Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a famous temple town in the northern mountainous area of Laos. The city is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its historical and cultural importance. You will not find anywhere else quite like this city. The city is known not just for its temples, but also its large population of monks who can be seen streaming through the streets in the early morning to collect food from the town’s people. I highly suggest spending a few days relaxing in Luang Prabang, exploring the town, the surrounding areas, relaxing on the river, soaking in the culture and getting more of a vibe of what Laos historically has been. The small city is also famous for its night market, which takes place down the main street of town, in front of the highly iconic temple, Wat Xieng Thong. If you get a chance, I highly recommend trying the local rice wine or scorpion/snake/lizard infused whiskey. The city has a fantastic communal pool, with a built in bar, so on those hot days that is where you are going to want to relax and unwind. Make sure to climb the hill in the center of town for some stunning views, while there is a small cost to climb it, it is definitely worth paying. Also be sure to visit the towns ethnographic museum to be able to learn about local unique cultural and ethnic groups living in Northern Laos. Make sure to also wake up early enough to be able to buy and give food to the local monks as it is a crucial part of the whole experience and almost feels like something that you need to do.




Kratie is a small town in the northeast of the Cambodian countryside, situated right on the banks of Mekong, the town is primarily farming and fishing based. The outskirts of town are home to numerous villages which give you a glimpse of daily village life in Cambodia. In the town center, is a large marketplace and several restaurants looking onto the river. There are also numerous temples throughout and surrounding the town worth visiting. The town is a great place to see local wildlife, some of which is extremely rare, such as the soft-shelled turtle and the irrawaddy dolphin, both of which are critically endangered. If you’re looking to get out of the city and see how a great number of average Cambodians live, Kratie is a great way to experience this. The locals are also extremely friendly, with my tour guide inviting me to his house for lunch to meet his beautiful family after the tour ended.




The town and surrounding area is home to some fantastic temples and temple complexes. These include depictions of the road to heaven and the path to hell and are adorned with incredible paintings and sculptures.



The Mekong is teeming with life and if you decide to spend time on and around it, you will see plenty of it. Kratie is famous for its local dolphin population, the Irrawaddy dolphin is extremely endangered, but can easily be seen swimming in the Mekong right outside of Kratie. Make sure to take a boat ride out onto the river and go dolphin spotting, I managed to see at least four in the span of 30 minutes. Located near the town is an amphibian rescue center, housing numerous species of frogs and turtles, including the endangered soft shelled turtle.

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the tourist hub of Cambodia for a number of reasons. Firstly, the city is the located just outside of the ancient city of Angkor Wat. Secondly, the city houses amazing markets, nightclubs, restaurants and cultural performance centers.  Thirdly and finally, the city is located right near Tonlé Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. I would personally recommend spending a couple of days in the city, as there is plenty to see and do. There are several evening shows in town including the Cambodian Circus and Cambodian traditional dance show. You will need many hours to fully explore the night markets and day markets located throughout the city. Take a day and visit Tonlé Sap to see an entirely different culture living upon the lake. There are also beautiful parks and temples to explore.



Tonlé Sap

Tonlé Sap is the largest inland lake in Southeast Asia and supports countless lake-based communities, several of which are built on the lake itself. These are either on stilts on the water’s edge or floating on the lake itself. I highly suggest taking a boat tour of the lake and the village including a crocodile farm. When I was in on of the lake villages, I spent several hours teaching English to local village children, which was actually a lot more fun than I had expected. If this is something that you would like to do, then get in touch with a local tour guide when in one of the villages.



Siem Reap has one of the best night-lives in SE Asia. The city has entire streets containing just pubs and clubs. If you get a chance, make sure to do a pub crawl through the city as you will visit some amazing hidden bars. There are also numerous amazing night markets, selling exotic foods such as tarantula, scorpion, snake, crickets, frogs, etc, all of which I suggest trying as they are delicious and a unique experience. For anyone who is a fan of Hard Rock Cafes, there is a fantastic one in the city with some great memorabilia. Finally, I suggest going to a cultural dance show, as it is a great experience and teaches you a bit about Cambodian culture and dining.



Kanchanaburi is Thailand’s western province, bordering Myanmar. This part of the country is far removed from the tourist hub of Phuket or the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. In Kanchanaburi you will find farmland and lush forest landscapes. This part of the country is however home to a number of famous tourist attractions including the infamous Tiger Temple, which I had the common sense to avoid due to its horrific animal cruelty and black market smuggling activities. Aside from that, you will find Erawan Falls, Thailand’s famous floating markets, the bridge over the river Khwae and Death Railway amongst others. If you have a spare few days in Bangkok, I would suggest spending it here instead as it isn’t a far drive and there are plenty of tours available to take you. If you have yet to see monkeys in the wild, this is the place to do it, because they are literally all over the place in this region. Floating hotels built on the rivers are common in this area too if you would like a unique experience.


Floating Markets

The floating markets are one of Thailands best known attractions and normally feature on the walls of Thai restaurants in other countries. These markets are an amazing experience, but an enormous tourist trap. I recommend browsing at these markets for fun, but buying elsewhere, as you will find the exact same items for a fraction of the price. If you pay for a markets tour, you will be taken by boat through the floating market place itself and then on a brief tour of the canals in the surrounding area, passing through farms and housing areas. It’s a great experience and definitely worth doing.


Erawan Falls

Erawan Falls are part of Erawan National Park and are a protected area with some of the most stunning sites I have ever seen. The waterfalls and pools in this park are cleaner, clearer and bluer than anything I had ever seen before or have seen since that day. You can easily spend hours exploring the park, swimming in the pools and having a free foot massage from the local fish.


Bridge on the River Khwae

This bridge is what inspired the famous 1957 film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, which went on to win 7 academy awards. The film focused on the building of the bridge for the Burma Railway, a horrific two year project by the Japanese during WW2 which led to the deaths of 330,000 labourers through forced labour conditions. Of theses deaths, the vast majority were civilians and prisoners of war, all dying  in order to construct a 415-kilometre stretch of railway between Thailand and Burma. The bridge and the railway still stands and operates to this day. The bridge has become a pilgrimage for many who fought in the war or who lost family or friends in the war, as well as for film enthusiasts wanting to see the bridge from the movie. In actuality, the film was shot in Sri Lanka using a similar looking bridge, but the meaning of this bridge remains the same regardless.


Death Railway

Death railway as discussed above was the forced labour project of Japan during WW2, resulting in the deaths of 330,000 prisoners of war and civilian labourers. The railway still operates and can be ridden in order to experience a portion of what was build at such an immense human cost.


Floating Hotel

You will find plenty of floating buildings including hotels built on the Khwae River. If you get a chance, I highly recommend staying in one for a unique experience and the chance to watch the sun rise and set over the river.



If you still have yet to see monkeys in the wild in SE Asia, then this region is the place to go, as there are plenty of  them to be found and they are relatively friendly and playful.


Bangkok is amongst the best known cities in the world. This is not only the hub of Thailand, but one of the largest and busiest cities in SE Asia. People from around the world visit Bangkok every year for numerous reasons. The city itself houses 8.8 million people, but including the city’s surrounding area, the total rises to over 14 million. You can feel the hustle and bustle the entire time you are in Bangkok, where the city never really sleeps. Unfortunately for me, my visit coincided with the Occupy Bangkok movement. I got stuck in protests, dropped off in a conflict area and had hand grenades go off two blocks from my hotel killing numerous people, as well as a public assassination of a protest leader. Due to this I had to cut my stay in Bangkok short before the bridges in and out of the city were completely  blocked off. I managed to cram as much as possible into the time I had in the city, but felt that it was unwise to stay any longer. Additionally, I made a bad choice in my accommodations’ location, staying in a rather dodgy area of the city where almost nobody spoke English, so if you visit, just remember that Khao San Road is the place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the city and amongst other tourists. I did actually enjoy staying in a non touristy neighborhood and met a member of the merchant navy who took me out to local food places and bars and translated for me.



Bangkok is built in the Chao Phraya River delta and as such the entire city is traversed by rivers and canals. The Thai people have historically always used these waterways in most aspects of life. The river is used for transportation, as well as a food source. If you manage to have time, make sure to take a river tour and explore the canals to see a whole other side of the city.



Bangkok is one of the Buddhist capitals of the world, housing a vast array of temples of all shapes and sizes. Sadly due to my time constraints I wasn’t able to explore nearly as many of these as I wanted to.



Bangkok is also well known for its numerous and varied markets. Whatever you are looking for, a market somewhere in Bangkok probably sells it. You will see animals, fruits, plants and other items that you have never seen before. I could  honestly have spent an entire day just visiting market places throughout the city.


Phuket is world famous as a beach and party destination. Being one of the biggest tourist hubs of Southeast Asia it draws extremely large numbers of visitors each year and provides plenty for them to do during their visit. Phuket is divided into two halves by a large hill. The more touristy part is on one side called Patong, with hotels, shopping, beaches and the vast majority of the city’s clubs and bars. The other side of the hill houses Old Phuket, the original heart of the city, which is home to more local residences and businesses but is where you can see Phukets historic side. While the Old Phuket has more historical buildings, Patong houses the Big Buddha and the largest temple complexes in the region. If you are looking for nightlife and partying, Phuket is the place to be and definitely Patong in particular. As far as bars, clubs and evening entertainment goes, the only place I have seen outdo Phuket is Las Vegas, however, you can’t have a massive night out in Vegas for less than $50. The beaches are the perfect place to rest and recover the next day and Phuket has plenty of them. The Phuket Botanical Gardens are also a fantastic place to relax and unwind amidst some beautiful gardens. If you are looking for elephant riding, Phuket has that too at a reasonable cost. You can find far better elephant experiences in other parts of Thailand and even better in Laos, but if you aren’t leaving the tourist haven of Phuket, its still definitely worth doing.


Phuket Big Buddha

Phukets Big Buddha has been completed since my time in Thailand and having seen pictures, it looks fantastic. The statue is located on a peak looking down over the city. The sheer size of the statue is impressive and the temple leading up to the statue is beautiful in itself, having incorporated the trees on the temple grounds to hold bells and other religious items. Definitely worth a visit.


Wat Chalong Temple

Wat Chalong Temple is not by a longshot the most impressive in Thailand, but is still stunning nonetheless. If your only time in Thailand is going to be spent in Phuket then you have to visit Wat Chalong to get a basic glimpse into Thai religion and culture and to see traditional Thai architecture, which in my opinion is amongst the most stunning in the world.



Patong Nightlife

Phuket’s nightlife is absolutely crazy. As I stated, the only place I have been that rivals or beats it is Las Vegas. The difference being that you can leave home with $50, have an entire night out in Phuket and come home with change. Drinks and street food are dirt cheap and can be found literally everywhere in the city. You stay a week in Phuket and not have to drink at the same bar or club twice. Make sure to hit up the Thai street-food market located at the end of  Rat-u-thit Songroipi Rd for some of the cheapest, tastiest and most varied food selections you can find.



Patong does in fact have elephants despite being more urbanized than a lot of Thailand. The company will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the elephant riding location just outside of the city. As I stated earlier you can find far nicer elephant experiences in other parts of Thailand and even nicer in Laos. If you are only visiting Phuket though, its definitely an amazing experience to have.


Phuket Botanical Gardens

Phuket has one of the nicest botanical gardens I have ever visited, being almost on par with that of Singapore. If you need a place to escape the bustle of Patong or to recover from your hangover from the night before then this is a fantastic place to do so. The exhibits and environments created here are almost works of art in some cases. I highly recommend spending some time here, especially if you are on a budget.

Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands are in my opinion one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located in the mountains amongst dense jungle landscapes, the Cameron Highlands is a tea growing plantation town unlike any other. You will find Dutch and German style architecture throughout this region, mixed with vast tea plantations amidst jungle terrain. This is a mix I have yet to find anywhere else to date. If you want the backpacking experience then I suggest finding a hostel in town itself. However if you want to spend a little more there is a fantastic resort located a short drive outside of town, closer to the tea plantations called Equatorial Cameron Highlands. There are plenty of jungle hikes in the area, just be careful not to get lost and probably don’t go out in a storm as jungle terrain can be far more dangerous than a normal forest. The fruit markets located near the Equatorial are definitely worth a visit, selling every type of fruit you could possibly want, in particular the freshest strawberries I have ever had.