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The Asia Jaunt – Month Six In Review


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Shalne Brink



Welcome to the Asia Jaunt – Month Six in Review! Over the past six months, we’ve embarked on an unforgettable journey through the diverse landscapes and vibrant cultures of Asia. From bustling cities to remote villages, we’ve experienced an array of exciting adventures and enriching encounters. In this article, we’ll take a look back at the destinations explored, the cultural experiences we’ve had, the delicious food discoveries we’ve made, as well as the challenges faced and lessons learned along the way.


Our journey began in the bustling streets of Tokyo, Japan, where we marveled at the neon lights and futuristic technology. From there, we ventured south to the ancient temples of Kyoto, immersing ourselves in the traditions and tranquil beauty of Japan’s spiritual capital. Next, we hopped on a flight to Seoul, South Korea, where we delved into the city’s vibrant K-pop scene and tantalized our taste buds with mouthwatering street food.


Continuing our adventure, we crossed the border into vibrant Vietnam, where the bustling streets of Hanoi and the serene beauty of Ha Long Bay left us in awe. Exploring the ancient town of Hoi An, we were captivated by its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage. Thailand beckoned us next, with its golden temples, floating markets, and the laid-back island vibes of Phuket and Koh Phi Phi.


As we made our way through Cambodia, we were deeply moved by the heartbreaking history of the Khmer Rouge regime and inspired by the resilience of the Cambodian people. The awe-inspiring Angkor Wat left us humbled by its grandeur and historical significance. Finally, we concluded our Asia jaunt in the land of smiles – beautiful Bali, Indonesia. We embraced the island’s lush landscapes, traditional Balinese ceremonies, and rejuvenating yoga retreats.


Throughout our journey, we had the privilege of immersing ourselves in the rich cultures of each destination. We participated in traditional tea ceremonies in Japan, witnessed the art of Thai massage in Thailand, and joined in the vibrant festivities of the Balinese New Year. These cultural experiences not only broadened our horizons but also fostered a deeper understanding and appreciation for the countries we visited.


Join us as we reminisce about the magical moments, delectable dishes, and unforgettable experiences of our sixth month in Asia. Let’s embark on this virtual journey together and discover why Asia truly is a treasure trove of wonders.


Destinations Explored

During our month six in Asia, we had the opportunity to explore some incredible destinations that left a lasting impression. Each place offered its own unique charm, fascinating history, and breathtaking landscapes.


Our first stop was in Tokyo, Japan, where we immersed ourselves in the fast-paced city life and discovered the perfect blend of tradition and modernity. We marveled at the iconic Shibuya Crossing, visited historic temples, and indulged in delicious street food. From there, we traveled to the ancient capital of Kyoto, where we were transported back in time as we wandered through the narrow streets lined with traditional wooden houses and visited stunning temples like Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Fushimi Inari Shrine.


Next on our list was Seoul, South Korea, a city bursting with energy and excitement. From exploring the trendy neighborhoods of Gangnam and Hongdae to visiting historic palaces like Gyeongbokgung, we discovered the perfect blend of old and new. One highlight was witnessing the changing of the guard ceremony, a traditional ritual that showcases the country’s rich cultural heritage.


Vietnam beckoned us next, and we found ourselves captivated by the charm of Hanoi, with its bustling Old Quarter and serene Hoan Kiem Lake. We then embarked on a mesmerizing cruise through the limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay, where we soaked in the natural beauty and witnessed spectacular sunsets. In Hoi An, we fell in love with the ancient town’s lantern-lit streets, colorful markets, and the chance to get tailor-made clothing.


Thailand offered a vibrant mix of experiences. In Bangkok, we explored bustling markets and marveled at the grandeur of the Grand Palace. We then traveled south to the popular beach destinations of Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, where we enjoyed the crystal-clear waters, relaxed on pristine beaches, and indulged in mouthwatering Thai cuisine.


Our journey then took us to Cambodia, where we were deeply moved by the tragic history of the Khmer Rouge regime. We paid our respects at the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, gaining a profound insight into the country’s past. In Siem Reap, we were awestruck by the magnificent Angkor Wat, exploring the temple complex and witnessing the sunrise over this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Finally, our month in Asia came to a close on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. We found ourselves enchanted by the lush landscapes, the warm hospitality of the locals, and the spiritual atmosphere. From tranquil rice terraces to sacred temples and vibrant ceremonies, Bali offered a perfect blend of relaxation and cultural immersion.


Our journey through these diverse destinations allowed us to experience the rich tapestry of Asia’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Each place we visited left a lasting impression, and we are grateful for the opportunity to explore these incredible destinations.


Cultural Experiences

One of the most rewarding aspects of our Asia jaunt was the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich and diverse cultures of each destination. From traditional ceremonies and rituals to unique customs and practices, the cultural experiences we encountered were both enlightening and unforgettable.


In Japan, we had the privilege of participating in a traditional tea ceremony, where we learned about the precision and artistry behind this ancient practice. The serene atmosphere and delicate flavors of matcha tea left a lasting impression on us, and we gained a newfound appreciation for the elegance and mindfulness that Japanese culture embodies.


In South Korea, we dived into the vibrant world of K-pop, attending a live concert and experiencing the energetic performances and fan culture firsthand. We also had the chance to try on the beautiful hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, and stroll through the streets of Bukchon Hanok Village, where we admired the well-preserved traditional houses.


Vietnam presented us with a glimpse into its history and resilience. We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground passages used during the Vietnam War, where we learned about the ingenuity and determination of the Vietnamese people. In Hoi An, we had the opportunity to join a lantern-making workshop, where we discovered the significance of these colorful lanterns in Vietnamese culture.


Thailand showcased its vibrant cultural heritage through its temples and religious practices. We marveled at the intricate architecture of temples such as Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, and in Chiang Mai, we participated in a traditional Thai massage course, learning the techniques and therapeutic benefits of this ancient healing practice.


As we made our way to Cambodia, we delved into the country’s tragic history and inspiring resilience. Visiting the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh was a somber yet necessary experience, as it deepened our understanding of the Khmer Rouge regime and the resilience of the Cambodian people. The magnificent Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, with its intricate carvings and ancient ruins, showcased the grandeur of the Khmer Empire and provided insight into Cambodia’s rich history.


Bali, Indonesia, offered a unique blend of spirituality and traditions. We attended a Balinese dance performance, with its elaborate costumes and mesmerizing movements, and witnessed colorful ceremonies celebrating the Balinese New Year. We also had the opportunity to partake in yoga retreats, connecting with our bodies and minds in the peaceful surroundings of Bali’s natural landscapes.


These cultural experiences not only enriched our understanding of the destinations we visited but also allowed us to connect with the local communities on a deeper level. We were humbled by the warmth and hospitality of the people we encountered and left with a profound appreciation for the diversity and richness of Asian cultures.


Food Discoveries

No journey is complete without indulging in the delightful flavors and culinary wonders of a destination, and our Asia jaunt was no exception. From savoring traditional dishes to exploring street food markets, we embarked on a gastronomic adventure that tantalized our taste buds and opened our palates to a world of new flavors and textures.


Our culinary exploration began in Japan, where we savored the artistry of sushi and the comforting flavors of ramen. We indulged in fresh sashimi, experiencing the delicate balance of flavors and the quality of the ingredients. We also explored the vibrant street food scene, trying tasty treats like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).


In South Korea, we dove into the world of kimchi, a staple in their cuisine. We relished in the variety of banchan (side dishes) offered with every meal, savoring the spicy and savory flavors that complemented the main dishes. We also indulged in Korean barbecue, grilling marinated meats at our table and pairing it with an array of condiments and pickled vegetables.


Vietnam offered a diverse array of flavors, from the aromatic pho to the fresh and zesty flavors of the famous banh mi. We navigated the bustling street food stalls in Hanoi, trying dishes like bun cha (grilled pork with noodles) and banh xeo (Vietnamese savory pancakes). We also discovered the unique flavors of Vietnamese coffee, enjoying the rich and smooth brews.


Thailand, known for its vibrant and spicy cuisine, delighted our taste buds with its bold flavors. We indulged in the aromatic and fiery Thai curries, sampled the tangy and refreshing som tam (green papaya salad), and savored the creamy goodness of mango sticky rice. The bustling night markets in Bangkok and Chiang Mai offered a plethora of street food options, from pad Thai to coconut ice cream.


As we made our way to Cambodia, we discovered the complex flavors of Khmer cuisine. We relished in the flavors of fish amok, a traditional Cambodian dish that combines fragrant spices with coconut milk and river fish. The fresh ingredients and unique flavors of Khmer cuisine left a lasting impression, showcasing the country’s culinary treasures.


Bali, Indonesia, offered a delightful fusion of flavors, blending traditional Balinese cuisine with influences from other Southeast Asian countries. We sampled the fragrant and spicy nasi goreng (fried rice), enjoyed the bold flavors of babi guling (suckling pig), and indulged in the sweet and creamy goodness of pisang goreng (fried bananas).


Our food discoveries throughout Asia not only satisfied our hunger but also provided a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and traditions of each country. From the exquisite presentation of dishes to the use of local ingredients and unique flavor combinations, we were continually amazed by the creativity and skill of the local chefs. Each bite was a moment of culinary bliss, reminding us of the endless pleasures that food can bring.


Memorable Moments

Our Asia jaunt has been filled with countless memorable moments that we will treasure for a lifetime. From awe-inspiring sights to heartwarming encounters, these experiences have left an indelible mark on our hearts and souls.


One of the most unforgettable moments was witnessing the sunrise over Angkor Wat in Cambodia. As the first rays of sunlight illuminated the intricate carvings and reflected off the ancient temples, we were filled with a sense of awe and wonder. It was a moment of pure magic, the culmination of centuries of history and human ingenuity.


In Japan, we had the opportunity to witness the cherry blossom season in full bloom. The sakura trees bathed the streets in a sea of delicate pink petals, creating a romantic and ethereal ambiance. We joined locals in hanami parties, picnicking under the blossoms and reveling in the beauty of nature.


Another incredible moment was exploring the magnificent limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. As our boat navigated through the emerald waters, we were surrounded by towering cliffs and hidden caves. The breathtaking scenery left us in awe, and we couldn’t help but feel a deep connection to the natural wonders of the world.


Immersing ourselves in the spiritual rituals of Bali was a profoundly moving experience. We had the opportunity to participate in traditional ceremonies, observing intricate dances and listening to rhythmic gamelan music. Witnessing the devotion and faith of the Balinese people left us with a sense of peace and serenity.


Throughout our journey, we encountered the warmth and hospitality of the local communities. Whether it was the friendly locals in Tokyo who went out of their way to help us navigate the subway system or the Cambodian villagers who welcomed us into their homes with open arms, these interactions reminded us of the kindness and generosity that exists in the world.


Exploring the vibrant street food markets was an adventure in itself. From the bustling night markets in Bangkok to the bustling alleys of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, each bite offered a new and exciting flavor. Sampling the diverse cuisines and interacting with the local vendors added a delicious dimension to our journey.


These memorable moments have not only enriched our travel experiences but have also inspired us to continue exploring the world with open hearts and minds. They serve as a reminder of the beauty and diversity that exists in our world, and the importance of embracing new experiences and cultures.


Challenges Faced

While our Asia jaunt has been filled with incredible experiences and unforgettable moments, it hasn’t been without its fair share of challenges. Traveling to unfamiliar territories and immersing ourselves in different cultures often presented us with unexpected obstacles that tested our resilience and problem-solving skills.


One significant challenge we faced was the language barrier. Communicating with locals who didn’t speak English fluently sometimes proved difficult, especially when trying to navigate public transportation or ask for directions. However, we quickly learned that a smile, gestures, and basic phrases could go a long way in bridging the language gap and fostering connections with the people we encountered.


Another challenge we encountered was adapting to different cultural norms and customs. Each country we visited had its own set of etiquette and traditions, and it was important for us to respect and adhere to them. Adjusting to the local customs, such as removing shoes before entering temples in Japan and covering our shoulders and knees at religious sites in Southeast Asia, required a level of awareness and sensitivity.


Getting accustomed to the local transportation systems was also a challenge. Navigating the complex subway systems in bustling cities like Tokyo and Seoul initially seemed overwhelming, but with a bit of research and assistance from friendly locals, we quickly became adept at using public transportation to explore our destinations. In more remote areas, transportation options were limited, and we had to rely on local buses or taxis, which sometimes presented their own set of logistical challenges.


One of the most significant challenges we faced was dealing with unfamiliar foods and dietary restrictions. While we were eager to sample the local cuisine, we had to navigate food allergies and preferences. Communicating our dietary restrictions and ensuring that our meals were prepared safely often required extra effort and caution, but we were able to find delicious options that catered to our needs.


Throughout our journey, we also encountered unforeseen weather conditions and travel disruptions. From sudden rainstorms to flight delays, these unexpected challenges forced us to be flexible and adapt our plans. While they may have initially caused frustration, we quickly learned to embrace these moments as opportunities for spontaneity and new adventures.


Despite these challenges, each obstacle we faced served as a valuable lesson and an opportunity for personal growth. We developed resilience, patience, and problem-solving skills, which will undoubtedly prove invaluable in our future travels.


Lessons Learned

Our Asia jaunt has been a transformative journey, filled with incredible experiences and valuable lessons. As we reflect on our travels, we have gained a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Here are some of the key lessons we have learned along the way.


First and foremost, we have learned the importance of embracing the unfamiliar. Stepping out of our comfort zones and immersing ourselves in different cultures has broadened our perspectives and enriched our lives. We have discovered the beauty in diversity and have come to appreciate the unique customs, traditions, and ways of life that make each destination special.


Another lesson we learned is the power of connection. Whether it’s connecting with locals through language, sharing meals together, or engaging in meaningful conversations, we have realized that the most memorable moments often stem from genuine human interactions. These connections have taught us the value of empathy, kindness, and open-mindedness.


Patience has been a virtue that we have honed during our journey. From navigating language barriers to dealing with travel delays, we have learned to remain calm and adapt to unexpected circumstances. By embracing the concept of “going with the flow,” we have been able to find solutions and make the most out of any situation.


An important lesson we learned is the significance of sustainability and responsible travel. We witnessed the impact of tourism on the environment and local communities, and it motivated us to make more conscious choices as travelers. From reducing our plastic usage to supporting local businesses and respecting the natural and cultural heritage of each destination, we aim to leave a positive footprint wherever we go.


Flexibility and adaptability have proven to be essential skills in our journey. We have learned that not everything will go according to plan, and being able to adjust our itineraries and expectations is crucial. By embracing uncertainty, we have opened ourselves up to unexpected opportunities and spontaneous adventures.


Lastly, we have discovered the importance of self-care and balance during our travels. While exploring new destinations and immersing ourselves in different cultures is exhilarating, it’s essential to prioritize our well-being. Taking time to rest, practice self-reflection, and prioritize activities that nourish our bodies and minds has allowed us to fully appreciate the beauty and depth of each experience.


These lessons have not only enriched our Asia jaunt but have also shaped us as individuals. We carry these insights with us as we continue to explore the world, bringing a deeper sense of awareness and gratitude to every journey we embark on.


Must-Visit Places for Future Travelers

As our Asia jaunt comes to an end, we can confidently say that there are several must-visit places that we highly recommend to future travelers. These destinations have captivated us with their unique beauty, rich history, and cultural treasures. Here are our top recommendations:

  1. Tokyo, Japan: The bustling capital of Japan offers a mesmerizing blend of traditional beauty and modern marvels. Be sure to explore the historic Asakusa district, experience the vibrant nightlife of Shibuya, and indulge in the world-class cuisine.
  2. Seoul, South Korea: This vibrant city is a perfect mix of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology. Visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, explore the trendy neighborhoods of Gangnam and Hongdae, and immerse yourself in K-pop and K-drama culture.
  3. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: Embark on a cruise through the breathtaking limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay, marveling at the dramatic landscapes and enjoying the tranquility of the emerald-green waters. Be sure to catch the sunrise or sunset for a truly magical experience.
  4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Explore the vast temple complex, witness the intricate stone carvings, and be captivated by the awe-inspiring architecture.
  5. Bali, Indonesia: Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali offers a perfect blend of stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual retreats. Explore the lush rice terraces of Ubud, visit ancient temples, and indulge in the serenity of its breathtaking beaches.

These are just a few of the incredible destinations we have had the pleasure of exploring during our Asia jaunt. Each place offers its own unique charm and attractions, inviting future travelers to immerse themselves in new experiences and create lifelong memories.


Whether you’re seeking vibrant city life, ancient traditions, natural wonders, or spiritual serenity, Asia has it all. We encourage you to embark on your own adventure, explore these must-visit places, and discover the wonders that await you in this breathtaking continent.



Our Asia jaunt has been an incredible journey filled with breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and unforgettable experiences. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the tranquil beaches of Bali, we have immersed ourselves in the beauty and diversity of this captivating continent.


Throughout our travels, we have explored ancient temples, tasted mouthwatering cuisine, and connected with locals who have warmly welcomed us into their communities. We have witnessed awe-inspiring sights, learned valuable lessons, and grown as individuals through the challenges we faced along the way.


Asia has truly left an indelible mark on our hearts. We have discovered that the magic of travel lies not only in the remarkable destinations we visit but also in the connections we make, the cultures we encounter, and the perspectives we gain. It has opened our eyes to the beauty and diversity of the world and reminded us of the importance of embracing different experiences and viewpoints.


As we conclude our Asia jaunt, we carry with us cherished memories and the knowledge that there is so much more to explore and discover. This continent has sparked our curiosity and ignited a desire to continue our journey, venturing into new destinations, and immersing ourselves in new cultures.


We encourage you, fellow travelers, to embark on your own adventures and experience the magic Asia has to offer. Whether it’s marveling at ancient temples, savoring mouthwatering street food, or forging connections with locals, each experience will shape and enrich your journey.


As we bid farewell to Asia for now, we do so with gratitude and a sense of wonder. The memories and lessons we have gathered will forever hold a special place in our hearts, and we eagerly anticipate the next chapter of our travel adventures. Until then, may your journeys be filled with joy, new discoveries, and the beauty of exploring this remarkable world.