Withlocals.com: Local Experiences in South East Asia
A number of countries in Southeast Asia have now become some of the major holiday destinations in the world. Backpackers, couples, and families now travel to many South Eastern countries for beach holidays, adventurous vacations, and cultural journeys. You will be surprised to find some excellent and exotic destinations, cerulean beaches, lush rainforests, and amazing theme parks here at these countries. Furthermore, these countries also boast some unique and one-of-a-kind culture, traditions, and rituals that intrigue many western travelers. The best way to explore and enjoy the uniqueness of these countries is by experiencing things locally. It can be either dining with a local person or spending time at a religious shrine to understand the culture of the country. No matter what you would like to know, you can always take the advantage of local experiences to learn more about the destination.
For an instance, traveling to a new country means you will encounter many new things such as a completely new environment, different communities, new traditions, and the country’s fascinating local culture. Each of these countries has a number of similarities and differences. That means you will surely notice a number of new and fascinating facts about these countries and their unique culture. For an authentic Thai dining experience, you should consider visiting Bangkok or any other tourist destinations in Thailand. Similarly, to learn more about Buddhist architecture and tradition visit the famous country of Cambodia. The best way to enjoy and experience local traditions and culture is by interacting with locals, relishing local food, and visiting all famous local attractions. Such activities will offer you a clear overview about local culture and some fascinating facts about the country. You will not only learn something new, but also will get a chance to experience new things.
About eating with locals:
South Eastern food culture is quite different from Western food culture. Instead of eating a lot of proteins, South East Asian people eat a lot of rice. Their food includes meat, vegetable, seafood, rice, and a lot of spices. For centuries, these countries follow the same food tradition of eating rice, curries, stewed meat, sides, and desserts. A number of fresh locally grown vegetables are used in preparing traditional meals in these countries. Due to cold and moist winter days, these South East Asian countries eat a lot of chili peppers and other spices.
Many countries use homemade sauces, pickles, and meat jerky for making a few dishes. Eating with a local will help you learn and know more about the country’s food culture. Although the food culture may vary from region to region in a country, there are a number of similarities. You will see the same sauce used for making a number of vegetable and meat dishes in a particular region. For an instance, you will see usage of coconut milk in curries and other dishes when you visit Thailand. That’s because the production of coconut in Thailand is abundant. Similarly, Vietnamese people make a number of noodles, light soups, rice items, and meat dishes. The cooking technique and style in each South East Asian countries vary from one another. Many locals make noodles on a daily basis. Making the traditional noodles require skills and experience. Although many Western chefs now know the technique, they still cannot make noodles as good as the local chefs.
Beverages in South East Asia mainly include tea. A number of countries in South East Asia make spice infused tea. In addition, they also make use of locally grown tea leaves and infuse it with fruit and flower flavors to make some tantalizing tea drinks. Because tea is the major beverage in these countries, the production of tea here in South East Asia is very high. Street-food culture in South East Asia is more fascinating. Many locals eat their daily meals at many street-side food stalls. A number of local vendors offer lip-smacking and colorful food varieties on streets of many South East Asian countries. The more you explore, the better will be your idea about the vibrant street-food culture in South East Asia. Tourists should also consider dining out at a street-food stall to savor some local flavors and delicacies. Remember, you will never get the same style food at an upscale restaurant.
About touring with locals:
No tours to South East Asia can be complete without sightseeing tours. Explore the local attractions and major attractions in your South East Asian destination. A guided tour is advised for foreign tourists. A local guide will help you in understanding the details of local history, cultural significance, and rich heritage. Whether you visit some historic attractions or exotic nature attractions, taking the help of a local guide is always advisable.
South East Asian countries are known for their diverse scenic landscapes. Countries like Thailand offer an array of scenic beach destinations. The nation is home to an extensive coastline, many small islets and islands, and a number of beachfront cities. UNESCO has also included a few of the areas in Thailand under World Heritage Site list. Visitors who are interested in exploring these beautiful islands can hire a boat and enjoy touring the scenic marine parks, protected rainforests, and pristine islands. In case a local Thai person accompanies you, your experience of exploring the local attractions will be even better. This is also because you don’t have to worry about navigation, finding maps, and routes to your destinations. Backpackers will be highly benefited if they consider touring the area with a local person.
Also, if you take local transports such as buses, trains, and even boats, it’s good to be with your local companion. Sure, you may not find it comfortable in asking for a ticket or saying just hello to the bus driver. That’s because they will guide you well all through your trip. Enjoy and experience the local flavor by visiting every place in South East Asia with a local. Countries like Cambodia offer an array of temple tours; these historic and religious places boast century old history, heritage, stories, and even fascinating architecture. When you travel with a local and tour these attractions, you will get a deep insight into the temple’s interesting history.
Another advantage for travelers like you is that you can shop at local shops and markets easily if you consider taking a local companion with you. First of all, you don’t have to worry about communicating in local language. Secondly, your local friend may also help you in bargaining. That means you can shop at a local market without even being ripped off. That will not only save you money, but also save your precious time. In addition, you will get to enjoy the local flair, bustling shopping life, and fantastic food when you go shopping at a local market.
Activities with locals:
As you already know that life in South East Asia is quite different from our countries, you should not miss to experience it during your visit. Participating in local activities, community fests, regional workshops, and religious programs are some of those activities that will help you learn more about local culture in a better way. To do so, you can always consider taking a local friend with you.
A majority of South East Asians are Buddhists. In addition, there are Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. Therefore, all kinds of religious festivals are celebrated in these countries. Apart from that you can expect to see some regional events, parades, cultural events, and even Western inspired parties here at many South East Asian countries. Countries like Thailand offer vibrant beach parties like Full-moon parties, pulsating pub culture, and nightlife for locals and tourists alike. Visitors from all across the world come here to enjoy such activities and have fun. Don’t forget to take your local friend with you as he or she will surely help you in communicating, understanding, and guiding.
Regional fests and parades are quite common in these countries. Consider spending some time at a temple or Buddhist shrine in order to see, feel, and experience their local traditions. If you can, then participate in local events and workshops as well. A pottery or art workshop is perfect for all art and culture enthusiasts. During your workshop you will not only learn their local art and traditions, but also understand the differences between Asian art and Western art. Local artists use their century-old traditional techniques to create some aesthetic and beautiful art pieces. Quilting and sewing workshops are also popular in these countries. Through these workshops, you will learn more about local traditional clothing, outfits used for wedding, and festival costumes. If you are traveling to multiple countries in South East Asia, then you should participate in many regional workshops in order to see, understand, and learn more about each country’s local traditions.
Traveling with a local will always help you in understanding and experiencing the core of a South Eastern country’s tradition. You will see those smiling faces of local vendors, lip-smacking food varieties at a street-food stall and century-old attractions at many tourist destinations. In addition, you will get to see some impressive pristine beaches, nature, and undiscovered scenic landscapes awaiting for your arrival. Whether you are a backpacker or a family traveler, touring, dining and participating in a workshop with a local South East Asian is highly recommended for you. Plan your trip today and emerge yourself in a new world full of exciting attractions, intriguing historic sites, fantastic culture, fascinating ecological diversity, and surprisingly delicious foods.