

Enjoy South-East Asia at its best like at this Khao Lak Markets.

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...
Booking.com
Booking.com

Travel Report: Jan to June 2017 – Six Countries in 6 Months

Travel Report: Jan to June 2017 – Six Countries in 6 Months

Six countries in six months won’t break any records but it was good to get out and explore the world and see different cultures at every opportunity. It started with Vietnam and ended with a brief trip to Bangkok. Every country had its own unique difference but each six countries were as unique and special as the next.

Let’s take a peek at the travel report for January to June 2017 –  Six countries in six months.

Patuxai Monument, Laos

The stunning Patuxai War Monument.

Vietnam

The year in 2017 started with little madness in chaotic Ho Chi Minh City. The first visit to the Vietnamese city, it was a real eye opener from the moment we arrived, grabbed our Visas, luggage and made our way on to the streets of the city using Uber. The chaos had well and truly begun.

A family trip and our first visit to Vietnam, we didn’t waste any time checking out the great attractions of Ho Chi Minh City, visiting great locations such as the four islands on the Mekong River, Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Museum, Ben Thanh Markets and stunning French architected buildings like the Cathedral and the Old Post Office. BTW the Vietnamese food is the real winner around these parts, especially the rice noodle soups and so cheap.

Da Lat was the next little city we visited in Vietnam, a short plane ride and we were in greener pastures with divine mountain ranges. The city centre of Da Lat still packed a punch, it’s what’s on the outside that delivers its real beauty with lovely lakes, stunning waterfalls and epic scenic nature.

Bitexco Financial Building

Bitexco Financial Building in Ho Chi Minh City.

Da Lat

Beautiful Da Lat

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One night in Kuala Lumpur, certainly not enough time in the Malaysian city, but enough to get a little tease. A modern city that delivers on all fronts, with shopping, food stalls and of course famous high-rise buildings known around the world. This great city left such a positive reflection on me, that I will be back in April 2018 for a longer stay.

K tower

Kuala Lumpur Tower in all its lights

 

Bali, Indonesia

An accidental trip to Bali but I will take it any way I can, especially when I got the opportunity to work with two luxury resorts on the Indonesian Island. It started on the white sands of Tanjung Benoa, a real hit with the water sports. I stayed at the Sakala Resort, a perfect stay for any luxury escape in paradise, with a stunning beach club, swimming pools and restaurants.

Check out the link to Sakala Resort post.

Sakala Resort

The Sakala Resort

 

Next stop in Bali was inland to Ubud, a pretty tourist township known for its rice fields and monkeys. I stayed at the incredible Alaya Resort, beautiful in many ways with its stunning rice fields being the back drop to the Manisan Restaurant. The resort has lovey lovely outdoor setting with large palm trees and boutique swimming pools as well as the decorative Indonesian theme throughout Alaya. It was a pleasure to stay in a fine resort such as the Alaya.

Check out the link to the Alaya Resort post.

Bali

Alaya Resort.

 

Perth, Western Australia

A quick trip to Perth for a camping in a slightly different environment away from the woods and in the vicinity of the CBD. The time in Perth during this Easter break was not wasted at all, exploring the city centre and the beautiful Elizabeth Quay, discovering Whiteman Park and getting up close and personal to a few Australian Native Animals and we even stopped in at NIB stadium to watch Perth Glory play a little soccer.

City of Perth

City of Perth, so close you can touch it.

 

Vientiane, Laos

A journey of a different type, this time volunteering to school kids and Monks in Laos. It was an incredible experience like no other in my life. The proud feeling of giving back to travel and helping a community in need gave a great strength of personal satisfaction. The trip was not cheap but it was fulfilling nonetheless.

Obviously, there was a time to do some sightseeing, checking out Vientiane and the attractions it had on offer such as various temples, markets, shopping malls and the Patuxai War Monument. It is a smaller city but it is steep in culture and tradition.

Vang Vieng was another little city that I visited in Laos. A pretty city with lovely mountain ranges and the Nam Song River giving I is picturesque scenic look. The city itself is full of foreigners looking for a good time, with a range of bars and clubs that keeps the party going all night.

Golden Palace

Golden Palace, Vientiane, Laos

Blue Lagoon

The blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng, Laos.

 

Bangkok, Thailand

Another one night transit stay and another tease. Not too far away from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, I stayed at the Thong Ta Resort, perfect for transit stay. In the brief visit, I explored the streets of Bangkok, wandered through some markets and tasted some delicious food from the streets of Thailand.

artwork of Thong Ta

Great artwork at the Thong Ta resort in Bangkok.

 

What’s next in 2017?

Right now, the second half of 2017 is a little low key, but that’s what I initially thought of the first of 2017 when in planning. As of this stage, travel plans for the rest of the year are planned around the great state of Western Australia and another trip to Thailand where I will visit Phuket and Khao Lak. Stay tuned for some great travel stories to come and who knows where I will land next.

Six countries

Six countries in Six months

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...

Uber your way around Ho Chi Minh City

Uber your way around Ho Chi Minh City

I have a few pet hates in life. Getting ripped off and being taken advantage of. Life’s little cruel acts that happen to us all from time to time. I know, I know, it’s only little things. But, we all have those little things that piss us off.

As a traveller, I am always mindful of that local who thinks they can drive the price up on clumsy tourists. For example, getting the price driven up on you while shopping at a local market, or a taxi driver ripping you off by a deliberately taking a longer route home.

You all know what I am talking about. Been there, done that.

Enter Uber. You know, that new craze taking the world by storm. Where you order a driver through the Uber app on your phone, the fee is pre-determined and pre-paid by your registered credit card. It truly was my saviour on a recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and it became a useful friend.

Uber

Let the Uber driver get you through Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ease of it all

You know the fee before you get in the car. No ifs, no buts, no arguments. You don’t get ripped off by the driver and vice-versa, you can’t cheat the driver. It’s a win-win.

Save your coins

No need to get your foreign cash out, save it for the shopping or a good meal. Your credit card is registered through the app and the rest takes care of itself.

Cheaper than a taxi

I used a taxi early in my Vietnam trip, what a fool. Therefore, I know on average I saved a good 4-5 dollars per trip, using Uber. Maybe it doesn’t seem such a big deal for a single trip, but times it by ten and all the sudden you’re looking at a big saving. That equals a heck of a lot of meals in a South-eastern Asian country.

The Uber drives are quite cool

The driver’s got me from point A to point B in a safe manner. In Vietnam, the locals English is not so good, so the drive is rather quiet but you get to your destination. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I used Uber on a couple of occasions. The English in Malaysia is quite good and it as great to have a chat with a local driver and learn about their country. Even share a laugh or two.

I had to get out of my comfort zone in a foreign country to get hooked on to Uber, and while I know their services have been around a while. I am just glad I got hooked Vietnam and with the amount of times I used their services, I saved a heap of cash.

Read more about my Adventures in Asia, right here.

Uber

Uber your way around Ho Chi Minh City

 

One Night in Kuala Lumpur

One Night in Kuala Lumpur

One night in Kuala Lumpur, when one night is never enough. It is hard to fathom why someone may spend to choose one night in such a clean, modern and beautiful city, but when you are in transit, it sure beats sitting around the airport.

What do you do with one night in Kuala Lumpur? 18-hours to be exact. There is not a great deal, except to see an exciting city for the first time. You get through customs and get to your budget hotel previously booked, which takes about an hour from the international Airport.

KL

Wet and misarable on the drive in.

So, after all that and a quick settle in, it’s time to get to your feet, there is a city to see after all. Unfortunately for me the sun had gone down by this stage. Perhaps it wasn’t so unfortunate. Kuala Lumpur is brilliant under lights, much like most big cities.

The big city is alive. The food street is buzzing, restaurants workers are asking politely to eat at their shop, finally you give into a demand and you sit down and eat some delicious Malaysian meal, Buttered prawns, clams, grilled pork and roasted duck. It’s making me hungry thinking of my only dinner in Malaysia.

One Night in Kuala Lumpur

One Night in Kuala Lumpur at lots of food around.

After you eat dinner, you still feel peckish. There are so many food stalls, so you grab and run also and perhaps buy a souvenir or two. In Kuala Lumpur, there’s also a street dedicated to massage parlours, I don’t give into the demands to stop in for a foot rub on this occasion, although the temptation was there. So, you keep on wandering.

You know the city is famous for some landmark buildings so you try and find some vantage points, careful not to get lost and remembering the stay is short. While I don’t quite get to the Kuala Lumpur tower or the Petronas Twin Towers, you can tell from a distance it is magnificent in all its lights.

K tower

Kuala Lumpur Tower in all its lights

It’s all getting late. In the morning, I have a long flight back to Perth, Australia. It’s time to get back to the hotel. By the way, I was staying at the Corona Inn Hotel, a very nice boutique hotel. Recommended if you want to stay in the heart of the city on a budget.

I have been tempted and seduced by a fabulous city. I will return again and hopefully real soon, there is so much more to see and food to eat.

One night in Kuala Lumpur, whatever was I thinking.

Street foods

Great street foods in Kuala Lumpur

Corona inn

Large rooms at Corona Inn Hotel in KL

2017 – Rise to Another Level

2017 – Rise to Another Level

If you are not looking for ongoing improvement in the world of travel blogging, then you should get out of the kitchen. This is not for you and perhaps your passions lie elsewhere. Because in life that is what we are all about, Improvement, whether it is being a better father or husband, or better at your job, we are always looking to rise to another level.

That is what it’s all about for Fair Dinkum Traveller in 2017, improvement. To create better content, better photography and videos, improve social media skills and as I have mentioned already, rise to that next level.

Follow me on this ride that will be 2017 year in travel, it promises to be a wild and exciting one.

All set for 2017

Travel Plans for 2017

Travel plans can often change, or hopefully added to, but let’s take a look at what is already planned for 2017 as new cultures and destinations are discovered.

  • Vietnam: My first trip to Vietnam kicks off the year and I can’t wait. Not a long enough trip but I will be exploring the Southern half of the country with a good amount of time in the chaotic Ho Chi Minh City and the more laidback small city of Dalat.
  • Malaysia: Another short stop, but heck I will see what I can get out of my really trip in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Laos: This will be my first volunteering trip and how excited am I. Landing in Vientiane, I will travel an hour out of the capital to a small village where I will put my English skills to the test as I teach to the youth. Follow me on this journey as I delve deep into the world of volunteering.
  • Thailand: Chiang Mai and Bangkok will be on the list the next time I head to Thailand. Once again new destinations will be discovered and that is the joy of travelling.
  • Bali, Indonesia: My second trip to Bali and why not, it is close to home and it is a great place to visit for cheap cold beer and relaxing by the pool.
  • Australia: My home country. Therefore, I am bound to find a thing or two about this great country.

 

Great food will hopefully be found at outlets like this.

What’s new for 2017

Rise to another level will be my personal motto. But how will it happen? I do have plans for a big year with ideas being conjured up all the time. Whether they go live in the near future or scrapped altogether is another thing completely. This is what is in store for 2017.

Live Facebook Videos: Catch a few snippets of some amazing destinations as they come with Facebook live. It will be quick, so don’t blink.

Fair Dinkum Travel Show: Video is the way of the future and I don’t want to be left behind as I look to improve my skills. I will be running a regular travel show, going for about ten-minutes, and will be putting it on YouTube channel and Facebook page. Stay tuned for this one.

looking to rise in 2017.

Winter Snow

My first fictional novel has been in the works for a long time now and I am sick of living in fear at whether it will be any good. Come Christmas time I will be looking to release my debut Novel, Winter snow. If you love, adventure, travel and romantic thrillers, this novel could be perfect for you. Read the synopsis below.

Tormented by his childhood. Left devastated a broken love. Charlie Bennett flees his home town of Karratha in Australia in hope for a new life. His new found adventure unexpectedly lands him in Muju, South Korea. Awaiting is a new journey, new cultures and a forbidden love that threatens to throw his young life into further turmoil.

 

There you have it, a quick look at what’s in store for 2017. Follow Fair Dinkum traveller closely and see if it lives up to the hype. Happy Travels.

Transit in Style

Transit in Style

Airports can be a downright pain in the rear sometimes. Especially in transit. Long waits on a seat that at first are comfortable, but after time it feels like you sitting on needles as your back begins to stiffen. You feel fatigued and sleep is near on impossible. There is only so much shopping you can do in duty free stores, only so much you can carry with you and only so much your wallet will allow you to spend.

And don’t get me started if you got kids. It’s worse.

Now I am sorry. This article won’t solve all your transit problem. That is unless you are in a major airport that has accommodation in transit, without having to go through immigration. Now that is pure gold class. That is exactly what the Kuala Lumpur International airport has to offer with the Sama-Sama Express Hotel.

Transit at Sama-Sama

Transit at Sama-Sama.

Sama-Sama Express Hotel

The Sama-Sama Express is located in the Kuala Lumpur International 2 airport. A hotel where you can book a room for singles, couples or families in blocks of hours with the minimum being six hours per stay. At a pretty reasonable price.

  • The Benefits: As I said you can book in block of hours, it is perfect for the overnight transition, so you wake up feeling relaxed and fresh when you arrive at your next destination.
  • What do they have: Showers, a restaurant, bed and a wakeup call so you are not to miss your incoming flight. You would be a fool not to set your own alarm clock.
  • The rooms: Very stylish and clean. It is not a small block where you don’t have room to move. The rooms are quite large, you can stretch, do push-ups or move about with ease.
  • The Negatives: Not too many negatives. The rooms are not super sound proof and with guest coming and going frequently as you would expect, you can cop a little hallway noise.
  • The price: The rooms start at about 245RM for the six hours, convert to your own currency. It then goes up for an hourly rate until you check out.
  • Where will you find it: It is located right near the food court on the second level. Right next to McDonalds.

Have a good night sleep while in transit.

Have a good night sleep while in transit.

I stayed in Sama-Sama, July 2016 for seven hours. It was my first time in doing so and definitely worth the coin I paid to stay. I recommend it, especially if you want to get to your holiday and the end of the next flight feeing relaxed and ready to go.

Watch aeroplanes come and go while enjoying a drink.

Watch aeroplanes come and go while enjoying a drink.

* Please note this is not a sponsored post. I stayed and paid for this hotel without them having any knowledge of this article being written. It was all on my own accord.