This year has felt like a rollercoaster with more lows than highs as the world has been catapulted into unprecedented lockdowns, quarantines and uncertainty. Fortunately, you can have adrenaline rushes and excitement throughout Thailand without any of the same disappointments. On our 2021 Southeast Asia tour, we visit Chiang Mai- the adventure capital of the region. The first time a train came into the town was in 1921 after the government blasted a route through the mountains and the town has officially been a part of Thailand since 1932. Today, modern Chiang Mai has become something of a mecca for backpackers but retains a laid-back feel. This is perhaps helped by having over 300 Buddhist temples and been surrounded by some truly beautiful hill-country. As for adventure- you can go zip-lining, quad-biking and white-water rafting. These adrenaline-fuelled experiences should help you forget the challenges of the previous few months and offer genuine excitement and thrills. Our zip-lining experience has 31 platforms and you some awesome jungle vistas alongside the jumps.
The country, as a whole, is a treasure trove of adventurous activities. You can scuba dive with whale sharks, rock-climb, kite-board, abseil, skydive, zip-line, raft, surf and mountain bike. In Chiang Dao- where we visit after Chiang Mai- there’s some wonderful mountain bike routes to enjoy.
One of the many tragedies of the world being in this state of uncertainty and closed borders has been the impact on national economies which are reliant on tourism. Laos is one of the most affected countries as tourism has played a huge part in its recovery from a nation ripped apart by war and poverty. According the latest UN report, tourism and related services accounts for 385,000 jobs in Laos with this figure projected to rise in the coming years. Bear in mind the total population of the country is 6.5 million. It contributes almost 15% to total GDP and has played an integral role in the Lao economy growing by 7% each year. The government launched a big campaign to push tourist numbers in 2018 and had hoped this would continue to drive visitors into 2020.
Once you visit Laos, it’s easy to see why the government would be keen to take advantage of this huge natural commodity. The country is breathtakingly beautiful and offers the chance to have a real range of experiences. You can chill in the gorgeous, relaxed town of Luang Prabang, tube down the river in Vang Vieng and marvel at the views or enjoy the charming hospitality and food of the Lao people. Ultimately, this year is going to have an enormous effect on these places and we hope to be a part of the recovery by providing lots of awesome, adventure tours in Laos. At The Dragon Trip, we work directly with locals – our spends on guides, restaurants, hotels, activities all contribute back to the local economy. If you visit Laos- not only will you be having a truly amazing experience but also helping the country get back on its feet!
If you are looking for a new Zoom background or an amazing visual image to inspire you to get through the tough times- then you’d be hard pushed to find anything better than Halong Bay. Vietnam has a remarkable range of stunning vistas which is why it’s become such a popular destination for adventure travel. On our 2021 Southeast Asia tour- we go down the length of the country and serve up a true smorgasbord of visual gorgeousness.
It all starts with Halong Bay- picture limestone pillars, tiny islands, grottoes, a blue sea and a truly beautiful scene. If you haven’t had enough of watery loveliness then there’s also the charming port city of Hoi’An which combines a fascinating culture with sparkling views. For fans of mountainous majesty- jungle clad mountains, pristine caves and ravishing rivers then Phong Nha is the place for you. There’s also some sweeping urban views from atop the various rooftop bars of Ho Chi Minh City plus woodland magic amidst the Tra Su Forest. You’ll have enough amazing images for your social media or own pleasure to make up for this year!
It’s probably fair to say you deserve a time to truly relax in a beautiful place and unwind. Cambodia may be best known for the incredible experiences at Angkor Wat with its array of temples but there’s a whole lot more to this stunning nation than this. We start our time in Cambodia, on our 2021 Southeast Asia tour, with a trip to Koh Rong Island. This is the quintessential image of a gorgeous desert island. Serene beauty, paradise views, crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, drinks at ocean-side bars- you get the idea. If you feel like you need to treat yourself then there’s simply nowhere better!
Still not sure where you should be exploring in 2021? Take our travel personality quiz to see which countries suit you!