This month I was able to spend two weeks on vacation traveling to Southeast Asia. Clearly, two weeks far from enough time in an area as diverse and rich in experiences as Southeast Asia but if I waited until I had ALL the time it merits, I may never get started. An opportunity arose a few months ago to travel there in November with a good friend, anchored on a wedding that was to take place in Bali. I had not taken a real vacation this year yet so I had the needed time off from work to go do it. It also happened to be a good moment at work to take the time off. As I discussed the possibility with my friend, it became clear we had similar interests whether it be in the things to explore, the way to travel (hotels, flights, etc.), and what we were hoping to get out of a vacation like this (R and R!).
As usual, I opened a map to envision all the possible destinations outside of Bali. We opted to spend the bulk of the vacation in Bali since there were going to be pre- and post- wedding events but then the balance of the vacation had to be solved. I figured that if I never got to go back, there were two places I had to see: the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, and Bangkok (made famous by Murray Head with his one hit wonder in the 1980s!). We ended up doing those and adding Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s capital) and Singapore (our Asian entry/exit point in our travels) to the trip. We were flying around a bit so Phnom Penh we chose because we could just take a car and avoid a plane; but then also seeing the infamous killing fields of Pol Pot and the Genocide Museum were a strong draw as we felt they were memorials that we had to see to grasp better Cambodia’s past.
Thanks to websites like TripAdvisor and Kayak, doing research and planning was not too hard (this is not a sponsored post, lol!). The information in TripAdvisor was key in choosing hotels that fit what we were looking for (for example, a great property in Bali by the beach with a cool pool area). Kayak I find easiest to use to compare and contrast not just airfares but routes – I had to solve the sequence of our destinations by ensuring I could find direct flights at the time of the day we wanted to leave or arrive at a given destination. It all seems to have worked out well though at least one morning the departure was earlier than I really would have wanted – hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it?
- Bali: 5 days
- Bangkok: 2 nights, 1 day (a FULL day!)
- Cambodia: 3 nights, 3 days
- Singapore: 2 nights, 1 day, and a few hours overnight at the airport
- Delta airplane seat: tons of hours!
So, in the next few weeks, I will be writing about each of these destinations and my favorite things. A lot may have been on-the-beaten-path but there was some off-the-beaten-path that was spectacular and I can’t wait to write about it!