Welcome to Asia off the Grid!

The week before I graduated college I was browsing through books in a Barnes & Nobles when I came upon the travel section. I’ve always loved to travel and I knew that I wanted to do a big backpacking trip, but I didn’t have any money saved at that point. I saw Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on a Shoestring so I bought it as inspiration and vowed that at some point in the future I would do that trip. Two and a half years later I saved enough money to quit my job and make my dream a reality. The best part is that I convinced my sister, Rosie, and my best friend, Brit, to quit their jobs and come with me as well!

We spent Feb-May 2012 traveling throughout Southeast Asia to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. I decided to make this blog after I returned home because I wanted to share my experiences with friends and family, but I also hope the information will be helpful to other travelers planning a trip to SEA. There are a lot of great resources out there between travelfish.org and lonely planet forums, but it can still be difficult to find details about certain transportation routes and itineraries. So a lot of my notes may be boring for the average person, but they are things that I would have liked to know while I was planning my trip (i.e. what time do buses leave, is it possible to go a certain route etc).

Now that I’m back people always ask me what was my favorite destination. And I honestly can’t decide because they’re all so different. Indonesia and Thailand have some of the nicest beaches in the world. Cambodia and Myanmar are home to some of the oldest and most well-preserved temples. The countryside of Laos and Malaysia was unexpectedly beautiful. Vietnam has amazing markets and Singapore has great food. However, after much consideration I’ve managed to narrow down my top 10 list of things to do in Southeast Asia (in no particular order).

Top 10 List:

1. Trekking to Inle Lake, Myanmar

Little monks encounter while trekking to Inle Lake

2. Songkran Celebrations in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Songkran Celebrations

3. Relaxing on Long Beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand

Long Beach, Thailand

4. The Gibbon Experience, Laos

Zip-lining through the forest to our treehouse

5. Cruising through Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Sunset over Ha Long Bay

6. Biking around temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

7. Watching the sunrise over Mt Bromo in Java, Indonesia

Mt Bromo, Indonesia

8. Kayaking from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, Laos

Kayaking in Laos

9. Exploring the temples of Angkor in Cambodia

Ta Prohm Temple

10. Long-tail boat rides at sunset in Krabi, Thailand

Long-tail boat ride from West Railay to Ao Nang