Irrigation is essential in Southeast Asia and especially so with an ever-growing population. In fact, did you know that Southeast Asia contains over 70% of the world’s irrigated areas? And that it is predicted that its population will grow by 1.5 billion by the year 2050. That means that the current food supply will need to be increased tenfold to support the demand for food and animal feed crops. And with lack of land and water resources already presenting itself as a problem, a better system and way of management to the established irrigation system will need to be put into place in order to be able to even begin to keep up with the increase in demand.
The Problem& A Potential Solution:
Establishing even more technologically advanced irrigation systems in different Southeast Asia locations is tricky because of how rural the areas are. A lot of people live on less than $1 US dollar a day, making poverty a very real issue in the midst of everything else.
Thankfully a band of small landscape & maintenance businesses like Blue Star Irrigation & Landscape, have established charitable accounts to help aid in the on-going initiative to get Southeast Asia’s irrigation system up to par to support its population growth. Owner Andy is quoted saying” If we don’t start to help now, how will there be time to even establish an irrigation system that can support the continued rise in demand for food? We are literally knowing that people will starve and turning a blind eye if we don’t take a stand and help do something about it!” Landscape & irrigation-based businesses throughout Arizona, Texas, and Nevada have begun their charitable campaign to help Southeast Asia. You can choose to make a charitable donation at the due date of your invoice with one of these fine small businesses, or you can go to the link set up on one of their websites and contribute that way. All funds are then put into an account to help with the purchase of materials, supplies, labor, etc.
Volunteers make a Difference
Many of the men and women that work at these small businesses contributing to this charitable fund are also volunteers when the time comes to travel to set up these new systems. In addition, they teach classes and help guide those in charge of the systems so that they are as knowledgeable as possible. Maintaining these advanced systems to efficiently irrigate land and work to their full potential is complicated when you already lack certain resources. Making the transition and the teaching as simple and seamless as possible is usually the focus. We want to see a high success rate especially when we are utilizing so many precious resources and count on so many volunteers.
Southeast Asia has had civilization since around 45,000 years ago and hence has a deep historical significance that influences their culture to this day. One of the main parts of their culture that has carried through to the present has been religion. And through the years many religions have come making this area from Myanmar through Indonesia one of the most religiously diverse areas in the world.
The first major religion to come to the region around the first century. This religion was spread from the Indian subcontinent and lasted for almost 1500 years as the main religion of all of Southeast Asia. The only reason this religion fell out of favor was because of the abuse of power that the caste system of Hinduism allowed. While not popular today in southeast Asia there are still some temples and other monuments left over.
This is the religion that is most practiced by the people of Southeast Asia. It started around the 5th century BC and spreading to Southeast Asia by around 500 AD. From there it grew especially with the more common classes rather than the elites. Hence causing it to eventually overthrow Hinduism. Buddhism is still immensely popular today among most countries of Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and others.
Around the same time Buddhism was spreading, Arabian traders began sailing and exploring this new world. Originally wanting to just trade with the natural resource-abundant land they eventually, by the 12 century, started spreading their religion as well. Many leaders converted to Islam through pre-coordinated marriages and some people followed suit. The countries with high Islam populations include Indonesia and Malaysia.
Many would think that this religion isn’t popular in Southeast Asia especially with the bad historical past with the Spanish, French, and United States colonies and military involvement. The Spanish colonization in the 1500s included what is the modern-day Philippines. The Spanish heavily promoted their form of Christianity, Catholicism. And despite bad treatment from the Spanish most of the Philippines people still, practice Catholicism. And there are also minor spots of Christianity throughout all of Southeast Asia.
If you travel to Southeast Asia you will be surrounded with deep-rooted cultural traditions that many Southeast Asians take very seriously. And one of the main cultural traditions that Southeast Asians possess is religion. While many Southeast Asians practice some form of Buddhism today, there are also centers of Islam, Hinduism, and even Christianity. Even if you aren’t very religious you can travel to this area and experience the religiously diverse lands of Southeast Asia and be amazed at the temples and rituals.
The island of Bali is a little island under the domain of Indonesia in the Lesser Sunda Islands. It lies in between Java and Lombok and is the biggest tourist destination for foreigners visiting Indonesia. This island is filled with a concentration of plant and animal life that can only be rivaled by Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. As well as amazing plant and animal life there is also an abundance of sea life of which it has again the most in the world. And the best part of it all, is that it is quite cheap compared to some other touristy destinations. Here are just some of the things you can do on the island.
This waterfall in southern Bali offers you great views and a nice swim! Staggeringly tall it offers a great trip at a great price.This place can be mixed with other waterfalls or other spots on a day tour so you can take in some of the natural beauty of the island.
This is an attraction that can’t be seen in other cultures often. This is a temple that is built into a side of a hill. Built in the 11th century as a tomb for the king and his family it is surrounded by a lush jungle. If you are adventurous take the time and visit this feat of engineering.
Ubud Monkey Jungle
This place isn’t like your typical zoo, it’s based around 700 people friendly monkeys that let you feed them although not pet them. Along with the monkeys there is a lush forest filled with a biodiverse selection of flora and fauna. When visiting the monkey’s be careful about showing your teeth or provoking them as they can get aggressive easily and bite. In the jungle there are 3 temples as well although they aren’t meant to enter for tourist purposes.
This city is considered the least Bali of all the cities. A huge touristy area offers all the amenities of western life such as stylish villas, pools, coffee shops, wifi, clubs, etc… There are also areas where you can take a guided snorkeling, surfing, or fishing tours.
This place is hard to get to, due to the low quality roads, but the view it offers will be worth it. You can hire a guide to take you around to make it a little easier to navigate. At the very southern end of Bali this place offers stunning lookouts that will leave you with incredible scenic views.
Bali is a great deal for great views and great attractions. If you are thinking about a place to plan your next vacation and want to not spend a fortune, then consider Bali and see what it has to offer you.
When choosing your travel destination and planning your trip it is always a good idea to get to know what kind of weather you should expect. In fact, many travelers decide where they will be traveling to and what time of year they will go based on the weather conditions that the intended destination is inclined to. This is yet another reason why Southeast Asia is such a great travel destination and loved my many. I is located close enough to the equator that it relatively has a tropical warm climate all year round! With days that are filled with sunshine and higher temperatures the nights tend to be a lot cooler adding a perfect end to a travelers day! Check out a couple of the weather highlights for a few of the different countries that ca be found in Southeast Asia!
Laos- Unlike most of the other countries throughout Southeast Asia, Laos tends to have various weather and climates throughout its many regions. While most of the time it seems to have a traditionally warm tropical climate it can also have a cool and dry climate mostly during monsoon season. It can also vary between dry and hot and hot and humid.
Thailand- Generally monsoon season in Thailand runs between June and October with September being the wettest month of all. The Southern regions of this country can seem a bit cloudier and cooler than others but tend to have the least rainfall. The northern region has the most rainfall and just when you think the humidity and temperatures are a little too unbearable around May monsoon season begins
Indonesia- Indonesia generally always has a dry region even during monsoon season. With that being said Indonesia’s monsoon season is actually the complete opposite of Thailand, with the season starting in November and continuing until April. June thru September are the driest and coldest months of the year.
Philippines- Because of the many islands and volcanoes that can be found in the Philippines the weather can greatly be affected. June thru September months usually bring a lot of heavy rain which can make some of the islands difficult to get to because of the rough waters found at sea. January-March being some of the best months to visit, with Typhoon season beginning in May and running through October.
With many different countries and regions to choose from throughout Southeast Asia there is sure to be a travel destination that fits your weather needs. As we mentioned before because the country is located so close to the equator weather tends to be tropical and warm with a little rain and humidity to account for. We suggest as always that before planning your get away look into the weather and other various factors before confirming your trip to ensure you have the best time possible in the best conditions suited for you!
Whether you are traveling to Southeast Asia to explore the many beautiful countries found there, or to get away and find solitude and adventure, chances are you will have a magnificent vacation. If you are looking to enjoy an amazing yoga or healing retreat Southeast Asia is definitely a place you will want to check into. In fact, some of the most affordable, relaxing and soul quenching yoga retreats reside in the different countries located throughout Southeast Asia. Check out some of our top picks and we are sure you will find one that is right for you and offers self-reflection, healing and a spiritual kind to inner peace.
Yoga Retreats of Southeast Asia
Thailand- Here you will find a number of different retreats that range from beginners to advanced. Vipassana yoga is often practiced throughout Thailand and offers mindful breath, thoughts and sensations. There are many temples that often yoga retreats for as long as 21 days for those really searching for a spiritual awakening and focusing on Buddhist meditation styles.
Koh Phangan- is a little island of the Gulf of Thailand and offers up many yoga school with different settings. You will find practices here such as Ashtanga, Hatha, Pilates and Tantric yoga.
Pure Flow Yoga- this amazing yoga school offers week to month long retreats as well as daily classes and yoga training.
Bali, Indonesia- Bali is often one of the most sought after travel destinations in Southeast Asia. With it’ ton of Ubud being the heart of Bali and many visitors flocking to soak up the sights and culture. Some of the best yoga retreats include:
Blooming Yoga Lotus- this retreat offers training, classes and silent meditation. Choose the 6 day retreat in Canggu and enjoy Serenity and Eco yoga. Their are great accommodations, free massages and trips to local places like natural springs, waterfalls and temples
Bali spirit Festival- this festival takes place in April and is an annual celebration of yoga, dance and music. It is 6 days long and offers everything from workshops, classes, concerts, reiki classes, meditation and holistic therapies!
Luang Pranbang, Laos- this is home to the grassroots community of yoga lovers. With retreats and daily classes to be found it is definitely a great yogi experience.
Siem Reap, Cambodia- retreats and daily classes can be found here and it is known as beginners paradise. So for those of you that are just finding your love and passion for yoga this may just be the spot for you. Check out the Siem Reap Hostile and Angkor Bodhi Tree facilities.
Of course there are numerous other retreats and yoga centers to choose from all through Southeast Asia. before committing to any retreat of yoga training decide which countries you would like to explore and make a plan. A trip to southeast Asia and one of its many beautiful retreats may just help you slow down, renew, find the self-reflection and discover the self-learning you have been searching for!
Southeast Asia is definitely on the map as a great place to travel and explore. With so many countries to visit and enjoy no wonder many travelers make their way there. While the countries in Southeast Asia are developed and have their own standards of living and such there are still many issues that need to be bettered or structures that can be put in place to make the overall quality of life there better for the people. You may have read our previous article on the plumbing and sanitary water issues that many face throughout Southeast Asia. While traveling there is always a great experience for many travelers, what if you could also make a difference on one or many of your trips to these fine countries?
Kainui, a young man in his mid-twenties from the Big island of Hawaii took a trip to Southeast Asia with a couple of his work friends. While there exploring he began noticing the areas he was in and their use of electricity and somewhat lack of solar energy use. Kainui works for Big Island Solar, a leading solar company on the Big Island and is always interested in what can be done to utilize renewable energy and solar energy resources. Upon talking with locals and looking into things a bit more he found that Southeast Asia in general is one of the best places to increase solar energy and one that would benefit from it the most. Not only would solar energy help the people of Southeast Asia and stabilize the cost of living, it would also help climate change because of the reduction in fossil fuels that are burned to create the energy sources they now utilize! That’s when he decided that his next trip over would not only be for leisure and pleasure but to offer his help in building solar energy usage for Southeast Asia! Should you be looking to travel and also lend a hand in benefiting our world please feel free to contact Kainui at Big Island Solar! The three countries he has focused on to get started are:
Southeast Asia Solar Power Projects
Thailand- As of now Thailand has the 2nd largest economy in all of Southeast Asia. It is projected to increase its power consumption by 75% in the following years to come. It has a huge reliance on fossil fuels for energy and the older energy structure it has in place is a great obstacle for the country’s overall economic growth. The AEDP or Alternative Energy Development Plan has been put in place as of 2015 and is projected to continue to 2036 to shed light on the country’s energy security, protection against the rise of cost of living and to help aid in the fight against climate change. There is a definite focus on the roof-top solar market and Kainui wants to aid in any way he can!
Vietnam- With VERY good conditions for the use of solar power especially in the country’s Southern region, renewable energy has yet to take off here. To help with establishing solar power, solar power energy projects are eligible for incentives. With a goal to increase solar power energy to 7% by 2020 and 10% by 2030, aiding in solar power installation and introduction is highly sought after here!
Malaysia-Right now Malaysia is the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia after triumphantly recovering from 2 seperate recessions! Because of the land and region of the country solar power here is a bit trickier but has been found to be a great place for off-grid solar!
No matter where you visi in Southeast Asia there are so many beautiful sites and things to do and see. Immersing yourself in the culture, trying the food and simply enjoying the beautifuk sites makes for a spectacular vacation! Thailand seems to be one of the top travel destinations for those visiting Southeast Asia. So e thought we would share some of the best things to do and places to see when visiting Thailand. Check out this shirt video!
One of the things you won’t want to miss out on when traveling in Southeast Asia is the food! Although the food and different delicacies are delicious all throughout Asia, the is something to be said for the more intense flavors and spices that seem to be used in the Southeast compared to the other parts of the country. It doesn’t matter if you are in the Philippines, Singapore or Thailand, there are many delicious dishes to enjoy throughout your many stops! Check out our list of some of our favorite must tries!
Dishes to Try In Different Places
When In Indonesia– Indonesia is home to Nasi Goreng, which basically translates to fried rice. However it is not like the Chinese version of fried rice. Instead it is orange in color brought forth by a blend of spices and chili. Served with breakfast usually but can be enjoyed ANY part of the day. Simple, cheap and so tasty!
When In Vietnam- Pho which is pronounced fuuuu, is a beyond delicious broth based soup. The broth is made with bones and meat choice. Next rice noodles, cilantro, onion ginger and cinnamon are added. Each bowl is served with a plate of fresh basil leaves, green onions, lime wedges & chili peppers so that the person enjoying it can season it to their exact liking. Trust us you will be glad you tried it.
When In Thailand-Pad Thai is a dish knon very well in the U.S. many enjoy it in their favorite thai restaurants, but trying it in native Thailand is definitely a must and can be found for less than $1! Made of flat rice noodles, egg, spices meat or shrimp with a citrus zeest such as lime to add a little pizazz!
Southeast Asia to Malaysia– Durian fruit is known for its STRONG very PUNGENT smell which deters most from trying the creamy, delicate fruit. Banned on public transportation because of its smell, if you can get past it you won’t be sorry! Durian fruit is grown & enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia but most find that the best fruit comes from Penang, Malaysia.
When in Myanmar-A favorite of many in Myanmar, this rice noodle dish is made from catfish stock and spices such as coriander 7 lemongrass. It’s topped with crispy garnishes, hard boiled egg and served really hot!
Although there are so many great dishes to try when traveling throughout Southeast Asia, these are a few of our all time favorites by countries. We suggest researching the delicacies and dishes of where you will be visiting and making a list of different recipes to try. Part of the fun of traveling is experiencing the different cultures and food of where you visit. You never know you just may come home with a love for something you may never have thought, like durian fruit! We promise if you can get past the smell it’s a definite must try and delicious at that.
While Southeast Asia is an incredible place to visit and a country that is full of scenery and great experiences there are a few things that you may not have thought about, but most definitely should know, before setting out on your journey to one of the travel destinations found there. One very big factor to consider is the lack of plumbing and very possible contamination of the countries drinking water. We reached out to a fellow travel buddy who also is the owner of a reputable plumbing company to better understand the water contamination issue in Southeast Asia and the lack of what we deem as “normal’ plumbing facilities. Not only is the information we gathered from John beneficial for travel purposes it also can save many from getting incredibly ill and potentially endangering their life and health. Not to mention cutting your travel abroad short because of poor health.
Plumbing & Drinking Water Issues In Southeast Asia
Open Defecation- An estimated 300 million people defecate in open areas because of the lack of proper plumbing facilities. Fecal matter and other contaminants from human waste eventually make their way into the groundwater and nearby rivers & streams contaminating clean water sources
Lack of Sewage Treatment Plants- With the rapid growth of population and the lack of sewage treatment facilities or older facilities unable to handle all the waste, sewage disposal can not be handled properly and again finds its way into ponds, rivers, streams, etc.
Leaking or Misplaced Pipes- often times sewage pipes and water pipes are next to each other and when old or faulty sewage lines leak the contaminants find their way into the neighboring water pipes which then affects drinking water quality.
Fluoride & Arsenic Contamination- contaminated water is not only linked to sewage contamination but also chemical contamination. Fluoride, Arsenic, manganese, heavy metal, nitrate and iron contamination are all very real things when it comes comes to chemical contamination in drinking water found in many of the countries making up Southeast Asia and should be taken very seriously because of their effects on human health.
Manufacturing & Processing Industries- Because of the lack of proper plumbing and disposal of industry waste and contaminants often times they are release into the environment and end up in different surrounding bodies of water. This all plays a huge part in the contamination of ground and drinking water
These are just some of the various reasons that water is unsafe to drink and swim in, in many places found throughout Southeast Asia. While many of us are used to the way of life and the plumbing and water systems found in the U.S. or other more developed countries, it is VERY important that you take into consideration not all countries are to those standards. Bottled drinking water is relatively cheap in Southeast Asia so always aim to have some on hand especially when hiking through the jungles and stay clear of bodies of water that you are unsure of. With any type of traveling on the horizon it is also important that you research and get to know as much as possible about the country or countires you are looking to visit. Having a better understanding of their ways, lifestyle and culture will better prepare you for your travels abroad and keep you safe and healthy while doing so.
You have decided on visiting and exploring Southeast Asia for your first adventure and you couldn’t have chosen a better place! Filled with beaches, cities, temples and jungles to be explored you will have no shortage of adventures! But what are a few things you need to know to not only have the best travel experience and trip possible, but to also stay safe while doing so? We have a list of advice and guidelines to follow to make sure your trip is the best it can be!
Southeast Asia Travel Tips
Choose your cities- While you may be ready to explore multiple cities on your trip to Southeast Asia we suggest you study a map and choose either one city you can leave no stone left unturned in or a select few. Study a map and check travel distances and travel time. Even though Bali, Indonesia and Vietnam are all found in Southeast Asia they all are a LONG plane ride away from each other. To maximize your travel time and experiences have a plan and an idea of what you will have time to see and do before commiting and making travel arrangements in each city.
Pack Lightly- You will probably be doing a lot of walking and traveling around with your luggage attached to you. So think of packing lightly and doing laundry on your trip verses packing a big ol suitcase and having a large load to carry. Think lightweight backpack and necessities. Trust us you will be glad you followed our advice.
When Visiting Temples- Be aware that when visiting the historic temples of Southeast Asia you will need to have modest clothing to wear. Things that cover your shoulders and fall below the knees. You are in another country and respecting their practices especially while visiting one of their temples is respectful and proper etiquette.
Health First-Check out required or suggested vaccinations before traveling and make sure you get them. Also make sure to pack a first aid kit and stomach medicines. The citizens of Southeast Asia may be accustomed other health concerns but why take a chance with your health and diseases. Plus you ant to stay as healthy as possible so that you may enjoy your trip!
Learn To Bargain-You don’t want to be taken advantage of and you should not be afraid to bargain with street vendors etc. Being confident and able to bargain can help save you money and keep your funds going for your entire trip That being said it is best to wait until you arrive in Southeast Asia to exchange your money for the country’s currency. Exchange rates will less expensive than those in the U.S or at the airport. Also be aware that many smaller vendors and taxi services don’t accept credit cards so you will want to make sure you have cash on hand at all times.
These are just a few of our tips when planning your travels to Southeast Asia or anywhere in Asia for that matter. Being prepared will help result in a better trip and uncomfortable situations. Being prepared and safe are key items priorities when it comes to any type of travel! But remember to enjoy yourself and embrace the country that you are visiting always respecting the land that you are exploring and their customs.