So you have been backpacking through South East Asia for a couple of months. You have trekked to the hills, sat on Kho San drinking too much Singha beer, seen one to many pagodas and you haven’t had a decent shower in I don’t know how long. Not the makings of romance for you and your significant other.
Just like any other time in your life, couples need to make the time to keep the relationship sizzling. Backpacking is no exception. You can get so caught up in treks, seeing sights and partying, that you can loose sight of each other and simply turn into traveling buddies. Well, here are some things you can do in South East Asia to chill out and bring a little romance back into backpacking.
1. Go for a massage and floral bath in Ubud, Bali – What better location than the centre of Bali surrounded by rice terraces, volcanoes, lush jungle and a feeling of what Bali must have felt like decades ago. To the soft sound of traditional Balinese Music, together you can have your aching muscles worked on as you relax side by side. It doesn’t end there. After you have completely relaxed, walk into the next room where a floral bath awaits. When was the last time you had a bath? You milk it for all its worth and sit in that tub until your skin prunes. But you don’t care, you are rejuvenated, mellow and smelling a whole lot better. Maybe a trip to the market is in order to spice up your travel clothes. Top off the night with some wine and cheese at the Delicat restaurant. .
2. Splurge on a hotel. Through the web you can get great deals on an executive suite in Kuala Lumpur (or any big city for that matter). We did this after months on the road, and it was heaven. It cut into our budget a bit, but it was worth it. For under $100 you can stay in a deluxe hotel at an extremely discounted rate at a place like wotif.com or gtahotels.com. We loved sitting in our white robes on our queen size bed so much that we went back to the Internet and booked another night. It was worth every minute and we were ready to face the hassles of travel fresh and relaxed. Yes, there was a pool too, but as many of you travelers know, a clean, comfortable and decadent bed is a luxury and we didn’t leave it for 2 days.
3. Take a cruise on Ha Long Bay- Bring along some Vang Dalat, Vietnam’s attempt at red wine. Lay on the top deck and watch the stars in the clear sky as you are surrounded by giant karst formations. Thousands of limestone islands burst out of the South China Sea. Heavenly.
4.Mud Baths of Nha Trang – So you have been fighting the touts of Vietnam for days, the pollution is taking its toll on your skin and that cracked heel that you developed just won’t go away. You need a rest. Just outside of Nha Trang are theraputic mud baths. Cover yourself in this cool goo and bake away your worries in the sun. After rinsing off under the shower, pop into a hot tub and clear your mind. The serenity and peace can lift your spirits back up to face the rigours of travel in Vietnam. But wait, you can’t leave yet, you need to stretch this out for as long as possible. Never fear, there is a warm pool that you can swim in and relax by. Stay all day chatting with each other with no fear of being interrupted to buy a book or some flowers. Just watch how you start to reconnect with each other, ready to face another month on the road until the next splurge day.
5. Meditate in Chang Mai – You can book a private 2 to 5 meditation course. What better way to reconnect than to meditate together. We had a private session where we learned how to meditate to music, did a laughing meditation and eventually worked our way into a full meditative silence. Our teacher cooked us traditional vegetarian dishes, and we ended each day with learning some Tai Chi. With both of us centered and relaxed, we could easily get through our travels in a more Zen Like state. It is a wonderful thing to do together, you will both be feeling refreshed and optimistic at the same time.
* Go on a dinner cruise-you are in a land that has water everywhere. Splurge on a romantic night out feasting on the water. Almost all destinations offer dinner cruises and nothing brings two people together more that fresh air, good food and gorgeous scenery.
* Take a traditional cooking course. These are everywhere and can be a lot of fun. Fun is important in any relationship.
* Massage, Massage everywhere. The thing that I love about South East Asia are the massages everywhere. You can get a cheap traditional massage that does wonders for the backpackers body. On the beach in Thailand, On the Beach in Vietnam, In Lao, Indonesia. In Cambodia, get the best massage at one the healing hands massage clinics where highly trained blind masseurs take care of every joint. In Malaysia, try something different and get a traditional reflexology foot massage. It can be painful, but they will fix you right up.
* Take the time to just be. Too often we run around catching busses, seeing attractions, jumping on a trek and ticking things off of our list, that we don’t stop to just relax for a few days and do nothing. It is important to take the time to watch the sun go down and walk on the beach with no plans for rushing off any time soon. Just Be.