Last month my friend, Evie, and I spent 3 weeks traveling Southeast Asia. I’d of loved to keep a daily blog of my experiences, but I was simply too busy taking it all in – and trust me, there’s a lot to take when travelling Asia – so I thought I’d share my absolute favourite experiences from my travels now, as a collection of tweets, BuzzFeed style.
1.) Visiting Elephants at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand
If you’re in Thailand, I definitely recommend visiting WFFT. We saw all sorts of rescued animals, including gibbons, macaques, bears, langurs and, of course, elephants. After that we had an excellent Thai buffet lunch. Then we spent the afternoon feeding, walking and washing one of the elephants, and then visiting the other elephants on open back trucks. It’s an absolute must-visit! Not to mention, the money goes back into caring for the rescued animals.
Today we visited Wildlife Friend Foundation Thailand. We saw all sorts of rescued animals. It was amazing! 🐘 🌏 😄 pic.twitter.com/yvWM9hpW7z— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 23, 2015
2.) Exploring the Angkor Temples
I’m not usually interested in historic or religious sites, but the temples in Siem Reap are absolutely incredible. We watched the sunrise over Angkor Wat (even though it was raining ?) and then returned later with an incredibly friendly and informative tour guide to explore the temples. We also had a delicious Khmer lunch.
We visited Angkor Wat today. It was absolutely magnificent! 🏯 🌏 😍 pic.twitter.com/kzQUuzBY9Y— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 28, 2015
3.) An Evening in Pub Street, Siem Reap
Pub Street is the main entertainment street in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with restaurants, bars, clubs, souvenir shops, markets, tuktuks, fresh fruit smoothie stalls and plenty of places to get a cheap massage lining the street and its surrounding area. This place is small, but it’s lively (without feeling pushy). We had cheap drinks (beer = $1), a lovely dinner, bought souvenirs, picked up a fresh fruit smoothie for $1 and had a 15 minute foot rub here for just $2! The Cambodian people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met, and we had a right laugh with the people rubbing our feet!
Oh, and as you can see, I got myself an Asian farmers hat. $2!
Me on Pub Street again feat. Asian farmers hat. 👒 🍻 🌏 pic.twitter.com/agZSAPU74O— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 29, 2015
To travel between the airport, the hotel, Pub Street and the Angkor temples we used tuktuks. They’re the easiest, cheapest and funnest way to get around Siem Reap. Every time we travelled in one I felt giddy with excitement, and I just HAD to capture a timelapse of the experience on my GoPro.
Goodbye Cambodia, I loved everything about my stay here. I'll be back, for sure. 🌏 💙 😄 pic.twitter.com/CWF5BOmXbG— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 30, 2015
5.) Overnight Train (Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur)
After getting a train from Singapore into Johor Bahru, Malaysia, we then got on an overnight train all the way up to Malaysia’s capital – Kuala Lumpur. This was right at the start of our trip, and made me feel as giddy with excitement as the tuktuks did in Cambodia. This was where the adventure started.
Here's a pic of the overnight train from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur last night. Such a fun experience! 🚄 🌎 🎒 pic.twitter.com/EgsQSZ1fHR— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 11, 2015
7.) Eating on Jalan Alor
On our penultimate night in Kuala Lumpur, fed up with McDonald’s but trying to stick to a budget, we ended up on Jalan Alor. This street is filled with food stalls and restaurants serving Asian cuisine, and though some may see it as dirty and chaotic, it’s definitely worth a visit. We stopped for a meal here and paid no more than £6 for everything.
We just had a delicious Chinese meal on Jalan Alor, like locals! 🍚 🍢 😄 pic.twitter.com/4lEUSbxJOU— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 15, 2015
The meal was so delicious and the staff were so friendly, that we ended up returning to the same restaurant for our final evening in KL!
Eating on Jalan Alor last night was so fun that we went back & did it again for our last evening in Kuala Lumpur! 🍚🍢😄 pic.twitter.com/GBAQwHL2iA— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 16, 2015
8.) Thean Hou Temple
This temple is a bit out of the way, so you’ll need to take a taxi, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The Chinese architecture is really quite something, and there’s a lovely view back to the city.
We visited the glorious Thean Hou Temple today. The Chinese architecture was absolutely magnificent! pic.twitter.com/0WWfpjWHLY— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 15, 2015
8.) Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are located just outside the city, about 30 minutes by train from KL Sentral.The Hindu statues and sculptures are impressive, so it’s well worth the trip, but watch out for the monkeys on the steps!
I was really impressed by the Batu Caves, even if the monkeys did scare me a little bit. 🐒 🌏 pic.twitter.com/SJCss2c7LH— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 13, 2015
9.) Singapore Views at Night
Singapore and I had a bit of a fallout, mostly due to the crazy prices (1 beer + 1 cider came to the equivalent of £17) and the difficulty of getting a taxi in certain places (over an hour we waited), but I must admit – it’s a beautiful city. It’s clean, it’s full of funky evening venues and it’s got some very pretty areas all along the river. My particular favourite is round the back of the Fullerton Hotel with the Merlion and the business buildings in the background, though the camera on my phone doesn’t do it justice.
Singapura 🌃 🌏 pic.twitter.com/Op7HYhUDgS— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 30, 2015
10.) Amazing Asian Toilets
I couldn’t do a “Top 10 Asia Experiences” without mentioning these babies, could I? We had one in our hotel room in Bangkok and there were more in the shopping malls (which are incredible, by the way). After you’ve done your business these toilets will clean you with water, and then dry you off. That’s some pretty magical stuff right there!
Okay, the toilets in the mall have even more buttons & dry you off after! Who knew Toshiba made toilets?! 🚽 💙 pic.twitter.com/TUhRNmDvpA— James Pratters 🏳️🌈 (@JamesPratters) July 26, 2015
So, there you have it, those are my 10 best experiences from travelling Southeast Asia. We had many others, but those are the best. I’d strongly recommend traveling SEA, and I know I’ll definitely be returning to see Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and more of Thailand. Cambodia, in particular, has a special place in my heart and I’d happily go back and do it all again.
The wonderful thing about travelling is that it helps you see things in a different way. I’ve definitely learnt a lot about culture, religion, wildlife and so much more. With my Australia trip before it, I was out of the UK for a good 6 weeks. I was stressed then, but now I feel cultured, I feel refreshed and I definitely feel happy with life. I guess it’s true, travelling really does help you find yourself.