This February I traveled to my 5th and 6th countries out of the 11 Southeast Asian countries. If you’ve never been to this nearby tropical part of the world, I highly recommend considering this destination in your next overseas travel. The great thing about this hot little part of the globe is that it’s very affordable and very close to Korea. Low prices don’t automatically make all travel better by any means, but for the main readers of this newspaper (CWNU students) and myself (a young professional) having a limited budget is a big factor in where we decide to go in the world. I’m grateful for the career I currently have in Korea because it affords me a great opportunity to travel to diverse countries, much as Europeans have their whole lives growing up so close to many countries. In the United States, the opportunity to see a number of various international cultures can only be done economically within the mainland of our country, which is not nearly the same experience as traveling abroad to see the originating places of those cultures.
In Thailand, I only visited two cities: Chiang Mai (which was incredible) and Phuket (which I will never plan to visit again). I highly recommend Chiang Mai because of the number of different things you can do there and it’s still a place where you can see traditional Thai culture, yet have many amenities of modern life and the conveniences of a city that is well accustomed to tourists. You can spend a day feeding, washing, and riding elephants, or go pet and take pictures with baby to full adult size tigers!, zipline through jungles, visit historic beautiful temples, and do all kinds of other fun and interesting touristy things. In Phuket, however, it seems more to be a city long overrun by foreigners and I honestly felt like I could have been in any other part of the world besides Asia. It’s overcrowded, kinda gross, and overrated. I’m sure one could enjoy this beach town, as I did a little, but I was looking more for a quiet secluded beach-kind of experience. That’s not to say you won’t enjoy doing all the numerous possible tours and activities, like riding a boat to Phi Phi islands or other famous movie-scene locations, but I couldn’t enjoy those enough with the thousands of other tourists overrunning the place. My suggestion: Go to Philippines! (I did similar tours in Palawan and it was just as beautiful but much more peaceful.)
Don’t have money to travel? I totally understand, I never traveled while I was in school, but for those of you who will soon start jobs, keep in mind ways to save such as booking flights months in advance through Air Asia and looking online for inexpensive guesthouses that you can stay in for $5-$20 a night. Meals in many of these countries cost only $2-$4 and the experiences you will have will be priceless.
Luke Hanson firstname.lastname@example.org
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