Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery, Inle Lake, Myanmar

A beautiful fifteen-minute bike ride from the Song of Travel Hostel, this vineyard and winery boasts one of the best views of the surrounding hills at Inle Lake. A popular spot for sunset views, Red Mountain Estate is the perfect place to relax, sit in the warm glow of the Myanmar sun and enjoy a bottle (or two and a half as we did!) of crisp, white wine; we’d suggest the Sauvignon Blanc.

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Song of Travel Hostel, Inle Lake, Myanmar

Song of Travel has everything you need in a hostel. Free breakfast and not just simple eggs and toast, well cooked, well presented breakfasts with potatoes and pancakes and delicious local teas. A rooftop with views of the sunrise and sunset, comfortable beds, rooftop bar with $1 cocktails, free bike rentals, which you’ll need to navigate the town, and some of the most attentive and caring staff we ever came across. The themed hostel caps it all off with a famous song quote on the wall beside every bed. I was lucky enough to have an absolute classic: ‘Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too’. This hostel had it all and we cannot not recommend it enough to any traveller making their way through Inle Lake.

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Kuang Si Waterfalls, Luang Prabang, Laos

The Kuang Si Waterfalls are an unmissable natural delight when staying in Luang Prabang. We walked through the small bear sanctuary and spent more time than we planned, waving at the bears and staring at them as they played and climbed in front of our adoring faces. The falls can be fairly busy, though it being a much cooler day than usual there was plenty of room. A twenty-five minute trek to the top of the waterfall was done easily in a pair of thongs, though the climb down may be better suited to proper shoes- as we came to realise. The water was cold and clean and painted my arms and legs with goosebumps. A perfect way to spend the day waiting for the night markets to come around!

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Laos Spirit Resort, Luang Prabung

A unique experience and one that comes so rarely to budget-minded travellers, the Laos Spirit Resort was the ultimate combination of relaxation and indulgence. We waved at the elephants from across the river in the comforts of our balcony and ate breakfast, which was included, while they stomped and stamped along the embankment. The private outdoor shower was a rare treat, as was the bed, which provided the best sleep I had all trip.

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Monkey Maya, Ream, Cambodia

A little ways out from Sihanoukville and Otres, Monkey Maya is in a remote location that allows it to be perfectly serene and quiet. We stayed in a bungalow with its own glorious beach views that opened up below to a long stretch of private shoreline barely inhabited by the few that were present at the hostel. No electricity except for a small window in the afternoon, no wifi - and yet, no worries. We drank with the staff whose personalities were infectious and ate with all other travellers as the restaurant provided offers the only means of food. And after a lazy, drunken swim in our secluded beach with glowing blue plankton shimmering on our arms, we were totally sold.

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Bioluminescent Plankton, Otres Beach, Cambodia

Need I say more? Present at most beaches along Otres Beach 1 & 2 and in the surrounding Sihanoukville area, the dazzling blue glow of the plankton at night is a sight like no other. Keep an eye out for particularly cloudy night when the moon is hidden and let yourself be swooned by the thousands of transient blue lights that twinkle along the Cambodian southern coast.

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Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

A small island just a short trip from Otres Beach, Koh Rong Samloem features some of the whitest and most beautiful beaches I’ve ever come across. Just like Otres, the island is the perfect combination of soothing nothingness and lavish depravity, offering opportunities like snorkelling, kayaking and peaceful beach bungalows alongside Full Moon and Black Moon parties that run long into the nights.

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Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, Vietnam

Really any tour of Ha Long Bay on offer will expose its majesty; ours was booked through ‘Central Backpackers Hostel’ and was everything we wanted it to be. The view speaks for itself and the novelty of staying on your own ‘private island’ adds an extra sense of extravagance - even if you are still sleeping in bunk beds! Tours usually include boat trips to and from your accommodation, food and usually some kayaking and free swimming off your boats. If you’re looking for the booze cruise option, the ‘Castaways Island’ tour is your best choice, otherwise grab yourself a ticket from a tourist stall or hostel, set sail and soak up all the beauty of Ha Long Bay.

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Vietnam Backpackers Hostel, Hanoi

Tied for my favourite hostel of the trip. Vietnam Backpackers is a large hostel with an even larger party vibe with events and drink specials nearly every night, free beer offers and fully equipped with a restaurant, upstairs pool table and various outdoor areas, Vietnam Backpackers Hostel has it all. Located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, it has tons of local restaurants and markets right around the corner and the staff were always keen to help you find your way around. There is plenty of adventure to be organised through the hostel too, as they offer some of the most popular tours and day trips- including their infamous ‘Castaways Island Ha Long Bay Tour’.

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Bun Cha, Hanoi, Vietnam

Bun Cha is an absolute must try in Vietnam, especially Hanoi which is the birthplace of this addictive dish. A mix of delicious grilled BBQ pork, sweet and sour dipping sauce, rice vermicelli and mixed fresh herbs and pickled vegetables. Recommended to me on a hostel city guide brochure, I had my choice for dinner made for me for the next 3 straight nights. Hanoi is known for its Bun Cha, so catch it at any small restaurant throughout Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

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Warung Ocha, Seminyak, Indonesia

Admittedly this restaurant is watered-down Indonesian for Westerners rather than traditional fare but the food is so, so good. Right in the middle of it all, Warung Ocha is perfect for pre, mid or post shopping breaks. Warung Ocha's distinctive Red Verandah was the backdrop for a beautiful traditional Balinese ceremony for our last lunch in Seminyak.

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Gado Gado Restaurant, Seminyak, Indonesia

Seminyak is central to many of the best restaurants in the area. By the beach, Gado Gado is set half under cover, half under the stars and is certainly one of the most exciting places to eat. It is a dressy affair, offering indulgent degustation and matched wine menus.

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Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

An easy day trip from Seminyak, visiting Nusa Lembongan should be at the top of any to-do list for Bali. Described as what Bali was like 40 years ago, Lembongan has an 'untouched', raw feeling with its unpaved roads and simple beachfront. Lembongan is an excellent spot for snorkelling, fishing, surfing and watersports. Tours of the island can be easily arranged on arrival and resort accommodation is plentiful should you want to stay longer than the day.

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UNESCO Jatiluwih Rice Fields, Indonesia

The Jatiluwih Green Land is a 19,500 ha world heritage protected site. The Rice Terraces date back to the 9th century and are of great significance in traditional Balinese culture. My driver dropped me at one end of the terraces and allowed me time to wander through the various levels. The green landscape and coolness of the wet fields are so inviting and soothing.

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Kebun Raya Bali, Indonesia

When in Ubud there is the temptation to keep heading east to the volcano - which is amazing to be sure - but the vistas as you explore the north west are even more dramatic amongst the mountains. Viewing Bali's commitment to conservation at the Kebun Raya Botanical Gardens is a cultural and ecological feast.

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Kafe, Ubud, Indonesia

My dinner at Kafe was one of those moments when travelling that make you feel truly alive and for that alone I am fond. The restaurant was also the best that I encountered in my short stay. It perfectly projected a calm, relaxed atmosphere and I understand it is well-liked amongst the yoga retreat set that frequent the region. Their menu offers fresh, organic, tasty fare and I recommend heading there for dinner and nabbing a spot on the verandah of the top floor to engage in some people watching. A very comfortable spot for lone travellers and I noted during the day it was packed to the rafters with families and all sorts.

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Indus, Ubud, Indonesia

For a fancy night out in Ubud it is worth the trek to the top of the hill for Indus, especially if you cut through the Monkey Forest on your way! Offering a modern Indonesian menu, dishes are beautifully presented. The restaurant is open air, set above the Tjampuhan River; aim to arrive mid-dusk so you can take in the spectacular views.

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Kebun Indah, Ubud, Indonesia

Sometimes accommodation does really matter. I lucked out with booking the Sandat room at Kebun Indah, part of the Alam Indah group of properties. A gorgeous room that fulfills all your tropical decor fantasies, I practically had the pool all to myself and breakfast and afternoon tea delivered daily. Staff were very friendly and the site was secure. Set amongst a rice field and close to a creek bed, Kebun Indah is located in what I would call the quiet end of town but still only a short walk to restaurants, shops and the Monkey Forest.

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