Spend a few jaw-clenching winters in Chicago in the U.S., and you'd be taking the first flight to Bangkok, too. That's what Ric Gazarian did: “I had a couple of friends in Chicago who were spending the winters in Miami,” he told me. “I said to myself, why are my friends so smart and why am I so dumb? I shouldn't be here!”
Work, retirement, or an extended sabbatical: many travelers take advantage of these opportunities for an extended, months-long stay in Southeast Asia.
For many younger travelers taking a year off from their academic calendar, Southeast Asia has become something of a Holy Grail:
You think of beaches, culture, and street food first when Southeast Asia comes up in conversation. But for a growing number of travelers to the region, golf has become a significant reason to invest time and money traveling here.
The wide open spaces of Southeast Asia get plenty of press – but trust us, its mysterious caves are worth writing home about, too!
As community-based local experiences go, homestays offer a package that few hotels or resorts can match: unbeatable authenticity tied together with super low costs. That's why homestays tend to be a backpacker's first choice for accommodation, particularly in Southeast Asia's more off-the-beaten-path locations.
Any tourist can appreciate Southeast Asia's larder of culinary treasures, but it takes an expert to tell us why the region's food tastes as good as it does. And two experts are better than one!
Travel blogger David Hogan has traveled across Southeast Asia and the world, mostly above the water but sometimes plunging to the depths.
Staying true to one's principles is difficult enough to do at home – imagine how that level of difficulty scales when you're traveling. As a travel blogger and a vegetarian, Archana Singh (blogging at Travel See Write) walks this thin line on a regular basis.
Thousands of islands and millions of miles of coastline make Southeast Asia a prime destination for ocean lovers. The only problem lies in deciding where to go.
Singapore's Marina Bay, Thailand's Grand Palace and Cambodia's Angkor Wat draw in visitors for a reason: they're beautiful, representative of the local culture, and plastered over every tourist brochure you can pick up at a travel agency.
While Southeast Asia's many experiences can be covered in week-long itineraries, there's something to be said about staying much longer, and seeing the best of the region at leisure.
Mike Huxley calls himself the "Bemused Backpacker", but finds travelers' health to be no laughing matter.
They're not oceans or rivers, they're roads to adventure. These four cruise experiences connect travelers to some of Southeast Asia's cities with a surfeit of history, culture and adventure – with a healthy helping of luxury travel and gorgeous natural views thrown in!
Borders? In today's networked, WiFi-enabled world, borders are meaningless.
And this is all to the digital nomad's benefit: this class of roving professional disdains offices, preferring instead to mix work with travel far from their own homes. Many have made a beeline for cities in Southeast Asia, using them as bases for work while alternating their business days with trips around the region.
How much of your travel dollar actually goes back to the community you travel in? Many travelers are growing increasingly conscientious about the impact their travels make on the places they visit: wary of travel services that only benefit businesses in the capital, tourists now look for travel experiences that directly give back to their travel destinations.
The massive island of Borneo includes territory from three different countries, splitting the territory's natural wonders between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Located far from the first two's capital cities, Borneo feels majorly off the beaten path – which isn't a bad thing, considering the adventures you can carve out of a few weeks' stay here.
Southeast Asia's cities are usually the first taste that travelers get of the region's countries. The region's major metropolises have the top airports, the biggest selection of hotels, and choice city-based itineraries.
Leave the hostels, bars and the backpacker trails to the backpackers; the family-friendly side of Southeast Asia might be a little pricier, but compensates with an overall experience that both parents and little ones can enjoy to the hilt.
Sure, anybody can climb a temple (they do it all the time in Cambodia or Myanmar), but a mountain? That's an adventure not everybody can boast of doing, something that requires far more preparation than any old hike up an ancient building.