During my final year studying, me and a several other close friends decided we would make plans to travel around South East Asia, once we had completed our studies in May 2016. After all, 80% per cent of millennials are suspected to value enriching experience over material goods http://time.com/money/4030036/millennials-boomers-buying-experiences/ (2016). It would be silly not too! However, the bank account may not agree! After numerous discussions around where and when we would be going, as well as the all important budget, it was May before we know it. Thankfully, a couple of members of the ‘Bali babes’ group were on it and ensured that flight plans and hotels were accounted for. So I thought I would share a few precious glimpses with you from my travels around South-East Asia.
So it was the 26th May 2016 and it was time to begin the journey, starting at Manchester airport. After the excitement of being reunited with the crew, it was clear that eyes were glazed with the look of happiness and nervousness. However, our eyes were also filled with uncertainty, sadness and the feeling of vulnerability – no matter how often we do it, saying goodbye to our loved ones is not easy. For a moment, our shield is down and we move from standing as that ‘grown up’ being, to the little boy/girl we once were. As we say our goodbyes to our loved ones, we made our way to check in.
First Stop, Bangkok:
After fifteen hours of a flight we landed in Bangkok! After a good sleep we began the day with a river cruise around an area of Bangkok. I would love to say we took on the savvy traveler role and we didn’t get ripped of…not the case! However, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and saw the amazing floating markets and magnificent structures of Temples. The powerful pull to religion is astonishing and beautiful, with uppermost respect being given to the temples old and new.
Next stop, North Thailand – Chang Mai:
The Elephant Nature Park…one word – GO! Check it out here: https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/ We all had the most amazing time and were so lucky to meet these beautiful species, as well as the other animals the ENP rescue like cats, monkeys, buffalo and even dogs! The team had lots of dogs they rescued from the flooding in Thailand. We bathed, fed and walked with the incredible elephants and were able to witness their fascinating social ability between herds (psychology mind coming out here). However, all of these elephants were rescued from places like the circus, zoos, or poachers. Please, please, please do not ride elephants! We were informed of the gruesome torture technique elephants are sentenced to, until their spirits are broken.They do not have to dance for us nor be subdued to our hunger for power and authority. They are their own form of beauty that require respect.
Crossing to Cambodia:
This image is from one of the Angkor temples, located in Siem Reap. We left the hotel around 4am to see the sun come up over the temple. It was one of the those moments where photographs could not give justice to the vision we saw. It took the majority of the day to make our way around the various temples, but every area gave you a different feeling, a unique take on the temples’ history and its operations in their prime.
Next stop, Vietnam:
What we didn’t do in Vietnam?! My Vietnamese pals all told me I would love Vietnam and I sure did! We had many a night out, visited small traditional communities, drank Vietnamese coffee, had a few too many alcoholic beverages and ate some amazing vegetarian food. So yeah, I will be heading back soon!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:
Kuala Lumpur felt so different from where we had previously been. We were in the capital of Malaysia, there was sky scrapers towering all around us as, with one of those being the Petronas Towers. We walked a lot around the city, but we needed to after filling our faces with Nandos two or three times over the four days we were there!
What a switch up! Singapore was a vibrant, calm and strong city. we were just there for two days but we filled our time site seeing like to hotel in the image beside me. it has an infinity pool on the top looking across Singapore! We walked on the formula one race track, drank a Singapore sling from the famous Long Bar and strolled around beautiful gardens.
What a place to end on. We spent most of our time in Bali (Indonesia) and traveled to a few places including Gilli islands from where the above picture was taken. Being in a place of beauty and calmness gave me to time to reflect on what and where we have been over the last five weeks, and how lucky we are to experience the life enriching moments each place gave us. I would do it all again at the drop of a hat!