Why I love Southeast Asia

At 27 years old many people would think I’m crazy for having gone to Southeast Asia on two different occasions. I would tell you that it is an amazing place to visit for anyone.  I know that some people are concerned with travel outside of the USA, but I think that it is great.

I still remember the chatter at my wife’s family’s house as we discussed our potential trip.

Parking lot in Ho Chi Minh City

Many people voiced concern as to why it would be too dangerous, too far, and too scary. We had grandpas, parents, aunts, and uncles who protested our proposed trip, but we still forged on with the itinerary.  I had already been to Southeast Asia on one occasion, and knew that it was a very safe place.  The people there are very docile and friendly.

We used the multi-destination tool to purchase a ticket that flew into Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and out of Bangkok, Thailand.  This worked out great for us because we loved the idea of trekking across Southeast Asia together as a couple.  I wanted to see more of SE Asia than Thailand (As I had already been there) and she wanted to see Thailand. I know that we spent quite a bit on our tickets, but the best part was that we racked up 20,000 AAdvantage miles each on the trip.  This made it like getting a free flight in the US after having purchased the ticket to SE Asia.  I wish that I would have known about some of the credit card offers at that time, but what is past is past.  Now we are here to help you to acquire points, miles, and most importantly: experiences.

Cambodian Tourists

Planning a trip like this is always a blast.  Taking a variety of flights and buses to get across the land is always great.  I wish that I would have taken a boat from the Mekong Delta to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, but we were short one day of being able to do that.  The buses aren’t this packed for everyone, unless you are a Cambodian tourist.  The best part is hard to see in this picture, but they have three people in the drivers’ seat as well.  They travel about 50 mph with all of these people on top of the vans.  I just love seeing how other people live their lives, and how tourism is for them as well.  Many of the people on this bus spent a lot of money to ride to the capital to tour their own capital.  They are very humble, and have an incredible history.  If you would ever spend the time to learn about the Khmer Rouge and their reign in Cambodia I’m sure that you would be surprised to learn that 1/3 of their population was either killed or starved to death after the Vietnam war.  There is a lot to learn, but you might never know the story unless you get out there and travel.

One of the best things about SE Asia is the Thai Massage.  This isn’t a traditional Swedish massage where you take off all of your clothing, it is required that you wear a set of loose fitting clothing that is provided to you.  The Thai Massage includes rubbing, stretching, relieving pressure points, and bone popping.  I would prefer to have one Thai massage over three oil massages. I still haven’t even gotten to the best part.  You can get an hour massage for about $5-6USD.  This is well worth the few dollars as you are tired from your trekking each day.  I recommend at least one daily.

Elephant Ear Fish

Some people have fears of foods when visiting other countries.  I, personally, am usually very excited about foods in other countries.  I love trying new things, and I would almost eat anything.  While we were in Vietnam my wife and I had a fried elephant ear fish. I wouldn’t tell you that it was amazing, but to take the picture and try it was worth the few Dong that it cost me.  We also fell in love with the dessert that is found at almost all restaurants there which is called mangoes and sticky rice.  This is a delicacy that is pretty much unmatched in the US.  The

Mangoes and Sticky Rice Cart

chilled mangoes are placed on a bed of warm rice and then warm coconut milk is poured over the top and it is garnished with toasted sesame seeds.  We are talking some delicious food here.  Next time you go to a Thai restaurant, I encourage, I demand that you purchase this dessert.  It tastes much better when you are only paying $0.50 instead of paying $6, but without going there it is second best.

Some people might think I’m reckless when it comes to traveling, but I did my research before going.  I used tripadvisor.com a ton before going to be sure that all of the places that we would go didn’t have any problems with crime or with a war zone.  For example, I deliberately avoided the border crossing from Cambodia to Thailand as I heard that there was a lot of crime, prostitution, and theft at the border crossing.  I knew that many Thai people went to Cambodia to gamble as it is legal in Cambodia.  This made me a little bit nervous, so I simply avoided going there.  It meant that I would have to fly out of Siem Reap instead of busing.  I knew that AirAsia was a great way to get around SE Asia becuase they were known for their cheap flights.  I found that I could fly to Kuala Lumpur (KL) and to Phuket, Thailand for cheaper than I could fly directly from Siem Reap to Bangkok.

This post will be continued….

Until return, begin your Wanderlust by checking your credit score for free with Credit Sesame.

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