Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Why I Visited ASEAN Countries?

I do love travel, and one of my bucket list destination that I want to visit is all ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries. Simple reason, because it's just neighbor of my home country Indonesia and also where I'm working now in Malaysia. But to be honest ASEAN has so much to offer.

And finally, this year marks my achievement to visit those countries.

Let me share what my best experience of attraction place, food, and memories when I visit those countries. It's in sequence based on my favorite list

1. Indonesia

Oh well, this is my home country and where I was born, so no doubt it's on my top list. 
  • Must visit place(s): since I'm nature lover and love to do hiking, so some mountains in Indonesia is the one that must visit. Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Ijen Crater with blue fire in Banyuwangi, and Bromo are on my top list. 
  • Must try food(s): it's hard for me because there's so many nice foods there, as long as not too spicy then it will fine for me. I love Bebek Penyet, Gudeg, and Nasi Pecel for breakfast.
  • My best memory: manage to reach top of Mount Rinjani with group of friends. We spent 5 days hiking, sleep in a tent, and do "morning business" with portable toilet in open area. I will never ever forget that priceless experience.

2. Malaysia

I live and work in Kuala Lumpur for more than 8 years, I managed to visit all states here, I might want to create different blog post about it later. But yeah, it's on my top 3 list because it's good place to live and there's so many nice places to explore.
  • Must visit place(s): I choose Melaka in west peninsular and Kuching in east part for my favorite place in Malaysia.
  • Must try food(s): easy, I love all peranakan foods in Melaka, and Nasi Lemak for breakfast.
  • My best memory: achieve PADI open water dive certificate in Tioman. I'm not really good at swimming, but I do enjoy diving.

3. Thailand

I love this country due to the beaches, temples, and foods. I visited some places like Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket, Hat Yai and Ko Lipe. Still wish to explore other part of Thailand.
  • Must visit place(s): I love Koh Lipe, small island in the Andaman Sea. I went there by ferry from Langkawi island. This island has so many resorts, restaurants and really clean. I can circle whole island less than 1 hour. So chill and relaxing by sleeping on the bench by the beach.
  • Must try food(s): Green Curry is my favorite, and Pad Thai.
  • My best memory: experience Songkran festival where whole city become water splash war zone, be ready to get wet anywhere and anytime. 

4. Cambodia

One of country that famous with big complex of temples, Angkor Wat.
  • Must visit place(s): Of course it's Angkor Wat, the complex temples is so big, they even have ticket for 1 or 2 or 3 days ticket package. 
  • Must try food(s): I can't really recall much, but I remember I tried street food like fried cricket and some fried bugs, it does taste nice like fried shrimp.
  • My best memory: visit National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, I love all the artistic art there: sculptures, statues, and other historical items. They're really trying so hard to bring back all 'stolen' items from all over the world. And I also really enjoyed Phare the Cambodian circus, local circus by young local Cambodian.

5. Vietnam

I visited some cities in this country, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phu Quoc. And still wish to explore other part of this country.
  • Must visit place(s): Halong Bay, and Phu Quoc island. 
  • Must try food(s): I love beef pho so much, the clear soup is so nice, especially with extra lime.
  • My best memory: took the longest cable car in Phu Quoc that goes to Pineapple island. The view from top of cable car is really stunning and amazing.

6. Brunei Darussalam

At first I was afraid that there will nothing much that I can do in this country, but surprisingly I kind of love this country. So many amazing mosques and they have beautiful infamous national park.
  • Must visit place(s): the famous Jami Asri Sultan Hasanah Bolkiah Mosque, and Ulu Temburong National Park.
  • Must try food(s): their national dish called Ambuyat, it's starchy type of food made from sagoo palm, really has unique texture.
  • My best memory: climb up 60 meters canopy walk tower above the ground, with 360 degree of Borneo jungle view. I climbed when it's almost raining, so the wind was so strong and dark heavy cloud approaching us. It's bit scary, yet so exciting.

7. Myanmar

Country that has many Buddhist temples.
  • Must visit place(s): Shwedagon Pagoda, it's really magnificent temple with big golden pagoda. And around the pagoda, there's big park that can do jogging in the morning.
  • Must try food(s): Mekong river fresh water grilled fish, stuffed with some herbs at night market stall, it's really yummy.
  • My best memory: I tried the Yangon Circular Train to experience their local transport, from Pyay Road station to Da Nyin Gone to view the local wet market in the station, it took around 1.5 hours journey. There's so many food sellers and people can literally "picnic" on the non-aircon train. The ticket fare is really cheap, only 200 kyat for whole journey. Worth to try, to experience their local public transport.

8. Philippines

Purposely went to Manila because I want to do short hiking at Mount Maculot.
  • Must visit place(s): to be honest, not many places I visit in Philippines. I wish I will have chance to visit Cebu next time. But for now, roaming Manila to view the old historical places is quite good, despite the really bad traffic there.
  • Must try food(s): Jolibee, their fast food chain restaurant that exist everywhere. If you're too adventurous, can try their street food Balut, it's the developing bird embrio that is boiled. 
  • My best memory: my flight was delayed for more than 4 hours due to big typhoon Mangkhut. They said typhoon is really common in Philippines. 

9. Laos

It's the last ASEAN country that I visit. Exactly remind me of Myanmar, Cambodia, or Thailand because of so many temple.
  • Must visit place(s): Patuxay Park, the Lao version of Arc De Triomphe. 
  • Must try food(s): any fresh water fish dishes from Mekong river with different way of cooking, it's surprisingly really delicious.
  • My best memory: meditate session with young Buddhist monks in one of temple on Saturday evening. It's really great experience and relaxing session.

10. Singapore

I lost count on how many times I visited this country, it's typical big & modern city, and the least favorite on my version.
  • Must visit place(s): I guess I like their Garden by the Bay with lot variety of plants inside the dooms.
  • Must try food(s): Hainan chicken rice, or foods from hawker stalls.
  • My best memory: visit Universal Studio Singapore every October to experience Halloween Horror Night, I think I went there for 3 or 4 times already.

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