Being a collection of several countries with a sharp contrast encompassed by the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia is a hot favorite destination for travelers flocking from every corner of the globe.
Thailand, Vietnam Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are among these beautiful countries of this sub- region of Asia. The countries located here are especially known for the scenic beaches, stunning nature, cheap accommodation, gastronomical delights and easy way to travel.
Though I have traveled across many places in Asia, I especially love the treasures that Southeast Asia has in its store for the travel fanatics. Starting from natural beauty to architectural wonders to technological achievements you will get everything in this sub region. But before starting such a lovely and thrilling trip, you need to know about all the beautiful places and things to do beforehand. Well, in this regard I can readily guide you from my personal experience. To know my 6 best places of South-East Asia, read on here.
1. Stunning Ha Giang, Vietnam
Ok, it is not the easiest place to get to, but if you are really looking for unique places to visit off the beaten track then you can’t avoid putting a bit more effort. Or go the easy way and accept to see more travelers and less unique places.
Ha Giang is located in northern Vietnam. Here you can hike through green, layered rice terraces, be dazzled by the magnificent mountain views of this unexplored region.
Especially the road between Meo Vac to Dong Van is magnificent. If you can drive a motorbike then this is the way to go, but you can also go by car. In October is the flower blossom season, which makes this area even more stunning. The people here are not used to tourists yet and are super friendly!
The Hoang Su Phi rice terraces were announced a World Heritage in 2012. End of September and beginning of October the ripen rice season begins which colors the rice terraces magnificent yellow and green. A beautiful sight as well.
2. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat is stunning especially when you are looking for a little tropical paradise with white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and a jaw-dropping underwater world. As it is not as easy to get to as many other Asian beach destinations, you see fewer tourists.
Raja Ampat diving belongs to one of the best places in the world. According to Sportdiver, the official publication of PADI, the top ten Raja Ampat dive sites are Manta Sandy for its Manta rays, Black rock for its stunning soft corals, Boo Rock, Kaleidoscope for its colors and fishiness, Muck Bay for macro critters, Neptune’s fans for its colorful sea fans, South Mangrove, Three Sisters are three islets and all gorgeous.
For a great and cheap place to sleep, often at the most stunning locations, Raja Ampat Homestay is a great concept that is widely spread. For example Paradise Homestay on Birie island, Sea Fans Homestay on Manyaifun or this stunning homestay in Gam Bay.
3. Mount Rinjani, Indonesia
Lombok is Bali 30 years back. With its stunning landscape, relaxing beaches and off course magnificent Mount Rinjani the pictures below show why it should be high on your bucket list.
The island is home to many waterfalls like Tibu Bombong waterfall in Santong village for example or the Green Crater Lake Segara Anak and Tiu Kelep waterfall located in Mount Rinjani National Park. All are giving you the feeling you are in a fairy tale landscape.
Relax at the beaches of the Gili Islands. Gili Trawangan is by far the most visited of the three islets. If you are looking for a good choice of restaurants, accommodation and nightlife then this is maybe your cup of tea. Gili Air has a good mixture of local character and buzz. Gili Meno is the place to be if you are looking for a tropical peaceful hideaway
4. Banaue Rice terraces, Philippines
The Banaue Rice terraces are tucked away in the inland of the northern island Luzon, some reaching a height of 1500 m. The rice terraces are more than 2000-year-old and a perfect place to do a trekking for a day or more. The views are truly breath taking and that’s also why it has been announced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The best time of the year to visit the Banaue rice terraces is between April and July. In April they are their greenest turning yellow in June and July.
5. Ko Phra Thong, Thailand
Thailand has become the most popular places among the tourists to visit. The white sandy beaches, divine temples and paradise islands are going to surprise you with its grandeur and vividness.
If you want to have a piece of calm mind, it is advised to visit The Ko Phra Thong or the Golden Buddha Island. Stay for example at the Golden Buddha Beach Resort. Enjoy activities like snorkeling, sailing, trekking or kayaking. You must go for an overall different experience of scuba diving at the Richelieu Rock. I loved it a lot!
The Golden Buddha Beach Resort restaurant is the ideal place to dine in which serves daily Thai specials from the delicious Thai cuisine.
6. Koh Lipe, Thailand
Are there still peaceful islands in Thailand? Yes, there are. One of them is Koh Lipe, a tiny island in the southern part of Thailand near the border of Malaysia. It is only accessible by boat from Pak Bara on Thailand’s mainland.
Cars are not allowed on the island so you can explore the complete island by foot. It has 4 different beaches of which Pattaya Beach is the most developed. I really recommend Sunrise Beach as it is larger with less restaurants and a relaxing vibe.
Take a bite at Khonlay Thaifood restaurant which is run by a Thai family. The food is delicious and for a great price. The restaurant is located in Walking Street.
For a sunset drink go to Sunrise Beach to a bar called The Happy Vibe Bar. It is a wonderful and relaxing spot with cozy places to sit.
Although slowly beach resorts start to pop-up most of the accommodation options on Koh Lipe are still beachfront huts that you can rent for a cheap price.
Try to avoid December, as this is the most crowded month, but still not as crowded as many other Thai islands in this time of the year.
Planning to travel to Southeast Asia? As you have seen it is indeed a good choice as Southeast Asia does offer you with an ample number of insanely beautiful places to visit. You will never get short of choices while on a tour of the scenic places located in the southeast part of the colorful and charming continent of Asia.
Now that you know about such splendidly beautiful places to go to in Southeast Asia, don’t wait any further, pack your bags and maps and head out! I can ensure from my own experience that this will be one of the best backpacking tours in your life with so many different types of experiences waiting for you on the way.