There are some places that I have visited that have stolen a little piece of my heart. One thing my favourite places in Asia have in common is that they are all very relaxed and laid-back places. No wonder they stole my heart. Here are some of my favourite places in South East Asia that should make it into your itineraries today;
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Ever since I first stepped foot into the wonders of Northern Thailand nearly 3 years ago. It stole my heart, when I left I found myself daydreaming about how life could be in Chiang Mai, cycling around the city, discovering new things every day, tasting delicious new foods and eating bowls and bowls of Khao Soi for every meal. The laid back lifestyle of Chiang Mai is one of the reasons why I love Thailand. Although now heavy with expats, in my opinion, it still has a unique quirkiness that I always long to find on my travels.
2. Koh Chang, Thailand.
Koh Chang is still a hidden little secret, lying quietly near the Cambodia border is a beautiful island ladened in masses of jungle and beautiful beaches. I visited Koh Chang with a group of friends, and fell in love with the place, I wanted to find a school there so I could live out the island life, teaching and live in a little hut by the beach with a hammock that I spend my weekends lying in, listening to the waves and writing. It would be a dream. Hiring a motorcycle is one of the perfect ways to see the island. The wind sweeping through your hair as you curl around all the crazy mountainous roads. Koh Chang otherwise known as elephant island has something more unique to it than the more popular islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan. Perhaps it is the fewer tourists that come to the island, but it is definitely one of my favourite islands in Thailand now and would recommend anyone to pay a visit. Trust me you will fall in love too.
3. Hoi an, Vietnam.
Anyone that has been to Vietnam and have visited Hoi an will probably also agree that this has to be one of the most unique and laid back places that I have come across in my time in Vietnam. Its charm will steal your heart and you will happily allow it. A walk around the river, through the markets, a fitting for tailored suits or dresses, sampling great food, drinking mouth-watering wine or even hiring a bicycle and cycling to the nearby villages and beaches make a great day out. Hoi an brings a relaxing lifestyle like no other place I have been to. A place you could easily stay for much of your time, because of it’s great central location.
4. Otres Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
On my first solo backpacking trip, I found myself wanting some long awaited beach time just to take some time to relax in the sun with a book on the beach. Only that plan failed because it rained non-stop for 4 of my 6 days stay in Sihanoukville. Otres beach is a quiet beach a mere 10 minutes down the road from the more well-known party centre of Serendipity Beach. Otres is very relaxing with private bamboo beach huts along the beach for no more that £5-£10 a night. Quirky bars and restaurants to relax, enjoy some beers and eat delicious seafood caught fresh that day. The local people are so welcoming and open hearted, they are happy to show you their culture and country.
5. Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
When I visited Bali, I made a mistake by staying in the heavy tourist area of Kuta and Legion, you could not escape the scams and the hassling but one day I jumped in a taxi and decided to go to the area Seminyak, a much more peaceful area, of high-end boutiques, and great food. The beaches were quiet with only a few people there. A lot different than the crowd that Kuta pulled in. Seminyak had some sort of charm that I couldn’t put my finger on, the people were so much more welcoming, there wasn’t as much hassling, in fact, Seminyak was one of the most relaxing times I had in Bali, an island that is so beautiful and soaked in culture.
Where are your favourite places in South East Asia?