Vacationing in Southeast Asia – A traveling mom’s perspective written by: Amanda Grison

Like all us moms know, the idea of “me” time pretty much goes out the window immediately after your little ones are born. The first few years are especially challenging, as you’re likely going to have to sacrifice a considerable part of your identity in order to fulfil all the requirements of motherhood. This makes things such as travelling practically impossible unless you’re willing to drag one or more easily distracted toddlers along.

Luckily, by the time my twins reached school age, they developed enough sense and self-sufficiency that I could entrust a babysitter to look after them while I resumed my globe-trotting ways. Since it had been so many years since my last trip, I wanted to do everything on my own in an effort to recapture the same kind of magic that made me love travelling in the first place.

southeast asia travel

Now, unless you’re a seasoned solo traveller, the experience of travelling alone is always bound to be a little bit jarring, since you don’t have anyone to keep you company. However, getting to explore things on your own more than makes up for any feelings of loneliness. For all these reasons and more I was really looking forward to this rare solo sojourn.

 Right from the start, I knew the trip would revolve around being in the water. I’ve loved diving since I got my first PADI certificate when I was 16, and have always sought new and exciting places where I could ply my trade while witnessing nature’s infinitely varied creations. That being said, I intended to take my sweet time walking around and exploring as well. After all, you don’t get to spend two weeks in Southeast Asia every year.

southeast asia travel

I began my trip in Bangkok, the world famous capital of Thailand. If you’ve never been to this insane city before, let me tell you right now that it is quite a treat. From the vibrant nightlife that rivals the likes of Las Vegas and Amsterdam to the incredible temples that adorn the city, there always seems to be something new just around the corner in Bangkok. After a few sleepless nights in Bangkok, I spent the rest of my time in Thailand visiting Chiang Mai, a comparatively quaint city in Northern Thailand that’s considerably less hectic and features a more prominent religious side.

Then it was time to pay a visit to Cambodia. I had been here once during my college years but didn’t remember much about the country. Suffice to say, seeing the Angkor Wat after so many years was still a revelatory experience. Few places are more imposing right from the get-go, and even fewer can give you that all-encompassing feeling of being one with the world through their sheer beauty and splendour.

southeast asia travel

After staying for a weekend in Siem Reap, I finally arrived at the place where I would be spending the other half of my vacation. Borneo is great for many things, but small isn’t one of them, so I figured I could definitely use a full week to explore its many nooks and crannies. In fact, I ended up spending two days just to climb Mount Kinabalu, which I definitely count among the top fitness achievements of my life. By the time I got to Sandakan Island, I was finally ready for a bit of rest and relaxation. Luckily, the vast white sandy beaches and pristine waters were beautiful enough to make me forget about all my troubles and worries.

After a day or two spent just daydreaming on the beach, I was finally ready to don the old diving suit and get cracking. Rather than search for spots around Sandakan, I decided to follow the advice of a local and head to the little island of Lankayan. He assured me that the dive sites there were to die for, and for once I was glad I trusted my instinct. Located about 90 minutes away from Sandakan by speedboat, Lankayan Island is a true diver’s paradise and features the kind of spectacular underwater wrecks and diverse aquamarine life that make diving worthwhile. I’ll never forget the time I spent at Mosquito Wreck, a sunken plane in which dozens of barracudas, manta rays, and even the occasional whale shark have taken up residence.

southeast asia travel

All in all, it’s safe to say that my trip to Southeast Asia has been one of the highlights of my recent years. A mom’s life doesn’t often allow for such experiences, so I strongly suggest taking advantage of whatever limited free time you have at your disposal and making it count. You’ll thank yourself later.

southeast asia travel
travelling mom

Amanda Grison has always enjoyed starting and running businesses. In fact, by the time she was 16, she had already been the owner of two not so successful businesses. Soon afterwards, Amanda began globetrotting and never looked back. Now she is loving a mother and devoted wife first and now a successful business owner second. She, unfortunately, stopped travelling when her first sons were born and this wonderful pastime was behind her……until now.