All your South East Asia questions answered - with expert Stu Lyall

We recently held another successful Facebook Q&A session. This time the topic was South East Asia, with our resident expert, Stuart Lyall. 

Keep an eye out for future Q&A sessions on other destinations by liking us on Facebook, and have your questions handy. Or perhaps you could even offer advice to other travellers. We love to hear from the Peregrine community!

Here is a summary of the chat:

Naomi: Hi Stu, any trips you can recommend if you have two kids in tow?
@Naomi: It depends on the kids' ages, but everyone loves an orangutan, especially the kids. So the Orang-utan-go 10-day tour Peregrine offers is a must as both parents and children get a lot from this tour.
Further to this our family itineries are very well paced as we take into consideration the demands associated with travelling with kids so both parents and children can get the most out of the holiday.

Sarah: Hi Stu - I'm headed to Vietnam in November. What dishes (apart from Pho) are a must and what is your favourite city/ town?
‎@Sarah: I love Hoi An for its amazing beaches, great restaurants and rich history being an old trade centre. It's also good to get a few designer clothes made. Food - well there are so many dishes - I love their use of chilli and coriander and that you can get fresh baguettes every morning but make sure you try Bún Th?t N??ng - a pork noodle dish which is very yummy

Tristan: Hi Stu - could you please tell me how fit you need to be to do the Kokoda Trail?
@Tristan: You obviously need a good level of fitness for Kokoda as it is a challenging trek through very undulating countryside. I have a 12-week training regime that will get you over the line so if you book with us I can send it through (it's too big to post here :)

Patricia: Hi Stu, I've been looking at some of your foodie trips. I love the idea of cooking and travelling! What's the balance between cooking and sightseeing on these trips? Thanks!
‎@Patricia: Our Thailand Master Cooking tour strikes a great balance, with cooking classess highlighting the major trends in Thai cooking plus a demonstration thrown in from a master cook. As you are on tour we include all of the major sites so you don't miss out on anything. It's how I love travelling through Thailand

Tammy: Hi Stu! What would be your number one item to pack?
@Tammy: I know it's boring but just a good comfortable backpack with a side opening as it means you can travel anywhere and anywhere is where you want to go in Asia :)

Erin: Hey Stu! What are your top three beach destinations in Asia?
‎@Erin: This is the toughest question to answer! 1. Sihanoukville, Cambodia 2. Railay Beach Thailand 3..Boracay Beach, Philippines - I could probably list 50 but that's a start :)

Fiona: Hi Stu, What are the highlights that shouldn't be missed in Vietnam?
@Fiona: Vietnam has so many highlights from the Cu Chi Tunnels, to the old town of Hoi An and its beaches, a cruise down the perfume river in Hue to Halong bay just east of Hanoi, you really can't forget Sapa. And the food! The list keeps getting longer and longer!

Annie: What's the best time to go for the coolest weather
@Annie: The best time to travel to South East Asia is is October-April. As to when exactly it is coolest is tough to answer. For example in Sapa, Vietnam it often snows during winter. It's always warm down south and gets cooler the further north you go. So it depends on exactly where you are planning to go!

Leigh: How difficult is it to travel independently (lone female) in Sout East Asia, Mongolia & China?
‎@Leigh: independent travel is possible in most countries through South East Asia, but like all countries there are always some dangerous aspects for single travellers - especially after nightfall. Mongolia is expensive and difficult to travel by oneself and there are safety aspects for single female travellers due to the high crime rate in Ulaanbaatar.
In China, the language presents the greatest difficulty in travelling but if you have a good amount of time it is probably the safest country to travel through. Our tours offer great flexibility in countries while providing security with the group and the leader. If anything does happen - from getting pick-pocketed to even getting a cold - you have a local leader who speaks the language and will be able to deal with the police, chemists and doctors on your behalf.
You also have a company which stands behind its leaders, and has been running tours since 1977. Tours also give you a chance to travel with like-minded people and we give a real cultural exchange only employing local leaders which you would miss out travelling by yourself. Hope that helps!

Zoe:If you are travelling in Burma is the tourism infrastructure sufficient to travel independently or is it more advisable to go on a tour?
@Zoe: This is a tough one! You need to organise an invitation letter to get a visa. Peregrine offers three different tours in Burma and it is run by our local operator, which is a family run business and they have been running tours for us for over 15 years. We support no infrastructure established by the government and only support small family run hotels/restaurants.
We believe our sort of tours can be a tool for political reform exposing Burmese to foreigners and bringing the government to scrutiny to outsiders. There are ways of doing independent travel in Burma but I would recommend a tour.

Got any further questions about South East Asia? Perhaps you have some additional information to add? Leave a comment before or share it with the rest of the Peregrine community on Twitter and Facebook. You might end up helping someone out!

Inspired to travel? Take a look through all our South East Asia tours, then request a brochure.

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