I was never really much of a thrill seeker growing up. I sat up straight, went to bed on time and even ate my vegetables. I guess that is why I have become such a nomadic, adventure-seeking adult. I enjoy spending my time backpacking through strange locations a lot more than anyone should but I am yet to have any major regrets. My last adventure was a trip which took me through a number of countries in South East Asia. It is a trip I am more than happy to share with you.
The first question everyone asks is how afforded that month-long trip. The truth is that I have been saving for quite some time. I tend to avoid needless expenses like cigarettes, alcohol and frequent dining out. That way, I can put aside money throughout the year for what really matters. I also make wise choices with the way I spend my money on the trip in order to make my savings last as long as possible. I avoid eating at fancy restaurants and opt for street food instead. I even cooked a few of my meals when possible in order to cut down my expenses. Opting to use public transportation is also another great way to make the best use of your funds when traveling.
The flight did not cost me much because I signed up for a rewards program with my credit card company. I also booked it long in advance in order to get the best deal. I did the same with the accommodations that I chose. I was not about to spend my money on an overpriced hotel. The truth is you can find cheap accommodation all over South East Asia. I stayed in dorm rooms and private guests homes for as little as $15 to $20 per night. That is a far cry from the $150 to 250 per night being charged by most hotels. The choice is yours but I chose to stretch every penny and capitalize on the experience.
I am a foodie at heart. I thoroughly enjoyed befriending the owners of the hawker stands in Singapore. These stalls sold street food that cost no more than three dollars per meal. Hawker stalls sell a variety of roasted meats like pork belly and unlike in other countries, street foods in Singapore are like complete meals. I visited other countries like Thailand and Bangkok. I hardly ever spent more than $15 per day for all my meals and that included all the usual snacking as well. I befriended a few of the locals that lived near the guest house I stayed at in Thailand and they taught me how to make a few simple dishes to sustain me throughout the meal. That was quite an experience because I did not catch on very quickly!
This is always the best part of any travel story. I could bore you with stories about all the paces that I visited on this trip. There is just so much to do and see in this region. My only regret is that I was not able to stay a little longer. Sadly, my office tends to frown upon leaving your work behind for weeks at a time.
One of the best surprises of the trip was discovering that Thailand was home to a number of amazing tropical islands. I was only able to visit two; Ko Lanta and Ko Chang. The azure blue water was simply breathtaking. It was quite a relief to be able to relax on a gorgeous beach and sunbathe for a few hours. Best of all, the beaches were not too crowded and noisy, so I was able to really unwind and relax.
Kuala Lumpur was another very exciting stop on my travels around South East Asia. This city was almost like the hub for the entire region. One of the best memories I have of this place was walking across the bridge which connected the Petronas Twin Towers. I was scared out of my mind but too excited and curious to turn back. The bridge connecting the massive skyscrapers allows you to get a bird’s eye view of the entire city but is certainly not for people who are scared of heights.
All in all, it was a great trip. I met a lot of amazing people, saw a lot of breathtaking places and ate far too much delicious food. I would do it all again. If you are itching to explore South East Asia, go right ahead. It is a very affordable destination and the experience will be unforgettable.