11 Mar Why spirituality and Southeast Asia go hand in hand
No matter what your thoughts on religion or any other form of organised spirituality, discovering a new side to your soul whilst travelling abroad can often creep up on you when you least expect it.
This is certainly true of Southeast Asia with Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all providing quintessential spiritual travel experiences for old and young explorers alike.
The chance to forget the nine to five and embrace the moment whilst travelling provides plenty of opportunities to find your spiritual self and as the Buddhist quote below reveals, sometimes putting yourself in the here and now is the best experience gift you’re ever likely to receive.
“Do now dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Buddha.
Below are just a few of the spiritual experiences that you can expect to discover in Southeast Asia and if you can pay heed to the quote above and learn to live in the moment then you’re bound to enjoy your trip as you see the world from a whole new perspective.
Buddhism is pivotal to life in Southeast Asia and no matter where you find yourself, there will always be a temple of some description from where you can pause for thought and reflect on your travels. Joss sticks, ornate carvings and just a general feeling of peace and tranquillity all float effortlessly along with the breeze and by observing goings on with respect and curiosity you’re bound to feel more enlightened in no time at all.
Although temples are considered to be places of stillness and security the same could well be said for some of the natural scenes that you’ll discover whilst on tour. Mountain peaks, silent forests and trickling streams all add to a serene feeling of calm and if you can rise early and catch the sunset then your spiritual soul will no doubt feel replenished before you’ve even had breakfast.
Often a spiritual experience can come when you least expect it and nothing could be more surprising and fulfilling than a chance encounter with a friendly local. Children, shopkeepers and passing strangers will all be more than willing to try out broken or non-existent English language skills on you and swapping and learning from each other is often a real thrill to cherish forever.
Anyone who’s ever been to Southeast Asia, or Asia as a whole, will tell you that getting some exercise is pretty much standard practice no matter what you’re into. Jungle treks, mountain trails and just wandering through the parks and gardens will lead you to a world of outdoor gyms, Tai Chi classes and ballroom dancing so why not join in and see how your energy levels begin to rise.
If you’re a big fan of eating meat then you certainly won’t go hungry in Southeast Asia however, if you fancy trying something new then make sure you pop into a Buddhist kitchen or restaurant to see what’s on the menu. Trying new foods can be an amazingly spiritual and satisfying experience and learning to cook or helping out at a local street kitchen will no doubt help you appreciate what you eat and where you are in the world from a completely new angle.