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10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

South East Asia Places To Visit

For anyone planning to travel to this part of the world, here is a list of 10 places to visit in Southeast Asia, catered for all types of travellers.

This part of the world has been one of the must-visit destinations for many years and this list highlights some of the best places for travellers. 

The countries in Southeast Asia consist of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, and these places are seeing a huge increase in tourism in recent years.

As I am a Malaysian, I personally have travelled to many of these countries for work and leisure and have found each of these places to offer their own uniqueness and identity.

Therefore, I have decided to share some of these amazing places for anyone wanting to explore Southeast Asia. 

10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

Visiting Mount Kelimutu
One of the Tri-Color Lakes at Mount Kelimutu, Flores

1. Indonesia - Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. 

Forget Bali and Lombok as Flores is one of the new Indonesian destinations that is raw and amazingly beautiful.

Imagine an island that is just developing for tourism, that is what travellers seek nowadays, versus over-commercialized destinations. Even getting to Flores is an exciting journey, imagine what else is there for you. 

Most people that have visited Flores in the past generally headed to Komodo Island to see the majestic Komodo Dragons. But exploring further in Flores is a whole new world altogether.

More information can be seen in Indonesia Tourism or read my previous article on Things To Do in Flores which highlights some of the best places here.

Visiting Ulu Temburong
The incredible Sky Walk at Ulu Temburong in Brunei

2. Brunei - Ulu Temburong National Park 

The Kingdom of Brunei offers Eco lovers one of the best national parks to explore which is the Ulu Temburong National Park.

Located some two hours from Bandar Seri Begawan or BSB as the locals call it, the journey to the national park is a unique adventure where you need to travel by boat, van, longboat and then trek. 

There is only one nature resort called Ulu Ulu Resort (www.uluuluresort.com) in the park and the main highlight is no other than the Ulu Temburong Canopy Walk which stands at 50 meters tall and about 350 meters long.

Nature lovers, jungle trekkers, and bird watchers are the main clientele here. Explore the pristine rainforest, jungle treks, boat rides and an escape from modernization here.

Visiting Bario
View of the Bario Highlands in Sarawak

 3. Malaysia - Bario Highlands, Sarawak

Forget Penang Island, Kuala Lumpur or any other commercial destination in Malaysia if you want to experience something truly original and different in Malaysia.

The Bario Highlands in Sarawak is my recommendation for places to visit in Malaysia, and anytime you like.

The main reason is that this remote highland village located some 1000 meters high is home to the ethnic highland people of Sarawak Borneo. 

There are no modern developments like convenience stores, banks, hotels, pharmacies or anything seen in most places. Everything here is as it was from back in the day.

The journey here is also another adventure where you have to fly a small turbo propeller plane to get here and once here, you are back to basics.

Explore traditional highland longhouses, do jungle trekking, visit paddy fields, take long picturesque walks and mingle with the local highland people are your main itineraries here.

Bario is most definitely off Malaysia's beaten path and is highly recommended for pure travellers. You can also read about my journey to the Bario Highlands.

Visiting Haji Lane
The vibrant colours of Haji Lane in Singapore. Photo by www.clxreese.wordpress.com

4. Singapore - Haji Lane

This is probably the most interesting lifestyle and hipster place in Singapore. Younger generation travellers are visiting this place than any other popular tourist destination on the island, mainly to take photographs and chill out here.

This place is also one of the most Instagrammable places due to the vivid colours found along Haji Lane.

There are numerous hipster and lifestyle cafes, trendy boutiques and a lot of opportunities to just chill out and relax while you are in Singapore.

Haji Lane is also located in Kampung Glam, which caters to a lot of younger generation social media travellers.

Visiting Gili Trawangan 2018
Ombak Sunset Sea Swings in Gili Trawangan

5. Indonesia - Gili Trawangan Island

If there is one island you should visit besides Bali, Gili Trawangan is the place to go to. Known as a backpacker paradise once, the chain of islands east of Lombok is now the flavour of the Millennial traveller.

Social media is to blame as Gili Trawangan was one of the popular places where visitors came here to line up and take photos of the famous sea swings of Ombak Sunset.

Yes, the Ombak Sunset sea swings are the original with many other beach resorts following and creating their own sea swings.

Gili Trawangan is part of the Gili Islands with Gili Air and Gili Meno also being popular choices. On all three islands, there are no vehicles or motorbikes except for horse carriages and bicycle rentals.

You can now imagine how beautiful this island and to get here, you need to travel from Lombok via boat or ferry only. Find out what else you can do in Gili Trawangan from my earlier article.

Visiting Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe's pristine beaches

6. Thailand - Koh Lipe Island

With so many interesting places found all over Thailand, I am recommending Koh Lipe Island is a must-visit destination in Southern Thailand.

The main reason behind this is because there are no vehicles allowed on the island and everyone simply walks all around.

The island is part of the Tarutao National Park and is one of the perfect beach escapes. Other smaller island provides trekking, hiking, snorkelling and just exploring.

Ko Lipe is the main island where everyone stays at and Lipe Walking street is the star of the island.

Koh Lipe is only accessible via boats from either Pak Barra town or Langkawi Island. There are many basic accommodations to luxury boutique resorts found all over the island.

In general, you can walk from one end to the other end in just 30 minutes. Learn how to go to Koh Lipe from my previous article.

Visiting Bayon
The incredible Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

7. Cambodia - Bayon, Siem Reap

Well, Cambodia has always been on the radar of every traveller, it is Siem Reap that attracts the bulk of visitors.

Many who visit the majestic Angkor Wat which is located just outside the city of Siem Reap, will know that this world-class tourist attraction is the epitome of temples.

But beyond Angkor, lies the unique Bayon, the ultra-rich Khmer temple where extra-large heads of smiling faces dominate the temple grounds.

For those who are into temples, Buddhism and historical cultures, Bayon and its surroundings are definitely a must-visit.

And if you are a first-time traveller, Siem Reap is hands down one of the places in Southeast Asia to visit in 2018.

The trick to visiting Siem Reap is by doing it on a weekday and try to avoid weekends as it can really get overcrowded with all kinds of tourist.

Visiting Luang Prabang in 2018
One of the beautiful temples in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo by https://www.zicasso.com/

8. Laos - Luang Prabang

There is no doubt that Luang Prabang is the best place to visit in Laos as this UNESCO World Heritage Site has amazed the world since 2008.

Until this very day, things are still as they were with no modern development and if you love all things monks, almsgiving and traditional Lao culture, this is the place to visit in Laos for 2018. 

Tourism in Luang Prabang caters to all walks of life and some of the tours are quite Eco-friendly where you visit traditional Lao villages, caves, river trips, and even elephant riding.

Just being around the main town area, you will have an amazing time exploring the many Buddhist temples and stupas.

A must-visit is the Luang Prabang Night Market where local Hmong people gather on a nightly basis selling unique traditional craft, fabrics, art, and silverware.

For culture hunters, Luang Prabang is one of those must-visit places, especially if you love non-commercialized tourism destinations.

Visiting Hanoi in 2018
Hanoi's amazing Old Quarter. Photo by http://www.vietnam-guide.com

9. Vietnam - Hanoi

Most travellers would recommend Sa Pa, Hoi An, Danang, and Da Lat as places to visit, but this time around for 2018, I am recommending first-timers to Vietnam to visit Hanoi.

Over-rated? Perhaps, but for a first-timer, Hanoi which is 1007 years old, holds a very rich historical, traditional and culinary experience that will impress any kind of traveller.

Explore off-the-beaten-path places, streets, lanes around Hanoi and savour some of the unique Vietnamese foods from local hawkers and restaurants.

Plus, the Hanoi Coffee is something that coffee aficionados or coffee travellers would love, especially tasting that world-famous Weasel Coffee in Hanoi. 

The Hanoi Old Quarter should not be missed as it is here that you can explore freely to see the traditional businesses and also experience Hanoi's old town area.

A must-do for any traveller is to experience the Hanoi Beer Corner where you sit outside a corner shop on six-inch stools and drink beer.

For shoppers, Hanoi is pretty diverse with fashion and bags where they are sold mostly around the main city areas.

And for something world-class, take an overnight trip to the world-famous Halong Bay.

Visiting Bagan
Magnificent Bagan in Myanmar. Photo by https://asiatourist.co

10. Myanmar -  Bagan

Since opening up to tourism not too long ago, Myanmar has been on many travellers' wishlist and apart from the capital, Bagan is the place to visit in Myanmar due to the amazing scenic beauty that will mesmerize anyone who loves traditional cultures and landscapes.

When you see photos of Myanmar, most of the time it is pictures of Bagan that are featured hence this is the best place to explore when you visit this part of Indochina.

This is one place that I am yet to visit but I have put it down based on travellers' recommendations and also a schoolmate of mine who is currently working in Myanmar.

Hopefully, in 2018, I will find the opportunity to explore Myanmar or Burma. 

Visiting Labuan Bajo
The unique Manggarai people of Flores


The above list of 10 places to visit in Southeast Asia was compiled purely by me and the opinions and recommendations are my own and not endorsed by anyone or any tourism board.

I have personally been to most of these places in my field of travel work and have experienced these places therefore, they are written based on a general approach towards all kinds of travellers.

To see more photos of my travels, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under the name Malaysia Asia.

With social travel growing tremendously, more people are embracing these platforms to learn and share travel information.

If you have any questions, feedback or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you.

Of all the places listed above, I have one last bucket list which is to visit Bagan in Myanmar to complete my 10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia.

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