One of the hottest backpacking destinations in the summer, by far, is Southeast Asia. Not only is it insanely fun and unseasonably warm, but the whole experience costs just a fraction of price compared to other big regional destinations (here’s looking at you, Western Europe).
With that said, if you’re going to maximize your pleasure and minimize your discomfort, there are definitely points to take into consideration before going. In this post, let’s look at a few of the things you should know before you book anything, including the best destinations, the must-do activities, how to pack and what shots to get.
Where to Go
There are so many amazing spots in Southeast Asia, more than any one blog could begin to name. But, in the interest of brevity, let’s list four destinations that correspond to different types of travelers. Which one are you?
- For the foodie: If you love eating, then follow the amazing aromas all the way to Penang or Singapore. Those two cities are noted foodie heavens, but, really, you can’t go wrong anywhere in SE Asia.
- For the bold adventurer: If you want adventure, head to the jungles of Borneo or Sumatra and take in the wildlife. Cities like Pontianakor Medan (respectively) make for good starting points into the jungle, where you might even see an orangutan or two!
- For the all night partier: For a debauched, wild and unforgettable time, head to Phuket, in Thailand, or Boracay in the Philippines.
What to Do
Southeast Asia is famous for four main things: sunshine, food, parties and scenery. To that end, if you’re going to SE Asia this summer, seek out a beach, go check out a few dance parties, eat as much as you possibly can and check out some of the cultural sights, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Halong Bay in Vietnam or the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang in Laos.
What to Pack
When packing for Southeast Asia, the most important thing is to stay light and cool. That means packing a light suitcase full of breathable, odour-resistant clothing, like merino wool shirts and underwear, loose swim trunks, flip-flops and a sun protective hat. As far as the nitty gritty of your packing is concerned, consult these tips for those who love to travel – there are some really great resources in that blog.
What Shots to Get
First off, make sure all your routine vaccinations are taken care of and up-to-date (things like measles, tetanus, polio, etc.). Vaccinations will vary according to where you’re going, and what sort of activities you’ll be doing (i.e. if you plan on jungle trekking or just hanging out in big cities).
Most doctors will recommend Typhoid and Hep A, but they might also vaccinate for Japanese Encephalitis, rabies and meningitis. Malaria pills are a contentious issue, and probablyone you should decide upon with your doctor, instead of an internet article!
You’re about to discover what many people before you have discovered: that this unique region is one of the most exhilarating places on earth. Just make sure to be prepared, and don’t forget to pack sunscreen!