What are the highlights of Asia, country by country
Question: Hi there. My wife and I are backpacking (BUDGET) to SE Asia. For 3 months. We are going to many places you have been to: Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Phillipines, India, Indonesia, Singapore. I just wanted to know if you can give me the highlights of places you would go to? I have made a list but just want to be sure.
Answer: Highlights of places:Malaysia:
I loved the Perhentians and I would absolutely recommend Borneo to visit KK and Sipadan islands. I enjoyed the diving there! I would go to KK just because of the food! :) I wish I could spend more time in Borneo, in Sarawak and experience the national parks and caving there, but I haven't....yet!Laos:
If I could visit Laos again it would go to Luang Prabang, experience the caving in Vang Vieng again, and the take another trip to Bolaven Plateau outside Pakse in south Laos. Australian friends of mine recommend Savannakhet because of the home stays there, and it's a great way to absorb the culture.Cambodia:
I actually liked Siem Reap even though it's touristy. One day in Angkor park is a must! Phnom Penh can also tempt you with cultural and historical attractions like Killing Fields (been there twice and I think it's worth to go there only once) and Genocide Museum. If I return to Phnom Penh I would see a dance show performed by street children, arranged and organized by Tiny Toones org. Hong Kong:
I only spent a couple of days in Hong Kong. My favorite place here to sleep, shop and eat was Kowloon. A day trip to Lantau island is actually fantastic considering the great view you'll get while sitting in a cable car. The Philippines:
Palawan island is supposed to be better then Boracay and less developed. I enjoyed our stay in Bohol and Alona Kew beach. Manila is of course perfect for shopping, but it's overwhelming as a city. India:
I would return to Palolem in Goa and a couple of days in Jaipur, to sense the Rajasthani culture.
Otherwise, many travelers say that if you go to north India you should stop by Varanasi -- the holy city of India. If you want less tourists than Varanasi and want the spiritual atmosphere, Rishikesh is a good option as well.
I'm visiting Kerala in south India in February and March 2011 and doing my field work there. Our teachers have a lot of positive things about this place because the culture is different from other places in India.
Another group in our class is going to Tamil Nadu (Pondicherry and Chennai) and their teacher has told them that Tamil Nadu is actually quite new to tourism in general. I've talked to class mates who already have been to Pondicherry and they just love the place!
I haven't been to Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore so I can't recommend anything personal. But I've talked to some Vietnamese friends, and the Cu Chi tunnels near Saigon are supposed to be worth the trip, to get to know the history better. Hoi An in central Vietnam, according to friends of mine, is very relaxed with beaches and colonial atmosphere.
A couple of Swedish friends of mine are actually in Lombok, Indonesia now. It's their second time in Lombok and Bali, so I guess there's something unique about these places! They love to surf, so if you're beach-people it should be considered.
Hope this helps! :)
Jan 10, 2011