Harry Forster, National University of Singapore
A brief overview of the trips I took and if I think they’re worth the buck…
- Lombok (a more undeveloped Bali, yet it offers a lot of the same opportunities)
- Amazing food – a vegans dream, cheap cheap… make sure you try the Nasi Goreng & Mei Goreng!
- Activities, activities and more activities: white water rafting, scuba diving (manta rays, shipwrecks), sunrise hikes and of course surfing all year around – are just some of the things you could get up to!
- If you like dancing into the night, Bali is home to Asia’s best beach parties … Oldmans & Sandbar is where to be (every night).
**Stay in Canggu, Lay Day Surf Hostel (avoid Seminyak & Kuta)!
- Kuala Lumpur (the cliché exchangers first getaway)
Overall, it was one the most modern and clean cities I’ve been to in SE Asia outside of Singapore. The Batu Caves are worth going to, most likely for that Instagram post, be ready to be sweaty.
This will most likely be your first escape from Singapore and its prices… However, be aware that Kuala Lumpur isn’t as cheap as you’d anticipate!
- Tioman island (a divers dream, not much attraction to the island besides its waters)
- Langkawi (a great short trip)
Langkawi was one of my favourite islands during my time, a great weekend trip. Lots of water sports, cheap motorbikes and white beaches.
*would recommend staying at ‘bed altitude’ hostel!
- Easy to get to/ fast transport – can get the bus from Singapore.
- Can be done on the cheap – £20 return bus.
- The worse food in SE Asia (for me).
I only have positive things to say about this island… extremely cheap, filled with some great adventures, beaches and day trips to other nearby islands.
Cliff jumping at Kawasan falls was great – only if you’re prepared for a 15m jump off a waterfall!
Great for diving – Malapascua for the Thresher Sharks, Oslob for the Whale Sharks and Moalboal for the famous Sardine Run.
- Palawan – El Nido & Coron
Both of these islands are known for their day trips… do you think you’ve got what it takes to hack a full day of lagoon and beach hopping?
It’s a hard life!
*I’d highly recommend catching the 5 day boat trip from el Nido to Coron (if you’ve still got enough cash to keep you afloat)!
This is a little surf island located in the southeast region of the Philippines -making it super hard to get to!
But if you do, it’s home to some of the worlds’ best breaks (recently held the world surf championship).
Like the rest of the Philippines it’s plagued with palm trees and white sands, however it is one of the more expensive spots due to the wave-seekers
Also surfing brings a more bohemian crowd (one that does not only break a sweat over the waves, but also over how instagram-able their smoothie bowl is)!
- Bangkok (the shorter stay the better)
- Koh Tao (a personal fav but an extremely difficult place to get to)
- Phuket (a means to an end – Phi Phi)
- Phi Phi islands (beautiful beaches but there isn’t much to do beside party or dive)
Sorry to sound like your mother but… be careful. I’ve experienced a lot of bad things happen in this country:
- NYE my phone as well as my friends wallet were pickpocketed.
- Another trip, a friends phone was stolen in the airport and never found.
- A close friend was assaulted on his way home after a night out.
**I would not recommend visiting the Phi Phi islands out of season, everything from the clubs to the restaurants were closed for renovations.
- Goes without saying the food is phenomenal here!
Overall, in my opinion there’s better ways to spend your time and money in this region.
- Don’t plan before arriving, circumstances change i.e. monsoons, typhoons…
- Remember low season usually means no nightlife!
- A trip always costs more than expected.
- Book last minute as Southeast Asia’s the weather is extremely volatile.
Hope this helps!