We have always loved travelling – whether on our own or with a group of friends. When we first met each other, we instantly became great pals and saw that we shared similar views and attitudes towards life. Most importantly, though, we complemented each other perfectly for travel.
Sometimes you can be good friends with someone, but when you go travelling it just doesn’t work out. For us, it was an ideal match. We wanted to see the same places, travel at the same pace and we were both ready to give it our all. From this shared passion for travel the blog Ruta Ideal was born.
Our trip to Southeast Asia started two years ago when we visited Thailand and fell in love with this part of the world. It’s so addictive! The incredible landscapes, the weather, the dynamics and chaos of it all, the food that we adore, the affordability and the kindness of the people makes it a mixture that once you try, you want more and more of.
We knew that we had to come back for much, much longer. So, this time around, our journey started in Thailand seeing places that we couldn’t go to on our previous trip due to time constraints. We then made it to Myanmar, came back to the Thai islands, hit Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.
Planning for this trip – we did our investigation, read a lot and tried to visit all the places that somehow caught our attention or inspired us. We didn’t see it all but we didn’t want to rush at the same time. If we really loved the country, we stayed for as long as our visa allowed us, and with other countries we only spent a couple of weeks in.
By far our favourite destination on this trip was Cambodia. We loved every minute of this beautiful country. Before we visited, we didn’t have too many expectations (and that also helps) but it stole our hearts completely!
We started with the incredible Angkor Wat, then to an elephant sanctuary in Mondulkiri, chilling in Kep and Kampot, and seeing the rural parts of the country and incredible nature in Battambang. Plus, we had a fascinating history lesson in the capital Phnom Penh.
Cambodia has it all. We were just so impressed by everything we saw and most of all by the kindness and good vibe that everyone has.
Highlights of our Incredible Journey to Southeast Asia
For us, the most special part of our trip was taking a motorbike road-trip in north Vietnam. The landscape that we saw was out of this world and the whole experience was just a big WOW. We stumbled upon villages and ventured into places that felt so different to anything we have ever seen.
There is no feeling in the world like riding your motorbike through rugged mountains and steep rice fields with no houses or people in sight for miles and miles. It was the closest thing to freedom we think exists.
Another highlight from our trip to Southeast Asia was visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We absolutely loved seeing the beautiful temples devoured by the jungle. Imagining how it was to be the first explorers to find it, learn about its story and wonder about all the mysteries surrounding it is an experience that we will never forget.
In terms of bucket-list experiences, we would recommend watching the sunset over the thousands of temples in Bagan, Myanmar. This place is pure magic and one of the most romantic and spiritual places we have ever seen. It’s never been so worth it to wake up at 6am for a couple of days in a row!
Meeting the Wonderful People of Southeast Asia
We knew from the very beginning of our trip that this was going to be an amazing experience. But honestly, the reality exceeded all our expectations. There were some down moments too, of course. Travelling for so long is not all a bed of roses. But right now, we only remember the good times.
The biggest surprise, and a very important lesson, was perhaps the incredible kindness and joyfulness of the Cambodian people. We were so impressed by how they were always in a good mood, always happy and joking despite their somewhat troubled history (referring to the Cambodian genocide of the 1970’s).
They are a beautiful example of how you need to turn all dark and difficult moments into learnings and stay positive and strong to stand up again.
We had the pleasure of visiting many countries and in all of them the people were, of course, slightly different. In general, we would say that the people in Southeast Asia are very peaceful and kind. Everywhere we went we felt very welcomed and it was a pleasure to talk with them and understand their culture better.
One key takeaway from this trip was learning how to appreciate little things in life and that sometimes, the less you own, the happier you can be.