Everyone knows that you can find whatever you need on the internet – from a rare bottle of wine, to how to knit a sweater, to travel tips – it’s all there. But often the abundance of information, apps, resources and websites can become overwhelming. You don’t really want to check ten websites telling you what you should do in Singapore, another five for the Philippines and so on. You want it all in one spot.
When planning travel around Southeast Asia, these are the five online resources that stand out for having the most useful information, tips and deals.
Travelfish — Travelfish is arguably the best overall resource for researching your trip around Southeast Asia. It’s one of the largest independent travel guides available that focuses only on Southeast Asia and is written by writers who actually live in the different regions day in and day out. Everything you find on Travelfish has been personally visited and researched and is often updated.
South East Asia Backpacker Magazine — The magazine – available throughout Southeast Asia at guesthouses, hostel and tour agencies – is packed with stories, tips, country information (think visa details, key phrases you should know) and motivation to keep you moving. On the website you can participate in forums to get your travel questions answered and even meet up with travel buddies. Want to know more? Read the interview with the editor and publisher here.
Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia — Not in the backpacker scene? Check out the travel destination spotlights, beautiful photography and high-end hotel profiles of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia. Even if you’re not able to afford what you see, it will at least serve as travel inspiration (or, maybe, aspiration?) to explore everywhere from Malaysia to Macau.
Agoda — Depending on what level of accommodation you’re staying in, you may often not be able to actually make reservations ahead of time. Many hostels and small guesthouses don’t have the resources, or desire, to schedule bookings and just fill rooms on a day to day basis. If you’re stepping it up and able to stay in a ‘real’ hotel or more established guesthouse then check out Agoda. While they do bookings for accommodation around the world, their focus is in the Asia-Pacific region and they’ve become a go-to site for hotel listings and deals.
Air Asia — As Asia’s largest budget airline, Air Asia flies in and out of more than 20 countries in Southeast Asia and beyond including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Tawain and Australia. Quite the range. While you can sometimes find cheaper flights on another carrier depending on your route, Air Asia is good place to start when searching for tickets to get a sense of the low-end prices. The website also has information on spotlight destinations as well as news on visa information or restrictions. Note: The system is a little difficult when purchasing tickets online and extra fees (for seat assignment, insurance, etc.) are automatically checked. Make sure you go through the process slowly so you’re not overcharged or paying for things you don’t want.