A full 303 days, an enjoyable and exciting 303 days in a culture that you are completely unfamiliar with. During this time , I have been to Indonesia , Malaysia (3), Singapore (2), Borneo , Philippines , Thailand (3), Laos and Cambodia . If we add the first 30 days I started from Thailand to my trip, it would be more accurate to say 333 days in South Asia .
My answer to one of the most asked questions is this: I liked Indonesia and the Philippines the most. I think it is wrong to compare countries with each other. However, they can be compared with each other in certain categories. Indeed, it is not easy to make a choice, even in the designated categories. Which is the most beautiful sea, which is the most beautiful nature, where was the adventure, which was the fun, which country would you prefer if you lived? It is very difficult for me to really answer the questions that come from the blog. One day, I will sit down and divide it into categories and prepare an article based on the best. There are quite a few things accumulated right now , but come on, when the time comes.
South Asian countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, East Timor and Brunei. I have not been to East Timor, Brunei, Myanmar and Vietnam from these countries. When I wanted to enter Brunei Darussalam from the Sarawak state border, they didn’t give me a visa at the gate. Actually, I knew they wouldn’t issue a visa, but at the urging of my Dutch travel friend, I accompanied him. When I wanted to get a visa from Sabah State and go, I gave up on going to Brunei when I was asked for a plane ticket. Because it was 2 hours to go to Brunei from Kota Kinabalu, the city I was in at that moment, but going to Brunei by plane was both costly and a waste of time. East Timor was also very remote, so distance was never an issue for me, but the flight costs associated with that distance were my main concern.
Vietnam, is one of the countries where it is very difficult to get a visa for a Turkish passport. Thanks to a businessman friend of mine, I overcame the visa barrier, but I had to take it off my route due to the rainy season in the country as well as the costs I had to pay for the visa. Myanmar, on the other hand, interestingly became a country that I postponed going to. I say interesting because I was at their embassy in Bangkok last week to get a visa. It was closed as they were on holiday due to Buddha Day. I hadn’t made my flight ticket and hotel reservation yet, and each one was in exorbitant numbers. Since Myanmar has experienced a tourism boom this year, prices have doubled compared to a few months ago, as there are not enough hotels to handle the capacity and everywhere is full. That’s why I postponed Myanmar until next year. During this time, I hope that many hotels and guest houses will be opened and prices will decrease even more. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway, after traveling by train and bus for a long time, I didn’t feel like paying that much for a plane ticket.
Traveling, eating, drinking and living in unfamiliar cultures is not easy at all. If you don’t leave your habits behind, I can say it’s very difficult. South Asia actually means the countries of smiling people. Although many of the locals don’t speak English, it’s easy to mingle and be friendly with them. I have not had a bad memory or experience that remained in my mind until now, even if I do, I do not remember when I was writing these lines. I’m telling you what a Canadian friend I met on the way, who traveled around the world, said: Buddhist countries are the safest place in the world. Nothing bad or theft happened to me during my trip to South Asia.
If there was one thing that was difficult for me, it was the food. It was a difficult place to choose food for someone like me who is not very fond of seafood. However, it is a paradise for seafood lovers both in terms of price and menu richness. I can say that I am fed up with rice, because you cannot call it rice here, it is only consumed by boiling. I’ve never been good with curry sauce and found myself in South Asia. I ate all kinds of food almost everywhere, but there were times when I couldn’t. Pizza and salad were smoking in my eyes. In addition, I tasted hundreds of different dishes and dozens of tropical fruits that I did not know before.
Traveling in Asia means longing for hot water. In every country, the number of showers I take with hot water does not exceed the fingers of one hand. For example, in Indonesia, where I stayed for 2 months, I could only find 2 showers with hot water. In every country, getting a haircut is on the list of things to do. Because I stayed long enough to get a haircut in every country I went to. I have dived in Indonesia , Malaysia , Borneo, Philippines and Thailand . I participated in boat tours in every country except Singapore , I was on trekking in many of them.
Asia means billions of billions of flies, insects, being bitten by thousands and thousands of different insects, mosquitoes, ants, bedbugs, spiders and I don’t know. Especially if your blood is delicious like me, if you are outside without applying sprays and lotions to your body to protect you, it means living every moment. I was tortured everywhere, I’m not exaggerating. I had not had any vaccinations when I left Turkey, neither malaria nor yellow fever. It would be better if I had quick tests done.
In these 303 or 333 days, I have seen many parts of South Asia and I will have to spare at least another 333 days for the places I want to see. I feel it’s time to change course when I realize that even though borders change, cultures are similar. It’s time to change course!