Life Changing Experiences In Southeast Asia

Why do so many of us thirst for travel? Is it our desire to explore other cultures from the inside out? Is it to mingle with people from far away countries who may speak different languages? Is it to worship different gods and eat different foods but are just like us in so many ways?

Is it our yearning for novelty, and the desire to be surrounded with new and exciting sights, sounds tastes and smells? Or is it simply that we yearn for beauty and will travel far and wide to see it writ large in huge monuments of brick and stone built centuries ago, azure blue oceans and gorgeous, sprawling examples of nature's architecture?

Or perhaps there is something deep within us that far-flung destinations call to. It is a yearning of the soul that is nourished when we step outside of our comfort zone. Whatever it is that lures us overseas time and again, we are definitely in love with travel. Travel teaches us more about the world and about ourselves.

By removing ourselves from the familiar we think and behave in different ways. We learn more about who we are outside of the context of our studies, our jobs, and our social circles. That is why international travel is so incredibly important for young people.

While some may be content to travel to the same destinations year in and year out staying at the same hotels, eating the same foods and hobnobbing with the same people, for seasoned travel bugs familiarity is anathema. The more exotic and adventurous the better.

Life Changing Experiences In Southeast Asia

For those with exploration and adventure in their hearts, it is easy to understand the appeal of Southeast Asia. The region offers not only warm weather, friendly locals and pleasant conditions. It also offers some of the most extraordinary areas of natural beauty on the planet.

It boasts of some of the most diverse, fascinating and beautiful flora and fauna in the world. If you love animals, appreciate nature, crave adventure and yearn for a vacation that nourishes the mind and the soul, the region is an ideal choice for you.

That is why we have compiled this list of some life-changing experiences from across Southeast Asia. If you want a vacation that allows you to grow as a person and expands your mind even as you relax and unwind, you could do worse than add any of the following to your travel bucket list.

Walk with elephants at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Thailand's numerous islands have a great deal to offer visitors. There is a reason why Thailand is called the land of smiles. The locals have a great deal to smile about including gorgeous surroundings and a plethora of awesome native animals like elephants. Elephants are incredible creatures to behold.

They live long lives and are extraordinarily intelligent. When you spend time with them, it is easy to feel a sense of kinship with these gentle giants of the jungle. Unfortunately, however, while the Asian elephant is a significant figure in the culture of Southeast Asia, not all of the area's inhabitants are as respectful of them as you would think.

In fact, many elephants in the region endure sad, painful and hard-working lives. In their youth, they are made to endure the Phajaan, a barbaric ritual in which a wild elephant's spirit is broken to make it more submissive to their owners. After having endured this, the elephants spend decades typically working in the logging industry, bearing extremely heavy loads every day.

Moreover, they are often beaten, tortured and even shot if they show any signs of non-compliance. When they grow too old and weak to work in the logging industry, they usually transition to carrying tourists on their backs. It is enough to make animal lovers shed a tear, but fortunately, there are people in the region who are dedicated to changing this status quo.

What makes Phuket Elephant Sanctuary such a wonderful place to stay is the respect, compassion, and love with which their rescued elephants are treated. These elephants have known only toil and pain all their lives but at the sanctuary, they are able to roam free. They also have the constant care and supervision of their Mahouts (carers) who keep a respectful distance and help the elephant only when needed. They share a bond of trust with their charges.

You won't be able to ride or swim with elephants here, as unbeknownst to some tourists these are actually strenuous and upsetting for the animals. Here, guests are invited to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat (although there are some who are happy to be fed by guests).

As soon as you set foot in the sanctuary, the love and passion that the management and staff have for the elephants and giving them the best possible quality of life are palpable. The sanctuary is a truly life-changing place to visit, especially for animal lovers.

Base jumping in Kuala Lumpur

While Southeast Asia offers outstanding natural beauty, don't be fooled into thinking that the pleasures of the region are solely rural. Indeed, the area is also home to thriving cities that are teeming with activity virtually 24 hours a day. For the adventurous of spirit, however, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur has a whole lot to offer.

You can enjoy a day of water slides and a whole lot of splashing at the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. You can climb the Kuala Lumpur tower to see the city's incredible skyline from the greatest heights. Or you can surround yourself with fluttering beauty at the Butterfly Park. But for the true adrenaline junkie, the greatest challenge will be base jumping from the tallest towers in this sprawling city.

The Petronas Twin Towers stand at almost 1,500 feet. These giant monoliths are the most incredible place to see this beautiful city before you plummet down towards her busy streets. It doesn't get much more extreme than this. But if you are looking for a life-changing experience there are few that can match this adrenaline-soaked adventure. If you are feeling brave enough, you can book right here.

Meet the Goddess of Mercy in Penang

Malaysia certainly has a lot of luxury to offer tourists. From opulent hotels to an affordable but luxurious Penang apartment stay, the region has a lot to offer tourists who want to enjoy the champagne lifestyle while they travel. You can also quench your thirst for a meaningful experience.

But if you feel particularly blessed or lucky to be in this vibrant and beautiful city, it may be an idea to pay your respects to Guan Yin, the goddess of compassion and mercy. Located in the Kek Lok Si temple complex in George Town, you will find Guan Yin's statue. To be honest, it is pretty difficult to miss. She is rendered in bronze and stands a Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas filled with alabaster and bronze Buddhas which can also be found at Kek Lok Si.

The temple complex is actually one of the largest in Malaysia and is well worth a visit whatever your faith if only for the majesty of its construction. It was built over the course of 40 years, beginning in 1830. It provides a humble and life-affirming testament to what can be created when one has devotion, dedication, love, passion, and skill.

Life Changing Experiences In Southeast Asia

See orangutans in their natural habitat in Borneo

Borneo is one of the most arboreally gorgeous places on the planet and is known for its diverse wildlife. For those who harbor a love of nature and exploration, there are few locations so perfect. While many locations in Borneo offer a chance to view the regions incredible animals, among the most fascinating, are the native orangutans.

These playful and intelligent primates give off a sense of serenity and wisdom and deserve to be treated with love and respect. This is especially as we are responsible for the widespread deforestation that has led to significant habitat loss for these noble creatures. Like Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, Camp Leakey Orangutan Rehabilitation Reserve was devised with the welfare of the animals rather than profits or tourism in mind.

Located just off the banks of the Sekonyer river inside Tanjung Puting National Park, the reserve has earned quite a reputation for itself since it was first founded in the 1970s. While it sees an influx of tourists, the facility is also an active research facility where scientists come together to protect and observe the orangutans.

The park itself is one of the most naturally beautiful of its kind with a wealth of beautiful and fascinating plant life. The orangutans here are treated with respect with minimal human interference, although in some cases tourists are invited to help feed some of the orangutans. But the park doesn't just stop at primates. It is also home to stunningly beautiful clouded leopards and Malaysian sun bears.

Aside from this life-affirming adventures Southeast Asia also has a plethora of luxurious hotels, sumptuous foods and no shortage of luxurious beaches. Here you can sun yourself, relax and recuperate. Make sure you add these destinations and activities to your bucket list. Your life will be all the richer for them.

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