I recently traveled Southeast Asia exploring the countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. If you want to start packing your clothes and venture into traveling but do not have a clue on which destination to explore first, Asia is a perfect continent to begin your adventure. First, Asia is so rich in culture that even when the countries are geographically so close to each other, every country has a unique identity as evident in their culture, food and infrastructure. Also, geographically speaking, since I am from the Philippines, it will be great to explore and get to know our country's ASEAN neighbors.
Some people have the notion that to travel could only break their bank accounts. I say, if you plan your travel well, and if it is important for you, then you can always save up for something that is worth it. Planning is the key. If you plan ahead, you can even get your airfares significantly low as compared to when you buy a ticket a month away from your trip. I will not tackle traveling tips in this entry but in my upcoming posts.
Sorry about the photo. I purposely edited it this way.
Now, why travel? Traveling creates wealth of experiences that expands you. It opens your perspective about life and you learn practical things that enhances your creativity and flexibility since not at all times all your travel plans will go accordingly. There are certain factors you cannot control like flight delays, bad weather and all. If you are a frequent traveler, you will learn to easily cope when things do not go according to plan, and you can always find an alternative to make your trip an enjoyable one. Traveling makes you more versatile since you will be meeting people from different parts of the globe with different cultural background. As you open yourself to be interested in getting to know other people, you will see how much interested others are also of your culture. It is a great experience to see a global perspective about life.
For you to experience the most out of your trip, I recommend writing down your travel goals first before drafting your itineraries down to the details. Have a quick introspect about the things that you enjoy the most, and design your activities that best fulfills your travel goals. If you love scenic nature and the mountains for example, you might want to spend more days in the country side as compared to the city.
When you are traveling with your spouse or with your family, traveling is a great exercise for team work. (Talking about my future family travel goals! ) Brainstorm together to discuss about the things which you want to explore together. What a joy to experience new things together so make sure you collaborate in everything.
As for me, my travel goals always revolve around good food, culture and the arts, great architectural structures old and new, and exploring the city.
I like exploring by foot whenever possible because walking around the city gives you great discoveries along the way and more time to marvel at beautiful sights. I make sure I have a good map that is handy or my google map on my phone. It helps a lot.
Beautiful mural paintings adorned the underground river bridge in Clark Quay Singapore.
I also love exploring the city by night even though I've already seen how the city is like in the morning. There is something beautiful about a city adorned with colorful lights. I like taking photos of the skyline view of the business district at night when all the buildings are lighted up. Colorful lights bring so much beauty to a place and it is a great sight to behold.
Marina Bay Sands by night. A breathtaking scene.
Clark Quay Singapore by night.
MARINA BAY SANDS in the evening! Such a beautiful view.
I also enjoy taking good photos of beautiful buildings and infrastructures that have unique architectural designs.
Talking about great infrastructure, I am amazed that even if we are in the Modern 20th century, there are countries that have preserved century old buildings. In Thailand, 17th century old royal courts and palaces of old empires have been preserved beautifully for centuries.
Thailand is one of the country in Southeast Asia that was not colonized and so you can see how well their historical palaces are still intact and standing up to date You will be fascinated by the elaborated details of these historical structures and you would have an understanding of the locales' genuine creativity.
Grand Palaces in Bangkok Thailand
Grand Palaces in Bangkok Thailand
In Indonesia,Jakarta, the country's capital have tall and massive buildings that reflects a progressive and thriving city. But in the middle of everything modern there is a place called Old Town Jakarta which by it's name “Old Town” still has century old buildings that have been restored beautifully, mostly functioning as the cities museums. I went to a restaurant called Café Batavia and the restaurant has an interior of an old classical era. The restaurant sits in a building that is more than 200 years old.
Downtown City Jakarta
Old Town Jakarta
Interiors of Cafe Batavia on a 200 year old building in Old Town Jakarta
I'm not just fascinated with old structures, I also love modern design and structure that reflects our age, the 20th century. When it comes to modern architectural designs, Singapore is a picture of Modern and Innovative architecture. From green buildings that are environment friendly, to asymmetrical structures; I keep falling in love with how creative and innovative Singapore’s infrastructure is as a whole. It is an epitome of modern beauty, quality and excellence.
Esplanade Theater in Singapore. Do you know what the inspiration is behind this building? Durian. The national fruit in Singapore.
Just one of the buildings that has caught my attention because of its asymmetrical aesthetics. very uniquely designed.
Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
In Malaysia, these great palaces and buildings display such flamboyance and rich design. In the Federal Capital of Malaysia which is Putra Jaya, the government buildings are so beautifully structured with massive built and beautiful exteriors and these buildings sits down the road of Putra Jaya catching great attention to tourists who loves magnificent palaces.
Another Government Office. The Palace of the Ministry of Justice of Malaysia in Putra Jaya
Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the grand structure connotes power. You will really be in awe of this beauty.
In Vietnam, colonialism is evident and is reflected even on their buildings. One highlight of my trip to Ho Chi Minh is their famous Central Post Office. The design is very European and the designer himself is no other than the renowned architect Gustav Eiffel, the designer of Eiffel Tower.
Saigon's Central Post Office.
Now, about culture and the arts, I like learning about other countries culture; how it differs or how similar it is from my own country. It thrills me to listen to locales share their stories and just learn about their way of life. I also frequent museums because I like having a grasp of a country's history and the arts.
Chatting with some INDONESIAN LOCALES WHILE WE WERE all lining up for our turn to view the MONAS TOWER DECK. THE HIGHEST STRUCTURE IN JAKARTA INDONESIA
MUSEUM IN VIETNAM
I also love to experience authentic local dish and I would carefully savor the new taste of food and all its rich flavors. I love to cook and I would like it one day that I am able to cook popular world's famous dishes say one recipe or two from Thailand, another from Vietnam and so forth.
A FOOD STREET IN KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA. THE STREET IS A LONG STRETCHED OF DIFFERENT LOCAL CUISINE.
A VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT TRYING THEIR LOCALE DISH CALLED BÁNH XÈO
TRYING THEIR LOCAL THAI DISH TOM YAM GOONG. IT IS SO DELICIOUS CAN SOMEONE TEACH ME HOW TO COOK THAI?
These are my travel goals. I believe that every traveler needs to research as much about the countries they are visiting to experience the most out of their vacation. I will be blogging next about each countries I've visited to talk about my itinerary, the places I've visited in detail and even the different local cuisine.
Traveling truly builds great memories that will stay with you. These stories of my trips I'm sure are even worth retelling even to my future children. Life after all is about building great memories. I have a vision wall at home where I collect refrigerator magnets of the countries I've visited. Someday, I wish to have a dedicated wall in our family room with so many refrigerator magnets from our family trips (with my future hubby and future children). One thing I've learned from traveling is that the world is big and there is so much beauty that awaits us when we go out and take the time off to just enjoy the beauty of God's creation.
I'm sure traveling can also be tiring but the experience of seeing new sights and discovering greater things along the way truly makes a huge deposit into your memory lane. When your brain has so much good memories, even when things aren't doing well, you can always look back at a good memory that can make you smile. Isn't' that worth it?