List of the Most Popular Emerging Travel Destinations in Southeast Asia

Famous for its opulent temples, pristine beaches and rich cultures, Southeast Asia has long been one of the most popular travel destinations for the adventurous backpacker. From the bustling modern cities of Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to the sleepy oceanside villages of Ko Tao and northern Bali, Southeast Asia’s immense diversity has the power to lure and impress even the most experienced traveler.

Well-trodden paths ply between the most prominent cities and cultural sites of Southeast Asia’s big tourism hitters of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. But venture just beyond the headliners and you will encounter a Southeast Asia that is in many ways still waiting to be discovered. Emerging destinations in the more popular countries along with the less traversed Philippines, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar offer travelers a fascinating glimpse of the region with the added bonus of much smaller crowds. With less Western visitors in these areas travelers will encounter a Southeast Asia that is worlds away from Khao San Road; an experience within which you can more easily connect to the endearing and friendly locals who make any journey to Southeast Asia so unforgettable.

5 Emerging Destinations in Southeast Asia

Without further ado here is a list of five of the most popular emerging destinations in Southeast Asia in no particular order. These places are by no means completely off-the-beaten path or off-the-radar but rather are becoming increasingly admired among the backpacker and independent travel crowd. Naturally, this does not claim to be an exhaustive list. Southeast Asia as a tourism destination is continually evolving and with more investment into tourist infrastructure pouring in this list could conceivably be re-titled five years from now minus the word “emerging”. Before making the decision to travel to any of these destinations, however, it is prudent to seek out up-to-date travel advice including required vaccinations, visa requirements and travel advisories.

Bagan, Myanmar

The temples of Siem Reap in Cambodia may have prestige and grandeur but perhaps no destination in Southeast Asia can compete with the sheer volume of spiritual dwellings in Bagan, Myanmar. With over 2,000 remaining temples gracing the area, Bagan continues to be one of the least known yet unmissable destinations in the region. Hidden southwest of the more recognizable Mandalay and considering the long journey from the former capital and largest city, Yangon, Bagan sees significantly fewer visitors than other temple complexes in Thailand or Cambodia, giving travelers an opportunity to revel in its beauty with relative calm. For one of the truly great experiences in Southeast Asia, perch yourself atop one of the ubiquitous empty temple-top terraces just before dusk to gaze upon the sunset reflecting brilliantly off of the temples’ golden spires.

Traveling to Bagan (and Myanmar), however, is definitely not for the faint-hearted or time-pressed traveler, which may explain why it has not yet caught up with its potential. To enter the country visas are required for and must usually be applied for in advance. Distances between cities are also quite large with road conditions that often leave something to be desired. Traveling to/from Bagan is no exception with daily long-distance buses plying the roads to/from Mandalay (8 hours) and Yangon (14-15 hours) while trains trudge the same routes albeit significantly slower. Air travel is an option but keep in mind that safety standards in Myanmar may not be as robust as in Western countries.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers lies the crown jewel of Laos, the majestic town of Luang Prabang. Few cities are as timeless as the UNESCO World Heritage site Luang Prabang with its reminiscent French colonial architecture, grandiose Buddhist temples and traditional Laotian wooden houses jammed neatly into its endearing old quarter. In the shadow of Phu Si and its hillside temples, buzzing markets, ornate spiritual sites and restaurants serving up local and international specials capture the attention of all those passing through. Possessing an elusive charm, Luang Prabang has quickly become a favorite destination for independent travelers on the Southeast Asia circuit and continues to move up the travel ranks as it lures back old friends and deftly seduces new ones.

Road improvements have made bus travel in Laos significantly more comfortable and getting to Luang Prabang considerably easier. Buses to/from the capital Vientiane (9 to 11 hours) and adrenaline-fueled Vang Vieng (7 hours) leave regularly while boats can be chartered for the amazing trip to Nong Khiaw (7 hours) along the Nam Ou.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Home to a burgeoning backpacker culture of sorts, Yogyakarta, Java’s geographic and cultural center, is rapidly evolving into one of the most popular travel destinations in Indonesia. Strategically located on the main line between Jakarta and Bali, Jogja, its moniker to locals and admiring travelers alike, has become an almost mandatory stopover for those trekking across Java. And with good reason. Jogja itself has a wealth of attractions including art galleries and museums showcasing Javanese culture and the famous kraton, a grandiloquent walled palace at the heart of the city, once home to the sultans. The traveler’s enclave centered around Jalan Sosrowijayan is a surprisingly lively introduction to Indonesian, particularly Javanese, culture and hospitality, where it is not unusual to see hip, friendly locals mingling seamlessly with tourists in the area’s streets, bars and restaurants.

Yogyakarta’s biggest tourist drawcard, however, is the iconic Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, situated just 42km away. Constructed somewhere around 800 AD, the temples intricate panels and stupas are best seen under the gentle radiance of a sunrise when large tour groups have yet to arrive.

Transport to/from Jogja is fairly simple since the city is well connected to the rest of Java by buses, minibuses and trains. The journey to/from Jakarta is most comfortable and shortest by train (8 hours) while the long-haul to Denpasar in Bali (15 to 16 hours) via Mt. Bromo (9 to 10 hours) is most directly accomplished by bus/minibus.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Possessing a distinctive character that is all its own, the charming riverside town of Hoi An captivates visitors with its enticing blend of graceful architecture and a bucolic pace. At the heart of Hoi An sits the enduring Old Town, a veritable open-museum distinguished enough to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Partially because of this status, Hoi An is remarkably well-preserved and in walking the narrow alleyways it is not difficult to see why so many travelers are becoming increasingly enchanted by the town and its entrancing atmosphere.

Located on the main coastal highway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, although quite far from each, Hoi An has reliable bus connections to many cities in Vietnam. Buses to/from Hue (4 to 5 hours), Danang (about 1 hour) and Nha Trang (9 to 10 hours) are available. If you are short on time but still want to visit Hoi An, flying to/from Danang to HCMC or Hanoi is a possible option.

Pai, Thailand

Throw the spirit of Haight-Ashbury circa 1967 into a misty valley in the foothills of northern Thailand and something resembling Pai may just materialize. An increasingly popular backpacker hotspot, laid-back and uber-cool Pai is one of Thailand’s fastest growing tourist destinations. Unlike the other places on this list, Pai has seemingly little in the way of sights; but what Pai lacks in landmarks it more than makes up for in atmosphere and location. Once a mere stopover for those heading north of Chiang Mai, travelers now venture to Pai for its fantastic trekking, rafting, elephant riding and spa relaxation options.

Located in northern Thailand, Pai is accessible by bus from Chiang Mai (4 hours), the second most popular international gateway to the country, and Mae Hong Son (4 hours), a major hill-tribe trekking center.

Other Emerging Destinations

With so much to discover in Southeast Asia, choosing only five emerging destinations can hardly do justice to such a diverse and exceedingly engrossing region. Here are some other destinations to keep on radar that deserve an honorable mention:

  • Kalaw (Myanmar)
  • Palawan (Philippines)
  • Kinabalu National Park (Malaysia)
  • Ko Tao (Thailand)
  • Battambang (Cambodia)

Beautiful Barcelona – Easy Travel Guide

Beautiful city of Barcelona, capital of Catalonia (a Spain’s province), is situated on on the shore of the Mediterranean sea and bordered at either end by 2 river deltas. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after its capital city Madrid. Barcelona has a population of 1.5 million, over 4 million including suburbs. The varied, eventful history of the city dates back 4,000 years to the first settlements by ancient farmers. Later it became a Roman colony, the Visigoth’s capital city, then it came under Moorish rule. It went through sieges, destructions and occupations, finally to become an autonomous democracy 1975. The city has always played an important role in political and cultural life of Spain and it is well reflected in the variety and quality of historical buildings, museums, many other tourist attractions. Today Barcelona is one of the most diverse european cities with unique culture and rich traditions. You can find here a formidable balance of the traditional things and the avant-garde. A cosmopolitan metropolis, Barcelona affords visitors a warm and sincere welcome, being aknowledged worldwide as one of the best tourist-friendly cities in Europe.Barcelona’s organisation of the 1992 Olympics provided regeneration of this dynamic city, gave a fresh start to its infrastructure development.

WHAT TO SEE AND WHERE:

POINTS OF INTEREST – La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard packed with buskers, living statues, mimes and itinerant salespeople selling everything from lottery tickets to jewellery. Pavement cafes and stands selling craftwork, street performers surrounded by curious onlookers, a noisy bird market, Palau de la Virreina, a grand 18th-century rococo mansion, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the famous 19th-century opera house- these are all colourful parts of La Rambla’s mosaic. La Rambla ends at the lofty Monument a Colom (Monument to Columbus) and the harbour.

Barri Gotic – also known as Gothic Quarter, it is the old part of the city. Picasso lived and worked in Barri Gotic from 1895 to 1904 and Joan Miro was born and lived here during his youth. Gothic Quarter is situated on the right hand side of the La Rambla, it contains a concentration of medieval tall Gothic buildings (14-15th century) on narrow cobbled streets and now is home to much of the city’s nightlife.

La Sagrada Familia – La Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous and magnificent among Barcelona’s landmarks. The life’s work of Barcelona’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, the magnificent spires of the unfinished cathedral imprint themselves boldly against the sky with swelling outlines inspired by the holy mountain Montserrat. Above each facade there are four towers, 12 in total, which are dedicated to the Apostles. The tower in the center, the tallest of all at 170 m., is dedicated to Jesus Christ. Around these there are the towers of the four Evangelists, and the tower over the apse is dedicated to the Virgin. They are encrusted with a tangle of sculptures that seem to breathe life into the stone. Gaudi died in 1926 before his masterwork was completed, and since then, controversy has continually dogged the building program. Nevertheless, the southwestern (Passion) facade, is almost done, and the nave, begun in 1978, is progressing.

La Pedrera – Casa Mila (Mila House) is an apartment building, the last example of Gaudi’s civil architecture.It is one of his finest and most ambitious creations, extraordinarily innovative in its functional, constructive, and ornamental aspects. Visitors can tour the building and go up to the roof, where they can see spectacular views of Barcelona. One floor below the roof is a modest museum dedicated to Gaudi’s work.
Montjuic – the largest open space in the city, its main attractions are the Olympic installations, the Spanish Village and the hilltop fortress. Montjuic, the hill overlooking the city centre from the southwest, is home to some fine art galleries, leisure attractions, soothing parks and the main group of 1992 Olympic sites. Montjuic is covered in ornamental gardens with water features and is the most popular destination in Barcelona on Sundays.

Tibidabo – is the highest hill in the wooded range that forms the backdrop to Barcelona. It has amazing views of the whole of Barcelona, a stunning cathedral, and a family fun park Parc d’Atraccions with old-style rides offering breathtaking views. A glass lift at the park goes 115m (383 ft) up to a visitors’ observation area at Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower.

Modernisme – spectacular modernista architectural creations dotted around the city by famous Antoni Gaudi and his contemporaries.

Camp Nou – home of F.C. Barcelona, one of Europe’s leading soccer teams, with capacity of almost 100,000 spectators.

The Seu Cathedral – Built in medieval times on the site of a Roman temple, La Seu is one of the great Gothic buildings in Spain.

Parc de la Ciutadella – Barcelona’s favourite park and a Sunday afternoon rendezvous for families, friends and ducks

The Sardana – traditional Catalan dance, performed outside the cathedral and at national festivals, with everyone encouraged to join in.

MUSEUMS – The Barbier-Mueller Museum of Pre-Columbian Art -the only museum in Europe devoted exclusively to Pre-Columbian cultures. Housed in a gothic palace, its collection is one of the finest of its kind and gives visitors an insight into the rich world of the earliest cultures on the American continent. This tiny museum contains one hundred pieces, including wood and stone sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, jade, often found in international exhibitions and prestige publications. The exhibits represented the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Chavin, Mochica and Inca civilisations.

Palau de la Musica Catalana – one of the world’s most extraordinary music halls, it is a Barcelona landmark. From its polychrome ceramic ticket windows on the Carrer de Sant Pere Mes Alt side to its overhead busts of Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner, the Palau is the flagship of Barcelona’s Moderniste architecture.

Museu Picasso – is Barcelona’s most visited museum. 3,500 exhibits make up the permanent collection. Picasso spent several years (1901-06) in Barcelona, and this collection, is particularly strong on his early work. Displays include childhood sketches, pictures from the beautiful Rose and Blue periods, and the famous 1950s Cubist variations on Velazquez’s Las Meninas (Ladies-in-Waiting).

Gaudi Casa-Museu – Gaudi lived in this pink, Alice-in-Wonderland house from 1906 to 1926, which now houses a museum of Gaudi-designed furniture, decorations, drawings, and portraits and busts of the architect.
Fundacio Miro – it was a gift from the famous artist Joan Miro to his native city. The museum opened in 1975, and now it is one of Barcelona’s most exciting showcases of contemporary art.

BEACHES – One of Barcelona’s greatest draws is undeniably its beautiful beaches. Beside world-famous Costa Brava and Costa Dorada which are within 1-hr drive time from Barcelona, there are also several nice beaches over 4 km long within the city boundaries, we will list just several of them here: Nova Icaria- Closest to the Olympic marina, always crowded, this wide swathe of rough golden sand is great for food goers. There are three perfect beach bars and two very popular restaurants on the promenade (Mango and Chiringuito de Moncho) and countless bars and restaurants are just a short stroll away. Bogatell- This beach is twice the length of adjoining Nova Icaria and fringed by a stretch of stone walkway perfect for jogging, roller blading and cycling. Three large informal restaurants on the promenade. Mar Bella (Metro Ciutadella Vila Olimpica, plus 20-minute walk)- Barcelona’s only naturist beach close to a peaceful park – good for a picnic or siesta under the trees. Barceloneta- wide and long, a traditional and popular stretch with locals, crowded, noisy and very jolly.

WHEN TO GO, WEATHER: The best times to visit Barcelona are late spring and early autumn, when the weather is still comfortably warm, around 21-25°C. Summers are usually hot and humid, with temperatures averaging +30 (+ 86 Fahrenheit). Especially avoid the “dead” month of August, when many shops, bars and restaurants close for the month as many local inhabitants head out of the city. Winters are cool with average daytime temperatures around +12 C (+59 Fahrenheit), occasionally rainy.

GETTING THERE AND AROUND: By a direct flight to Barcelona, or through Madrid or via another large European city from almost any major airports in the world. The highest fares are from May to September, the lowest in March-April, October-November and December to February (excluding Christmas and New Year when prices are hiked up). Note also that flying on weekends may increase your ticket cost. If traveling to Barcelona from within Europe you can also chose train, bus or car, though these take much longer than a plane and often work out no cheaper. Many Mediterranean cruises include Barcelona as a port of call.

ACCOMODATIONS: We can offer you a range of choices. You can choose vacation rentals in Barcelona starting from $ 125 USD for a double room in a 4-star apartment hotel. Or you can opt for hotels from $ 65 USD for a double room in a 3-star hotel. Accomodation prices do not change much throughout the year due to the steady all-season flow of visitors to this extremely popular tourist city and surrounding resorts.

DINING: Besides restaurants you can eat at bars where you would have a succession of tapas (small snacks- three or four chunks of fish, meat or vegetables, or salad, which traditionally used to be served up free with a drink) or raciones (larger ones). The bar option can be a lot more interesting, allowing you to do the rounds and sample local specialities. Generally, the average cost for a meal consisting of two dishes and dessert would come to about 25 Euros. Travellers on an extremely limited budget can do well for themselves by using the excellent markets, bakeries and delis and filling up on sandwiches and snacks. Decent restaurants and cafes are easily found all over the city, though you’ll probably do most of your eating where you do most of your sightseeing, in the old town, particularly around La Rambla and in the Barri Gotic. Look for the best and most authentic seafood restaurants in Barceloneta, a seaside neighbourhood. Gothic Quarter neighbourhood is home to some of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in the city. Gracia is a very popular area among young people during the weekend, it leads the way in terms of exotic restaurants (Lebanese, Egyptian, Thai etc.).

TRANSPORT: Barcelona has excellent transport system comprising the metro (subway), buses, trains and a network of funiculars and cable cars. You can find a link to transport maps at the end of our guide. On all the city’s public transport you can buy a single ticket every time you ride, but even over only a couple of days it’s cheaper to buy a targeta – a discount ticket strip. The T-10 targeta is valid for ten separate journeys on the metro, buses and trains. These tickets can be used by more than one person at a time. The metro is the quickest way of getting around Barcelona. For black-and-yellow taxis there is a minimum charge of $ 2 euro. You’ll obviously have a great deal more freedom if you rent a car . Major roads throughout the city are generally good, and traffic is generally well behaved, though Spain does have one of the highest incidences of traffic accidents in Europe. It also has some of the lowest fuel prices on the continent.

SHOPPING: Barcelona, one of the most stylish cities in Europe offers great shopping, from designer clothes and accessories to household items. You will find the city to be quite cheap for a lot of items, especially if you coincide with the annual sales ( rebaixes in Spanish) lasting from mid-January until the end of February, and throughout July and August. The best shopping areas in Barcelona are the old streets off the upper part of the Ramblas. Souvenirs include ceramics, which are widely sold in the streets around the cathedral; leather goods; city’s delicatessens, particularly cooked Catalan meats and sausages; a porron (the long-spouted glass drinking jar); CDs and tapes of Catalan rock and pop, sardana music, Spanish rock or flamenco. If you’re looking for original gift ideas, some of the best hunting can be found in the shops of any of the city’s museums, where you’ll find reasonably priced and unique examples of Catalan disseny (graphic), and other original items ranging from postcards to replica works of art.

We wish you a nice and safe trip!

Travel and Nursing – The Best Combination

To become a travelling nurse is the ultimate goal and job of all those nurses who love to take care of people in need and at the same time have that insatiable desire to go to other places on Earth. To make this dream of a lifetime come to fruition, all these nursing professionals have to do is to get ion touch of nursing agencies and ask them to have them placed in another country so that they can practice their nursing skills and profession and have the chance to go see a different country as well. As nursing professionals, these nurses have the option of either working on a short term period or on a long term basis. When this happens, these nursing professionals also have the chance of collecting memories of these travels. So it is like hitting two birds with one stone.

Travelling nurse has now become a much known type of nursing in the medical field the world over. Not only do these nursing professionals get to travel but they have the ability of acquiring a wealth of experience in their profession by working in different countries with different people who practice different cultures. They get the chance to choose the country they want to work in and enjoy the perks of travelling. This will offer these nursing professionals to add to the prestige of their resumes and working experience. Travelling nurses is really an attractive occupation because it allows the nurses to realize two of their dreams – to help people who are in need and to get to see places some people only dream of going to. Now if you are one of those nurses concerned by these dreams, you may have to keep in mind some important things.

What to do
The first thing you should do if you want to realize your dreams of practicing your nursing career and travelling to different places is make sure that the agency you are in contact with is a legitimate agency and not a fly by night one. You even have to double check all the things they are offering. This is just to make sure that you do not get mislead with what they are offering. See for yourself how great a chance is their offer for you and if you could turn it into a stepping stone.

For you to turn it into a stepping stone to make your career grow, you have to find out the real reasons why there are such offers. There are some nurses who when they find job vacancies abroad immediately grab the opportunity without even looking into it. This new nursing profession, travelling nurse, is a very satisfying occupation as this is the type of work wherein one can command the respect, confidence and trust of the people under their care while giving everything they do all their effort.

There are boundless things that a travelling nurse can gain. The most notable of all would be the experience of working abroad. Not to mention the higher financial benefits.