For me Asia feels like a world away and a continent I literally have no clue about having stuck exclusively to America and Europe with a slight mix of Africa. I’d been thinking for ages about a trip away to the unknown but had no idea where to pick, everywhere looks so exciting and new so I had some lovely fellow bloggers send through their recommendations. From tried and tested destinations to places seemingly in the middle of nowhere there’s something for everyone in Asia.
Find out some bloggers best recomnendations for Asia (thanks to everyone who contributed, you made my decision of choosing a place very difficult!)
Photo by Laura Hartley
Laura Hartley from What’s Hot picked Koh Tao in Thailand: “Koh Tao is undoubtedly a must-visit if you’re planning on going to Thailand. It is a small island towards the South West of Thailand where you’ll find sun, sea and relaxation. Although the island is small, its business is almost entirely tourism so there’s something for everyone to do. If you visit off-season you’ll have your pick of hotels and resorts too, many of which have their own private beaches. These are amazing if you’re looking to getaway with your partner and you’ll never have to worry about getting up early to get a good spot!
My favourite part of the trip was the day I went on a boat tour around Koh Tao with 5 different snorkelling spots. At each stop you are treated to beautiful, crystal clear waters and loads of colourful and fascinating fish. The best part of this trip had to be swimming into the centre of a shoal of fish and having them continue swimming all around me! There’s also a stop off at Nang Yuan Island, which is really small and just for tourists. Here, you can take a short hike up a steep hill and be treated to the most amazing view (see photo). The path is steep (and short) but it’s totally worth it for the view!
The people on the islands are much friendlier than those on the mainland and interestingly there is a large French community on the island, which means the food, both Thai and Western, is incroyable!”
Another vote for Thailand comes from Eppie Shepherd of Eppie who loves Wat Chiang Man: “The Wat Chiang Man holds Chiang Mai’s first ever temple, laced in gold and glittering detail. The striking ancient Chedi in the gardens is my favourite feature, a unique combination of grey stone life-size elephants, topped with a shining gold peak.”
Photo taken by Rebecca
Rebecca from Flavour Seeker talks about a Cookery class she went to in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand: “In mountainous Northern Thailand, the large city of Chiang Mai offers the opportunity to attend one of many cookery schools to gain the skills to make several typical Thai dishes. After a morning trip to the local market to source all of the traditional ingredients, a short drive brings you to the school. The school is kitted out with multiple cooking stations and the air fragrant with lemongrass and alive with the sound of sizzling woks. A short demonstration of each dish preceded our chance to cook them, followed by the sampling of each of the deliciously fragrant Thai plates. My favourite dish was the Tom Yum soup. Sour, salty and with a strong chilli kick, the creamy warming soup was thick with coconut milk and juicy prawns. Throughout the experience I learnt to cook Thai fishcakes, Tom Yum soup, crunchy Pad Thai, creamy Panang curry and sweet sticky rice with mangoes, but I also took away a greater appreciation of the flavours and techniques of Thai cooking.”
Photo by Georgina Knight
Georgina Knight favours the Southern islands of Thailand: “A trip around the south islands of Thailand showed me how beautiful the world can really be. The laid back way of life, the rich and vibrant culture and the friendly people are just parts of the reason I fell in love with the country. Thailand is a place I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone from all walks of life, the combination of tropical weather, unique food, affordable lifestyle alongside being surrounded by natural beauty gives you a sense of appreciation and spirituality.
Photo by Jennifer Westmoreland
Jennifer Westmoreland from Hello Jennifer Helen chose Vietnam: “A trip to South East Asia just isn’t complete without taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Vietnam. Vietnam has it all – absorbing culture, beautiful scenery, sandy beaches, incredible food and friendly people. Make sure you stop by my favourite spot – Ha Long Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site just off the coast near Hanoi. The water is turquoise and the beaches are secluded and tranquil. If exploring is more your thing, get on a kayak and head to the caves or scuba around the reefs. End the day eating delicious seafood and watching the sunset from the top deck of a junk boat. Bliss!”
Image by Joanna Davis
Another vote for Vietnam comes from Joanna Davis from World In My Pocket: “When you think of Vietnam, you wouldn’t imagine that a lot of people will choose it as a holiday destination. But I was fascinated by it after watching a movie about Saigon, the old name of Ho Chi Minh City, the “capital” of the South of Vietnam.
I embarked on an amazing trip throughout the country, exploring it from North to South. I have visited stunning bays, incredible beaches, historic old towns and I have experienced a delicious cuisine – food cooked at the side of the road by Vietnamese women. Vietnam is an abundance of culture and beauty, where people are kind and welcome you with a smile.
Vietnam is a one of a kind country. Here, just a few dollars can go for a long way. I remember renting a motorbike for only $4 a day and staying in a 3 stars hotel for only $8 a night. A delicious meal is never more than $2 and you can always accompany it with some homemade Vietnamese beer.
The South of the country is so different than the North, while the middle remains very traditional. In the South you can find the Mekong Delta, with its floating markets where you can buy fresh pineapple and bananas. In the North you can hike through rice fields and experience the local homestays. In the centre of the country you can attend cooking classes and learn about the art of tailoring.
I loved Vietnam so much that I plan on returning next year and explore the areas which I didn’t have time for during my last trip.”
Anovicemum chose Malaysia: “Malaysia is my favourite place to visit in Asia (the only Asian country I’ve visited so far) because Malaysians are such friendly and happy people. We travelled with Malaysian Airlines and they remain one of my best airlines to travel with. We loved their massive and spacious shopping centres and eateries; very accommodating of foreigners. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, and the Petronas Twin Towers are not to be missed. Kuala Lumpur’s Tesco is my favourite Tesco of all time, bigger than any I’ve visited in the UK, with more variety of products. It’s a very hot country, so travelling in air conditioned vehicles are the best, and they’re easy to hire. It’s a country I see myself visiting again, and again.”
Image by Monica Wong
Monica Wong of TheWongBlog chose Cambodia as her favourite Asian spot: “My favourite place in South East Asia is Cambodia — I could be biased, as it was my first stop on my backpacking adventure. But, I fell in love at first sight. It isn’t a country of luxury huts and exotic beaches; it’s hectic, corrupt and barren, but it’s the incredible spirit of the Khmer people, that will make you fall in love with the country. There is so much history and stories to drink in! It’s the destination that gave me my first real culture shock, which I think is important for Westerners to see. Not to mention that the food is fresh and incredible”.
Photo taken by Georgina
Georgina Goodman of Georginadoes chose Ubud in Bali: “We stayed in The Ubud Village Resort and I would recommend checking it out when you book! It was like paradise in the Indonesia forest. We stayed in a garden villa hut with its own pool out front and a stone bathtub out back. We loved the vibe in Ubud, it was just so romantic, surrounded by trees especially when it got dark and they’d have candles and fairy lights up around the village. Ubud was full of culture and we loved every second of it!
Whilst you are in Ubud, I’d also really recommend checking out the Titra Empul – Holy water temple where people would stand under the water springs and pray to wash away their problems and also the monkey forest where they run free!”