Not “what to do?” but “where to go?”

Exams are over. School’s out. “Now what am I going to do with all this free time?” Sure, there are games to play, movies to watch, and friends to hang out with but have you ever thought of travelling as an option? Everyone that I know including the most introverted ones have never regretted choosing travelling as their choice to spend their holiday and you should too. First, let’s explore why you should choose travelling in the first place.

Why should you travel?

Travelling gives you reasons to be thankful. Most of us have become too blinded by materialism and our consumerism-filled lives that we forget to thank our creator for all the blessings we have received. It enables you to be more independent. You will be put into real-life situations that improve your street smartness as well as organisational skills.

Experience the adventures of travel

Travelling teaches you how to be a frugal and budget-conscious wanderer.Traveling young can inspire a good course of action that will help them shape the rest of their life. It’s about experiencing true risks and adventures so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life.

Master the art of budgetting

To keep costs low, use services like couch surfing for free accommodation. Not into it? Stay in dorms. They are a great way to meet people and save some cash. Always travel local instead of by private or tourist coach, even if that means travel days are longer. If you’re rich in time but not in funds, this is the best way do it. However, if you’re not a fan of couch surfing, Accommodation in Southeast Asia is really cheap. You can find dorm rooms for as little as $3-6 SGD in parts of Cambodia and Laos. In Thailand, you will typically pay $9-16 SGD per night. In Vietnam, expect to pay $7-10 SGD. In Indonesia, between $11-14 SGD.

Inexpensive Food

Food is very inexpensive in Southeast Asia and if you are spending a lot of money on food, you are doing something wrong. In Southeast Asia, street food is the most popular form of eating. On average, these meals cost no more than $2.50 SGD unless you are going all out on a local food street eating everything you see.

Book tickets ahead of time

As for flights, Air Asia and Tiger Airways can get you around the region cheap and fast. They often have incredible sales so if you’re in a rush, these two airlines can get you where you need to go! However, some tips to book cheaper flight tickets would be to use flight search engines like Skyscanner or JetRadar. It can help you locate the cheapest tickets within a certain time frame and keep you updated on latest deals! Also, if you know when and where you’re going, don’t wait to book. More often than not, your biggest savings come from booking far ahead when you can.

Places to visit / activities

You will be overwhelmed by the places to visit and activities to take part in Southeast Asia (SEA). Here are just a few list of TO-DO.

• Learn to dive.
Learn to dive in SEA at a fraction of what it would cost in western countries! Some of the best places are Ko Tao (Thailand), Sipadan (Malaysia), as well as Indonesia and the Philippines.

• Situate yourself on some tropical islands.
There’s more tropical islands in this part of the world than can be named. You have some of the best in the world here, places here you can lie on the beach, soak up some sun, and cool off in azure blue water. Some of the best are Perhentian Islands (Malaysia), Rabbit Island (Cambodia), Ko Lanta (Thailand), Ko Chang (Thailand), Ko Tarutao National Park (Thailand).

• Get high!
Make an effort to climb one of the spectacular mountains, whether getting up before dawn to watch the sun rise from Indonesia’s Mount Bromo or embarking on the two-day trek to scale Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia.

Overall, most activities in here in SEA are pretty cheap. Most day tours only cost around $30 SGD, often times less. Take Cambodia for example, learning to scuba dive will set you back a few hundred dollars and the multi-day pass to Angkor Wat is $50 SGD. Jungle trekking costs $40-65 SGD per day, though cheaper in groups. White-water rafting will cost around $60 SGD. For everything else, check the country and city guides for prices on various activities. However, never book anything before landing in any city because that’s a sure-fire way to overpay. Always wait until you get there. There are tons of tour operators and small shops at the backpacker streets that you can negotiate with to get a good price.

To conclude, here are some extra tips to fully maximise your money and time during your travel. In Southeast Asia, taxi and tuk-tuk drivers often try to scam tourists. Hatton, a travel specialist insists that you research exactly how much it should cost to get from point A to point B before you actually have to go there. That way, you know if the driver is overcharging you. “No matter where I am traveling, I always start by looking up current taxi rates on WikiTravel; they usually have exact costs that are current.

Lastly, don’t try to do anything too quickly. Southeast Asia is the land of the chill. Deadlines aren’t really a thing there, which is great because slowing down helps you save money. “I found that whenever I was in a rush, I spent money because I paid to get places faster,” Hatton told BuzzFeed Life. So slow down and travel at a more chilled pace. Don’t spend money on taxis; walk everywhere. Your savings will quickly add up.

Jireh Tay

Advanced Diploma in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management.

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Jireh Tay

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