What is it like to experience Asia for the very first time? For most, it’s a dizzying mosaic of cultures and colours, sights and sounds. No matter how much you think you know, Asia is just one of those places that has a way of defying expectations… even for the most seasoned of travellers!
Even veteran globetrotters had to start somewhere. This month, we asked some of our favourite travel bloggers to tell us about their very first time in Asia – and what kept them coming back for more. From fabulous food to frenetic traffic, these are the stories from their very first time in the world’s most fascinating region.
Amber and Eric
“Let’s talk about our reaction to food. When we first arrived in Asia, we were skeptical of street food, and constantly afraid that we would get sick from anything new or strange. We played it safe for sure. The more time we have spent in the region, though, the more we realized that there is nothing scary about strange or unique foods, and we relish the chance to eat street food everywhere! My idea of home has become a small plastic stool, on the side of the street, where I can slurp some pho in Hanoi, or wandering a night market in Bangkok in search of pad kra pow. Just follow your nose, sniff out a good smell, and look for busy stalls, where the locals know something is tasty. And, most important, just keep on searching for new Adventures in Food!”
Read more from Amber and Eric’s journey in Asia:
Gordon and Paula
“We didn’t experience Asia [for the first time] as a couple – our experiences had been before we met one another. This was PG (pre-Gordon) time, and I went to Vietnam by myself. My first impression was when I went to Ho Chi Minh City. I thought that I would spend the rest of my time walking around the same block, as I would be too scared to cross the road through all of the manic traffic! A little old lady saw me, held my hand and indicated to walk with her, and to keep walking straight across. This was when I discovered the kindness of the people – not to mention their bravery.
Gordon’s first visit to Asia was to Japan. His first impression was of so much history and culture, and how the old and the new worked together so well. This started his love of the country. As he was there during a typhoon, he remembers the people being very kind and feeding him very different and amazing food.”
Read more about Gordon and Paula discovering Asia:
David and Veronica
“We must admit that we were not sure what to expect on our first visit to Asia. We arrived in Hong Kong at night, so the lights of the city were thrilling. The morning sun revealed the absolutely stunning vertical nature of the city, not only with the plethora of skyscrapers, but the incredibly steep mountainside. We spent three days with our necks constantly craned upward. This vertical intensity was continued at our next stop, Shanghai. In both cities, we happily discovered that the ancient traditions coexist nicely with the gleaming, modern skylines.”
Read more about David and Veronica exploring Asia:
Danika and Chris
“Before we even set foot in an Asian country we knew two things – we would have amazing food and see a unique cultural setting. Our expectations stopped there, as we didn’t want to complicate our itineraries or schedule and honestly, we didn’t know what else to expect. Our first stop was Hong Kong and getting off the plane I couldn’t help but think how beautifully chaotic everything was. Although confusing and messy at first, Hong Kong slowly began to make sense. We found a way to navigate through the maze of markets and shops and find the true treasures of the city. It was with the uncomplicated sense of adventure that we were able to venture out and eventually make our way through Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam and now Thailand. Food is what brought us to Asia. But the natural beauty of Vietnam, the amazing beaches of Bali and Thailand and the culture of Hong Kong will be what brings us back.”
Read more about Danika and Chris’s experiences in Asia: