The 15 Best Places To Party in South-East Asia

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?

You’ve come to the right place…

Whether you move over here to teach English, book a short vacation, or embark on long-term backpacking trip — you are going to fall in love with South-East Asia.  The food, the culture, the beaches, the islands, the cities, the hostels…and the epic parties.  This region of the world has it all.

I’ve spent over 18 months in total traveling around South-East Asia, and I’m always down for a good rager.  I’ve always said that I’m happiest when I’m on a tropical beach, listening to good music, and watching the sunset (or sunrise after a long night of dancing).

I’ve put together this list of which I believe to be the best 15 places to party in South-East Asia.  If you’ve been to any of these places, I’m sure you can agree that they are all amazing places to get a little boozy, meet fellow travelers, and have a solid night.  If you’re planning a trip to any of these destinations, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have.  I’d be happy to help out anyway with any questions.

How many have you already visited…?


1)  Koh Phangan, Thailand

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While most people head to Koh Phangan just for the infamous Full Moon Party — this island actually has so much more to offer.  I like to refer to Koh Phangan as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because there is literally a different party every night of the week.   If you’re planning a trip anytime soon, make sure you check out a website called the Phanganist.com.  They go over all the parties, hostel information, and other useful tips for visiting Koh Phangan.

Parties On The Island To Check Out Other Than The Full Moon Party  

  • Merkaba Beach Club — A really cool Ibiza style club with a pool, and amazing underground house music.  Check the FB page for upcoming party dates.  I actually went here one night instead of the FMP!  Located just a short drive away from Haad Rin Beach.
  • Maya — A beautiful and colorful venue in the jungle.  The type of music varies for each party, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
  • Guy’s Bar / Eden — An absolute must attend during your visit to Koh Phangan.  Tucked away in the deep part of the jungle, these are two of the best places to party on the island.  Known for it’s long hours, it’s the party that doesn’t stop.  It’s hard to get to, where you have to take a jungle taxi or boat to get to, but it’s well worth it!
  • The Jungle Experience — Normally happens before and after each Full Moon.  A bit expensive for the entry charge at 400 baht, but it’s a solid party with amazing music.  You’ll meet a ton of people, and see some pretty interesting characters dressed up in crazy body paint.
  • Sandcastle — A small club venue located in Haad Rin that is the best place to party during the Full Moon Party.  It’s not located directly on the beach, but definitely cruise here for a couple drinks.
  • Backyard Afterparty — If you go to the FMP and don’t see the sunrise, consider yourself a failure.  As well, part of the Koh Phangan experience is going to an afterparty.  Go to BACKYARD.  It’s amazing.

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2)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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The hedonistic party capitol of Laos has gotten a bad reputation in the past decade for being a destination fueled by booze, drugs, sex, and irresponsible backpackers.  Several years ago a few backpackers died in Vang Vieng, and the local authorities finally cracked down on the city.

While the current party status of Vang Vieng might be a little bit more tame than “the glory days”…have no fear– this place is still absolutely insane.  If you’re not careful — you will lose your mind.

Tubing in Vang Vieng is an absolute blast.  It’s basically a bar crawl, but instead of walking from place to place, you float down your tube (beer in hand), and get pulled back to the mainland with a rope at the next bar.  The backpacker vibe is awesome.  Everyone is here to meet people, drink, and have a good time.

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One of the bar stops while tubing in Vang Vieng

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When you’re not tubing,  you’ll most likely find yourself paryting at one place — SAKURA BAR.  The motto of this place is “Drink Triple, See Double, Act Single.”  This place gets ridiculous at night, and you’ll definitely love it.  They offer free alcohol every night before 8 P.M, decent drink specials, and sell large laughing gas balloons.

If you happen to find yourself in Vang Vieng on a Friday night — make sure you check out the weekly Jungle Party.  It’s about a 15 minute drive away from the main strip, but there is free transportation available outside Sakura bar.  The venue is really cool, the party lasts all night, and it’s amazing underground house music.  Don’t miss out!  They also sell mushroom shakes there if you’re feeling like taking a trip down the rabbit hole.

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3)  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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The largest of the three Gili Islands has been nicknamed “The Party Island” — and for a very good reason.  Gili Trawangan isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in South-East Asia, it’s by far one of the craziest places to get your drink on.  There is a “weekly schedule” on the island for which bars / clubs to go to, and each and every one of them is a pretty damn good time.

As well, Gili Trawangan has two booze cruise parties that are too epic for words.  You join dozens of other young backpackers on a beautiful boat, sail around idyllic islands, and listen to amazing music.  The booze can get really pricey, but it’s all worth it for the experience.  The atmosphere on the boat is awesome, and watching the sunset while sailing around Indonesia with a bintang in your hand is something you’ll never forget.

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

As well, Gili Trawangan throws their own version of the “Half-Moon” & “Full-Moon” Parties.  It’s basically just an all night beach rave about a 20 minute walk from the night market, but it’s hands down one of the best parties on the island.  If you’re feeling like getting a bit more crazy, there are (practically legal) mushrooms on Gili Trawangan that are guaranteed to take your night to the next level.

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4)  Halong Bay Castaway Island, Vietnam

Halong Bay.  Castaway Island tour.  Pure debauchery.  If you’ve been on this tour already — then you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and are keen for an intense 3-day booze bender while visiting one of the most stunning areas in South-East Asia, then you need to book this Castaway Island Tour.  If you’re a budget backpacker, than the price of the tour is probably going to piss you off.  Yes, it’s damn expensive — but it’s honestly a really great experience.

However, I was fortunate enough to go on this trip with an incredible group of people and two awesome tour guides (Shoutout to Emilio & Tom).  But just with any packaged group tour, I think a trip like this ALL depends on the people you travel with.  I think the majority of the time you’ll meet some great people, drink heaps, and enjoy sailing through one of Vietnam’s highlights.  With that being said, not everyone is lucky.

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5) Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

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If people give you advice to skip Koh Phi Phi because it’s become “too touristy”  — ignore them.  Yes, I’m sure visiting Koh Phi Phi 20 years ago was so much better, but it’s definitely still one of the most beautiful places in Thailand!  Oh, and Koh Phi Phi is one the craziest party island in South-East Asia.  

In my opinion, Koh Phi Phi is a backpacker’s paradise.  There’s tons of people everywhere, amazing and cheap food, and really great nightlife.  It’s not a big island, but there’s still plenty to do and explore.  The snorkeling trips are affordable and gorgeous, the view points are stunning, and you can’t leave Thailand without visiting “The Beach”…right?

Favorite Places to Party

  • Slinky’s Beach Bar — This is the place to be when the night comes to an end.  Loud house music, laughing gas balloons, dancing on stages; this place is wild.
  • Ibiza Beach Bar — This starts out as a really chill lounge bar during the sunset and couple hours after, but things start to pick up towards the end of the night.
  • Stones Bar — Located right next to Ibiza Beach Bar, another great option to chill, play pool, and start your night.
  • Banana Bar — Happy hour from 4:20-6:20, Movie’s play every night at 7:00 P.M, then after the movie the party starts with beer pong, loud music, and tons of people.
  • Stockholm Syndrome —  A great place to beer pong, meet people, and party before making your way to the beach.

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6)  Bali, Indonesia

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The “Island Of The [Party] Gods”.

Bali is one of those destinations people visit once, and will keep going back for another stint in paradise.  There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and that includes those looking for an epic night of partying.  There are basically two main areas to party in Bali:

Kuta, Legian, & Seminyak Area

Sky Garden — This legendary mega club is a place you need to party at least once during your time in Bali.  There are so many different areas and rooms, and there are often big name DJ’s that stop by and play.  If you get in early, there can be ridiculous drink deals as well.  Insider tip: Try to rooftop buffet for dinner…it’s incredible and affordable.

Potato Head Beach Club — This probably needs zero introduction.  Potato Head Beach Club is one amazing venue in Bali, and is definitely the best location for a bit of Bali day drinking!  It is probably one of the most expensive places in Indonesia, but sometimes you have to forget about the budget, and “treat yo self”.  The pool is the perfect place to have a few beers, watch the sunset, and chat up other travelers.  I’d recommend eating before you go there, because the food is heaps expensive.

Jenja — If you’re in Bali on a Friday or Saturday night, this is where you want to go for a night of excellent house music.  This is a much fancier and more elegant venue than the majority of other clubs in Bali.  So dress in your finest, be ready to pay an entrance fee, and prepare for a quality clubbing experience.  Check out their Resident Advisor page for upcoming DJ appearances.    

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Saturday Night Parties on Padang Padang Beach — Every Saturday locals, travelers, and head down to Padang Padang beach for an awesome night of live music, followed by DJ sets playing some commercial house tunes.  Who doesn’t love a beach party…?

Sundays Sessions at Single Finn — The absolute best party on Bali is found every Sunday night down at the beautiful Single Finn venue.  Perched at the top of Uluwatu Beach, this is the ultimate place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and the gorgeous Uluwatu Sunsets.  Around 9-10 P.M the place gets absolutely packed with beautiful people, and everyone dances to some top-notch electronic music.  You won’t be hearing any obnoxisous EDM here, just quality deep and tech house.  Definitely have a few drinks before you go in, because it can turn into a pretty expensive night.      


7)  Boracay, Philippines

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While Boracay might not be on the typical South-East Asia backpacker route, it’s hands down one of the best places to party in South-East Asia.  For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!  ”

After that, you need to check and see if there is a party at Area 51:  Top Secret Party Facility.  It’s an amazing venue away from the all main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t having an event during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub has got going on.    

There’s tons of bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  Check out this Ultimate Guide to Boracay’s Nightlife  for a more comprehensive look at all your options.

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8) Koh Rong, Cambodia

“Nothing Can Go Wrong on Koh Rong” is the motto of this Cambodian paradise.  What is awesome about this place is that it can be exactly whatever you want it to be.  If you want to relax, do nothing, and forget about all your worries; that’s definitely possible.  But for those looking for a good time, Koh Rong has a lively and active party scene.  If there was one place to get to soon in South-East Asia, I would recommend Koh Rong.  Things are changing quickly on the island, but it currently still has it’s authentic charm.

Partying on Koh Rong is simply, all you have to do is walk up and down the main street, and follow the crowd.

When I was there, I spent a good amount of time at Vagabonds.  Definitely swing by there for a drink or two, and then see what else is going on.  The main stretch on Koh Rong isn’t large at all, so it won’t be too hard to find where the party people are at.  As well as the above two islands, Koh Rong does offer it’s own version of the Full Moon Party.  There’s no body paint or neon tanks, but there’s a party tucked away in the jungle with amazing underground house music.

No matter whether you want to party or not, just make sure you get to Koh Rong.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in all of South-East Asia!


9)  Langkawi, Malaysia

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Two words come to mind when I think of Langkawi:  TAX FREE.  Yup, Langkawi is a “duty-free” island, which makes the price of alcohol extremely cheap compared to the rest of Malaysia.  During high-season, this place is packed with budget backpackers and vacationers looking for a good time.

While there may not be heaps of options of party locations, that doesn’t really seem to matter here.  There are a few beach bars located on Pantai Beach which can be a great place to start the night with a few cocktails.  My recommendation would be to grab dinner and drinks at Yellow Café.  It’s a popular spot on the island, and should be visited at least once during your time on the island.

After grabbing dinner and a few drinks, you pretty much one have option — Sunba Retro Bar.  This is where you will be doing the majority of your partying when you’re on Langkawi.  This is pretty much the only club on the island, and it’s a damn good time.  It’s not the biggest venue, but the music is excellent, and it’s a great atmosphere inside.  If you’re not feeling like heading inside the club, just check out the bar right next door to Sunba.


10)  Koh Tao, Thailand

While backpackers normally flock to Koh Tao for the affordable PADI Scuba-Diving courses and rich marine biodiversity, that is only one of the aspects that make this island a must visit during your travels in Thailand.

Koh Tao nightlife is serious business — and you’re in for a couple crazy party nights here.  For starters, you can’t go wrong the Koh Tao Pub Crawl.  This is a great way to see some of the best bars on the island, attend a Lady Boy Cabaret, and meet fellow travelers.  The pub-crawl guides always do an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained, there are drink specials at each stop, and you’ll be looking good rockin’ a “Koh Tao Pub Crawl” singlet.  Don’t miss out.

Maya Beach Club —  The only bar on Koh Tao that has real DJs every night and a “NO CHEESE” music policy, top shelf cocktails and an imported wine list.  Both local and imported DJs spin tunes every night from sunset till late from a variety of genres that aren’t crappy remixes.

The Castle —  Probably the most well-known and respected venu on the island, The Castle is where you go for a quality night of dance music.  It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from Sairee Beach, and they host events about 2-3 times per week.

The truth of the matter is that you really don’t even need any advice about partying on Koh Tao — it’s as simple as partying hopping up and down Sairee Beach.  There are so many different venues playing a variety of different styles of music, fire jump roping (be cautious), and heaps of people to meet.  It’s a damn good time.

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11) Sihanoukville, Cambodia

The main beach area of Cambodia “snookville” is definitely one wild and crazy party destination.  Start your evening with dinner & drinks at one of the many beachfront restaurants on Serendipity Beach.  Enjoy a beautiful sunset, a game or two of pool, and few pints of delicious Angkor beer.

The Two Main Party Hostspots in Sihanouvkville are the Dolphin Shack & JJ’s Playground.  There are several other bars and places to hang-out, but if you’re out partying in Sihaouvkille, there’s a 99% chance you’ll end up at one of two of these bars.  They both play similar music of EDM, hip-hop, and throwback classics.  The beers are cold, the drinks are cheap, and the backpacker vibe is amazing.  You’ll  drink, meet people, and will have one epic party night.

Both the Dolphing Shack & JJ’s Playground offer their own Booze Cruise — which I highly recommend.  Is there anything better than drinking while on a boat?   

12) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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The capital of Malaysia might not be the most popular place to party among South-East Asia backpackers — but this is one incredible city with an abundance of amazing nightlife options!  I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Kuala Lumpur, and I’ve had some really great nights out partying in the city.

Bar 51:  Welcome to your Kuala Lumpur starting point for the night.  Bar 51 is an upscale restaurant and bar located in the heart of Changkat Bukit Bintang, the main nightlife area in Kuala Lumpur.  There is one reason you come to this place — 5 MYR MOJITOS.  Yeah, that’s right.  You can get delicious mojitos for only $1.25 USD.   This special ends at 9 P.M every night, but you can order as many as you’d like right before the time ends, and they’ll keep bringing them out to you.  It’s an amazing spot, perfectly located, with very friendly staff.  If you’re going to Kuala Lumpur and fancy a delicious and cheap mojito, then definitely cruise over to Bar 51.

Heli Lounge This was once a helipad, but they turned it into a bar with amazing 360 degree views of the city.  Pretty cool concept, yeah?  While it might not be the best place to spend your entire evening, it’s definitely a must-visit during your visit to KL.  Go to the top about an hour or so before sunset, enjoy the views during the day and the night, and then head out for the night.

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Reggae Mansion Rooftop BarFor all the backpackers out there, this is definitely one of the most popular hostels in all of South-East Asia.  The rooftop bar is a perfect place to spend a night drinking, even if you’re not staying there!  There is a DJ playing some fun dance music, a pool table, and decent drink specials.

Zouk KL 

UnderNINE:  For underground house and techno fans — this is where you’ll want to go.  The crowd is really great, the music is excellent, and the venue is pretty cool.DSC_0805


13)  Pai, Thailand

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Haven’t you heard…?  Pai is incredible!  When you’re traveling around Thailand, it will be pretty damn hard to find someone who doesn’t think Pai is absolutely amazing.  That includes me.  The whole city is so relaxed and chilled out.  It’s truly a backpacker / hippy’s paradise.  While many will often claim that “Pai is not what it used to be” or “Pai has changed so much” — the Pai that I visited was still pretty awesome.  These were some of my favorite spots in Pai.

  • Pai Pub — A really great spot.  Decently priced beers and mixed drinks, a cool outdoor patio, a well kept pool table; a perfect place to spend a couple hours and start the night.  Located just a couple minutes away from the night market, you can’t miss the giant Kangaroo out front.
  • Sunset Bar — This a great place to chill and spend a few hours.  You’ll most likely encounter some people enjoying a joint, or maybe see some people tripping on a mushroom shake.  It’s a cool place, good music, and you’ll definitely enjoy having a drink or two.  It’s also a great place to watch the sunset (obviously).  Located on a quiet street about a 10 minute walk from the main area of Pai.
  • Don’t Cry Reggae Bar — This is the “after-hours” bar that does not close until really late at night.  When all the main bars and pubs close in Pai, the party crowd all flock to this one venue.  Awesome music and vibe, including a campfire — you’ll love ending your night at Don’t Cry.
  • Moon Parties — In the past few months, Pai has been throwing their own version of the full moon, half moon, and black moon parties.  They don’t happen all the time, but if you’re there, you should ask around or check online and see if there is one happening.

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14) Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

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While the Perhentian Islands aren’t really a destination people normally visit for it’s crazy nightlife — there are still opportunities for amazing nights out drinking.

Perhentian Kecil is known as the “backpacker island”, and that means that it’s pretty damn easy to meet fellow travelers.  The last time I visited I only planned on staying for 4 or 5 days, but I ended up staying 10.  I met an amazing group of people, and practically every night we went out drinking!

 

What’s nice is that it’s just very simply to party here because people only really go to 2-3 different spots.

  • Panorama Bar:  Probably the most lively spot with a really great atmosphere.  They also have AMAZING PIZZA that you should try at least once.  They are kind of expensive at 25 MYR, but definitely worth it.
  • Monkey Bar:  This is just across the street from Panorama bar, and where I bought the majority of my alcohol.  You could buy a bottle of rum, cups, ice, and two mixers for 45 MYR — which is a really great deal there!
  • Pirates of Perhentian:  This is where the fire-show is held every night at 10:30 P.M.  The entertainment is really great, they play great music, and this is where pretty much everyone who is going to party for the night will be.  You sit down on the beach, order some beers, smoke some hookah, and watch some extremely talented people play with fire.

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15) Bangkok, Thailand

Last but not least, how could I write a post about partying in South-East Asia without mentioning “the Big Mango”.  Bangkok is the “Gateway to South-East Asia”, and there’s never a dull moment when you’re exploring the city, and the nightlife is guaranteed to make you come back for another round.

Khao San Road:  Street food, shopping, and tons of amazing restaurants and bars.  Partying on Khao San Road is something that every South-East Asia backpacker must do before the end of their trip.  You’ll drink towers of Chang Beer, listen to loud electronic music, and meet fellow travelers from around the world.

Sukhumvit:  This major road / district in Bangkok is your best option for when it comes to a good night out partying in Bangkok.  There are tons of different clubs in Sukhumvit , it’s almost intimidating trying to choose which one to go to.  My advice would be to check out Resident Advisor Thailand  to see if there are any special events coming up.  A few clubs I have been to and would personally recommend would be BASH, Insanity, and Spicy.

While you’re in Bangkok, make sure you visit all the temples, various shopping markets, and hit up a rooftop bar!

These are the Best 15 Places to Party in South-East Asia!!

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Agree?  Disagree?  Think I missed a certain destination?

Let me know in the comments sections!

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My Top 25 Experiences in South-East Asia

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I’ve spent over a year living, working, studying, and traveling around South-East Asia.  I have fallen in love with this corner of the world.  The cheap prices, amazing sights, and great friends — it’s hard for me to leave.  I wanted to reflect on how awesome my travels have been, so I put together this list of my top 25 favorite South-East Asia experiences.  Beware — after reading this you might just book a one-way ticket to Bangkok to begin your own epic adventure.

1.  Exploring Bali by Moto

Bali is one of the best places to rent a scooter, hit the road, and explore the island.  I had ridden motos around different parts of South-East Asia, but I really think that driving in Bali is when I really “perfected” it.  Driving through rush-hour traffic in Bali my first time was intense, but now I feel like I can drive anywhere.  From resort crashing in Nusa Dua, watching the surfers in Uluwatu, or driving to Tanah Lot to check out the sunet…Bali is defiintely one of my favorite places for moto adventures.

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2.  Island Hopping in Palawan

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Palawan is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  It’s definitely in my top three places in South-East Asia, and island hopping around Coron and El Nido was truly amazing.  I met great groups of people, swam in pristine waters, and was surrounded by beautiful limestone cliffs.  For people looking for natural beauty, you can’t beat Palawan.

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3.  Songkran Water Festival

Hands down one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  Songkran was 3 days wandering the streets of Chiang Mai armed with a super soaker and a bottle of Hong Thong.  I met a ton of great people, shotgunned plenty of beers, and celebrated the Thai New Year the way it should be done.  Why don’t more countries have a nationwide water fight?  That’s a question that deserves an answer.  If you haven’t seen my video, check it out!  Watch in HD.  

4.  Guest Ex-Pat in Kuala Lumpur

I’ve been using Kuala Lumpur as my “home-base” for all my travels out in South-East Asia.  I got some great friends out here, a fancy luxury apartment, and one bad-ass rooftop infinity pool that overlooks the city’s impressive skyline.  Every time I come back to KL I get a nice mix of detox and relaxation, to crazy parties and poker nights.  I didn’t like this city too much the first time I visited, but now it’s one of my favorite places in South-East Asia.  I even applied for a few jobs to turn myself into a full-time expat, but I ended up going a different route.

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5.  Paradise Living on Gili Trawangan

Living and working on Gili Trawangan was definitely one of the best decisions I made during my time in South-East Asia.  I know I’ll be moving back there for another round soon enough.  Don’t know exactly when that time will come, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to my favorite island in South-East Asia.  The perfect beaches, the gorgeous sunsets, and amazing backpacker vibe — one visit to Gili Trawangan will not be enough.

6.  Snorkeling Around Flores

Hands down the best snorkeling of my entire life, I had the greatest time exploring different snorkeling spots around Komodo and Flores.  It actually made me kind of sad I don’t scuba dive, because I think it made me realize how spectacular exploring the underwater life can be.  I thought about getting my PADI, but I have a hearing condition I don’t want to hurt my ears anymore

7.  Halong Bay Castaway Cruise

Ohhhh, this trip.  This crazy 3 day catastrophe was a whole mess of fun.  The entire trip is basically a 3-day long booze cruise.  One night got a little too crazy for me, which happens from time to time…But I met the coolest people on this trip, sailed and kayaked through Halong Bay, and had a blast.  I have to give a shoutout to the entire Halong Bay crew.  You guys are the greatest.  #NoDoubt

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8.  Maya Bay Sleepaboard

Most people who visit Koh Phi Phi make the trip over to Maya Bay, the famous film location of Leonardo DiCaprio’s hit movie “Th Beach”.  While there are often complaints that this tourist spot is too crowded, I was lucky enough to actually get to sleep on the beach.  I went on the Maya Bay Sleepabroad trip, and could not recommend it enough.  I even recommend it as the absolute best thing to do on Koh Phi Phi.

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9.  Wonderfruit Music Festival

There might not be many music festivals in South-East Asia, but Wonderfruit was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve had in Thailand.  The venue was beautiful, I met some awesome people, and the music was bumping 24/7.  I don’t know where I’ll be in December, but I’m definitely trying to go again this year.  Read my review of Wonderfruit.

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10.  Koh Phangan Raving

Love it or hate it, Koh Phangan is one of the best places to party in South-East Asia.  While most people flock to this hedonistic island for the “Full Moon Party”, there are other parties on the island which are actually much better.  I’m a big fan of music festivals and good techno music, but the music scene isn’t that great out in South-East Asia.  Koh Phangan is one of the few places out here where you can really some amazing DJ’s play some of the best underground house and techno.

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11.  Komodo Island Trip

This 4 day adventures sailing from Lombok to Flores was a highlight of my travels in Indonesia.  Our boat was full of great people, and the entire trip I was surrounded by beautiful Indonesian islands.  Great snorkeling, beautiful beaches, and big ass dragons.  I think this area was also one of the most beautiful regions of South-East Asia.  If anyone is planning a trip out to Indonesia, I would definitely recommend them going on one of these Komodo tours.

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12.  Waterfalls, Beaches, Sunsets, and Parties in Langkawi

Ive now visited Langkawi three seperate times, and I’m not mad about that at all.  The waterfalls in Langkawi are beautiful and provide perfect spots for a swim.  The beaches are clean with great soft white sand, and the sunsets on Pantai Cenang are absolutely stunning.  Backpacking Langkawi should be a priority for people in South-East Asia.

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13.  Hiking Mt. Rinjani

One of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done, Rinjani is not for the weak hearted.  When you think you’re getting closer to the top, you’re not.  You just keep climbing up and up, until your legs can’t move anymore.  The sunset and sunrises up there though make the whole trip worth it.  I have no plans to do this hike ever again, but I’m really glad I did.  I even got a picture of mine featured on Buzzfeed!

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14.  Christmas on Koh Tao

Although it was hard to spend Christmas away from California, spending the holiday season on Koh Tao was a great experience.  It was awesome being surrounded by fellow backpackers all wearing santa hats and red singlets, and enjoying Chang beers while watching beautiful Koh Tao sunsets.

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15.  Falling in Love with Laos

I had been living and traveling in Asia for awhile before I finally made the decision to visit Laos, and I absolutely fell in love with that amazing country.  It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but Don Det was one of the best last minute decisions I’ve ever made.  As well, partying in Vang Vieng for a week was absolutely insane.  I also met two awesome English girls that I traveled with the entire time.  The whole 2 weeks I had in Laos was filled with nothing but good times.

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16.  Moto Journey from Chiang Mai – Pai

This ride was absolutely beautiful, and definitely the most fun and adventurous way to get to Pai.  It’s only a 3-4 drive from Chiang Mai, and a relatively easy ride.  It does get really curvy for awhile, but it’s all apart of the experience.  Then on top of that, Pai was one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to in Thailand.  Backpackers in Pai can often get stuck there because of the extremely relaxed vibe.  The food is delicious, there’s some decent nightlife, and there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Pai.

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17.  Resort Crashing

One of my favorite things to do in South-East Asia is sneaking into fancy 5 start resorts, and using their amenities.  I’ve done this in Langkawi, Bali, and Thailand.  It might not be the most ethical activity in the world, but it’s a lot of fun.  I just love paying $5-$10 a night for a hostel bed, and swimming in luxury pools.

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18.  Future Music Festival Asia

This was the first music festival in South-East Asia I attended, and I had an absolute blast.  It was unfortunate though, because the last day was cancelled due to deaths.  The first two days were solid though!  I was with a great group of people, and I was pretty impressed with the actual festival.  The first night Deadmau5 played a decent set, and the next night at ASOT was nothing but quality trance music.

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19.  Island Hopping & Snorkeling on Koh Chang

I hadn’t really heard too much about Koh Chang, but I’m really glad I went there.  The island hopping tour we went on was really cool, and we turned it into our own little booze cruise.  I think we finished 3 large bottles of Hong Thong between four people.  Yeah, it got sloppy.  The Chinese tourists didn’t know what to do with us.

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 20. Waterfalls & Whale Sharks in Cebu

Spending one month in the Philippines was one of the best experiences of my entire life.  Swimming with whale sharks in Oslob was incredible, and I had no idea about how beautiful the waterfalls were on Cebu island.  My 30 days in the Philippines wasn’t enough, but I know that the next time I find myself in South-East Asia, I’ll be back for another amazing backpacking trip.

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21.  Submitting My Final Paper For My Master’s Degree in El Nido

I’ll never forget the feeling of finishing my master’s degree, and celebrating on a private island party in Palawan.  I met a great group of people in El Nido, and it was a great way to finish my Master’s Degree.

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22.  Koh Rong

“Nothing can go wrong on Koh Rong.”  I might have only spent 5 days there, but it was definitely five of the chillest days I’ve ever had.  Nothing to do all day besides relax, swim, and enjoy paradise.  Long beach is absolutely stunning, and I witnessed one of the most incredible sunsets of my life.  I was lucky enough to be there during the Full Moon Party as well, and had a solid night partying until the sun came up.

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23.  Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Not technically South-East Asia, but when you find a $42 flight to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year…you take it.  Hong Kong is an amazing city, and experiencing it during this incredible celebration was worth every penny.  It was ridiculously expensive, but I definitely had a blast.  It was also really great to check out Hong Kong Disneyland (since I grew up in Anaheim), as well as go on the Hong Kong Pub Crawl.  Oh, and those fireworks!  Incredible to witness in person.

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24.  Perhentian Island Paradise

I was a backpacker on the Perhentian Islands during my first trip to South-East Asia, and wasn’t too impressed.  Luckily, I made the last-minute decision to head back for a second time, and could not be happier that I did.  I met a solid group  of people, and realized how beautiful these two islands are.

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25.  Friends Visiting from California

Being a long-term traveler has been incredible, but there have been times where I’ve been extremely homesick.  When two different friends of mine contacted me to plan a trip out to South-East Asia, I got really excited to show them around some of my favorite places.  Shoutout to Rashad and Gina!  We had some epic times out here, and I can’t wait to for our next adventures — wherever in the world they may be.

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THANK YOU SOUTH-EAST ASIA

If you’re thinking about booking one-way ticket to South-East Asia…do it.  As you can see from these 25 experiences, I’ve had the absolute best time traveling this region of the world.  I don’t know when I’m going back, but I’m definitely looking forward to adding to this list soon.

Sometimes it’s not about the journey or the destination..but about the people you meet along the way.” — Nishan Panwar

Shoutout to everyone I’ve met during my travels out here.  Whether we traveled together for weeks or months, or we only had a brief encounter– you all were apart of what made my time in South-East Asia so incredible!

SHARE WITH YOUR SOUTH-EAST ASIA FRIENDS

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The Ultimate Travel Resource Guide for South-East Asia

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I’ve spent over a year living, traveling, studying, and working around South-East Asia.  When it comes to travel resources, these are my absolute favorite websites and tools for finding the best accommodation, cheap flights, awesome communities, and more.  For those planning a trip around South-East Asia, these will all make a big difference and save you time and money

Accommodation

Agoda.com — This has been my go-to recently for everything.  They’ve got great prices on hostels and hotels, and is a great and easy platform.

Hostelworld — My favorite for booking hostels.  Really easy to use, great user reviews, and you can always find a cheap place.

Hostelbookers — The alternative to the above.  It’s good, and sometimes you can find a cheaper price online.

Booking.com — I used this one a lot in Europe, and still check it often for price comparisons out in South-East Asia.  It has tons of options, and is still a great resource for booking a place to sleep.

Hotels.com — I just love this site because you get a free night for every 10 nights you book.  Yeah, it does not add up to much, but it’s still cool.   I’m the type of guy to eat at a place just to get his stamp card stamped.

AirBNB — Great for when you’re traveling in a group, and need to find an apartment.  You can find some amazing villas in Bali, or cheap apartments in Chiang Mai.  Definitely a great site to use once or twice.

Budget Airlines

Skyscanner — Rule of thumb: before you do anything…check Skyscanner.  Amazing platform, and you can figure out the best options.  My favorite aspect is being able to search from one city (or country) to another, and view prices for a specific day or entire month.

AirAsia — My FAVORITE airline in the world.  I’ve flown AirAsia at least 15 times in the past year.  They constantly have promotions, sales, and extremely low fares.  They are also the largest budget airline, and have won a ton of awards.  I couldn’t recommend them enough.

NokAir // Thai Smile — These airlines are particularly great for domestic flights in Thailand.

Malindo Air // Firefly — These are are flights for domestic flights in Malaysia.

VietJet — A decent budget airline for flights for getting to Vietnam, and domestic flights.

Cebu Pacific — The main budget airline for travel throughout the Philippines.

Communities

Couchsurfing — If you don’t have an account already, you should definitely start one.  This is listed under the communities, but can also be a place for free accomodation.  It can be great when you are traveling solo, and want to go to a CS meet-up in a city.  Lots of expats and travel lovers are active all over the world.

Trampolinn — This is a new website that offers a cool mix between Couchsurfing & AirBNB.  Definitely worth looking into, although I haven’t used it yet.

Facebook Groups — Whenever you travel to South-East Asia, look for backpacker groups, expat groups, and other forums for fellow travelers.  It’s a great resource for asking questions, recommendations, and meeting other people abroad.

Helpful Websites

Travelfish — This website is full of incredible useful information for South-East Asia.  It goes over just about everything, and you can definitely get lost on the website looking through all their content.

Tripadvisor — This website needs no introduction, the “Bible” of top things to do, hotel reviews, and so much more when traveling.

E Visums — A great website that goes over all the visa questions you have when traveling to SEA.

Lonely Planet  — Another awesome website that gives great detailed information, active user forums, and can provide a ton of useful information.

Man In Seat 61 — This is the specialty when it comes to overland travel.  This will go over train and bus schedules, fares, and information on how to book online.

Vietnam Tours — Really great website for tours especially for Halong Bay.

Travel Insurance

World Nomads  — The number one provider of traveler’s insurance.  Don’t leave home without it.

Blog Posts

The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking South-East Asia — Migrationology

South-East Asia Travel Tips — Nomadic Matt

Planning a Trip to South-East Asia – Goats On The Road

Motorcycle Adventures in South-East Asia — NOMADasaurus

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you.  This helps with the cost of running the site, and basically just help me buy my next beer along my travels.  : )  

The 5 BEST PARTY ISLANDS in SOUTH-EAST-ASIA

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?  Well, I’m here to help.  I’ve spent a good time traveling, backpacking, and partying around this corner of the world, and this place definitely has some top-notch places to have some drinks, dance all night, and meet new people.  This post is specifically about the best party islands in South-East Asia.  If you’re making your way to any of these incredible islands, you (and your liver) better be ready for a damn good time!


 

Check out my other blog post about:

The 15 Best Party Places to Party In South-East Asia


 

1.  Koh Phangan, Thailand

When it comes to partying in South-East Asia, you can’t miss out on the craziness of Koh Phangan.  Yes, it is home to the notorious Full Moon Party, but there are actually so many better parties on the island.  I like to refer to this as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because every night of the week, there is a different party, at a different venue on the island.  Although there have been some issues with the cancellations of parties, I really doubt that will actually ever happen.  If you’re making your way to Koh Phangan anytime soon, make sure you check out a website called the Phanganist.com.  They go over all the parties, hostel information, and other useful tips for visiting Koh Phangan.

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Parties On The Island To Check Out Other Than The Full Moon Party  

  • Merkaba Beach Club — A really cool Ibiza style club with a pool, and amazing underground house music.  Check the FB page for upcoming party dates.  I actually went here one night instead of the FMP!  Located just a short drive away from Haad Rin Beach.
  • Maya — A beautiful and colorful venue in the jungle.  The type of music varies for each party, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
  • Guy’s Bar / Eden — An absolute must attend during your visit to Koh Phangan.  Tucked away in the deep part of the jungle, these are two of the best places to party on the island.  Known for it’s long hours, it’s the party that doesn’t stop.  It’s hard to get to, where you have to take a jungle taxi or boat to get to, but it’s well worth it!
  • The Jungle Experience — Normally happens before and after each Full Moon.  A bit expensive for the entry charge at 400 baht, but it’s a solid party with amazing music.  You’ll meet a ton of people, and see some pretty interesting characters dressed up in crazy body paint.
  • Sandcastle — A small club venue located in Haad Rin that is the best place to party during the Full Moon Party.  It’s not located directly on the beach, but definitely cruise here for a couple drinks.
  • Backyard Afterparty — If you go to the FMP and don’t see the sunrise, consider yourself a failure.  As well, part of the Koh Phangan experience is going to an afterparty.  Go to BACKYARD.  It’s amazing.

2.  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

The Gili Islands are my absolute favorite place to visit in all of South-East Asia.  The beaches are beautiful, the sunrises / sunsets are magical, and you’re guaranteed to meet a ton of amazing new friends.  Gili Trawangan is the most developed island, and is known as the “party island”.  Every night there’s a few different parties to check out, and solid music to listen to.  You’ll most likely encounter people on various illicit substances like magic mushrooms or ecstasy, because there is no police on the Gili Islands.  It’s strange, people are put into jail on Bali for smoking weed, but anything goes once you cross over to the beautiful party paradise of Gili Trawangan.  According to this Gili Islands website:

“Currently the schedule is Monday night for the famous Blue Marlin rave party, Wednesday nights at the beachfront ‘Shipwrecked Bar’ is the ‘Tir na Nog’ Irish bar party, with a mix of funky house music, Friday night is at Rudys Bar, & Reggae music most nights at Sama Sama bar.”

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If you’re lucky, you will show up when there is the Gili Trawangan Full Moon Party at Space bar.  It’s a damn good time!

THE ONE ABSOLUTE MUST EXPERIENCE ON GILI TRAWANGAN IS THE BOOZE CRUISE.  It’s honestly one of the most fun experiences I’ve had while traveling.  It’s on an amazing boat with great music playing, and a solid trip time cruising around paradise.

3.  Koh Rong, Cambodia

“Nothing Can Go Wrong on Koh Rong” is the motto of this Cambodian paradise.  What is awesome about this place is that it can be exactly whatever you want it to be.  If you want to relax, do nothing, and forget about all your worries; that’s definitely possible.  But for those looking for a good time, Koh Rong has a lively and active party scene.  If there was one place to get to soon in South-East Asia, I would recommend Koh Rong.  Things are changing quickly on the island, but it currently still has it’s authentic charm.  Partying on Koh Rong is simply, all you have to do is walk up and down the main street, and follow the crowd.

Sunset on Long Beach, Koh Rong

Sunset on Long Beach, Koh Rong

When I was there, I spent a good amount of time at Vagabonds.  Definitely swing by there for a drink or two, and then see what else is going on.  The main stretch on Koh Rong isn’t large at all, so it won’t be too hard to find where the party people are at.  As well as the above two islands, Koh Rong does offer it’s own version of the Full Moon Party.  There’s no body paint or neon tanks, but there’s a party tucked away in the jungle with amazing underground house music.

No matter whether you want to party or not, just make sure you get to Koh Rong.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in all of South-East Asia!

4.  Boracay, The Philippines

When most people are backpacking through South-East Asia, they tend to skip the Philippines.  I’m not quite exactly sure why, because it’s easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  Boracay, specifically, is stunning.  With that being said, people have often complained of the over-commercialism, and how it’s “too touristy” these days.  Yeah, there’s a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, but it’s still amazingly beautiful, and has amazing nightlife.

For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!”

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After that, you need to check and see if there is a party at Area 51:  Top Secret Party Facility.  It’s an amazing venue away from the main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t open during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub.    

There’s tons of other bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  The main stretch along white beach is pretty long, and there’s heaps of options!

      

5.  Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Similar to Boracay, Koh Phi Phi is often criticized for being beautiful, but ruined by being over-developed and too much tourism.  If you haven’t been, make no mistake; Koh Phi Phi is one crazy party island.  There is tons of amazing things to do on Phi Phi, and definitely a lot of great places to party.

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Favorite Places to Party

  • Slinky’s Beach Bar — This is the place to be when the night comes to an end.  Loud house music, laughing gas balloons, dancing on stages; this place is wild.
  • Ibiza Beach Bar — This starts out as a really chill lounge bar during the sunset and couple hours after, but things start to pick up towards the end of the night.
  • Stones Bar — Located right next to Ibiza Beach Bar, another great option to chill, play pool, and start your night.
  • Banana Bar — Happy hour from 4:20-6:20, Movie’s play every night at 7:00 P.M, then after the movie the party starts with beer pong, loud music, and tons of people.
  • Stockholm Syndrome —  A great place to beer pong, meet people, and party before making your way to the beach.

 

Well, there you have it.  These are the 5 best party islands in South-East Asia.  I’ve had amazing times on all of them, and I’m sure I’ll find myself at each of them again sometime in the future.  If you have any questions about these islands, feel free to shoot me a message.  I’m more than happy to help you out!

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The Saddest Day Of My Travels…

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This was the beginning of my 2nd trip to Cambodia.  I knew this country had a rough history full of brutal murders and genocide, but I really did not know too much.

Rated the “#1 Tourist Attraction” to visit while in Phnomh Penh is the Choeng Ek Killing Fields”.  Last time I was in PP was just a brief stay, and I chose to skip it.  I was by myself, and it just did not really appeal to me.

However…this time I knew it was something I needed to see.  I met a friendly Canadian traveler named Claire at my hostel, and we decided to endure the depression together.


Planning a trip to Cambodia?  Get your Cambodian Visa here!


After visiting the famous concentration camp, Dachau, in Munich, I know that visiting these kinds of places can have an affect on the rest of your day.  When you step inside these killing fields, you can’t help but feel the death that occurred.

The audio-tour itself is really well done.

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With the purchase of an entrance ticket gets you a self-guided tour through the fields, to different points of interest each with a coinciding number.  You walk through the (actually kind of beautiful area) listening to what horrific things happened.

I’m not going to give a full history lesson about what happened, but if you are interested in learning more, check out the links at the bottom.

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After visiting the actual “Killing Fields”, my friend and I voyaged over to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.  This was a former prison where they held thousands of people, and also gave a lot more history.  The entrance fee is a little pricey, but it definitely gives you the full history lesson one should get while visiting Phnomh Penh.

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What was crazy to learn was that the main attraction Killing Fields was only 1 / 300+ that existed.

Overall, it was definitely quite a depressing day.  Claire and I managed to lighten up the mood later with a few beers and some games of pool, but it was definitely one of the saddest days of my travels.

I’m glad I visited the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum, and would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Phnomh Penh.  Backpacking South-East-Asia can be be a lot of beautiful beaches, late-night parties, and pub crawls, but it’s also important to learn about the places you.  Especially while in Cambodia!  This country is definitely one of the poorest places I’ve been to, and you can see the poverty here.  At the same time, with a tourist boom, this country is definitely not going to be the same place in 10 years.

Thanks to Claire for spending the day with me and making this experience a little bit less depressing!

For further reading on the Khmer Rouge and the History:

http://www.cambodiatribunal.org/history/cambodian-history

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cambodia-falls-to-the-khmer-rouge

November 2014: Month In Review

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Well, I’m currently writing this in Cambodia, but I’ve only been here a few short days.  It’s always fun to write posts like this where I get the chance to look back and reflect on what I’ve been up to the past month.  November has been great, but it has had its up and downs.  From spending an amazing week in Langkawi with a great group of friends, exploring the southern Thailand islands in the Andaman sea, and getting a lot of homework / recharging my travel batteries in Kuala Lumpur, the past 30 days have been amazing.  I did however get a bad case of food poisoning in Ao Nang which was rough, and dealt with a fair amount of bad weather.  But traveling does not always go perfectly.  It’s all about the journey though.

Where I Went

November 1st – 3rd – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 4th-9th  –  Langkawi, Malaysia
November 10th-11th –  Krabi Town, Thailand
November 12th-16th– Ao Nang / Railey Beach
November 17th-20th- Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
November 21 – 23rd- Koh Lanta, Thailand
November 24th – 28th – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 29th-3oth – Phnomh Penh, Cambodia

Blog Posts I’ve Written This Month

Favorite Instagram:

This was taken early on in the month during my first night in Langkawi.  The sunset that night was easily one of the best I’ve seen during this backpacking trip in Asia.  The colors were amazing, and kept changing over the course of a couple hours.  I was also with some great company, so that definitely helps the memory.  🙂

Head in the clouds.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

December is in full swing now, and I’m currently in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.  I got a week left here before I head back to Thailand for a month or so.  Then, who knows.  I think it’s either going to be staying in Koh Tao for a month, backpacking Myanmar, or moving to Kuala Lumpur.  All I know is that I look to the future with excitement.  Life as a traveling grad student is almost over, and I start my last two classes early January.  Been having an amazing time out in Asia, and I know the future has got much more in store for me!