So what is Asia?

On 12 July 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

kids2I have visited “only” 9 of the 47 countries in Asia so I don’t preted to know all about this continent but after 6 months past there to discover it, let me give you my vision of this amazing continent..

Asia, it was for me 179 days travelling around India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, Bali in Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore. So I focused more on the South-East Asia but I also loved my stop by India who gave me a very different picture from the other countries.

nourritureAsia, it is a culinary discovery that I did not expect. I knew the food was very different but to be honest, I expected to eat rice all the time. Instead of that, I discovered the excellent local dishes, filled with flavors, odors, new food that you can’t copy. The food is very healthy because often steamed or soup base. But you also have all the fried part. I remember very good dishes like amok, lok lakpad thai, spring rolls, fish barbecued on beaches, pho, thali, paneer, dal and so many others.

divers2Asia is a continent where you live for cheap compared to the rest of the World. I think by far this is the cheapest countries you can visit. The accommodation can easily cost you less than 5€ in some countries, offering you a comfortable room, very often you eat well for less than 2 in the markets or on the street, transportation is more or less expensive depending on the country but remain in the whole at unbeatable prices compared to Europe for example. Souvenirs can be bought in markets and cost you few dollars. Only visits remain proportionally quite expensive and you pay a higher cost than local.

paysagesAsia is a mix of beautiful landscapes where everyone can find happiness. Mountains where you can climb to observe the view of the breathtaking scenery, the rice fields where you can walk and listen the rice growing, gorgeous beaches where you can swim in the clear blue water and walk on the white sand, islands where one feels alone in the world and where you can discover the underwater world, remote countryside where you can watch people cultivating their lands “old fashion way” with the buffalos, lakes where you can observe from small boats entire villages and a life built on water, deserts where you can sleep in the sand dunes under the stars and full moon, mythical rivers like the Mekong where you can see life going on in front of your eyes or dolphins swim next to your boat.

monumentsAsia is a number of mythical monuments, world famous magical places that I discovered. The Taj Mahal or the Mosque in Delhi in India, the temples in Bagan or Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, the Ha Long Bay or the museum of the war in Vietnam, the paradise islands or the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines, Tanah Lot temple or Jatiluwih rice fields in Bali, Angkor temples and the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Vang Vieng mountains or Kuang Si waterfalls in Laos, the white temple in Chiang Rai or the Royal Palace of Bangkok in Thailand, the Marina Bay Sand in Singapore. And this is only a few part of what I saw

feteAsia is some very good parties in different countries crossed. Including those on the beaches of Thailand or Cambodia. 4 times and still celebrated the new year with the new Christian year spent in Delhi in India, the Chinese New Year spent in Ngapali beach in Myanmar, the Balinese new year spent in Sanur, and the Khmer New Year spent in Cambodia!

Asia is a certain authenticity that remained. They do not have access to any technology that can be found in developed countries, they have not yet all current techniques for making things of everyday life. authenticiteAnd people want to keep some of their traditions, which gives a certain charm to their countries. You will find people plowing their fields with a kind of wooden board and their faithful companion buffalo, women who are fighting to perpetuate the art of handmade batik, whole families who put on their face some thanakha rather than sunscreen, friends who play chinlon because football does not interest them, entire populations chewing betel leaves, groups that meet in the street to play chess with old wooden games, loads of stands in the streets to bet in the lottery, men dressed in long skirts, etc…

transportsAsia is hundreds of means of locomotion taken. Best VIP bus with 3 seats per row with aircon but also the worst bus where all the windows are broken, as the seats and where you should put your feet on wood and rice. Trains from where you can see an entire country for hours, sometimes even for several days depending on the distance (and the backlog, the current record being 8 hours late on a train in India with a total path of 27h). Tuk-tuk or rickshaw or whatever their name is that hail you on the street 100 times and take you somewhere, sometimes you’ve lived the best journeys but sometimes also you lost a lot of money. Some classic taxis as the one we know or some subways in major cities. Lots of boats, regardless of their type, size, color or material that allow you to sail on the seas sometimes unleashed. And finally motorbikes that bring you great freedom and allow you to get lost in remote areas.

couleursAsia is exploding colors. The green rice fields, the yellow desert sand, the red earth in some places, the blue sea and sky, colors by thousands of women’s clothing especially in countries like India, the black hair of Asians, the gray elephants. The sunrises and sunsets that provide gorgeous color corners which become even more magical.

religionAsia, it is a permannt religion everywhere. Hinduism and Buddhism are the two religions that I saw the most but there are also Christianity and Islam. You see temples everywhere, impossible to make a trip in Asia without seeing a religious place on the way. The people always have also a sign of the hand / head when they cross one of these places. But religion is also seen through hundreds of monks that we cross in the streets or in the temples and with whom it is very interesting to have discussions. You may also be confronted of moments such as cremations, weddings, funerals and other.

Asia is also, in bulk, a huge trafic in some countries that provide constant noise and high pollution but also a lot of life, smells that I could never show you because they are everywhere on the street all the time. It is also many tropical flowers and hundreds tasty fruits (except durian, only fruit that I never could touch having failed to go beyond the hellish smell).

Asia is despite all these beautiful things some negative points: dirt reign (almost) everywhere, people are not disciplined at all, accustomed to politeness, child labor in all countries except Singapore, political regimes sometimes more than questionable (witness the coup when I was in Thailand or the military junta in Myanmar).

habitantsFinally, Asia is its people. They are a rare kindness, even though they had portrayed me as some people were unfriendly or unkind to travelers. I may have been lucky but I‘ve never faced any bad experiences and I had loads of good memories to share with them. I played with many children, took teas invited by the parents, shared the daily life of some families, discussed and learned to meditate with monks, rolled scooter with men who made ​​me discover the landscape but also the traditions of their country, learnt to make jewelry or batik with women, had lunch with young people who were intrigued to see a white woman traveling alone, observed groups of friends playing in the street, enjoyed the live music of others in bars. I took thousands of pictures of these people with incredible faces that have fascinated me all the way. They have that little extra something that is worth gold, they can give you everything even if they have nothing. So THANK YOU to all of them for all these exchanges, those moments that seem so simple but for me were worth the trip. I could do more, it’s on, you can always do more. But I hope that my level, with what I gave them and what I shared with them, I brought them even half of what they brought me happiness.

landscapesHere we are, Asia, it’s this famous sentence “same same but different”. You hear it everywhere, all the time. Well, for me, Asia is this: it’s the same but different. Even if there is much in common between all these countries that share a lot, especially if they are neighboring countries, such as technichs, land, developments, you can never compare two Asian countries together. Each one is unique and offers a vision, landscapes, experiences, different things. It is therefore impossible to prefer one to another.

kids1Asia was a continent that did not attract me at first. If you had told me a few years ago that I will spend six months there, I would have probably said that I‘d rather spend 6 months elsewhere. Today, after discovering some of its landscapes, its people, I have only one thing in mind: go back there! Many countries now fueling my curiosity and are in my “top listof countries to visit soon: Nepal which tickles me seriously, Sri Lanka, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia and even a part of China in East Asia; Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and many others in West Asia. And I also want to return to exploresome of the other islands of Indonesia, discover all the wonders of the rest of India, explore the last corners of Thailand, see northern Myanmar with a new 28 days visa or go trekking in northern Vietnam.

divers3

Asia, it was an amazing and rewarding experience. Hundreds people encountered, whether local or travelers with whom I have shared a part of my journey and my life. I could talk about Asia for days, months, even years with these thousands memories. It is a journey that changes you, makes you grow, evolve, step back, learn to be someone else while remaining yourself. Asia, it is a kind of pilgrimage, meditation, travel to learn more about others, but also to know you better.

If you also want to travel in Asia, ask for MarcoEtVasco services, an operator that will make you discover Asia at your own pace and according to your tastes and desires. Here are some destinations that may interest you:
– Offer to yourself a trip to Malaysia to discover Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Malacca and Perhentian islands.
– A travel in Japan is for you a great opportunity to be in the center of the Japanese world that has always fascinated you.
– For your next holidays in Indonesia, don’t forget to offer to yourself a trip to Bali to appreciate the panorama of its paradise beaches, its rice fields but also its temples and pagodas.
– For some dream holidays, go visit the Philippines and its wonderful white sand beaches, ideal for a nice dive in crystal clear waters, its extensive tropical forests rich in flora and fauna and its inhabitants with a warm welcome and smiling.
– When you get in Vietnam, a tour in Cambodia is mandatory to discover its authenticity.

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