2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

Well hello to you my reader chums and welcome back! It seems only yesterday I was typing the post about heading off travelling and now I'm back and excited to share my experiences with my loyal readers. If you're new here, in February, I jetted off travelling with my boyfriend for 2 months to Dubai and around different countries in south-east Asia and documented the journey over my Instagram along the way.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience


After two months and the trip of a lifetime, I'm left on a high with a lighter backpack, more wisdom, memories and worldly knowledge at my fingertips. Asia was a whirlwind in the best kind of way, I saw a different way of life, I tried the yummiest of foods, and learnt plenty of history I wasn't even aware of. It was a new and exciting lesson I enjoyed learning more about every single day, with a mix of every kind of fun and adventure in between. 

As my 'welcome back' post, I wanted to share a bit of a summary of my thoughts on each country I visited, and then in later posts, write up guides for specific locations, packing tips and all the advice I picked up along the way for aspiring travellers that I'll hopefully help when they're planning their trip.

Dubai

The city of endless skyscrapers, pristine beaches, and every luxury shopping spot under the sun, Dubai was surreal. Not the most traditional backpacker destination, however, we stopped off in Dubai for 5 days prior to a trip, one, as a small holiday before the travelling began, and two, as my best friend lives out there.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

Dubai lived up to every dreamy expectation under the sun. As we stepped out of the airport taxi, the buzz of Dubai hit us. Its crazy traffic, intense sunshine and a picture-perfect sea of skyscrapers looked like something out of a Hollywood film. The thing that really surprised me about Dubai was how new it all was. I know that in terms of being a city, it is all very new, however, every building, restaurant and shop is incredibly clean and looks as if has just been built. And although the man-made look doesn't appeal to everyone, surprisingly it was for me. I loved the luxury vibe, even if things weren't at a luxury price.

The sights in Dubai were something else. Going up the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab were both unforgettable experiences! The views of the city literally took my breath away, and the Friday brunch in the Burj Al Arab ( only 7-star hotel in the world) was also insane. It had a variety of the world's best foods and selection of the fanciest and (most delicious) desserts. The desert safari, the beaches, the mall and the people were all amongst the highlights. My boyfriend and I both left Dubai in a daze, ready for the adventure that laid ahead.

Thailand

Thailand was the real start to our backpacking journey and opened our eyes to traditional Asian culture. Street markets, tuk-tuks and family-run restaurants soon began a thing of the norm. We soon became accustomed to the Thai's friendly nature and the realisation of why Thailand is nicknamed 'the land of smiles'. Majority of people we met in Thailand were the loveliest humans ever. They were always polite and would go the extra mile for us. As Thailand is a Buddhist country, the citizens are calm and chill which is the complete opposite to the fast-paced lived of our Brits. Their calm nature had a calming effect on me and left me feeling safe and at ease wherever I visited in Thailand.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

I loved Thailand for many different reasons and fell in love with some areas more than others. Chiang Mai and Pai were two places in the north that really stole my heart. Chiang Mai had a beautiful and calm vibe about it (especially after being in Bangkok prior). The Old City was my favourite area - the square (as you'll see it on a map) had quaint coffee shops and restaurants at every corner, and it made a fab location for the cutest stroll. Pai, I loved for a similar reason. The ambience was how I pictured Thailand to be, chill with a surrounding view of nature and quirky eateries. Although quite a small place, I'm so happy we added it to our itinerary. Thailand's islands were another highlight of our trip, and something I still can't believe I've experienced. Picture the clearest waters, hot weather and the softest sands, aka, paradise. The islands were stunning as a whole, however, the two that stood out (and I could happily have stayed for much longer) were Koh Lanta and Koh Tao. Both islands were quieter and I suppose 'off the beaten path' than the popular choices of Phi Phi and Phuket. The waters were like a bath, there were vacant beaches, and the locals were even more friendly (if that's possible). Koh Lanta and Koh Tao I could rave about for days on end. Luxury, serenity and complete beauty.

Thailand taught me a lot of things, as we were there for the longest period of time compared to other places. It taught me that living simply is what makes people happy, that family is everything and home cooked food is definitely the best. The culture in Thailand is all community based and that's something completely different to what we have at home unless you're from a village, and I adored that. Everyone was helping out each other, they talk more, and even when it comes to running a business, a family are right there. I'm talking literally - most local restaurants will have children running about and it's honestly incredibly heart-warming! Thailand was a beautiful learning experience.

Laos

When it comes to Laos, I don't think we had the chance to fully get to grips with its culture and day to day vibe (as we were only there a few days), however, what we did experience was wonderful. Laos was a lot less touristy than Thailand, and a hell of a lot quieter, which is something I loved. Although being in a touristy place makes it easier to navigate and communicate, I prefer when it's quieter and I was able to soak up the sights, without a rush of people snapping photos.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

Laos had some of my favourite sights, excursions and markets. The temples were endless in Luang Prabang and each was unique to the next. The markets featured handmade items, and I love the French-inspired cuisine everywhere you looked. Laos was quirky and it felt as if it had only just opened its heart to visitors with a lot of the traditional values intact.

Cambodia

Cambodia was certainly the country of unforgettable temples and the coolest markets. The capital of Cambodia, Phom Pehn was a lot crazier than I expected and had the same hustle and bustle that Bangkok and Hanoi did - perfect for those who loved the fast-paced life. However, it's the palace, temples and museums were incredibly interesting and amazing to have experienced. My heart, however, was taken away in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is the place of the Angkor Archaeological Park and the iconic Angkor Wat. Spending a few days exploring the temples and watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat was a memory I'll always cherish. It's just amazing how much history each of the temples holds and how I was able to see it all in the modern day. Siem Reap was also home to one of my favourite markets in Asia (similar to Luang Prabang). There were your classic souveniers mixed in with hand made items and trinkets.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

We were only in Cambodia for the week, and although we saw a lot of the history side of Cambodia (something I found incredibly interesting), I think there was certainly more we could have seen and would love to return and adventure in the countryside, and other areas of the country. 

Vietnam

I feel like I only scratched the surface with Vietnam. We were there for 10 days in total, and visiting 3 different of the cities working our way up from the south to north. Vietnam has the more local appeal out of all the countries we visited, as there would be more like 10 locals to 1 tourist, rather than the millions of tourists you saw in Thailand. I loved that! It felt like Dan and I was the only adventurers in a sea of locals living their daily lives.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

Every city had a different appeal to it. Ho Chi Minh City was gorgeous and new, but very crazy traffic wise! Out of all the three places, it seemed the most wealthy with fancy shops and renowned chains. But the day trip out of the city has to be a highlight that will remain with me forever. We took a river cruise along the Mekong Delta river and were able to row along one of the village rivers with the traditional Vietnamese hats. It has to be one of my favourite excursions to date! As we went to local villages, we got to meet locals and learn about all the things they make by hand to sell. It was interesting, and tasty eating local delicacies. Hue was a lot different from Ho Chi Minh City and I think my favourite city we saw in Vietnam. It was the calmer and slightly less well known middle city in the country. It's known for the Imperial City which is a walled enclosure within the citadel. Walking around the Imperial City was incredible, witnessing all the temples, ancient buildings and royal buildings. The town area was also beautiful, filled with lovely restaurants and shops, I could have walked around for hours! Hanoi was the craziest out of the 3! I couldn't get over the busy traffic and how packed it was - it's definitely not for the faint-hearted. Although busy, Hanoi had some of the best museums, sights and markets. And, it was the place I took another favourite excursion to Halong Bay. The Bay was absolutely beautiful to sail through and kayak around - I loved it.

2 months travelling in Asia - my experience

Vietnam was a wonderful country with interesting cuisine and history that I enjoyed learning about through the course of our stay. I would love to return again!

I hope you enjoyed my rambly post about my 2-month experience. Keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks and months for all my travel posts from this trip. I'm planning plenty of guides and tip style posts. If there is anything you'd like to read about, please let me know in the comments. Have you visited any of these countries?

Thank you for reading and your continued support! My blog turned 6 years old yesterday <3


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