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Slow travel: take a slow walk through a discovery journey


Slow travel: take a slow walk through a discovery journey


11:46 - 29.04.2020

The phrase ‘slow travel’ might be strange to some of you or you might have encountered this phrase in a travel agency’s tour package for seniors (I am quite surprised knowing that they use the phrase for this purpose). In fact, slow travel is a growing trend among young people in the past few years, following the trend of a ‘Gap year’. You don’t need to plan a long trip to become a slow traveller because this trend is not only about the length of your vacation but it is about how you experience and enjoy the destination you choose.


  1. What is Slow travel?

Slow travel is a type of travel where a person allows oneself to take time and make the most of each moment of a vacation. Instead of taking sightseeing tours to famous locations, one chooses to commute by transport means that local people use. They might go to places with local characteristics like markets, schools or participate in cultural activities of the native people that he/she is fortunate enough to encounter.

Use local means of transport and have a view of stunning scenery along the way


Don’t take it the wrong way, you can still visit famous places if you really want to. However, instead of going there, taking a few pictures and posting on Instagram to announce I’ve been here, you spend more time learning about the place. Let’s look at a temple for example. You can linger longer to read about its history on signage; talk to those who work in the temple if given the opportunity or simply choose a corner and feel the sacred atmosphere of the place.



  1. Who can become a slow traveler?

Slow travel is for everyone but not everyone feels comfortable with this kind of travel.

For many people, travelling is the time to relax completely with friends or maybe by themselves. Many people feel it is more convenient when their itinerary is planned beforehand and they know where they are going to eat and what the menus include before the trip gets started.

Some people feel that the trip will be more successful if they have lots of pictures and check in lots of places to use gradually on social media. There is no wrong or inappropriate way of travelling. For those who are not ready to trade their fun time, which they might have very little, for a deeper understanding of a new culture, they absolutely do not have to force themselves to do so.

You, young people with many questions in your minds about this colorful life. The ones who aspire to learn more about other cultures outside of where they were born. The ones who find joy in listening to the stories of a stranger’s life. If you feel the eagerness and curiosity about a history being gradually forgotten or you just want to go slowly to better understand yourself. That is when you start a slow travel journey.


  1. How to slow travel?

There is no exact route for a slow traveler and you don’t need to have too much time to do it. It is all about deciding what you want from the trip and what you want to understand or learn more about.

Lost in a new culture

You have limited time but you can still slow down your vacation.

This is how my friend experienced the slow travel in Da Lat in only 4 days. He booked a room in a small homestay in Da Lat where the space is quite open for guests. It was a simple and cozy wooden house. He spent the first day at home cooking and walking around. He found a pine forest not far away from the homestay while wandering and decided to walk into it. He stayed for a while to immerse in a sunset view and then walked back. When the night came, he joined the host and some other guests around the campfire.

On the second day, he rented a motorbike and went a little further from where he stayed. He drove around and found a place for breakfast then spent the rest morning in a museum. In the afternoon, he visited the villa of Queen Nam Phuong and stayed for a long time. He also spent time reading information online about the mansion and this historic figure.


Less locations, more time

He spent the next day visiting a farm, planting flowers and producing essential oils where he had contacted before. He joined people working there doing the things they do and learnt about their manufacturing process. He almost did not miss any corner of the farm. On the last day, he went to Da Lat market early in the morning and cooked breakfast with the host. He spent the remaining time reading a book, took notes and went to bed early to prepare for the trip back to the city the next morning.

Despite having only a 4-day trip, my friend is really a slow traveler. He wanted to slowly enjoy the atmosphere of Da Lat city, get close to the people of Da Lat today and learn about the people in the past. For him that is just enough.


Spending time in one destination long enough to experience living like a local, just like a friend of mine.

This is another way to experience slow travel if you have time, like my friend did when she spent almost a month in Kuala Lumpur. She had no exact plan of where to go and what to do but simply considered it a house moving (my friend is a freelancer). There are days when she worked in a cafe and observed the activities of the locals around. She went to the market to buy food and asked the host to cook by herself. At other times, she ate in food courts or street vendors where local officers and workers were often having lunch.

She also went to some libraries and spent the whole day there. She went to a mosque and talked to the person who looks after the mosque for hours. She also took part in other activities such as events and workshops that she discovered and found she was interested in. She visited the houses of some old friends. The activity that she felt most representing a slowdown was going to watch a Malaysian ​​movie in a movie theater like other Malay youngsters.

That is how my friend traveled slowly. You can experience this kind of travel by getting on a train from Saigon to Hanoi and enjoying the beautiful sightseeing along the way.


  1. The benefits of slow travel

An experience brings more benefits than what you expect.

What slow travel might bring to you is way more than what you expect.

  • Help you relax your mind, get recharged after busy daily life and improve your health.
  • Help you gain more knowledge, open your mind to new cultures and you will have a broader view of the surrounding life.
  • Help you gain special and memorable experiences. It is often the experiences that you do not expect which will create positive changes in your life.
  • Help you have moments to contemplate and appreciate your life more thoroughly after having more insight into the lives of people you have the opportunity to talk to.
  • Contribute to the economic development of small localities by using services offered by the locals.
  • Limit the negative impact on the environment by slow travelling, which means less use of pollution-produced transport means and reducing waste during travel.



What do you think about slow travel? Is it a suitable choice for you? Let’s give it a try! If you are not confident to go alone, you can find people with the same opinion toward this trend to experience it with.



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