Best Places To Visit in Southeast Asia
A plane ticket to this side of the world is not cheap. It’s going to cost you. Once you step foot on the soil of any of Southeast Asia’s 11 countries, though, you’ll see that it was all worth it.
Here are some of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia. We have covered each and every one of this unique region’s countries. Simply scroll through the following travel guide and make the most out of your trip to Southeast Asia:
- Palawan, Philippines
Do you want to know the ultimate best place to vacation in Southeast Asia? The Philippines consists of more or less 7,107 islands, and the one you really cannot miss when you visit this country is its last frontier—Palawan.
Adventures both above the ground and below the sea await in this island province. From the world’s longest navigable underground river to the most diverse coral reef on the planet, there is indeed a lot to be unearthed in Palawan. With its untouched white sand beaches, deep-hidden lagoons, and lush mangrove forests, a lot more still waits.
The city-state of Singapore is usually a vacationer’s first stop on their trip to Southeast Asia. It is the region’s most accessible and well-known transportation hub, after all. However, it is more than a mere stopover on your journey. It is also a destination in itself.
Step into the future when you’re in Singapore. The Lion City is home to modern skyscrapers abound and the otherworldly Gardens by the Bay. In the nooks and crannies of its bustling downtown area, there are also remnants of its colorful past. Taste all of the flavors of Asia when in this city. There is a reason people from all over the world flock to this tiny dot of an island. No wonder it is one of the best places to visit in SE Asia at any time during the year.
- Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
The small but proud country of Brunei does not normally pop up on travelers’ Southeast Asian bucket lists, but it should definitely be on yours. Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot to do here. And the best part? There are no crazy tourists to get in your way.
Stay at the city center of Bandar Seri Begawan and have easy access to most of Brunei’s top attractions. The grand Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is within walking distance from the Royal Regalia Museum. Earth’s largest water village, Kampong Ayer, is not too far away as well. It’s a whole new world on this side of the globe. Brunei is a truly dazzling place that is simply waiting to be discovered. If you are searching for top things to do in Southeast Asia then you will find out many of those here.
- Dili, Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste is the newest member of the group. It has been less than 20 years since this country declared independence from Indonesia. And so, not a lot of travel enthusiasts are familiar with it yet. Do not pass up the opportunity to get to know it as untouched and unbridled while you still can!
Start your Timor-Leste adventure at the country’s capital of Dili. With the world’s second-largest Jesus Christ statue Cristo Rei watching over it, and a long stretch of uninterrupted white sand to its north, Dili is like the Southeast Asian counterpart of Rio de Janeiro—most people just don’t know it yet. Hurry up and visit before they find out!
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
Here is one of the top places to visit in Southeast Asia almost everyone from all corners of the globe has heard about. The city of Siem Reap is home to the world-famous Angkor Wat, a majestic 800-year-old temple complex that was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. There are temples galore here, and a whole lot more.
While Siem Reap’s main attraction is the temple so revered it became engraved on the Cambodian flag, beyond its confines are natural wonders aplenty and a rich culture that will surely tickle your senses. Explore the expanse of Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, or dive into the delicacies on display at Pub Street. Siem Reap has a lot to offer.
- Luang Prabang, Laos
From one UNESCO World Heritage Site to another. Further up north peninsular Southeast Asia is the crown jewel of its only landlocked country. With the historic Mekong River cruising by its hip, the city of Luang Prabang in Laos is unlike anywhere else on earth.
Before Vientiane became the capital of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Luang Prabang is where it was all at. Today, Luang Prabang is the place to be when in Laos. It is a place where one can go back in time. Decades may have passed, but its Buddhist temples continue to stand strong, and the royal palace, though now a museum, is still as beautiful as ever.
- Penang Island, Malaysia
In the literal, geographic heart of Southeast Asia lies the country of Malaysia, a place that is truly Asia. Here you can see Buddhist temples and mosques near Hindu shrines, food items that are a mix of ginger and curry and spices, and people of all ethnicities coming together as one.
The best of both worlds is what you get when in Malaysia, and the utmost best of its islands is the island of Penang. Knee-deep in history from years and years of colonization, there are parts of Penang that look as charming as traditional European towns, and then there are its pristine beaches and crystal-blue waters. Pick your poison. Either way, the star of the show is this city’s food.
- Da Lat, Vietnam
The country of Vietnam is no stranger to travelers from the world over. Backpackers and honeymooners are dimes in a dozen here. What they don’t know is that the best part of the Indochinese peninsula’s easternmost region is way up in the mountains.
For the past few years, locals have been keeping the city of Da Lat to themselves. Now, we are telling you that this is where you can experience Vietnam at its finest. Perched atop a plateau nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, it is a city that is a cultural feast for the eyes, ears, and tongue. Also, little ways down the road are scores of waterfalls and lakes that can only be found in this land of eternal spring.
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bangkok may be known as the city of angels, but it is only in Chiang Mai where you can find yourself among the clouds. The beaches in Thailand all tend to look the same after a while, but never in your life will you come across another place like Chiang Mai. Without any doubt, it is listed amongst the best places to visit in Southeast Asia.
Trace the walls of Chiang Mai’s old city, and see for yourself. Life here has been thriving for over 700 years, and you can feel it in the air as you walk around. As it sits in the midst of some of the country’s highest mountains, and along the Mae Ping River, Chiang Mai is a sanctuary in every sense of the word. Do not forget to say hello to an elephant when you drop by!
- Inle Lake, Myanmar
If you think you have seen it all, prepare to be pleasantly surprised when you feast your eyes on Myanmar’s Inle Lake. An entire civilization sprung forth from this shallow pool. It remains up to this day, waiting for you to float on over for a leisurely visit.
Everything on Inle Lake is one with the water. Its floating villages have floating gardens, floating markets, and even floating temples. The gondolas in Venice have nothing on how serene a boat ride here can be. Before the sun sets, catch a glimpse of one of the lake’s local Inthar fishermen as they lure fish into their nets. The technique they use is almost like a ballet set in the most beautiful of landscapes.
- Bali, Indonesia
When you think of a vacation tour in Southeast Asia, a trip to Bali may be the first thing that comes to mind. Worlds away from big Indonesian cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, the island of Bali is one of the region’s must-visit vacation destinations for a reason.
It is no secret that this island is a paradise. It is an accepted fact. The beaches and sights here are unreal, and the exceptional Balinese culture that cradles them all can be found nowhere else in the world. No stranger to the tourism industry, Bali is an open book that all kinds of travelers will certainly enjoy reading through.
What’s next waiting for you?
The 11 countries of Southeast Asia tourism are vastly different from one another in more than one respect. Nevertheless, no one can deny that in each and every one of them, you are sure to be greeted with unbelievable sights, mouthwatering food, and one-of-a-kind experiences when you arrive.
Now you know what to visit in Southeast Asia, what are you waiting for? Grab that ticket and get on a plane to explore these Southeast Asia places to visit now! If you are looking for more information on diverse countries of Southeast Asia then check out our other travel guides to get all the information.