If you live in this region of South East Asia, then all you need is a few days and a small budget for a short needed break. The only problem - where to head to?
Here I compile a list of the places I've been to, serving as a rough guide to what these countries can offer for a good budget.
Visit Malaysia, Truly Asia
If you are thinking of distinct multi racial country, it has got to be non other than beautiful Malaysia. Depends on what you like - from sea, nature, heritage or city life, this is one place not to be missed. It's very huge diversity brings people to many of its cities to its rural areas for different interests & activities.
Although Malays are the main race here, but the other races who have made Malaysia their home have much retained their identity creating interesting sites like the Kek Lok Si in Penang. There is of course a unique group of intermarriages which form new distinct cutlures like the Peranakans and Portugese-Eurasians.
And with Tourism Malaysia extending the Visit Malaysia Year till 31 Aug 2008, it has a series of activities and events lined up for every different type of visitor.
What's more - 3 states are also having their visit year - Kedah, Terengganu & Kelantan. These northern states are known for its heart of Malay traditional culture - like the dances & batik. They are known for amongst the best islands in the country - amongst them Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Redang & Pulau Perhentian. Each state has its own events & festivals lined up specially for this year!
This island city is always a good stop by for anyone who wishes to see the best of East meets West. The Little India is relatively huge here and some part of its Chinatown is a living Chinatown of old & new.
Then there is the famous street of Orchard Road with its huge shopping centres, plus the much revamped island playground of Sentosa. There is late night shopping every Saturday till 11pm.
Singapore has also injected more excitement to the city-state including the landmark Esplanade, the hip & happening bars and cafes at Clarke Quay and the first F1 night race which will race in the streets of the city itself! There are also many other events lined up for both locals & tourists alike.
Another diversified country that one should visit. This is the country with rich authentic culture. Different islands offers different things and though mainly are Muslims but their culture differ from one province/ island to another. For example, the Javanese from Java differ from the Bataks from Sumatera or the Balinese from Bali (who are mainly Hindus).
The people are friendly and very well cultured. Somehow Indonesians have a distinct personality which very much retains and continue to give them a unique identity.
For beach lovers they can look forward to visiting the famous Bali or its sister island Lombok. Of course, Bali's rich culture has much more to offer, plus its friendly and warmth people. It has become an international destination with some big international events held there. Nearer a stone away from Singapore is Batam and Bintan, which one can just take a ferry ride.
Those into heritage can look forward to Borobudur in Magelang and nearby Yogyakarta. My personal experience to these places leave me very contended as the people are one of the friendliest I've met. And it's on the streets of Yogyakarta and also other towns in Indonesia where horse carts go side by side with other modern day vehicles, adding colours to the towns.
And with this 2008 being an official Visit Indonesia Year, it too has a series of events lined up for a good photography experience.
The land of smiles is one of the more renowned destination in this South East Asian region.
Like its neighbouring countries, it offers diversified different things for different interests. Beach lovers can look forward to the very popular Phuket island, Krabi & Phi Phi island and Koh Samui amongst others.
For culture head up north to Chiang Mai or to Mae Hong Som, home to the the long neck women. I've personally seen them and it's quite a marvel they being able to put so many rings around their necks. Southern Thailand's culture is closer the Malay culture of Malaysia. This will be unique when they look just like Malaysian Malays, but speak no Bahasa Malaysia but the beautiful Thai language instead.
Then there is the City Of Angels, Bangkok. One needs to go there once or twice and will definitely be smitten by it. This city has the charm to bring visitors to keep coming back and enjoy its friendliness amidst its bustling city life. Beyond its heavy jams lies a city of design and where one can find unique local brands, which stand side by side with the bigger international names.
Well, there you have it. 4 destinations which are Cheap & Good! Happy Holidays!
*There's some promos being offered by the budget airlines to some of these destinations now. Go grab your offers! :)