Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Tips From my Tour Guide for Travelling Southeast Asia

This story was created in partnership with: TruTravels 

Okay, so we know that everyone going to Southeast Asia to “find themselves” is a tale as old as Instagram. Here’s the thing, though: a trip to Southeast Asia has something for everyone, no matter what your situation. Coming off a break-up? Who cares when you’re dancing the night away at a Full Moon Party? In a rut? Mix up your routine by taking a cooking class in Cambodia. Just need some me-time? Good thing Southeast Asia’s beaches are some of the best in the world, and everything from spa treatments to snorkelling adventures to serene cycling days out all come at an astonishingly affordable price. 

Thinking of hopping a plane to find your next adventure in Southeast Asia? Let me be the first to express my jealousy. One of the best ways to experience more of this gorgeous region at the lowest price is by travelling on a group tour. Not only will you be able to discover hidden gems with local knowledge you wouldn’t have access to any other way, group tours are often very affordable ways to travel. That goes double if you’re travelling with TruTravels! Not only will you enjoy world-class service and support at every leg of your journey, you’ll save big with included internal travel. Today, we’re going to break down a few top pieces of advice for travelling Southeast Asia, courtesy of TruTravels. 

A tree growing through an ancient temple in Cambodia
Ta Prohm Temple in Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia | © Daniel Lienert/Unsplash

How to choose a tour

The first step to your dream Southeast Asian getaway is choosing which tour you’d like to go on. Thankfully, TruTravels saves you the effort of narrowing down tour operators: their pre- and post-trip support, value for money, dreamy accommodations, and overall experience make deciding to travel with them a no-brainer. TruTravels doesn’t do anything ‘average!’

Once that’s done, though, you’ll have to consider which countries you’d like to visit.

If you’re starting to get worried because you may have failed geography and so you may not exactly be an expert on countries you’d like to visit, have no fear. Before you decide where you want to go, you’ll have to decide what you want to do. Often, planning a trip with an eye towards the experience you want to have and not necessarily the destination you’d like to visit results in unexpected and downright magical journeys. 

Where to go if you want…

Sand and sun

If your idea of a perfect trip involves a whole lot of laying on the beach, you’re in luck: Southeast Asia has some of the best beaches around. For relaxation, try Cambodia’s beautiful beaches. Not only are they drop-dead-gorgeous, they’re often more secluded and off-the-beaten-path. They’re the perfect place to relax with a good book (and maybe a drink or two!).

Travellers looking for a more adventurous beach vacation should look no further than Bali, where the opportunities for surfing, snorkelling, and hiking around picturesque beach towns are nearly endless. For an experience that feels all your own, head to the Philippines. This country, made up of over 7000 islands, gives travellers ample opportunity to discover secluded sandy corners perfect for your preferred style of travel. 

Blue waves at a beach in Indonesia
Indonesia’s beaches are something special! | © Lrns/Unsplash

All-night parties

It’s no secret that Southeast Asia is a party capital of the world! If you’re looking to let loose on your next trip, the cheap drinks and legendary parties make this region absolutely perfect for travellers of all backgrounds to live their party animal dreams. Of course, everyone knows Thailand is famous for their Full Moon Parties, which take place on the night of, before, or after each and every full moon of the year (so just about once a month, for those who still haven’t downloaded Co-Star).

Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there! If you can’t make it to a Full Moon party, check out Gili Trawangan in Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, or Vang Vieng in Laos for some of the best nightlife Southeast Asia has to offer. 

A man giving a peace sign under a hat on a beach in Thailand
Full Moon Parties in Thailand are not to be missed! | © Jordan Opel/Unsplash

A dose of culture

There are certain local experiences you just can’t miss when you’re travelling, whether that’s sipping on fresh mint tea in Morocco or visiting a Masaai village in Kenya. Southeast Asia has a rich and lengthy history, and travellers looking to immerse themselves in this culture should do everything they can to enjoy it. Travelling with TruTravels means you’ll always have an expert guide at your side to show you the best of Southeast Asia’s culture.

If you’re looking for something unique and tons of fun, you can’t miss the Songkran Water Festival in Chiang Mai, in which thousands of people celebrate the Thai New Year with a massive water fight. Nature lovers who are up for a challenge should consider visiting Mount Rinjani in Indonesia, an active volcano (the second-highest one in the country, in fact) that determined travellers can climb. Of course, if you’re looking to get your history fix, there’s no better place to do it in than Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, or the monuments and complicated history of Vietnam. 

Mount Rinjani, Indonesia
Mont Rinjani, Indonesia | © David Wollschleggel/Unsplash

Delicious food

One of the best parts of travelling is sampling amazing food from other cultures, right? The best part of travelling in Southeast Asia is the fact that everywhere you look you can find your new favourite snack. From Banh Xeo in Vietnam to Khao Soi in Thailand or Laos, one of the things you can be sure of when you decide to pay a visit to Southeast Asia is that you’ll never go hungry!

One of the best things you can do while travelling in this region is to be exploratory and bold with your meal choices – this is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Even if you think you won’t like something, having a dish expertly prepared by a local has a way of making even the most unexpected flavour combinations delicious. Opt to attend a cooking class and bring home the ultimate souvenir: the ability to recreate your favourite Southeast Asian meals!

Food vendors at a night market in Laos
Enjoy amazing street food in Laos | © Adli Wahid/Unsplash

How to make the most of your tour

It’s easy to think that a tour is just that: a few stops in a new place where you see a few new things. That couldn’t be further from the truth! When you travel with TruTravels, not only will you have the opportunity to explore Southeast Asia in-depth, you’ll get to do it with a built-in set of friends. Not only are these tours attended by people just as thrilled to be exploring as you are, they’re also led by guides who can’t wait to show you their favourite spots, share their favourite foods, and dance the night away with you.

Whether you’re travelling solo, kicking off a gap year, or bringing all of your closest friends along for the ride, remember to stop and think about where you are – one of the most beautiful and exciting regions in the world! A great way of doing this is by taking the opportunity to support local communities through volunteering or choosing to shop locally. When you take a trip with TruTravels, you’ll enjoy the knowledge that each tour gives back to the community, meaning you’ll leave as much of a good impression on Southeast Asia as it will on you!

It’s pretty easy to figure out the best way to travel Southeast Asia. No matter what you’re looking to do or the experience you want to have, there’s a spot in Southeast Asia perfect for you! TruTravels makes it easy to check everything off your bucket list without breaking the bank, and Southeast Asia is beautiful, exciting, and fun. Is there even a question of what your next adventure should be? We don’t think so, either.

Maggie is a life-long traveller with a special affinity for the United Kingdom. When she's not reading, writing, or dreaming about her next trip, you can find her talking at length about her dog to anyone who'll listen.

A small hut in front of mountains and trees in autumn
Up Next:

Your Guide to Hut-to-Hut Hiking in Europe

Your Guide to Hut-to-Hut Hiking in Europe