Southeast Asia travel is a favorite choice of many tourists. This region is home to some of the most beautiful destinations on the planet with a huge variety of landscapes and attractions. Details about the best places to travel in Southeast Asia in this article will be helpful for your forthcoming trip. Don’t miss it!
1. About Southeast Asia travel: What to know before your departure
Southeast Asia is a group of countries which are situated between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Its indigenous civilizations are dominantly affected by Indian, Chinese and Western influences. This region is home to the world's most populous Muslim country, many notable Buddhist countries, and considerable Christian, Hindu, and Animist communities.
It has long been a popular destination for globetrotting backpackers thanks to its gorgeous beaches, delectable cuisine, low travel expenses and convenient flight connections. Therefore, many tourists travel to Southeast Asia in their getaways every year. Before starting your trip, you should know the things below:
- The best time to travel Southeast Asia: This region can be visited at any time of the year because its climate varies substantially depending on the locations. Which country you want to visit in your Southeast Asia travel will determine the best time to visit. For example, if you want to go to the beaches in Vietnam, you should pay a visit to this country in the summer, around April to August. Meanwhile, from January to April is the festival time in Thailand and also the ideal time for traveling.
- The best way to travel Southeast Asia: Plane is the favorite transportation to go from each country to another country. Concerning traveling from provincial Southeast Asia tourist attractions to the others, you can ride a motorbike and choose to travel by bus. In addition, each destination has its own service transportations like cyclo, cano, tuk tuk,... Trying these things is also an exciting experience that you should not ignore during your Southeast Asia travel.
- How much does it cost to travel Southeast Asia: The Southeast Asia travel budget is quite low. On average, it ranges from 35 USD to 40 USD per day for solo travelers and from 50 USD to 60 USD per day for two people. You can note down this expense range to be financially prepared for the upcoming trip.
2. Southeast Asia travel: 7 must-visit destinations for nature lovers
If you are a nature lover and want to immerse yourself in fresh atmosphere, put the 7 following Southeast Asia travel destinations into your bucket list:
2.1. Phu Quoc Island (Vietnam)
Located in Kien Giang Province, Phu Quoc is Vietnam's largest island, measuring 574 square kilometers. This highly forested island lies in the Gulf of Thailand, about 45 kilometers away from Vietnam's Southern mainland to the West and only 4 kilometers away from Cambodia. It has limitless pristine beaches for water sports, romantic sunsets for Instagram feed, uninhabited isolated islands for exploring, and lush tropical forests for adventure.
Ong Lang Beach, Starfish Beach, Khem Beach, and Long Beach are just a few of the numerous magnificent beaches that surround Phu Quoc Island. The calm waves and clear blue sea make it Vietnam's most popular location for water sports. A long hike through the evergreen forest will reward explorers with scenes of waterfalls, rock pools and caverns, yet, even short excursions will also bring many fantastic things.
Aside from the white sandy beaches, Phu Quoc has a variety of luxury resorts with stylish eateries, soothing spa treatments and countless entertainment activities, Vinpearl Phu Quoc for instance. When you stay at this high-end complex of hotels and resorts, you will have access to suite rooms, spacious spas, well-equipped gyms, infinity swimming pools, shopping streets, golf courses, and more.
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2.2. Phuket Island (Thailand)
Phuket Island is one of the world's most popular beach destinations and unquestionably the most famous one in Thailand. The island offers beach lovers a perfect blend of a picturesque coastline, sandy beaches, superb hotels, a plethora of tours and activities, and an enormous variety of dining options for both traditional Thai and international cuisine.
Phuket Island is such an excellent choice because from here, you can conveniently visit other great and popular destinations in Thailand during your Southeast Asia travel, like Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands, Phang Nga Bay, etc. Scuba diving, golfing, trekking, bicycling, fishing and many more outdoor sports are also available in Phuket.
2.3. El Nido (Philippines)
El Nido in Palawan is highly recognized by both local and international tourists as one of the best places to visit in the Philippines for its tranquility. It has many paradise-like features such as pure white sand beaches, blue waves, bright coral reefs and breathtaking limestone cliffs. Therefore, it has been ranked as one of the top island beaches in the world by several travel magazines.
El Nido offers a variety of activities, including island hopping, relaxing on beaches, trekking up cliffs, and even scuba diving for your Southeast Asia travel. However, the local government has varied admission restrictions for different categories of tourists, thus it is recommended to check what category you fit into and what your requirements are before planning a vacation to this paradise.
2.4. Mount Kinabalu (Malaysia)
Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Malaysia which is located in Kinabalu National Park. It is part of the Crocker Range of mountains with the summit of around 4,095 meters high. Standing on its summit, you can get the most majestic view of the landscapes, especially at sunrise or sunset. Besides, there are some small villages halfway down the mountain.
In clear weather, you may even be able to see Sabah's capital and Kota Kinabalu from Mount Kinabalu. However, you should know that visiting this mountain without prior planning is difficult. You must register in advance, which is best done with the assistance of a travel company or group specializing in Southeast Asia travel.
2.5. Bali Island (Indonesia)
Bali Island is a small picturesque island that is part of the Indonesian archipelago and is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Indonesia. Its panoramic views and distinct culture distinguish it from other destinations in Southeast Asia. Rice paddies, breathtaking panoramas, volcanoes, tourism activities and attractions are some highlights of this island.
Bali Island also offers lovely vegetation, large stretches of sandy beach, nice blue sea, smashing waves,... Especially, the people here are extremely friendly. You can see the locals perform daily community rituals and learn more about their culture to make your Southeast Asia travel special.
2.6. Koh Rong Island (Cambodia)
Koh Rong is a Cambodian island which is located 40 kilometers off the coast of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand. This island is recognized as the most picturesque place in the Kompong Som region. Actually, it is somehow untouched so it used to be considered a well-kept secret. However, thanks to its outstanding features, it will predictably soon become a famous tourist attraction in Cambodia.
This island features 23 white sand beaches and many things for tourists to see and try. For the adventurous, there is a good amount of trekking to be done in unspoiled jungles. In both offshore and inshore areas, diving and snorkeling are superb. The main attraction, though, is the phosphorescent water, which sparkles like twinkling stars when disturbed.
2.7. Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Quang Ninh Province is home to Ha Long Bay, which is located in the Gulf of Tonkin and a well-known destination in Vietnam. It provides a beautiful seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal representation of a karst landscape produced in a warm and rainy tropical climate. It covers 43,400 acres and contains over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unspoiled by humans.
The great value of Ha Long Bay is in the limestone karst landform, which displays impressive pillars and creates many unique arches and caverns, creating a stunning natural backdrop. Over geological time, the sea's recurrent regression and transgression on the limestone karst have resulted in a mature landscape with clusters of conical peaks.
During their trips to Ha Long Bay, many tourists choose to stay in Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long to explore many unique things there with ease. It is the first and only resort in the North of Vietnam to be built entirely on the sea, featuring a system of big rooms with large balconies. It includes private beaches, lush grounds and a large outdoor swimming pool, which provides tourists a positive first impression.
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3. Where to travel in Southeast Asia to explore culture and architecture?
Southeast Asia is religiously diverse so you should not miss out on a cultural trip in which you can explore famous architectural structures in this region:
3.1. Angkor Archaeological Park (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Angkor Archaeological Park is one of Southeast Asia's most important archaeological sites. It covers 400 square kilometers, includes a forested area and has the spectacular remnants of the Khmer Empire's several capitals from the 9th to the 15th centuries. UNESCO has established a comprehensive program to protect this historic monument and its environs.
The site is a unique concentration of characteristics testifying to an excellent civilisation with impressive monuments, numerous different old town designs and vast water reservoirs. Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Khan, and Ta Prohm - all exemplars of Khmer architecture - are inextricably tied to their geographical environment and filled with symbolic meaning.
3.2. My Son Sanctuary (Hoi An, Vietnam)
My Son Sanctuary is a famous historical heritage of Quang Nam province with an architectural complex including many unique Champa temples. The relic site was discovered in 1885 and recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1995. My Son Sanctuary is hidden deep in a valley surrounded by mountains in Hoi An. In the past, this place used to be a place for worship as well as the tombs of ancient Champa kings.
This area has a diameter of about 2 kilometers with more than 70 different temples and towers bearing many historical architectural features typical of each development stage of the ancient Champa empire. The architecture of My Son sanctuary, with its unique and sophisticated design, is the highlight. Besides, you can have a chance to enjoy the enchanting Apsara dance and immerse yourself in the traditional Kate festival of the Cham people.
To find a good accommodation for your Southeast Asia travel to My Son Sanctuary and many other famous destinations in Hoi An, Vietnam, you should consider Vinpearl Hoi An for your stay. Located at Cua Dai Beach and Binh Minh Beach, the two hotels and resorts of Vinpearl will offer you an ideal place to enjoy true relaxation thanks to its wonderful landscapes and many excellent services.
>>> Remember to book rooms in Vinpearl Hoi An for your next trip to the ancient town of Vietnam!
3.3. Prambanan Temple (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Prambanan Temple is the greatest Hindu temple complex of Indonesia, dating from the 9th century. It features three main temples dedicated to the Trimurti: Shiva - the universe's destroyer, Vishnu - the universe's keeper, and Brahma - the universe's creator. Prambanan was once used as a Candi Agung for numerous royal and religious functions during the old Mataram Kingdom's glory days.
The lofty structures are typical of Hindu architecture, and the temple complex's design, like Borobudur's, is a Mandala. The temple is vertically divided into three parts which are aligned with each other, as a metaphor of the Hindu cosmos including: Jaba/Bhurloka, Tengahan/Bhuvarloka, and Njeron/Svarloka.
3.4. Ananda Temple (Old Bagan, Myanmar)
One of Myanmar's most treasured landmarks is Ananda Temple. It was built in the 11th and 12th centuries and has been used for worship for nearly a millennium. It stands out against the landscape and red bricks with its brilliant gold “hti”, or umbrella.
It is shaped like a gigantic cross and is regarded as a masterpiece of Mon architecture, particularly for its well-balanced proportions. The tower stands 40 meters tall with multiple cascading terraces at its base. Each of the 4 symmetrical entrances leads to the building's central massive wooden Buddha statue.
3.5. Long Son Pagoda (Nha Trang, Vietnam)
Long Son Pagoda is known as the oldest temple in Nha Trang. This place owns the largest outdoor Buddha statue named in Vietnam Guinness Book of Records. It was built in the 19th century, carrying in itself the unique and delicate sculptural features from ancient times. Therefore, it attracts a lot of tourists to visit during their trip to Nha Trang.
After hundreds of years with many restorations, Long Son Pagoda has now been certified as the oldest temple in Vietnam. Standing from the highest position and looking out into the distance, you will have a chance to admire the bustling beauty of the beautiful city of Nha Trang.
In order to easily explore the beauty of Long Son Pagoda and other must-visit places in Nha Trang, the 5-star resort complex of Vinpearl Nha Trang is highly recommended for you. Thanks to its luxurious space with a large number of rooms and a lot of modern amenities, this accommodation can meet the all-inclusive needs of all tourists.
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4. Southeast Asian food tour: Explore diverse cuisines with unique foods
Food is a factor that will make your Southeast Asia travel perfect. To have a complete food tour in this region, you should note some destinations as follows:
4.1. Taste yummy delicacies at Chiang Mai Night Market (Thailand)
About 700 kilometers away from Bangkok City to the North, Chiang Mai has a very typical cuisine of the Northern region of Thailand. When coming to Chiang Mai Night Market for the first time, you should not miss out on Khao Soi. It is one of the most famous dishes there with flat noodles served with coconut water, yellow curry and sprinkled with fried noodles. Other food suggestions are Khantoke, Sai Oua, Kaeng Hang Le, Khanom Jeen Nam Ngeow, etc.
4.2. Savor authentic specialties in Luang Prabang (Laos)
If you are a food lover, Luang Prabang (Laos) is a real food paradise that you should visit once in your Southeast Asia travel. It is known for its sweet coconut pancakes and flavorful sausages. Also, one of the most famous dishes here is Jaew Bong. It is made with buffalo fat slices and red chili sauce made from shallots, garlic, chiles, lime, tamarind, palm sugar, etc. Besides, you should try Or Lam, Luang Prabang salad, Mekong River seaweed, and more, when coming there.
4.3. Enjoy mouth-watering dishes in Da Nang City (Vietnam)
Da Nang cuisine is diversified since it includes both local and well-known dishes from neighboring provinces. Banh Nam and Banh Bot Loc are the two varieties of rice dumpling cakes popular in Da Nang. These Da Nang foods are inexpensive and readily available across the city. Aside from that, you should try sliced pork rolled in rice paper, duck porridge, grilled fish cake noodles, and so on.
The 3 hotels and resorts of Vinpearl Da Nang will be the best options that suit all of your demands throughout your trip, since they are located in prime areas and have classy spaces with many complimentary amenities. Spas, swimming pools, culinary restaurants, pubs, and other 5-star amenities are available at these locations.
>>> Don’t forget to book rooms in Vinpearl Da Nang to conveniently explore the cuisine!
5. Note the Southeast Asia travel tips to get the best trip ever
You should take note of some factors below to be well-prepared before going on a Southeast Asia travel:
- Languages: Most Southeast Asian people are now fluent in English so you can communicate with them by this language. Yet, by trying to learn their native languages, you will find out many interesting things about their cultures and people.
- Clothings: No matter how the weather is, you will need to wear the right clothes. Bathing suits, shorts, T-shirts, rain jackets, etc. are some great suggestions for you. However, if you visit some religious places, remember to dress politely with clothes which cover your legs and shoulders.
- Documents required: While some countries do not require visas for short-term stays, others do require additional authorisation prior to arrival. Make sure you are aware of these requirements by visiting immigration websites, as they can affect some elements of your stay, including length and work authorization.
If you are planning your Southeast Asia travel itinerary, refer to the above information to determine where to go, what to eat and where to stay in each country. Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia,... are not-to-be-missed destinations that can give you an enjoyable trip with your family or friends. When you choose to pay a visit to Vietnam, don’t forget to book voucher, combo, tour to Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang in advance to enjoy the best trip ever to this S-shaped country!