For those who are planning their grand vacation for 2020, Southeast Asia is one of the best locations to be. It’s a region filled with pristine nature reserves, stunning beaches, historical landmarks, and luxurious experiences. With 11 countries on its helm, there’s no doubt that you’ll never run out of the best places to travel in Southeast Asia.
As a tropical region, Southeast Asia is home to many natural wonders. This is why hundreds of thousands of visitors flock into this region to spend a family, romantic, or even a solo getaway. If you’re also eyeing a tropical adventure, here are the 10 places you can add on your itinerary:
1. Bali, Indonesia
If there’s a quintessential holiday destination in Asia, it would be the paradise of Bali. This island in Indonesia is surrounded by the most stunning beaches you can ever find in Southeast Asia. It’s also a popular honeymoon and backpacking destination for a wide range of budgets.
In addition, Kuta is where the party happens. It’s one of Bali’s first beach developments and considered as the tourism capital of the island.
Aside from the natural allure of Bali’s shorelines, you will also find countless temples, volcano trekking tours, and more attractions away from the waters
Some of the must-visits and must-try in the island are Uluwatu Temple, surfers in Kuta, Bali Treetop Adventure Park, Padang Dai muck diving, and a jetpack experience in Tanjung Benoa.
Also, you should know that most of the experiences in Bali come with an intimidating price. Although you can look for cheap finds, you have to prepare your pocket if you want to splurge.
2. Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Aside from the highly-acclaimed Boracay Island, Philippines is also home to Palawan Island. According to Travel+Leisure’s The World’s Best Awards 2019, Palawan is the second-best island in the world. Within Palawan is Coron Island, a pristine sanctuary that’s becoming popular among international tourists.
In Coron, you can climb limestone cliffs, go island hopping, dive, and get cozy by the beach for a very affordable price. Aside from the beauty in the surface, Coron also takes pride in its marine life as well as World War II-era shipwrecks.
In addition, the mainland Coron houses several lakes and hot springs where you can relax and enjoy the view on a kayak. Also, Coron is the favorite destination in Palawan because it’s quieter than El Nido, another famous tourist destination a few hundred kilometers away.
3. Bagan, Myanmar
While Angkor Wat is one of the best places to travel in Southeast Asia, the monuments of Bagan is also something you shouldn’t miss. It’s a mystical place with a sunset like no other. In the past, about 13,000 temples were built in Bagan, which is the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan.
Almost a thousand years later, the remains of over 2,000 temples make Bagan one of the best places to travel in Southeast Asia.
Aside from its temples, Bagan is also known for its hot air balloon rides overlooking the temples of the old city. During peak season, hundreds of hot air balloons are launched in the air, making it a marvelous sight in the sleepy atmosphere of Bagan.
Moreover, Bagan is the best place in Myanmar to taste authentic Burmese cuisines. Some of the restaurants you can dine at are Shwe Ou Food Garden, Seven Sisters, Sanon, and The Moon.
4. Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia
For hiking enthusiasts, Mount Kinabalu is the probably one of the best places to travel in Southeast Asia. It’s also the third tallest mountain in the region and it’s open to all climbers for almost the entire year. Most of all, the local government doesn’t require any specialized training to climb the mountain. Still, it’s not for beginners. Nevertheless, the ascent to this mountain is worth it upon seeing its breath-taking panorama.
The 13,400-feet height of the mountain can be climbed in just four hours for those who are in a rush. But if you have the time, you can enjoy the botanical diversity of the mountain. In fact, Mount Kinabalu is home to more than 600 species of ferns, 100 species of mammals, and 326 species of birds.
Moreover, Mount Kinabalu is home to the giant Rafflesia as well as the Great Ape.
5. Sa Pa, Vietnam
When talking about Vietnam, the places that come to mind are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, these places are crowded and mired with noisy traffic. So if you’re planning a vacation in Vietnam, you might as well head north at Sa Pa or Sapa.
This idyllic town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains is surrounded with the most scenic views in the country. You can wake up right next to evergreen rice terraces, sloping hills, and more beauties of the countryside.
In addition, you can book a tour with the Sapa Sisters. It’s a local guide group run by women. With them, you can experience the rural living the Vietnamese way.
Also, Sapa is the only place in Vietnam to have snow during winter. It’s not surprising as Sapa is a border town of Vietnam to China.
6. Krabi Province, Thailand
Thailand is a famous tourist destination, but if you want to stay in a pristine beach, skip the city and head straight to the Krabi Province. It’s where the best beaches in Thailand and even the world can be found. It’s also secluded and quiet, which is an excellent respite from bustling Bangkok.
This is where the Ko Phi Phi beach is located, the place where Leonardo di Caprio’s 2000 movie ‘The Beach’ was shot. Unfortunately, this place will remain closed until 2021 due to the abuse it sustained over the hordes of tourists visiting the bay.
Fret not, because you can head to Ko Lanta instead. It’s has a long white-sand shoreline without the large crowds. You can also find scuba diving resorts in Ko Lanta.
7. Siem Reap, Cambodia
More than one million tourists flock to Siem Reap every year, and for excellent reasons. This resort town northwest of Cambodia is home to Angkor Wat. This makes Siem Reap the perfect getaway for those who want a glimpse of the ancient world.
Although most tourists fly to Siem Reap to see the world-famous temples, the place is also becoming a backpackers’ destination. The place enjoys the flare of its history as well as the luxurious vibe of spa, restaurants, shopping areas, and more pleasures for the tourists and locals alike.
Also, you can join a tour on Cambodia Landmine Museum, Banteay Srey Butterfly Center, or have a laidback tour at Angkor Pottery Center. Those who want to get close to nature can trek the Kulen Nature Trails.
8. Ubud, Indonesia
If you want to avoid the crowd in Kuta, you can head to Ubud, a countryside town in the island of Bali/ Ubud is all about nature, tranquillity, and peace of mind. It’s one of those places in Indonesia where you can literally spend weeks or months without getting tired of the environment.
Moreover, Ubud takes pride in its traditional Balinese culture, something that foreigners have fallen in love with. It’s not surprising that there’s a large expat community in this quiet town.
If you’re looking for a rejuvenating vacation, Ubud is the right destination in Bali. However, there are no beaches in Ubud, but you’ll be treated to breath-taking mountain top views.
Some of the must-see places in Ubud include Tegallallang Rice Terrace, Agung Rai Museum of Art, Ubud Monkey Forest, and a myriad of temples and shrines.
9. Petchaburi, Thailand
If you want a beach destination in Thailand with accessibility to Bangkok, you should consider Petchaburi. It’s located south of the capital with a fair share of beautiful coastlines, stunning sunsets, cave shrines, temples, and other attractions.
The best thing about Petchaburi is its quiet atmosphere. It’s not very touristy and you can savor every moment without the need to dodge within the crowds. You can take a tour around town before you head to the beaches. In fact, Petchaburi’s shoreline is the closest to Bangkok, which allows accessibility. One of the best destinations here is Cha-Am Beach.
Aside from its amazing beaches, you should also visit the Tham Khao Luang Cave, Wat Yai Suwannaram, and Kaeng Krachan National Park.
10. Singapore, Singapore
For those who love the hustle and bustle of the city, Singapore is one of the best places to travel in Southeast Asia. Singapore is one of the most innovative and wealthiest countries in the ASEAN. And although the cost of living is high, you’ll never run out of things to discover and explore.
The Lion City is the place to splurge and experience the luxuries life has to offer. Here, you can relax in the world’s largest infinity pool in the middle of the city, awe-inspiring Gardens By The Bay, and the Kampong Glam.
Even if Singapore is an urban jungle, it’s also home to Pulau Ubin and Haw Par Villa. Most of all, you shouldn’t miss the 1,236-acre island resort of Sentosa.
These best places to travel in Southeast Asia are just some of the amazing spots that you can visit in the ASEAN region. Let us know if you have experience with any of these places!