As you can imagine, there are so many incredible places to visit in Southeast Asia. From stunning beaches, to beautiful temples, to unique landscapes, to world-famous foods, Southeast Asia is wonderfully overwhelmingly. After spending three months traveling around Southeast Asia, I found that each country, and even each city and town, had something special to offer. So, you can imagine how hard it was for me to make this list. But as much as I loved all the incredible places I visited, the following ten are the ones you can’t miss in Southeast Asia.
1) ULUWATU, BALI (INDONESIA)
The beaches of Uluwatu in Bali really took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting the sea to be so clear and blue. Every beach in this area was stunning. My favourite ones were Dream Beach and Padang Padang, which are a short drive from one another. The best way to get around is either by scooter or hiring a driver for the day. However, note that driving a scooter in Uluwatu might be possible, but the roads are terrible. So, less experienced drivers might need to rely on hiring a driver or staying the night there.
You can also use the Grab app (equivalent to Uber in Asia), however, the availability of Grab in Bali fluctuates so you might be able to get a Grab to the beach and not find one to take you back. Another option is to book a Grab and ask if he’d be willing to go “offline,” stay at the beach while you’re there, and then bring you home for a flat fee.
2) KUANG SI FALLS (LAOS)
This three levelled waterfall in Lao is just magical and I have yet to see a place like this elsewhere in the world. It’s just under an hour drive from Luang Prabang and you can get a local to drive you there and back. I would suggest going very early in the morning to avoid the crowds and to have the falls all to yourself.
3) GARDENS BY THE BAY (SINGAPORE)
I’m sure you’ve already seen these expansive gardens pop up on your Instagram feed, but they’re even more amazing in real life! You feel as though you’ve entered the movie set of a sci-fi film when you’re there. If you have time I would suggest going both at night and during the day because they are completely different experiences. In the evenings, they have a beautiful light and sound show at the Super Tree Grove at 7:45pm and 8:45pm.
I recommend getting the combined pass to enter both the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest during the day. General access to the Gardens by the Bay is free, but access to certain exhibits (like the Cloud Forest) are an additional cost. Expect to pay about 16 USD to have access to spots like the Cloud Forest, but it is absolutely worth it!
4) HOI AN (VIETNAM)
This is the most charming town in Vietnam and was my favourite stop in the country. With its canals, lanterns, tailor shops, markets, and French influence, Hoi An is a dreamy destination not to be missed in Vietnam. Spend time walking around the streets, ordering yourself a custom-made suit or coat, meeting other travelers, and eating everything you can fit in your stomach. You must try Rosie’s Cafe, Morning Glory (traditional Vietnamese restaurant) & White Marble Wine Bar.
5) KOMODO NATIONAL PARK (INDONESIA)
Komodo National Park boasts several amazing titles, such as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of Nature. If it’s not on your Asia bucket list, it should be! The surrounding waters have some of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth making it one of the top diving spots in the world. While there, I got to swim with manta rays, sharks, turtles, and hundreds of different types of fish.
Of course, you can’t miss the opportunity to see the famous Komodo dragons. In fact, this is the only place in the world where you can find them! While in the area, be sure to catch the breathtaking views from the top of Palau Padar. As a tip, make this hike early in the morning to avoid the heat. Most of the path and stairs are paved, so you can easily go up with sandals or basic footwear.
To get to Komodo Island, you need to fly to Labuan Bajo, which is likely where you’ll be staying whilst exploring this area. Although there are many islands that are part of Komodo National Park, only a few are accessible to tourists. You can book all boat tours and diving trips once you’re in Labuan Bajo as that way you can negotiate a better deal. I recommend staying at Le Pirate Hotel and even trying their boatel if you have enough time. I stayed at both and had great experiences, but if you’re looking for an air-conditioned luxury boat, this might not be the best option for you.
6) CORON ISLAND (PHILIPPINES)
Coron Island is not to be confused with Coron, the neighboring town on Busuanga Island. There is no accommodation on the island unless you go on an overnight camping tour. This means the only way of reaching Coron Island is by boat. From coral reefs to isolated beaches to secret lagoons, you won’t believe your eyes when you reach these magical spots. There are two amazing boat tours that you will want to do: Island Hopping Tour and Coron Island Tour. We booked both through private boats with Roger and his crew. They made our excursions so much fun and ensured that we got to the right places when no one else was there. You can ask for Roger at the port or contact him on WhatsApp at +34-946-280-1984.
7) MEKONG DELTA (VIETNAM)
The Mekong River plays a major role in transportation for several Asian countries. This delta is where the Mekong River empties into the sea. It’s renowned for its incredible biodiversity and charming floating markets. You can go on a day tour from Ho Chi Minh City to explore the Mekong Delta and find out more about the local traditions and products. I personally recommend going with the Vietnam Travel Group as the guides are very friendly and arrange transport to and from your accommodation.
8) HONG KONG (SOUTHEAST CHINA)
Although technically located in East Asia, Hong Kong is a common stopover en route to Southeast Asia. Otherwise it’s generally a quick and affordable flight from most countries in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong is one of those cities that will amaze you from the first minute you arrive there. The architecture of the buildings is fascinating, the city is extremely vibrant, there are world-famous amazing bars and restaurants.
For food, try Brickhouse, Sohofama, and Limewood. You’ll also find plenty of Instagrammable spots, such as Mansion House, Choi Hung Estate, Lok Wah South Estate, and Lai Tak Tsuen. If you’re looking for a contemporary trendy hotel with panoramic views, beautiful art, and amazing green initiatives then I would highly recommend staying at EAST Hong Kong. I highly recommend planning a long layover in Hong Kong or even booking an independent fight there!
9) TEMPLES OF ANGKOR (CAMBODIA)
These temples really are one of a kind. To think that they were built in the the 9-11th century and are still standing today is amazing. It’s no wonder why the temples are classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site and attract visitors from all over the world. I would advise getting the 3-day pass and splitting your visits to the temples between different days. Otherwise, it will be overwhelming to try to see everything in one ay, especially in the extreme Cambodia heat! My personal favourites were Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat and Bayon. My personal favourites were Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, and Bayon, but the others were no less impressive.
10) SRI LANKA SOUTHERN PROVINCE (SRI LANKA)
Sri Lanka was one of my favourite destinations of my entire Asia trip. I loved the food, the people, the culture, the beaches, and the hotels. I found the landscapes of the Southern Province to be particularly beautiful. Southern Province seems to have endless picturesque spots to visit, such as Galle, Unawatuna, Koggala Lake, Mirissa, Tallala, and Bentota. You’ll need a good 10 days to explore the southern region of Sri Lanka, but I promise it’s worth it!
Planning a tour through Southeast Asia can be overwhelming, considering how vast and diverse the region is. But thankfully, it’s generally affordable, easy to navigate, worth the journey! You’ll find endless unique, picturesque places along the way, but be sure to stop at these ten incredible places in Southeast Asia along the way. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Have you been to any of these places in Southeast Asia? Have any other places to add to this list? If you have any additional tips for our readers or questions please leave these in the comments below.
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