7 Most Underrated Islands You Need To Know About 0 12898

When it comes time to plan your next island vacation, take the path less traveled by visiting these underrated destinations that are sure to exceed your expectations. It’s not easy to find seven islands off the beaten path in Southeast Asia, but we searched high and low, near and far, across the land into the stars to find you some of the most amazing, untouched pieces of heaven on earth. We are going to let you in on Southeast Asia’s best kept secrets and give you a sneak peak of places that are hardly talked about. This is your ultimate guide to emerald waters, iridescent sandy beaches and everything beautiful nature has to offer.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Situated on the Southwest side of Vietnam, lies the spectacular Phu Quoc island. Half the island is covered in lush, thick jungle so it is considered a national park. Arguably home to the country’s best beaches, it is also Vietnam’s largest island measuring in at over 40 kilometers, north to south. When you’re there, be sure to pick up some fish sauce as Phu Quoc is well known for having an endless supply of anchovies that ply the island’s waters, thus producing the best of this deliciously salty condiment. You can also visit black pepper and pearl farms, local night markets and take part in unique squid fishing tours come nightfall.


Nusa Lembogan, Indonesia

This quiet island off Southeast Bali is not only known locally for its stunning beaches, but also for offering you the amazing chance to dive with large (larger than an average human being) Mola-mola fish. Life on the island is extremely tranquil and has strong backpacker vibes. This surfer’s paradise is a slow paced haven of relaxation with a side of beautiful beaches, coastal paths and seaweed farms. Nusa Lembongan’s clear waters encourage snorkeling, scuba diving and freediving where you’ll find amazing creatures like sea turtles, manta rays and oceanic sunfish.

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Via Pinterest

Tioman Island, Malaysia

Tioman Island sits like an emerald gem rising out of clear turquoise waters featuring white sandy beaches and towering coconut trees. Moving from beach to beach over land can be difficult because of Tioman’s rugged roads so it’s advisable to take a four-wheel drive. Like the roads between the main port town of Tekek (which has an airport and several duty free shops) and the local village of Juara, where an amazing turtle conservation center is located- best traversed with a four-wheeler. If you are planning to drive, be sure to arm your vehicle with insurance from one of the best auto insurance companies in Malaysia to take care of your vehicle inconveniences if your car breaks down. (To find out more, see here). Keep an eye out for monitor lizards, black squirrels and many other inhabitants as the island is known for its incredible biodiversity. When you go snorkeling, you may just catch a glimpse of the black tip reef shark and the banded sea snake.

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Via Pinterest

Malapascua, Philippines

Out of the whooping 7,000 islands in the Philippines, Malapascua is one of the most breathtaking. This tiny, peaceful paradise is the only place in the world where you can dive with the magnificent the thresher sharks everyday. Monad Shoal near Malapascua is a sunken island where the thresher sharks live and hunt. They are not dangerous to humans and will swim over the side of the shoal if startled. It is quite an experience to be able to get close enough to a thresher shark and touch them. You can easily access the island from Cebu, which is connected to various international airports.

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Via Pinterest

Koh Rong, Cambodia

Off the Southern coast of Cambodia, about 25 kilometers from Sihanoukville lies Koh Rong Island. Also within the Koh Rong archipelago is Koh Rong Sanloem where you can go to relax at the crescent shaped Saracen Bay. You will find three kilometers of white sandy beaches and convenient bungalows and hotels. The most amazing sight is the sparkly phosphorescent plankton that illuminates the waters at night. Between the starry sky and the glowing water, it will seem like you are on a different planet. All you have to do is find the darkest side of the beach and go in about a meter deep. Then, “shake” and swirl the waters with your hands and feet and you will see the plankton light up. The longer you swirl the water, the sparklier it gets. Also in Sanloem, there are bio diverse dive sites and trekking/biking trails that uncover attractions like a historic lighthouse and waterfalls.

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Via Pinterest

Koh Kood, Thailand

Koh Kood, also known as Ko Kut has been called Thailand’s best island. It’s crowd-free, tout-free and has no noisy nightlife. It can be tricky to reach independently so get on a tour. Travellers who make the trek will be rewarded with sights of pristine, powdery beaches and verdant jungles. If you want to lounge on the beach or take a nap in a hammock and not much else, Koh Kood is the place for you.


Batu Ferringi, Malaysia

Batu Ferringhi beach on Penang Island is a pure slice of heaven that is perfect for sun seeking beach lovers. It is absolutely magnificent with turquoise waters, sparkling white sandy beaches and calming palm trees that gently sway with the ocean breeze. If you want some excitement instead, rent beach bikes and go for a ride. Other Penang highlights are water activities like as parasailing, jet skiing and banana boating. It’s advisable to stay at a Penang beach resort to make the most out of your stay. One Penang beach resort that has everything you need on a vacation is Holiday Inn Resort Penang. Here, there is wide variety of activities for guests of all ages, as well as special romantic offerings for couples. To find out more, visit http://penang.holidayinnresorts.com/


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Menaka George is a professional copywriter with a Masters in Business Administration. She has written weekly blogs for Malaysia’s Largest Online Wine Shop, WineTalk and over 1000 product descriptions for EBay. She currently contributes digital articles to various commercial and corporate giants.

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Long-term Travel VS. Scratching the Surface on a Short-term Vacation 0 27603

So you’re unsure whether long-term travel is for you, as you normally just take a few short weekend getaways here and there to nearby destinations as a way to spice up your life? Well, we can definitely help you with that difficult decision, as we have tackled a plethora of different trips of varying lengths and are actually currently sitting here writing this article on our two-year travelversary!

Getting that urge to travel long-term and explore beyond your usual comfort zone may seem like an itch you can never scratch, due to sheer worry or general anxiety about finances and/or safety in a new, overwhelming and seemingly alien destination. Well, we say just grit your teeth and do it, as you will never get the same immersion and appreciation of a country from just a mere weekend getaway!

Why do we have such confidence that you will be making the right decision? Well, if you’re still undecided, here are our top reasons for each side of the argument, and we will let you work this out for yourself!

Advantages of long-term travel 

  1. The feeling of being part of the local community and really getting an insight into the fascinating cultural heritage can only be properly grasped when you station yourself in one place for more than three weeks minimum. It’s an amazing sensation to be recognised at a local noodle shack or coffee joint in all four corners of the world! (And, no, before you think it, we are not flat earthers!)
  2. True freedom to do what you like, when you like, how you like! This newborn openness may seem weird at first and your mind may still be in work mode for a wee bit, but we are sure you will learn lots of enjoyable ways to really make use of all that extra free time you have suddenly accrued and will treasure it dearly.
  3. You can soak up a barrel-load of experiences and useful travel information to record and blog your adventures online, wherever and whenever, so your family and friends can get a real insight into your gallivanting ways. Plus, it’s a little extra something for the memory bank! You never know, you may even be noticed and headhunted by a top travel company who finds your work inspiring and wants to share those memories on their own websites. This in turn can help towards funding those outlandish wallet-sucking travel goals you have always been striving for!
  4. The possibility to visit more than one destination in each country you arrive at, instead of sticking to one area, which may or may not turn out to be to your personal tastes (even after all that long and hard deliberating!) Sometimes photos in your glossy travel agent booklets unfortunately will paint a better picture than the real deal before your eyes (Mui Ne, Vietnam, we are looking at you!)
  5. The costs of long-term travel will go way down if you do a bit of prior research online about your new destination. House-sitting, and even cleaning a couple of hours per day at a local hostel in exchange for a bed for the night (and maybe even a bit of grub), are top recommendations from us!

Disadvantages of long-term travel

  1. You will spend many days living like a student, while eating bowls of noodles in scraggy old clothes to help keep your tight daily budget in check. Anything to avoid going home!
  2. You may be awoken in the middle of the night by strange moaning noises and shaking above/below your bunk bed at your oh-so-basic, sometimes bedbug-ridden, budget hostel.
  3. Finding work, whether on a working holiday visa or just general freelance work, can seem pretty darn daunting at first, but we are sure you will get there eventually if you put your full mind and effort into it. We’ve found out-of-the-blue email applications attaching CVs to be very effective indeed!
  4. One of the biggest downers is having to leave your loved ones behind, and for some this may be one obstacle too much! These days though, with the latest digital technology, it’s so much easier to cope when you can see friends and relatives face-to-face via a video chat.
  5. On a short-term holiday, you will possibly take a flight if you need to traverse around, which of course is much easier, but much more demanding on the wallet! Meanwhile, on a longer-term trip with a dwindling daily budget, you’re more likely to be roughing it on a sleeper bus or train! However, you know what? We may even prefer the latter option, as you can make such great friends on a long, bumpy stop-start road, rail or boat journey. We also love watching the world pass by, observing the vastly different daily lives of locals, as well as checking out the little towns and villages along the way that we probably would never have seen otherwise if we’d taken a different route.

So there you have it – our top five advantages and disadvantages of long-term travel! Now it’s time to make your decision… We say, just go for it and enjoy every minute. Cherish every memory developed from each unique experience and, above all, learn from them!

If you liked what you read and would like more of an insight into our globe-trotting antics, then why not go and check out our Instagram page The Nomadic Pear which is updated regularly with our latest photography, advice and info on destinations past and present!

Reverse Culture Shock 0 15423

Culture Shock; “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes”.

If you’ve ever traveled before, you’ve probably experienced some sort of culture shock when trying to get used to your new surroundings.

If you’ve ever had a gap year, you’ve probably struggled to make friends or felt like you didn’t really fit in.

But you’ve also probably learned to adapt to your new environment pretty quickly, because in reality, you don’t really have a choice.

Traveling can teach you many things, things that you cannot learn when sitting in a classroom.

8 years ago I sat in a maths class learning about algebra and parallelograms, and not once in my adult life have I had to work out what ‘x’ or ‘y’ equals.

I learnt about the periodic table of elements in Science, yet the only time I’ve ever thought about it again is when I’m sitting in the living room trying to guess the most obscure answer on BBC 1’s Pointless.

I never learnt about how to manage money, pay taxes or stand up on my own two feet.

However, when I went traveling, that all changed.

Moving to another country for me was the most eye-opening experience I’ve had. 11 months in Florida for my placement year from university, an accumulated six months in New York, two months in China, and four months in England.

But the strange thing is, I actually find it easier to live away from home and experience something new as opposed to moving home and going back to normality.

You see, reverse-culture shock does exist. And it’s harder to deal with than living 8,000 miles away from home.

If you can imagine moving somewhere new; an unfamiliar environment, somewhere that is so different to what you’re used to. Imagine yourself trying to adapt and integrate yourself to this new place.

Different people, food, culture and ways of life. You have to learn to deal with that and become independent enough to not give up and leave before your adventure has even begun.

And when it comes to the end of your traveling, you have to ram everything in to your suitcase and mentally prepare yourself for the toughest part; which is coming home.

Before you leave, you get yourself in to a somewhat euphoric state thinking about seeing your family again after so long, eating your favourite foods and settling back in to your old routine.

This feeling soon fades away. The gradual adjustment back to normality quickly becomes more difficult to deal with than it is to move half way across the world.

Having your dinner ready for you when you get home from work every night and having your washing done for you is great – but there’s no sense of fulfilment in this.

As ridiculous as it sounds, it was nice to live in China and have to do my own washing and hang it up on the balcony for two days before it was dry.

It was refreshing to walk home from work and visit the local market to buy some potatoes to make for dinner when I got home.

It was educational and enriching to learn a few simple words to be able to order food in a restaurant and not feel like an outsider.

Reverse-culture shock can feel like being a foreigner in your own country, even though your surroundings are the same as they’ve always been, and the only thing that has changed significantly is YOU.

It’s like viewing normal life from a fresh perspective and trying to get used to that all over again.

It’s like culture shock, only reversed.

The implications of this can vary, and can have a huge effect on someone’s life.

It can make you feel homesick even though you are at home. You can be misunderstood when you are always longing for more enrichment and fulfilment in your life. You can feel alienated even though you once found it so easy to make friends in a place you never thought you’d fit in. You can feel isolated, because you’ve grown up and left many of your friends behind and lost contact. And it can be a kick in the teeth sometimes.

But the thing that keeps you going every day is the dream of one day being able to visit the places that you once created such wonderful memories in. The thing that keeps you motivated is the aspiration to broaden your horizons and experience new things because this is what you do and who you are.

“If traveling was free you’d never see me again”.

Via: The Diary of a Quarter Lifer

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