Win A Trip To Southeast Asia - Photo Contest!
Now is the best time ever to visit Southeast Asia! You could win a trip (airfare and hotel) to two Southeast Asia countries of your choice through a photo contest in partnership with ASEAN and ASEAN tourism.
How to win? We're looking for a photo that best showcases your love of travel. Upload it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ASEAN50Ambassador along with tagging @AseanTourismOnline.
Want some ideas for photos to submit? Here are some of shots I took on my last Southeast Asia trip.
I love exploring local produce markets when I travel and you can't get a more exotic one than the Cai Rang floating market in Vietnam.
Get way off the beaten path and feed your adventurous soul by exploring the mountain region of Ha Giang, Vietnam by motorcycle.
Make friends with your local Thai pachyderm by sharing a refreshing drink.
Check out the contest rules at the bottom of the page.
Want some tips on where to go in Southeast Asia if you win? I spent some time in Thailand and Vietnam recently and fell in love with both countries.
Thailand, known as the Land of Smiles, dazzled me with its stunning temples, lush jungles, glimmering beaches, friendly people, and spicy cuisine.
Everyone should start Thailand by visiting the sprawling metropolis Bangkok. It's truly the city that never sleeps with it's seemingly never ending array of street food, countless mega-malls and popup street malls, and constant stream of activity all over the city.
You don't have to walk very far from your hotel to find street food, as it's everywhere 24-7 and super fresh. Some of my favorite things to get are freshly cut coconuts, grilled pork skewers, larb salad, shrimp tom yum, pad gra prow, papaya salad (som tam), black sticky rice, and mango sticky rice. Thailand is also a tropical fruit paradise and I can never get enough mangosteen, dragonfruit, and durian!
If you love outdoor markets and are in Bangkok on the weekend, you have to check out Chatuchak Market (or as locals call it - JJ Market). This sprawling market is the largest one if its kind in Asia - expect to spend at least a half day. Inside you'll find everything from vintage sneakers to baby snakes. It's best to go as early as possible to beat the heat and crowds.
After the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, head north to the tranquil and expat magnet city of Chiang Mai. Quite the polar opposite of the south of Thailand, everything is much more relaxed and chill here. You'll find an array of massage schools, yoga studios, and coffee shops that are easily accessible to everyone.
Most of Chiang Mai is reachable by bicycle or by hailing one of the many 'red taxis' driving around the city.
If you find yourself here during Songkran (the Water Festival), Chiang Mai turns into a full on citywide water gun battle for four full days. It's an insanely fun time to here and showcases just how great and laid back this city is!
You can also play with some baby tigers at Tiger Kingdom. We loved how cute and playful there were - and if you go during the right hour you can feed them with bottles!
Chiang Mai is also home to many elephant sanctuaries. When I was there I just fell in love with these gentle giants. They're such lovely creatures with emotional intelligence and the Thai people are in love with them!
It's also worth a day trip out to Chiang Rai to see the whimsical White Temple!
Having only heard and seen images of Vietnam from history books about the Vietnam War, I really wanted to see the country for myself. I expected the people to bitter towards me, but it was completely opposite. The people there were genuinely curious about me as an American and welcomed me there with open arms.
My trip started near Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), then I motorcycled to Hoi An along the Ho Chi Minh Highway, flew to Hanoi, and then motorcycled around the north near the border of China.
All along the way, the street food in each city and region were spectacular and unlike any of the Vietnamese food I had in the USA. For example, I probably had around 10-15 different kinds of banh mi sandwiches, including breakfast banh mi's!
For some great local street food, check out the Ben Thanh Market and try to find the seafood lady. I had some of the best freshly grilled mussels ever here.
To see some of the beautiful countryside of Vietnam, I suggest doing a motorbike tour on the Ho Chi Minh Highway. You'll see some of the most lush, untouched scenes along with some of the friendliest locals. The route we took was from Dalat all the way to Hoi An. It took about three days but was one of the most memorable trips.
Once in Hoi An, take in the beautiful lamps and lights at night but don't forget to get some tailored shirts, jackets, and suits! Hoi An is home to a concentration of talented tailors who can practically make you anything for a fraction of the price of a Western tailor. When I was there I had a custom fitted tuxedo made complete with shoes for $250 USD. You can choose to mail it back home or take it with you.
The north of Vietnam has some untouched and less visited areas such as Ha Giang. I took a motorcycle up there with a guide and was rewarded with some of the most stunning mountain views. I didn't see a single other tourist and throroughly enjoyed the culturally rich area. Most of the locals there are ethnic minorities and for most of the trip it seemed like I was transported back in time. The whole trip from Hanoi and back took me a week on motorcycle. You'll need to find a special guide for a trip like this as most travel guide shops don't have trips like this normally.
1) Submit photos with hashtag #ASEAN50Ambassador along with tagging @AseanTourismOnline
2) Winners will be selected based on their creativity
3) Winner will be required to document their travels, so the content can also later be featured on the website and social. Winner must confirm their preferred travel dates no earlier than 8 weeks in advance. Prize includes a roundtrip airfare ticket to two of the countries along with hotel covered by ASEAN. All other expenses will be on the winner. Contest ends on October 15, with the winner being chosen on October 20.