Thailand To Indonesia And Back With Google Maps

Southeast Asia is on the tourist trail. In fact, it’s fair to say this region is the tourist trail with the number of visitors it gets every year. Only Australia can really challenge it in the pound for pound rankings, especially for us Brits. Oh yes, we loves us some Asian fun in the sun. Although, Costa Rica sounds nice too 

 So, the idea that travellers are unable to plan a trip to the east seems weird. Just follow the circuit and everything will be fine. The thing is that the beaten track is great, but the diamonds in the rough are in the jungle waiting to be found. No one is saying miss out on the most popular spots, yet you may want to mix traditional with unorthodox. Thankfully, Google Maps can help because, well, Google knows all there is to know about travel hotspots. To show you just how supportive it is, take a look at the map(s) below. These are the places which are a must-see.


Bangkok To Chiang Mai 

 Bangkok is unavoidable because it’s the beating heart of Southeast Asia. From partying to banking to overall lifestyle, BK is untouchable. From England or anywhere in Britain really, the flight is about 15 hours which is long but worth it in the end. Once in the country, book a couple of nights in areas such as Nana Plaza and Patpong. Both are “red light districts,” yet the latter is family-friendly (believe it or not!) and even has a night market for shopping. Avoid Khao San Road. Culture-wise, Chiang Mai is the king of Thailand, so a short one-hour flight to the north is in order. Once there, don your best elephant pants, braid your dreadlocks and hit as many temples as possible. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is probably the most beautiful, but Wat Phra Singh is a contender too. 

 Chiang Mai To Vang Vieng 

 Considering you’re already north, it makes sense to leave Thailand and head into Laos. Although it’s a touch sleepy, there is plenty to do and the peace and quiet will work wonders for your Zen. Vang Vieng is a *short car/bus journey away from CM. To be honest, there isn’t much to do other than “tubing” and to sit and watch TV and eat. The latter gets boring, but “tubing” is an experience because you get to drift down a river and stop off for drinks along the way. Some of the guides let you jump off rocks into the water, but it isn’t as common to see as the government stopped it. One or two nights in Vang Vieng is all you need, so go to Vientiane afterward. The capital is mainly a stop off point to recharge and go south, which is where you’ll find Si Phan Don. *please read sarcastically: the bus takes over 15 hours but you can’t fly. Sorry!

 Four Thousand Islands To Ho Chi Minh 

Si Phan Don is also known as the 4000 islands for self-explanatory reasons. It truly is a sight to see and well worth staying for a few days to take in the rafting and water-based activities. When the time comes to leave, Cambodia is next and Siem Riep is where you’ll find Angkor Wat. For a beer, head to the perfectly named “Pub Street.” Miss out Phnom Penh because there isn’t much to see unless you fancy the Killing Fields. The best place to go is Kampot, which is a stunning expat village. Once there, rent bikes and ride down to Kep to try the freshly caught seafood. From there, it’s a one-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

 Ho Chi Minh To Hanoi (And Ha Long Bay)

 HCM City is a place full of history, so it makes sense to start at the Vietnam History Museum. Watch out for the partisan commentary because the Vietnamese don’t mind telling people they won the war! The Cu Chi tunnels aren’t to be missed either, neither is the chance to wriggle your way through one. There’s so much to see in the south, from Dalat to Nha Trang, yet a one-way ticket to Hanoi is in order to capture another cultural hub. Please try a local soup in what looks like a dive restaurant but what is really a culinary delight. The world-famous Ha Long Bay is available by tour so book it and use Hanoi as a base. When you get back, you’ll need a day to recover. Vietnam’s capital is a transport hub with great links, and it’s here you’ll find a cheap flight  to Malaysia.


Penang, Kuala Lumpur, And Malacca 

 To fly straight to Penang is a hassle, which is why a great tip is to go via Bangkok. It shaves two-hours off the journey. Penang is a fantastic place for a lot of things – the street art is superb – but the food will blow your mind. Most nights, there is a street market which serves a host of local and international cuisines for a jaw-dropping price. Don’t miss it because you’ll regret it later down the line. Kuala Lumpur is the next stop, and the Petronas Towers are a good way to start the visit. You will want to do it sooner because a new launch property in Kuala Lumpur may obscure the view in the future. However, you will be able to pick up a cheap property so it’s swings and roundabouts. After a spot of shopping, take a day trip to Malacca, a holiday destination for Malay people. Hit up Jonker Street, particularly at night if you want to see a crowd full of colour and vibrancy.


 KL To The Islands

 Here’s where it gets tricky because Indonesia is full of islands. Unless you’re a wildlife buff, miss out Sumatra and go to Java to see Jakarta. From there, head to Yogyakarta in central Java and Kalipuro in the east where there are active volcanoes. Ijen is special because the lava and sulphur mix at night to create a blue flame. Kalipuro is a short boat ride from Bali, where you can spend your days relaxing before flying back to BK.

 So, are you ready to rock and roll?!



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