Spanning countries, thousands of islands, and hundreds of traditional cultures and unique natural wonders, the region of Southeast Asia could take a lifetime to fully explore. These destinations each offer something different for the most discerning travellers. Let find out These Best Destinations in Southeast Asia below.
These Best Destinations in Southeast Asia
Sa Pa, Vietnam
High in the Hoang Lien Son mountains of Northern Vietnam is the remote village of Sa Pa, itself more reminiscent of the South Asian trekking hotspots than of regional jungles and beaches. Aside from the breathtaking beauty of the highlands, the culture that has developed over time in the Lao Chai Province of Vietnam is unlike the rest of the country, home to several ethnic tribal groups that settled in the region generations ago and have since established their autonomous identities after decades of strife among Vietnamese independence fighters and French imperialists.
Today, Sa Pa’s grandest attraction is its crowning peak, Fan Si Pan the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,143 meters above sea level. For the casual hiker, however, Haong Lien National Park offers the picturesque mountain landscape sprinkled with valleys of terraced rice paddies, and a unique forest ecosystem home to several endangered species and small tribal villages. That is once of These Best Destinations in Southeast Asia.
Kuta Lombok, Indonesia
Not to be confused with Kuta Bali, this quiet little surfing town has all the beachy vibes and coastal charm of its Balinese cousin, but without the heavy commercialisation and curated tourism industry at least for now. Instead the area still retains its legacy as a fishing village, rather uninterrupted by any uptick in tourism, but has designed itself nicely to adjust to accommodating its small numbers of visitors.
Surfers of all levels will find it hard to move on from this world class destination, with several hotspots offering surf cresting toward stunning white sand or volcanic rock beaches. Kuta’s coast also is a great jumping off point to explore deeper into Southern Lombok and nearby Sumbawa.
Palawan Island has been a top rated destination for years, and as tourists flock to El Nido to see first hand the inspiration behind Alex Garland’s The Beach, a few hundred kilometers north lies Coron Island, El Nido’s quieter, pristine, and often more budget friendly sibling.
Along with the stunning limestone cliffs that have earned Palawan its reputation for incredible natural beauty, Coron’s waters are the final resting place for many WWII era shipwrecks, the majority of which sunk during an air attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1944, and are some of the best preserved shipwrecks in the world. The mainland of Coron Island also sports some unusual lakes of mixed fresh and seawater, hot springs, and easy access to tons of island hopping itineraries.
Vietnam’s ancient capital city lies on the central coast between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh along the Perfume River, and originally held the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty until it fell in 1945. The rich history of Vietnam is held in the very spirit of this coastal town, and to experience the intricacies of Vietnamese culture here is like a textbook come to life. That is once of These Best Destinations in Southeast Asia.
The Imperial Citadel is the central structure in Hue, with sacred pagodas extending for kilometres outside the main complex. Then there are the royal tombs and iconic Forbidden City but without the crowds of its Chinese counterpart. Finally, don’t leave without sampling the local speciality, Banh Khaoi pancakes, which pair well with the area’s namesake microbrew.
A food centric city home to a number of expressive cultures, Malacca has been a destination for centuries as a vibrant port drawing traders from India, China, the Middle East, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the UK. Each visiting culture left traces of its influence seen today through the diverse architecture, unique Malaccan cuisine, and entrenched culture that may as well be worlds away from nearby Kuala Lumpur.
The region’s early history is hotly debated, with the only permanent records detailing accounts mixed with myth and legend, tracing roots southbound to Sumatra and the Northern pressure of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, or today’s modern Thailand. These Best Destinations in Southeast Asia.