If you want to know where the absolute best places in Southeast Asia are to develop a good case of amnesia and forget about your dull drab life back home for a while, ask an Aussie. They’re the real experts. If a particular chromosome determines who will be a world traveler and who will rarely step off of their front porch, Australians must be injected with it at birth. It’s part of their culture. Most Australians won’t even think about something as silly as a stay-cation.
Australians think nothing of hopping the next flight out, and when they vacation, or holiday, they have a reputation for doing it right. Domestic and European travel has declined as locations in Southeast Asia have gained increasing popularity for Aussies wishing to get off of their own island. Indonesia has become a hot-spot for many Australian travelers while others are finding the natural beauty, serenity, and after-hours life of Thailand more appetizing.
If you don’t know anyone “Down Under” to ask, don’t sweat it. The following destinations are the biggest bell ringers in Southeast Asia for Australians in need of some serious R&R.
By far the most popular destination in Indonesia is Bali. An estimated 1400 Australians visit Bali every single day, year round. This figure does not include the thousands of Australian Expats who have made this city their home. It’s no small wonder Bali is such a great place to jet off to. The possibilities are endless.
There are water parks, surfing and scuba diving, bike tours, cultural tours, traditional Indonesian cooking classes, river rafting, an endless array of watersports, hiking in the country, spas, gorgeous waterfalls, and this barely scratches the surface.
Bali is strewn with over 20,000 temples of all designs. From temples built into natural caves like Goa Giri Putri to Goa Gajah with its menacing stone guardians to the “Mother Temple,” Pura Besakih, there is sure to be a beautiful, historic temple no matter where you visit. Pura Ulun Danu Temple in the mountains of East Bali is a picturesque example of a Hindu water temple.
The nightlife is nothing short of amazing and Aussies always seem to know the best clubs to find one another. There are restaurants galore. Whatever type of cuisine your taste buds are screaming for, you’ll be able to obey their command.
How about seeing a bunch of monkeys swinging in their natural tropical jungle habitat? Yeah. You can do that too. Or, maybe you would prefer renting a car and taking a drive out in the lush green countryside?
A 90-minute flight from Bali lies Komodo. As the name implies, it’s home to the famous Komodo dragon. Komodo is popular among those who prefer a quieter experience than Bali is capable of. Diving, sailing, kayaking, and drinking are the four main activities. The fifth is lying spread-eagle in the sand doing nothing. The water is clear with tinges of aqua.
Another quieter destination is Yogyakarta, and it too is a favorite for Australians. Yogyakarta is a renowned culinary hub so if dining out and trying new foods is high on your list of priorities, look no further, plan your trip now. It’s also a hub for the arts so you’ll find some funky little galleries scattered about. An ancient Buddhist temple built in the eighth century offers tours, and it’s well worth seeing.
Until 2016, it cost Australians visiting Indonesia $35 dollars just to get in the country. They needed to purchase an entrance visa. As Indonesia continues making strides at creating a greater tourism trade, Australia has now been added to the growing list of 169 visa-free countries.
By doing this, Indonesia estimates the equivalent of an additional $239 million U.S. dollars will be pumped into their economy, which is also growing. Smart move. It’s working. Over one million Australians visit Indonesia annually. Over the next five years, Indonesia hopes to increase visits from foreigners to 20 million. So no matter which corner of the world you hang your beret on, you can count on being a welcomed visitor.
The number of Australians visiting Thailand annually exceeds 600,000. Though not as popular as Indonesia, Thailand has a lot going for it. Shoppers can still buy a lot for a little. The beaches are second to none. Then there’s the real-deal Thai cuisine. And of course the ornate temples. But none of these wondrous things attract more visitors than what Thailand is best known for. Their extreme nightlife. Nobody parties like the Thai’s. Except maybe the Australians.
The hustle-bustle of Bangkok with its crowded streets and endless noise has little appeal to most Australian travelers. It’s far too busy. Instead, they head to the white sandy beaches, the watersports, and the endless beach bars on one of Thailand’s hundreds of islands. To be more specific, the most popular island hot-spot is Phuket.
This Island has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, hands down. The whitest of sand, the greenest of swaying palm trees, and blue clear water beyond description.
Phuket has several lively towns to choose from, and in all of them, when the sun goes down the party lights come on. But none is more famous and popular after sundown than the town of Paton and its infamous Bangla Road. If it’s even remotely party related, it’s on Bangla Road. In great abundance. Nightclubs, bars, shows of all types, food stands for when you’ve had too much to drink and want to start over, street buskers doing whatever they do, and nothing but a good time.
Though partying does seem to be on the priority list for many, there are things for non-party-animals to enjoy as well, and even Australia has some of those.
There are boat trips around Phang Nga Bay where giant rocks covered in vegetation jut from the ocean floor. The boat travels between the rocks and the high cliffs opposite them. The majesty of the scenery is nothing short of blissful.
The most important temple in Phuket is Wat Chalong. It is the spiritual center for the island and is adorned with hundreds of pieces of colored glass which glisten in the sunlight. The temple receives a steady stream of visitors who are left in awe.
Some of the other islands in Thailand receive visitors and they are worth looking into, but anything anyone could possibly want is on the island of Phuket. Between Thailand and Indonesia, there’s truly something for every traveler. When it comes to travel, the Australians really know what they’re doing.
Ever wonder why Why Do Australians Travel So Much?