My love for Asia is quite apparent from this blog and my writing, both of which unabashedly state that there are few places that can be as intriguing as Asia. It’s no surprise that the travel experiences I identify as most life changing, profound and stimulating mostly took place in Asia. Whether it was wandering in the markets of the Old Quarter in Hanoi, chasing butterflies on a bamboo raft floating on a river in Northern Thailand, having my mind blown by the mighty karst scenery of Halong Bay, or learning how to slow down at a sacred Tibetan pilgrimage site in Nepal, my travels in the colorful, vibrant and culture rich continent have given me more than I could have imagined. If you’re looking to experience the wonderfully gratifying chaos that is Asia, here are some interesting travel ideas to stoke your wanderlust.
Yoga Retreat in Kerala, India
An experience that’s sure to leave you looking happier and healthier than when you first arrived, a yoga retreat in Kerala is a fantastic way to explore one of India’s most beautiful states. There are many retreats suitable for a range of budgets and levels of luxury where you can nurture your mind and body by learning and practicing a range of yoga and meditation techniques right in the heart of nature. At the Ayurveda Yoga Villa, you can practice traditional Indian techniques on the banks of a river in the middle of thousands of acres of forest; an experience that gives you the best of nature and relaxation.
Cruising the Mekong River
The longest river in South East Asia, the Mekong has long been the subject of fascination for travelers and continues to be on the itinerary of many visitors to South East Asia. Enjoying a Mekong river cruise holiday means meandering along buzzing cities, floating villages and markets, terraced rice fields, and enjoying spectacular sunsets along a skyline full of multi-storied temples and grand monasteries. Choose from different prices, routes and itineraries to suit your budget, style, interests and trip length.
Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand
Busloads of wide-eyed tourists arrive at various elephant camps across South East Asia excited by the thought of riding an elephant, almost like a Maharaja from Indian history. An important point that’s often missed in their ignorance is that this kind of elephant tourism is detrimental to the elephants whose bodies weren’t meant to carry people around and who are often badly treated. If the mighty beasts hold your fascination, then volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Asia is a great way to spend some quality time with them. Animal lovers will enjoy interacting and learning how to communicate with the elephants, while tending to them and taking them for jungle walks. The volunteers also build fruitful relationships with the mahouts and people in the villages, which result in rich local experiences and seeing parts of the country, that maybe off the beaten path. Ashley of The Southern Gypsy wrote a detailed post explaining what it means to volunteer at the Surin project in Thailand and how it really affects the elephants and their mahouts in the village.
Culinary Holiday in Sri Lanka
Discover the joys of exotic Sri Lankan cuisine with a culinary tour of the tear drop shaped island in the Indian Ocean. Influenced by Indian, Portuguese and Dutch cooking traditions, the local cuisine is a delectable affair bursting with aromatic flavors, spices, herbs and colors. Foodies will appreciate unearthing the secrets of traditional cooking in various regions, picking out ingredients such as pumpkin, radish, pineapples, bananas and mangoes from local markets and working with them, while traveling across the country. From mouth-watering seafood preparations in coastal regions, hoppers at street side eateries, fragrant curries and spicy devilled dishes in the highlands, Sri Lankan cuisine is pleasingly diverse and a food lover’s dream.
Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam
If the idea of trekking along quaint mountain villages and lush terraced paddies with colorfully dressed local Hmong women for company sounds appealing, then don’t think twice before booking a trip to Sapa, a little town in northern Vietnam that serves as a base for trekkers wanting to explore the surrounding mountain trails. Experience nature at its finest as you trek or ride to villages such as Lao Chai or Cat Cat or if you’re feeling adventurous, hike to Mt. Fansipan, the highest peak in Indo-China. Visit bustling local markets such as Bac Ha and enjoy the local cuisine in Sapa that’s sure to recharge your batteries at the end of a hard day’s trek.