- Cheap travel
- Authentic street spicy beef noodle
With these non-compromisable factors in mind, it’s time to plan your itinerary since AirAsia is offering 20% off on all seats for your next holiday! Book your flights from 18 to 24 February 2019 and travel anytime between 25 February and 31 July 2019.
Now, let us save you the time in choosing your destinations…
1. Take a gruelling train ride to Bagan, Myanmar
Myanmar might be a controversial place right now due to its current political climate, but it is still a generally safe place to travel, not to mention a lot of fun! if you want to see the other parts of the country, Bagan is definitely a good bargain.
One of the ways to get to Bagan from the capital Yangon is by a train that can take up to half a day. It’s long, uncomfortable, and stink of urine if you sit right next to the toilet. But hey, that’s as close to the authentic experience that you can get.
Looking at the bright side, you can enjoy the geographical landscape along the way. Looking at the cold side, you may have to camp overnight at one of the train stations.
There are random occurrences that you can only witness on the train. At some of the stops, the locals will jump into the train selling food to passengers. Then they will drop out of the train when it starts moving. Mission Impossible-style.
Or, you can just take the bus or fly straight to Mandalay airport. The sunset is going to be worth it.
2. Meet the Hmong tribe in Sapa village, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City (or its old name, Saigon) has become more developed over the years. With its malls and large roads, to the point that you can’t distinguish between Saigon and Selangor. Except that Saigon’s vehicles are more considerate towards pedestrians.
However, Hanoi in northern Vietnam is the more authentic choice. Even better, take a train trip to Sapa village to experience the lives of the Hmong tribe. They will guide you from the muddy terrain on the hillside to their homestay where the only heater available is an actual fireplace.
Caution: it can get freezing cold from December to March. So if you’re planning to visit during this period – get a proper winter jacket, gloves and beanie. After all, this is the only time you’ll get to dress up like you’re in Russia but without the exorbitant price.
3. Visit the fishing village in Tonle Sap, Cambodia
In Cambodia, Siem Reap is famous for its ancient temples, notably the majestic Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is also renowned for its party street that will make you go ‘Wat?’ while bobbing to Lil Wayne
However, if you want to immerse yourself in Cambodian culture, get out of the party street and go to the fishing village in Tonle Sap. It’s a community on stilts.
Can you imagine living entirely above water? The only mode of transportation is boats. Some kids even row themselves in a big wok, their equivalent of a bicycle. Thankfully dogs know how to swim, else they would be cooped with their poop all day.
Be prepared to donate in few stops that the tour guide brings you too. If you have extra money, spend on something to help their local economy.
4. Shop at the night market in Luang Prabang, Laos
A night market might be an odd place to recommend since Malaysians have our own pasar malam every Monday (or Friday, do check your local listing).
But what’s unique about this night market is that it is the embodiment of Luang Prabang and Laos in general. It is calm, peaceful, and laid back. In fact, it is so laid back that you might even find one random grandma sleeping on the job! How transcendental.
Compared to most countries in Southeast Asia, it’s rare to find anyone who would hustle you to buy their stuff. And this includes tuk-tuk drivers as well. They might ask you only ONCE, and if you refuse, they’d say “OK” and back to their state of serenity. It’s almost like they have genuinely achieved total zen.
5. Hike up Mount Ijen in Surabaya
Is Mount Bromo too casual for you? But Mount Rinjani makes you feel like you’re trying not to die? Have no fears, wipe them tears, because Mount Ijen is the perfect solution
For Mount Ijen, It takes up to 2 hours to reach the top. The journey itself isn’t too bad. If a potato couch means the hike is tough and a sorority girl means the hike is a breeze, we would rank Mount Ijen as… a KTM user, due to their patience and perseverance despite not being the fittest.
Mount Ijen has a phenomenal trail. The rocks, the plants and the sands seems so real that it looks straight out of Skyrim with graphic settings tweaked to the max with overclocking (OK maybe we got that analogy backwards).
Be warned though. Just like most mountains, it can get icy. So get ready to wear layers of clothing. Also get ready to huddle up with your travel mates. Mount Ijen is indeed a test for the mind, the body, and the bond between friends.
Do not ever miss the blue fire crater that looks like someone dropped a tesseract into it. It’s beautiful, we promise you.