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5 Cool Towns To Chillout in South East Asia
I love the masses of people, markets, nightlife and all those things you find in Asian cities but stopping for a while in quieter small towns and regions gives you the much needed to relax, take in your surroundings and process all the madness and excitement of your travels. Here are a few places I [...]
Wednesday October 28 2009
I love the masses of people, markets, nightlife and all those things you find in Asian cities but stopping for a while in quieter small towns and regions gives you the much needed to relax, take in your surroundings and process all the madness and excitement of your travels. Here are a few places I have visited or plan to visit in the future.
I’d never heard of it until recently, it is one of those places that isn’t quite on the tourist trail. With the tourist downturn in Indonesia it has become even more off the map and extremely good value, in fact possibly the best you will find anywhere in Asia. What’s so special about it? Just take a look at the photos. Samosir is surrounded by Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world, yep volcanic, Samosir is the caldera of a super-volcano that about 74,000 years ago erupted almost wiping humans from the face of the planet and caused worldwide climate change, thankfully we are still here and can enjoy what is surely one of the most beautiful regions on earth. Check out this post and NomadicNotes for first hand accounts.
Kampot is a small town on Cambodia’s south coast, its claim to fame is Kampot Pepper, widely regarded by chefs as the worlds best. With Kampot River and the Elephant Mountains as a backdrop it makes for a cool place to relax. Kep is also just a short motorbike ride away and Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh just a couple of hours by bus or taxi. The locals and expats in Kampot are all pretty casual. While I stayed with a Khmer friend in their beautiful 2 storey home, adjacent and owned by our friends parents was a beautiful wooden house on the water, it was being rented out to an English teacher for $70 a month.
Ao Nang/Railay, Thailand
As beaches go in Thailand you can’t go much better than Krabi, Ao Nang and Railay are known backpacker chill out spots with great access to Phang Nga Bay, stunning scenery and a generally relaxed vibe. Krabi is probably so popular because there is so much more to do than just relax, there is pretty much every activity you could hope to do in Thailand within an hour or two, and when you are up for a bigger party you have Phuket to the south or Koh Phangan to the north.
I wrote a while ago about how much I disliked Bali, more specifically Kuta. If you are familiar with the Australian slang “Bogan”, Kuta is what I imagine a resort town just for them would be like. I also noted how much I want to go back and see the rest of the island outside of the cesspit that is Kuta. I can’t really imagine spending a long time there though, I don’t know what it is about Bali but despite knowing about the beautiful side I didn’t see, there is also something else telling me to move along. Ubud will provide the escape from the crazy Aussies on scooters looking to take you out with their surfboard hanging off the side.
Don Det, Laos
Don Det is an island in the 4000 islands region of the Mekong River in southern Laos. You can do many of the same things here as in Vang Vieng but without the crowds of backpackers. The largest waterfall in Southeast Asia is just a short excursion from here and you can try to spot an endangered Mekong River Dolphin too. Don Det is perfect for just laying in your hammock and watching the sunset over the Mekong.
Have a suggestion I can add to my list?