What countries are in your “must visit” list and what destination spots are in there? If you don’t have Cambodia or Indonesia on that list, you’re certainly going to miss out.
Traveling opens up a lot of doors for us but most importantly, it allows us to go on eye-opening and impactful adventures we wouldn’t otherwise experience. If you want to experience that, you should go and book a trip to Southeast Asian nations.
If you happen to know people who have traveled to these countries, ask them about their experience. Chances are they have at least been to a SE Asian country and the experience shifted their perspective, for the better.
Photo by Kate Ferguson
Meet lots of beautiful and warm people, get a sight of their picturesque sceneries, experience their traditions and culture, and observe how life is in their nation, and the journey will make you realize tons of things. Here are a few that would convince you to book a trip and visit southeast Asia:
Money isn’t the only source of happiness
The next time you complain about how you’re supposed to charge your iPhone and listen to music simultaneously should be your last. And yes, you should feel ashamed about your “first world problems.”
Once you set foot on any of these countries, you’ll notice one thing: that money isn’t everything. You’ll notice that people from the poorest countries are the happiest and most resilient. Not everyone has a smartphone or tablet, and lives in a huge house.
People from these countries don’t have a lot but they seem to be enjoying and appreciating the most of what they have. They’d even offer their last meal for an unexpected visitor and even offer a lot more. Despite their living condition (a lot of people live in slums, has small houses, many kids they can hardly afford to get to school, and the works), they have the brightest smiles and warm presence.
You’ll turn into a cheapskate
With just a small amount of money, probably half of what you usually spend, you can get a gastronomic treat and drinks for cheap. You can have a succulent and decent meal at or under a dollar. You’ll become so cheap you’ll scratch your head thinking whether or not a purchase is worth a dollar once you get home.
Allow yourself to get lost
Thoroughly planning your trips or daily agendas are great. It maximises time and productivity; it’s the responsible thing to do. However, allow spontaneity to works its way and surprise you.
Train and bus schedules get delayed and unpredictable in SEA countries. You’ll find the traffic terrible and hopeless but don’t let it get under your nerves. Instead, take the time to let your mind travel. You know what? Take the time to scratch your plans and just let your mind and feet wander.
Respect and politeness goes a long way
Since you’ll get immersed in other people’s tradition and culture, you’ll become more sensitive and aware of what you say or do. You are no longer oblivious to everything around you and you’ll start to appreciate even the smallest things.
A small “thank you” and warm smile goes a long way. Getting hostel or Airbnb for accommodation means allowing yourself to get familiar with people; unlike in hotels where there’s a huge border between staff and customers.
You’ll observe people’s daily routine and if you’re polite, get offered to eat chat or eat with your host/s. Illustrate respect and receive the same treatment.
Everything you need is a walk away
No kidding. Whatever it is you need, there’s a store just a few meters away. Ran out of shampoo? Need a soda to pair with your homemade burger? Need ice? You’ll find a store not far from where you’re staying. Everything is packed in small stores you can find at someone’s home. Plus, they sell cheap. It’s really something you’ll miss once you fly back to your native land.
You’ll learn to haggle
. . . And realize how unreasonably expensive things are. In SEA countries, you’ll find lots of street markets and there you’ll find yourself bargaining nonstop until you and the seller meet on the same ground: shake hands on a price you both are comfortable with.
You’ll miss haggling stressful haggling once you leave this wonderfully chaotic nation/s. And once you go back to your reality, only then will it register to you that things and expensive even when they don’t have to be—reasoning brought by the practice of haggling. This will influence you to maybe skip large brands that advertise this where you can get the same quality at a much lower price at an unbranded store or unpopular brand.
Language isn’t that much a barrier
Sure it’s hard to tell whether a local is swearing at you or vocally exclaiming how stupid you are not understanding instructions but hey, thank God for body movements, right?
Besides, you’ll be surprised at how many non-English speaking citizens can speak the language, from basic conversational to fluent. Don’t laugh at their broken grammar or wrong word usage, at least they’re trying their hardest. Do you even speak another language? Give them credit! They’re great people and you’ll realize that. Another thing you’d realize is that time will come where language is no longer a barrier; if not, perhaps less of a problem.
Have you ever been to any Southeast Asian nation/s? Share with us your experience and observations!
About Chie Suarez
Chie Suarez sails from the PH and enjoys travelling with her family and dog. She found her passion for travelling quite late, not to mention she writes for Kims Luxury Accomodation & Romantic Getaways in Toowoon Bay NSW Australia.