I imagine I will make it back to Asia, some day. I miss my old stomping grounds. To prepare for my return trip, I conducted some research to find new activities in some of my favorite spots in Southeast Asia.
I mostly spent my time in Macau at the casinos. Macau is known as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” and I would take this little island with the Portuguese influences over the Las Vegas Strip any day. One place I failed to visit was the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is just the front façade of the Church of Mater Dei constructed in 1602-1640. The architecture demonstrates the diverse history of the island: Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese influences. Macau is a tropical climate. The weather in October makes for perfect time to stroll through the grounds.
Photo by Christopher Wong via Trover.com
For being so close to the equator, the climate in Manila, Philippines is great, humid, but not too hot. One of the most interesting and culturally significant sites in Manila is Fort Santiago. Constructed in the 1500s, it was a prison during the Spanish Colonial War. Walking the fort grounds, give you the opportunity to explore the 22-foot walls up close. The preserved ruins give you the feel of what life was like on those harrowing grounds centuries ago.
Ko Phangan, Thailand
Ko Phangan, Thailand is beach life at it’s best and in October, the weather is perfect from morning until night. You can enjoy the amazing sunrises and party the night away at a Full Moon Party held every month to correspond with the amazing full moons visible in this part of the world. The parties are held all over, but the original spot, Paradise Bungalows, has the best. They feature food vendors, bands and international DJs. The party started in 1985 and has gained in exposure and levels of debauchery ever since.
Hanoi, Vietnam is known for its temples and pagodas. One area of the city where you can wander and see nine of the most beautiful and iconic examples of Vietnam history is in Old Quarter. Located in the center of Hanoi City, Old Quarter takes you back to old world Vietnam. The area boasts a market where locals sell their crops and crafts. You will certainly put your bargaining skills to the test. The narrow crowded streets offer a nostalgic setting in this modern city. I can’t wait to try the sticky rice or the Bun cha, a barbecue pork dish in fish broth with noodles.
Photo by Kostas Brejaart via Trover.com
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Besides the plethora of mopeds and scooters that litter the streets, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is like Miami. It’s hot and humid, but modern and westernized. October is a great time of year to stroll the streets and get to know the city. Last time I visited, I ate and ate and ate. I would do a repeat of that culinary tour. Vietnamese food is not just Pho, although the Pho is amazing. The food has many other Asian influences such as Thai and Chinese. I would return to Temple Club every visit. Besides having the most eclectic décor, the food is amazing, with dishes from all the influences that make up the charm of Ho Chi Minh City.