Earlier this year I spent six weeks backpacking around Southeast Asia and once I came home I had about two weeks there to pack everything up again and get ready to move my life to Tenerife. I wanted to share all the fun things I did and write a bit about solo travel too. I thought it would be interesting to look back on posts I wrote whilst there too, as I didn’t get a chance to when I first came back. Starting off with a post all about why I loved my time away and why I can’t wait to return. I don’t have any flights booked yet, but I’m hoping to return to Asia next year and want to see as much as I can. For now, here are my reasons why I loved traveling Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and why I can’t wait to return!
Eat, sleep, explore, everything! I went for almost six weeks and spent around £1000. I wasn’t super strict on myself and I had the best time without it costing me a lot! If I had gone for longer I know I could survive on £1000 a month and to me that is mind blowing when traveling around a new country. If you were on a tight budget, I think you’d be able to travel a lot cheaper too. This included all internal flights so as you can imagine that ate up a lot of my money.
I only went to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and I actually want to go back to each of these places already. It would be amazing to spend time in Japan, India, the Philippines, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and so on. Personally I think a lot of people think of Thailand when they think of Asia, but there are so many countries within Asia that I can’t wait to visit and travel around!
Pad Thai is considered boring when you order it in a Thai restaurant but honestly it’s one of my favorite meals. I’m not known to be very adventurous with my food but while in a country known for such unique dishes, I tried so many different meals that I never normally would back in the UK. It’s also incredibley cheap, for a meal out you can pay the equivalent of a few pounds.
Once you’ve been to a few temples in different countries, you might think that would get boring but the architecture is so stunning that it never seems to happen. They all have stories behind them that are rich in cultural history, making each visit different. Walking along the street in the UK, you don’t often discover incredible religious monuments, so it is somewhat unique to Southeast Asia in my opinion.
Not having seen many waterfalls before in my life, I made it my mission in Thailand to see as many as possible and I actually have a post coming out about that soon.
Never once did I feel really alone, I met people everywhere I went whether they were traveling or workers, one hostel I stayed in had such a great team that I would go back there, purely for the hostel. Everyone just seemed so much more relaxed about being friendly and chatting to strangers. I know this can be sometimes daunting but the people in Thailand and Vietnam especially, were so happy to help me with anything and just genuinely enjoyed chatting to me.
Where else in the world can you visit an ethical elephant park and come away not feeling worried for the animals? I refused to visit the tiger kingdom when in Thailand as I don’t agree with drugging animals for tourists amusement. I however, did do my research on ethical elephant parks and decided to visit one in the North of Thailand where you can see them being left to their own devices as they are rehabilitated after being rescued from elephant camps where they used to have to carry tourists around. It was incredible and definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I would recommend to anyone.
Walking through some dark streets in Chiang Mai one night to meet some girls for a drink, it dawned on me how unsafe it should have felt but strangely didn’t. I’m not saying go walking down dark streets, because that is definitely not the answer but I felt a whole lot more comfortable somewhere like Chiang Mai then I would doing the same thing in London. Backpacking in Southeast Asia, I felt so safe.
Don’t get me wrong, Bangkok for example, wasn’t always like this but a lot of the places I went to weren’t completely modernised. There were a lot of family businesses that were thriving, so many examples of communities pulling together and living a simple way of life that really made me adjust my view on how people live a totally different way of life.
I really wish I hadn’t broken my Canon just before leaving for this trip! There were so many examples of stunning scenery, with botanical gardens, lakes, forests and beautiful landscapes but I couldn’t really do it justice on my iPhone or little compact camera.
Have you ever travelled to Southeast Asia? Have you ever travelled somewhere and wanted to go back straight away? This was my first trip backpacking solo and I loved it so much.
I’m still in Tenerife at the moment so you can keep up with my travels on Instagram!
I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.