It’s no secret that a big part of hitting the backpack trail is seeking out the hottest places to party and dance the night away with strangers and friends. With Southeast Asia’s budget friendly destinations, it’s no wonder that some of these parties are the stuff of legends, as is apparent by countless blog posts and incriminating facebook photos dedicated to the phenomenon.
However, some of the best places to drown in alcohol and nightlife may not be the ones you’ve necessarily heard of. Let’s take a look at some of the best lesser-known places to throw down in SEA.
Of course Taiwan has beaches. It is an island after all, and it also lies on the same latitude as Hawaii, so it has a great tropical climate. One of Taiwan’s best beach towns is Kenting, on the southwest coast. Beautiful, wide sandy beaches are populated by beach shack bars dishing out beer and cocktails as fast as they’re ordered. The hostels and bars fronting the beaches are jam-packed at night, and the crowds spill out onto the streets and beaches. If a trip to Kaohsiung in April is on your itinerary, don’t miss the Spring Scream music festival. A three day music and culture festival, Spring Scream is THE place to party in Taiwan. Since it is a popular event, don’t forget to get your travel accommodations reserved in advance through sites such as Expedia.
Vang Vieng, Laos
Not necessarily an “off the beaten path” destination any longer, Vang Vieng is still the perfect place to unleash your inner hedonist. Now famous the world over, tubing on the river in Vang Vieng is a rite of passage for any backpacker. In short, an innertube is rented, and you simply spend the day floating from riverside bar to riverside bar, stopping for shots and beers and a leap off the diving platforms or rope swings into the river. You’re likely to share the river with hundreds of other travelers with the same drunken intentions as yourself, and great times are had by all.
Note: Several tourist deaths are reported here each year. Drink and swim responsibly.
A ramshackle gem of a city on the coast of the jewel-like Gulf of Thailand, Sihanoukville is one the most underrated travel destination in the area. With beaches as beautiful as any in neighboring Thailand, Sihanoukville also sports an amazing party scene. With a wild west, anything goes atmosphere, it is easy to get lost in the row of bars and dance clubs fronting the beach. Simply wander from one to the next, taking advantage of the plentiful and cheap booze. Many parties spill over onto the beach, and revelers tend to sleep where they fall, waking up with the gorgeous sunrises to start all over again.
Koh Chang, Thailand
Often overlooked in favor of the more famous parties on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, Koh Chang has emerged from hippie enclave to superb travel and party destination. White Beach is the place to be, with many bars packing the sand and offering their own version of Thailand’s famous “bucket”. The parties rotate nightly between the bars, so you’re guaranteed never to miss an epic event. Not to be outdone by its raucous neighbor islands, Koh Chang also hold the infamous Full Moon Parties, Dark Moon Parties, and any other moon parties that can be imagined.
Nha Trang, Vietnam
One of Vietnam’s first beach resorts catering to foreign tourists, Nha Trang is still a great spot for revelry of all kinds. While some of the more legendary places like The Sailing Club may have gone rogue and become fashionable and expensive, one of the best ways to throw caution, and your sobriety, to the wind is still the famous Nha Trang boat trip. An all day booze fest disguised as a snorkel trip, the boat trips offer visitors a great way to see the coast from the water and get fantastically drunk. Floating bars, hilarious musical performances by lady boys, and ample dancing opportunities, an afternoon boat trip in Nha Trang is a revelrous adventure not to be missed.
So pick your destination and pick your poison. As you’ll see, other people aren’t holding back at all, so what are you waiting for?