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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12 Music Festivals in South East Asia to Experience Before You Die

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There might not be as many music festivals in South East Asia as there are in other areas of the world, but that is slowly changing.  With the ever-growing popularity of electronic music, more and more festivals are popping up in this region.  You might not come to South-East Asia for the music festivals, but if you’re planning a trip out here, maybe one of these could be worked into your itinerary


Also check out:

Top 10 Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Festivals:  South-East Asia




1.  Wonderfruit Fstival

  • When: Mid – December
  • Where:  Siam Country Club, Pattaya, Thailand
  • Website:  http://wonderfruitfestival.com/
  • Why:  Live.  Love.  Wonder.  That’s the motto of this incredible 3-day camping music and arts festival held on the beautiful Pattaya Fields Siam Country Club.  I normally tell people to avoid Pattaya as a city because it really is a horrific place, but this beautiful venue is 15 KM outside the city, and you’ll fall into festival mode.  The camping area is decent and well equipped, the stages are amazing, and the line-up brings a little something for everyone.  This is one of the best festivals you can attend in south-east Asia.  Read my Wonderfruit Festival 2014 review for more information and pictures.  I was lucky enough to attend the first year, and definitely have plans to make the journey back.   

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2.  Quest Music Festival

  • When:  Early November
  • Where:  Ba Vi National Park, Vietnam
  • Website:  http://www.questfestival.net/
  • Why:  Quest is Hanoi’s weekend music, arts and camping festival.  Tucked away in a beautiful national park, this venue provides the perfect atmosphere that a festival needs.  Stunning Vietnam landscapes, great live-music and DJ sets, and the opportunity to meet incredible new people from all over the world.  Don’t miss out.  Quest Music Festival will be an experience you will never forget.

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3.  Neverland Manila

  • When: Early October
  • Where:  Manila, Philippines
  • Website:  http://neverlandmanila.com/
  • Why:  Known as the “biggest EDM event in The Philippines”, this festival brings some of the biggest names in commercial house music.  If you’re looking for a solid party, this one will not disappoint.

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4.  ZoukOut Music Festival

  • When:  Mid-December
  • Where:  Singapore
  • Website:  http://www.zoukout.com/
  • Why:  The people behind one of the biggest and well-known clubs in Asia, “Zouk”, have created it’s own music festival, and it’s been one of the more popular festivals out in South-East Asia.  Located in Singapore, you’ll find the tickets, drinks, and accomodations a bit more expensive, but you can’t complain when they bring A-list talent, incredible stage production, and an overall amazing atmosphere.

Update:  Zoukout will be heading to BORACAY in 2016!   It’s already one of the best places to party in South-East Asia, so definitely worth a visit over for ZoukOut !

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5.  Road to Ultra – Bangkok & Bali

  • When:  June (Bangkok) — Septemer (Bali)
  • Where:  Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak, Bali
  • Website:  http://www.ultramusicfestival.com/
  • Why:  Ultra Music Festival seems like they have one goal in mind — global domination.  From Miami, Croatia, Korea, Japan, South Africa — it now looks like they have turned their eyes to South-East Asia, and have added locations in Bangok & Bali.  Two cities known for having incredible nightlife.  If you find yourself out in either of these cities, definitely try to get to one of the these parties.

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6.  It’s The Ship

  • When:  Late November
  • Where:  Singapore – Langkawi – Singapore
  • Website:  http://www.itstheship.com
  • Why: IT’S THE SHIP is Asia’s Largest Festival on a cruise. Setting sail on the The Royal Caribbean International’s luxurious Mariner of the Seas– will play host to over 30 international and regional headlining acts.  Sailing out of Singapore to Langkawi, Malaysia, this is guaranteed to be a voyage unlike any other.

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7.  Maya Music Festival

  • When:  Early March
  • Where:  Bangkok, Thailand
  • Website:  http://mayamusicfestival.com/
  • Why:  This new one-day music festival brings big name DJ’s to a massive venue in Bangkok.  If you’re looking to hear some of the best electronic music while exploring the capitol city, than plan a trip to Thailand in March.

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8.  Shipsomnia

  • When:  Beginning of January
  • Where:  Singapore – Phuket – Langkawi – Singapore
  • Website:  http://www.shipsomnia.com/
  • Why:   A MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL MEETS HI SEAS MYTHICAL ADVENTURE.  Unofficially nicknamed, “Tomorrowland At Sea”, Shipsomnia has gotten a lot of positive media attention.  With the growth of music festivals at sea, like Holy Ship or It’s The Ship (#6), Shipsomnia looks like it could be the next big thing.  Sailing from Singapore – Phuket round-trip, with a quick stop in Langkawi, this looks like a party that can’t be missed.  This all-inclusive music festival is guaranteed to be one epic vacation.

Shipsomnia is also sailing from Barcelona to Ibiza in June 2017!!

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9.  Big Mountain Music Festival

  • When:  Beginning of December
  • Where:  Khao Yai
  • Website:  http://www.bigmountainmusicfestival.com
  • Why:  One of the biggest festivals for the Thai music scene, this two day festival is filled with awesome stages, hundreds of live acts, and an incredible atmosphere.  Dates for the upcoming festivals haven’t been announced, but they do have other events, so tune into their Facebook for more information.

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10.  Rainforest World Music Festival

  • When:  Mid August
  • Where:  Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
  • Website:   http://rwmf.net/
  • Why:  Just reading the name of the festival, you can get a good understanding of what you are in for during this unique festival.  Lots of acoustic instruments with a rainforest themed, this will definitely be unlike any festival you’ve ever attended.  Borneo is a beautiful island, and this would be a great way to experience the culture while hearing some great music.

RWMF2015-Performers 

11.  Songkran Water Festival

  • When:  Mid-April
  • Where:  All Over Thailand (Chiang Mai recommended)
  • Website:  —
  • Why:  The Thai Lunar New Year is celebrated by 3 days of absolute madness country-wide.  From personal experience, this was one of the highlight’s of my travels in south-east Asia.  The belief is that “water” washes off all the sins of the previous year, and it’s a fresh start for the upcoming year.  It’s a beautiful festival, but it’s also one crazy party.  There are stages and music playing all over the place, and great clubs and nightlife to go out at night.  The set-up is different every year, but make sure you experience this at least once in your life.  Check out my Songkran 2015 video.

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12. Full Moon Party

  • When:  Once a Month during the Full Moon.  Dates found here.
  • Where:  Haad Rin, Koh Phangan, Thailand
  • Website:  http://fullmoonparty-thailand.com/
  • Why:  Last but not least, no South-East Asia festival list is complete without experiencing at least one full moon party.  Although recently it has gotten negative attention recently, it’s definitely a good night if you’re with the right people.  Koh Phangan is one of the craziest party islands in South-East Asia, and there are ton of other parties to attend on the island as well.

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While I couldn’t list all the music festivals in South-East Asia, this is a solid list of what I think to the best 12.  All of these festivals bring some great live musicians and DJ’s, and will provide a great festival environment for you to dance until your tired, and meet some amazing people.  Make sure you check out my other blog posts on music festivals.

25 Music Festivals in America To Experience Before You Die

30 Music Festivals in Europe to Experience Before You Die

30 Music Festivals in Australia To Experience Before You Die


Am I missing any great music festivals in South-East Asia?  Let me know in the comments section!


Photo Sources:  Wonderfruit, Quest, Neverland, ZoukOut, Ultra, It’s The Ship, Maya, Shipsomnia, Rainforest, Big Mountain


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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 Best Year Of My Life: 2014 – A Year In Review

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Looking back on 2014 brings me nothing but amazing and life-changing memories.  I don’t even know how to express how much year this has influenced my life, but I will always look at 2014 as the year when I got it all “somewhat figured out”.  I’m only 25 (for one more month at least), but I can honestly say that I have a general idea of what I want out of life.  Travel is my passion.  Travel is my future.  Whether that be working on a cruise ship to fund more travels, opening up my own hostel, teaching english, or becoming a popular travel blogger (doubtful).  I’ve got big plans in 2015, and I can’t wait to explore more of the world.  But for now, enjoy my little recap of what I was up to for the past year.  7.5 Months in Asia, 2 months back home in CA, and 2.5 months in Europe.  Enjoy!

January

Started out the year in Bangkok.  Got an apartment to call a “home-base” while I began my online classes.  I definitely thought I’d actually be living in Bangkok more permanently, but then discovered that with some time management, I could travel and study simultaneously.

Dave the Buddhist #bangkok

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Traveled to the islands for the first time.  Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui.  All amazing in their own ways.  Was able to go scuba diving for my first time, as well as experienced my first full-moon party, which was quite an experience.

Scuba diving in the gulf of Thailand…CHECK #bucketlist #kohtao

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February

On the first of the month I began a short 12 day trip to Cambodia, beginning with an amazing couple days in Siem Reap exploring the Angkor Wat temples, and the famous sunrise photo.

Woke up at 5 a.m this morning to catch this famous sunrise #angkorwat #cambodia

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After Siem Reap I made a quick day stop in Phnomh Penh, but continued my journey to visit a couple friends in Sihanoukville.  Serendipity and Otres Beaches were both amazing, and I fell in love with Cambodia.  It was a short stay, but incredible.

Orange things in #Cambodia

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After my short trip to Cambodia, I hopped on a plane back to Bangkok to meet up with my friends on Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party (round two), as well as celebrating my birthday on the 14th.  My 25th birthday was still one of the highlights of the year for me.  My 26th is coming up in one month from now, and I have no idea how I’m going to top last years.

Throwback to sunrise after the full moon party #thailand

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After an epic birthday party in Koh Phangan, I decided it was time to head on over to the magical island of Koh Phi Phi.  I was only planning on spending a few days around Phi Phi, but got stuck there for a week or so.  I mean, how could I leave paradise?

Sunset boat ride back to Phi Phi #thailand

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Watching the sunrise after spending the night on Maya Bay, the filming location of the famous Leonardo Dicaprio movie “The Beach”.  Easily one of my highlights of the year.

What I woke up to this morning #mayabay #thailand

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March

This was easily the craziest and most fun-filled month of the year.  This was my last full-month in south-east Asia, and I lived it up to the fullest.  I began the month with an amazing trip to Hanoi and The Vietnam Backpacker’s Hostel Castaway Island tour to Halong Bay, which didn’t have the best weather, but met some amazing people, and had one wild trip.

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After an amazing / chaotic time in Vietnam, I headed on down to Bali, with a 24 hour layover in Singapore.  I really liked Singapore, and wish I had a bit more time there.  I ended up heading back to Singapore in October, so I got my fix.  It’s a beautiful city, but way too pricey for south-east Asia.

Spiral #bridge #singapore

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Once I landed in Bali, I had no idea what I was in for.  I had done zero research on what to do, and flew there just for 6 days to meet up with my travel crew.  They were posted up on the Gili Islands, so I cruised over and met them there.  I had an incredible day on Gili Air, and was easily one of my favorite days of the year.  Saw one of the best sunsets of my entire life.  It’s moments like these I’ll never forget.  The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was a big highlight of my first backpacking trip in Asia.

The best day of my life #giliair #indonesia

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After a very brief stay in Indonesia, I headed up to Kuala Lumpur for Future Music Festival Asia.  It was a blast, but unfortunately the last day of the festival got cancelled.  The first two days were epic though, and had a blast exploring the city.  Ironically enough, I did not like the city too much during my first visit, and now I’m writing this post from KL, and love this city!

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After Kuala Lumpur, my travel crew Cathy and Ashley and I started island hopping around Malaysia.  We traveled to the beautiful Perhentian Islands, Penang, and Langkawi.  All of these places are amazing.  I think more backpackers need to visit Malaysia during their trips.  For some reason, this country does not get as much attention as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

I'm on my way to heaven… #aboveandbeyond #perhentianislands #malaysia

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Travel. Just do it. #Nike #langkawi #malaysia

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April

With just a couple last days in Bangkok, (which ended up being pretty crazy), my first trip to South-East Asia had come to an end.  I flew home for a family wedding.  Congratulations to my beautiful sister Stephanie and my new brother-in-law Bryce.  Their legal last name is actually Jones, which is funny, because I’ve been going by Jones since high school!

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Oh, but wait.  What else happens in California in April…?  Hmmm….COACHELLA.  For years, I had been missing out on the best festival in States, Coachella, because I had been living abroad in Italy.  Not in 2014.  Coachella absolutely lived up to the hype, and I had the most epic weekend with a solid group of people.

Beauty of #coachella

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May

This was a pretty slow month, as I was trying to figure out travel plans.  If you remember, I had a trip to South America planned, that had to be cancelled because I had two groups of friends bail on the trip last minute.  The highlight of May was easily my road trip to San Francisco with my buddy Kevin.  I hadn’t been up North since college, and it was a great drive on PCH, and a solid time chillin NorCal style.

Foggy days in #sanfran #goldengatebridge

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Driving on PCH from SF – LA was quite a journey. Long drive, but completely worth it! #carmel #bigsur #california #coast #roadtrip

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June

After my plans of traveling to South America were cancelled, I decided to head back to my favorite city in the world– BARCELONA.  Found myself an apartment with some great Catalan guys, and began my summer classes and Barcelona shenanigans.

Look who I found in #barcelona #florencereunion #lionsfountain #unclejimmys #funkychicken

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One of my favorite things to do every Sunday was head to Piknic Electronik up on Montuic.  Amazing day party with lcoals, tourists, and expats.  Easily one of the best parts about living in Barcelona over the summer.

Piknic Electronik #barcelona

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July

Continuing an awesome summer in Barcelona.  From L’Atlandida, Sundays at the Picknic, beach days, and club nights.

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Tourist photo. #sagradafamilia #barcelona

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And I Finally made it to Montserrat, which was one of the best day trips I’ve ever taken.  I couldn’t believe how many times I had visited Barcelona / lived in the city, and never visited Montserrat.

Day trip for some Hiking in #montserrat

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August

After an epic 8 day “goodbye party”, it was time for me to leave Barcelona, and begin my travels.  The first stop was Milan and Trieste in Northern Italy.  I had never been to either of these cities, and really enjoyed my time.

Well that's pretty neat #milan #italy

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After revisiting Italy, I made my way over to a country I had been dying to visit; Slovenia.  This country is absolutely amazing, and I fell in love with Lake Bled.  I made the joke that if I ever wanted to relax somewhere for a few months to write a novel, I would choose Lake Bled.  It’s relatively affordable, and Slovenians are incredibly nice.

I could stay here awhile #lakebled #slovenia #jonesaroundtheworld

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After a short visit to Slovenia, I got picked up by two of my good Dutch friends, and we made our way to Croatia for SONUS Music Festival.  This was definitely one of the craziest music festivals I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to quite a few).  Shoutout to Joost and Stijn for an awesome week of camping, drinking, and non-stop amazing techno.

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September

After an amazing summer in Europe, I was dying to get back to Asia.  So I jumped right in — and began my backpacking trip in Sri Lanka.  This country by far exceed my expectations, and I had such an amazing time.  From exploring Colombo, Kandy, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Trincomalee, and Arugam Bay.  I wish I had more time there, but it would have cost too much money to change my ticket.  Shoutout to all the amazing people I met in Sri Lanka!  This was also the month I started my travel blog!  The birth of Jones Around The World!

"I like that boulder. That is a nice boulder." #Shrek #sigariyarock #SriLanka

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Walking. #srilanka

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Jones Around The World. #backpacker #travelblogger

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I also spent half of September in Kuala Lumpur, and this was actually one of the first blog posts I ever wrote.  Thanks to my friends I met in Langkawi, I had a free place to stay at an amazing condo, and met some incredible people.  It was this visit that made me want to move here.

To infinity pools…and beyond #Buzzlightyeartotherescue #infinitypools #TravelBlogger #Backpacker #Globetrotter #KualaLumpur #Malaysia

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October

Honestly, if I had to pick a favorite month of the year, I would have to say it was October.  I spent the majority of the month traveling through Bali and The Gili Islands.  Like traveling always does, I met the best people in Bali, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them.  There’s so many pictures to choose from, so I’ll try to limit to just a few.

Had a perfect day in #paradise #bali #Indonesia #TravelBlogger #Wanderlust #Globetrotter #JonesAroundTheWorld

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I'm the king of the cruise #GiliT #boozecruise #Indonesia

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Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

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Beanbags and beers for the sunset #seminyak #bali #indonesia #TravelBlogger #wanderlust #Globetrotter #nomadlife

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I like swimming.

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Thanks to everyone I met in Indonesia.  The times we’ve shared will never be forgotten.  I flew to Singapore for a couple days, then back to Kuala Lumpur for Halloween, which was an absolute blast.

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November

Another solid month traveling mostly through Langkawi, southern Thailand, and back to Kuala Lumpur for some rest and relaxation.  Langkawi is still one of my favorite islands in Asia.

We went chasing waterfalls.

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Head in the clouds.

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Pantai Cenang- Langkawi — I have 1 wife, and two sons: "Wifi", "sunrise", and "sunset"…

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After my time in Langkawi, I journeyed up to Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta.  I had some really great nights here, but was plagued with some bad weather during most of it.  None the less, the beauty of these islands is breathtaking, and it was great to visit some new places, as well as revisit Koh Phi Phi.

Not the best weather day, but couldn't resist going for a swim

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Not many places to hike on Koh Phi Phi, but the walk up to the viewpoint is good enough for me.

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December

Oh, the last and final month of 2014 — and boy was it a good one.  I started December out in Cambodia, and had the best time.  Started in Phnomh Penh for a couple days,  and then worked my way down to Kep & Kampot.  The Majority of my time was spent in SIhanoukville and Koh Rong (which I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world).  For anyone reading this who has not been to Koh Rong, Go SOON!  Tourism is going to take over quick, and this paradise will not be the same in a few years.

Sunset in Kampot

Gotta love Cambodian sunsets…every night a different painting, and tonight's was especially great.

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Relaxing on Long Beach, Koh Rong.

Winter is coming….but not for me.

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Enjoying my time in Otres Beach, Sihanoukville

Fresh coconut and a book on this sunny afternoon. Beach life sure is great.

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After a crazy time in Cambodia, it was time to head to Koh Chang to meet up with my friend Cathy.  Althogh, this took two attempts as I missed one of the busses due to bartending until 4 A.M the night before!  Koh Chang was absolutely beautiful, and I would defintiely recommend backpackers to make a stop there at the Thai/ Cambodian border.  It’s a much better border to cross at as well!  I also got to meet up with two of my Dutch buddies from Eindhoven (De Gekste)!

2 Americans, 2 Dutchmen, 1 Boat, 5 islands, 3 bottles of whiskey, and tons of fish. That was one epic snorkeling trip

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New island. New beach. Looking forward to the next few days in Koh Chang

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After Koh Chang, Cathy and I headed to Koh Samet for a bit of recovery from the damage we did to our bodies in Koh Chang, as well as to rest up for the next adventure; Wonderfruit Music Festival.  This was Thailand’s first major music festival, and I had such a solid weekend.  Amazing people, incredible music, and an overall great festival experience.

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

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After Wonderfruit festival, Cathy and I headed to Koh Tao for Christmas.  I spent a total of 8 or 9 days there, and it was a pretty great time.  It was quite strange though, because the weather was actually pretty terrible.  But it always cleard up at night.  The food was good, the parties were good, and met some amazing people there as well.

On December 31st, I decided it was time to journey over to Koh Phangan for the New Years Ever celebrations.  I’ll be writing a seperate blog post about that crazy experience.  IMG_2340


 

Well, there ya have it.  The past 12 months of my life summed up in one blog post.  It truly has been the best year of my life.  I want to take this moment to thank each and every person I’ve met while traveling around the world.  You guys are what making traveling so amazing.  I honestly don’t have too much plans as of now for 2015, but I have a hard time thinking it can top 2014, but I’m damn sure I’m gonna try.

Thanks for reading!