Hello, im 21 and I will be traveling alone to SEA ( Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia) end of November beginning / december. I was wondering if you have any tips on places I should avoid ? and places I should definitely visit? keep in mind I am not into getting wasted with cheap asian alcohol, i would like to explore the beautiful nature and culture :)
Interesting that you start this question with a "-"ve rather than places that one should definitely visit.
Would say that as a person interested in beautiful nature and (original) culture one should visit places as far as possible from major tourist destinations as possible. Most travelers have limited inclination to think for themselves and search outside their guidebooks both on and offline.
Read up on the history of some of these countries that you are going to visit and then see the places where major events occur - make sure that you aim for festivals and exhibitions of events and customs you would like to visit. As an interested and interesting (!) foreigner you would then gain access to the right people.
Simple advice would be then to get out of tourist ghettos - you will know them when you see them. Smile a lot at women, children. older men. Ask questions from everybody you meet. Formulate what you want out of this trip and go for it! 12 months ago
Interesting way to frame a question!
If you aren't into the tourist/party scene I'd say avoid the night time areas of major cities (like Kao San Road in Bangkok or Patong in Phuket), party islands like Koh Phangan, or the main beach area of Sihanoukville in Cambodia. Thailand has a higher number of these kind of areas, probably due to its longer exposure to tourism.
Some places I'd recommend are the north of Thailand (around Chiang Mai) and south coast near Krabi, Luang Prabang in northern Laos or Angkor Wat in Cambodia. While these are still fairly common tourist areas I found them to be less party-centered when I was there. 12 months ago