As countries in Southeast Asia start to open their borders to vaccinated travellers, now is the time to plan that post COVID adventure. Enjoy everything that Southeast Asia has to offer without the crowds, a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to explore this enchanting and exciting region. With our passion for travel that ‘treads lightly’ and reduces the environmental impact, there is no better way to explore than on 2 wheels. Our friends at Grasshopper Adventures are the leading cycle tour company in Southeast Asia and have something for everyone. From single day tours to multi day adventures we’ve joined a number of their 2 wheeled adventures over the years and have loved every one, read about why Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam should all be on your radar for your next trip to the region.
Currently open for vaccinated travellers with no quarantine, just a rapid test upon arrival and then you’re free to explore*
Cambodia is one of the hidden gems of Southeast Asia, where locals greet visitors with genuine enthusiasm, infectious smiles and good humour. While the major hub of Phnom Penh and the ancient wonder of Angkor Wat are certainly worth a visit, much of Cambodia’s untapped magic lies beyond the crowds of tourists in the colourful market of Kratie, the Mekong’s elusive Irrawaddy dolphins, or the ethereal mountain temple of Preah Vihear.
An impressive vaccination programme has seen more than 80% of the population fully vaccinated which alongside other measures have controlled pandemic outbreaks. Locals are excited to see visitors trickle into the country again, and travellers craving adventure after a fairly sedentary year will love to discover the Kingdom of Wonder. Cambodia Bike, Hike & Kayak is one great way to do so, with a varied itinerary that gets to the heart and soul of this resilient nation.
Also now open for vaccinated travellers via the Thailand ‘sandbox’ scheme which allows access to certain locations only such as Phuket but you must stay in an approved hotel and take tests on day 1 and day 7*
There is a reason Thailand has been such a popular destination for travellers over the years. The country combines stunning examples of natural beauty with a rich culture and world-famous cuisine. One of the natural highlights of the country is its paradise islands, where limestone karsts rise above turquoise sea and white sand beaches give way to unbridled jungle.
After a successful vaccination programme, Thailand is now welcoming back the first intrepid tourists to enjoy the natural wonders and sacred structures in their unique and blissfully quiet state. Phraya Nakhon is a good example of this, a cave in the gorgeous Sam Roi Yot National Park where a shrine lies underneath a shaft of light, making for an enchanting photo opportunity. The relaxing Cycle Bangkok to Phuket tour is a great way to ease back into exotic travel, with breathtaking views and plenty of beach time.
Still not open for international tourism but is hoping to do so in the near future having recently opened for domestic tourism*
The best way to describe Vietnam is “vibrant.” From varying scenery and bustling markets to welcoming locals and its fair share of ancient sites and powerful history, Vietnam truly has it all. There are the coastal towns with crystalline waters, hill country covered in coffee plantations, ruins of the great Champa Kingdom, fish markets and farming communities, and even an impressive art scene in Vietnam’s lively cities.
In line with the neighbouring countries, Vietnam is tentatively planning to open at the start of next year. Exploring by e-bike is ideal in Vietnam, allowing visitors to cover ground along undulating terrain and providing assistance to those who might be nervous to get pedalling again after a period of rest. Vietnam E-bike tour offers such an experience, with lots of chances for cultural immersion as well.
Still not open for international tourism but is hoping to do so in the near future*
The laid-back people of Laos truly embrace their past and a traditional way of life. This makes for a fascinating, well-preserved culture, evident in the many ceremonies visitors might stumble upon, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang, and the hospitality of the locals. Impressive spiritual sites such as the Pak Ou caves (full of thousands of Buddhist relics), Wat Xieng Thong temple, or even the morning Monks Alms ceremony in Luang Prabang provide captivating experiences for visitors.
Then there are Laos’ natural features, such as the otherworldly landscape of the north or the aquamarine Kuang Si falls which is a heavenly spot for a swim. This small country is working towards opening to visitors in early 2022 when it will be the perfect time to explore, such as with a bike adventure like Lao Lao, which showcases highlights of this intriguing nation.
Slowly, we are heading back to being able to travel again and Southeast Asia is at the forefront of the global re-opening. Let’s hope that as we move into 2022 the situation continues to improve and we can start exploring those countries that we’ve had on our radar during the challenging times of the last to years.
*this information was correct at the time of publication in January 2022 but please research carefully regarding the ever changing entry requirements for your next trip, wherever that may be!
Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world.
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