Having recently read my friends book TLTHC: Destination Thailand which I talked about in THIS blog post, I have to admit, South East Asia has been on my mind. Getting lost in the adventures of this fictional female traveller, backpacking her way from Bangkok down to the Thai islands, has had me reliving my own Asian adventures. Cold beers on warm beaches, tasty street food in somewhat dodgy looking alley ways, and oddly named spirits that cost the tenth of a bottle of Absolut back home; I’ve been cooking up a list in my mind of all the things I crave and miss about my beloved South East Asia, including foods, drinks and a few other delights…
Plenty of us, myself included, have ordered the Chicken Satay from the local Chinese and no doubt licked the stick clean. Am I right? But in Thailand and Vietnam, I found that most satay dishes were pork. The satay sauce was absolutely incredible and the pork deliciously succulent, so much so that I found myself ordering this dish a lot (no seriously, like a lot, a lot). What I’d do to gobble up a round of it now.
Black Cock (The Drink!)
Possibly the oddest name of all the spirits we came across (along with Hong Thong) Black Cock is in fact a Thai Rice Whiskey that not only had us in fits of giggles every time we bought it in the supermarket (I know, so immature) but it became a fantastic drink to get our nights started, especially when mixed with coke or lemo.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some stunning sunsets in England, including this one at Christmas. But they are nothing compared to some of the wondrous sunsets I witnessed on the Thai Islands, my favourite being a beautiful pink sky that shared it’s stage with an incredible storm. As we sat on the warm, dry beach of Koh Toa to watch the sun disappear, far in the distance clouds began to form and within seconds we could see lightning strike them, setting the pink sky below a light. It was magnificent to see, like watching a storm from Heaven – I’ve never seen anything like it.
Baggy cotton pants, bikini tops and loose fitted vest tops. It’s easy to see why everyone loves to dress like a backpacker. It’s comfy clothing at its best. There were literally days I felt like I was travelling through Laos in my PJ’s and I was loving every minute of it! Check out this post to see how to dress like a Backpacker.
There are smoothie and shake stalls EVERYWHERE in Thailand and I became obsessed with drinking these tasty banana drinks from street vendors and restaurants. They tasted so much better than any kind of banana shake I’d tried back home and they were a godsend when I injured myself and had to go on antibiotics. Unable to drink alcohol, I drank Banana shakes instead and surprisingly they helped speed up my recovery, turning my wound from black to pink in just a few days. I felt like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love.
The hostels have them everywhere. Hard to snag but once you have, you can sit in there for hours, enjoying the warm weather, swinging away and watching the world go by.
Okay, so you can get hair wraps pretty much everywhere these days, but only abroad is it acceptable to walk around with one, flaunting it as you give a good hair flick. And it was in the city of Bangkok when me and five of my female travel buddies got them all done at the same time – again, only cool when you’re backpacking.
So when we visited an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai (or what we thought was a sanctuary but we later discovered probably wasn’t and that the word ‘Sanctuary’ may have been lost in translation) my boyfriend and I felt truly blessed to get up close and personal with such beautiful creatures. Even just feeding them Bananas and stroking their trunk had my eyes watering with happiness. We’d never seen an Elephant in real life before. But much like the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, once we had seen an Elephant, hundreds more started popping up everywhere. They passed us on roads, gatecrashed our bamboo river rides, were hanging out in the middle of the street – they were everywhere. Sigh. I miss backpacker life; when passing an Elephant was considered ‘routine’.
A chain of cafes pottered about through Laos and Vietnam that served the best waffles I have ever tasted in my entire life AND the best coffee in South East Asia. Yup, quite a statement, but I stand by it!
Uber cheap Street massages
I spent a lot of time in Bangkok and I got into a rather indulgent habit of going for a daily Foot Massage. I went to a place around the corner from my hostel that was basically just chairs lined up on the street for passers-by to hop on and be massaged. But why not when it costs less than £3? For that bargain price it would last half an hour and despite being called a ‘Foot massage’ it included both legs being massaged as well as a quick head, shoulder, neck and back rub. Every time you thought it was going to end, they would pick up anther body part and start rubbing. Pure Bliss!
Both Thailand and Laos lead us to some absolutely stunning waterfalls. There was the splashy splashy fun kind that you could even slide down on your bum. Then there was the peaceful waterfalls, that were clear blue with fish that nibbled at your feet, perfect for a tranquil dip in a serene setting.
Have you been to any parts of South East Asia? What do you miss the most?
Heading to South East Asia?? What are you looking forward to the most??