Vietnam is a pho-king good time, not just because of the delicious food, but because of how much this long, thin country morphs in landscape and culture from one end to the other. It’s perfect for street-food lovers, fashion lovers who want custom clothes made in Hoi An, and history buffs.
Cambodia is mainly famous for the ancient civilization of Angkor Wat, where you can swashbuckle on vines and finally re-enact your favorite scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s also the land of US$.50 happy hour beers, water so blue and pristine you can see right through it, and almost-guaranteed run-ins with familiar faces as you explore the country.
Thailand: As long as you steer clear of the full-moon party douchery (unless you’re an 18-year-old Brit, then knock yourself out), Thailand is the perfect place to get a tattoo that you might regret later and/or become a beach bum for a month on one of the islands. Plus, the food is spicy, delicious, and often under US$1.
Indonesia: This archipelago is huge, and whether you like orangutans, manta rays, trekking, temples, you can find it in Indonesia. Bonus: it’s super cheap.
Laos may have fallen from party-backpacker grace when the river tubing in Vang Vieng closed, but it’s still a strong contender. Despite the 11pm curfew, people manage to have tons of fun in bowling alleys in Luang Prabang or strumming away on guitars while sitting on bamboo bridges framed by some of the world’s most gorgeous mountains. People get creative in order to have fun, and that’s where the magic happens.
The Philippines: Improve the cuisine and make the benches on the busses just ever so slightly bigger (also, maybe have ATMs that actually work).
East Timor, or Timor-Leste, has only recently come to light as a tourist destination. Which means you can wander from village to village feeling like a celebrity, since the locals aren’t overrun with visitors yet. If you want to get a taste of something few other travelers experience, explore East Timor both above and especially below (it’s a top dive spot) the water line.
Singapore is amazing if you have a lot of cash. If not, eat at the hawker centers and pretend to be fancy over a single US$20 martini at Marina Bay Sands. Just try not to get your salty tears in the glass.
Malaysia is freaking beautiful, and the people are super friendly. Plus, the food is amazing. But… it doesn’t have its own beer, like every other fine, self-respecting Southeast Asian country. Instead, you’re lucky to find an expensive Carlsberg.
Myanmar: The country that cost way more for solo travelers suck, and right now Myanmar is struggling to catch up with the influx of tourism — single rooms are expensive.
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