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Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia
Written by Guest Author on February 21, 2022 Share on

Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

Sun, adventure, and fantastic cultural experiences await in Southeast Asia! This region may be a little off the beaten track, but it is becoming increasingly popular with backpackers, honeymooners, couples, and many others.

Why? Because this fascinating area is home to some unique destinations. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand all have something amazing to see and experience. Each country has historic cities, natural beauty, and authentic cuisine that are sure to impress.

Before setting off, make sure you have the documentation you need. Each country has its own entry requirements, which can vary depending on your nationality. Be sure to check whether you need a Laos visa for Indian nationals or a Vietnam eVisa for Americans.

Read on to find out the best Southeast Asian destinations

Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos is the perfect place to start on a Southeast Asian adventure! This landlocked nation might be one of the more obscure countries in the region, but this just means that there are fewer tourists and more authentic experiences to be discovered.

Luang Prabang is an absolute must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is well-known for its traditional architecture and picturesque location, where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers meet.

This is a place to truly experience the culture of Laos. Take a trip to the night market or visit the various Buddhist temples and monasteries around the city. You’ll see hundreds of monks walking through the streets every morning collecting alms.

Luang Prabang is a relatively small city to say it used to be the capital of a whole kingdom. You are never too far from nature. Notable beauty spots to go and see include the Kuang Si Falls, Tat Sae Waterfalls, and Pak Ou Caves, where you can see hundreds of golden Buddha statues.

It’s also well worth the hike to the top of Mount Phou Si — a steep hill in the center of the old town with a shrine on top. It offers spectacular views of Luang Prabang and the rivers from a height of 100 m (328 ft).

Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam

A true wonder of nature, there’s nowhere quite like Hạ Long Bay. 1600 or more islands and islets jut out of the sea, forming a limestone labyrinth covered in green vegetation that can only be navigated by boat.

And that’s exactly what you do! There is no shortage of options, from cruises to small motor boats that will take you into the maze and let you see the islands up close.

The name “Hạ Long” means “descending dragon”. It comes from the legend about how the ancient Vietnamese were protected by a family of dragons who created the bay to keep invaders out. This is also said to be where the dragons chose to live in Vietnam after the battle, and you can see why.

When you gaze out over the water on a misty day, where jagged islands loom like shadows in the fog, you can just imagine there might be a dragon or two hiding out there.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia’s second-largest city, Siem Reap is an ideal place to visit for several reasons.

Firstly, there’s the city itself. The eclectic mixture of French colonial and Chinese-style architecture show off Siem Reap’s unique architectural heritage. Explore the Old French Quarter and around the Old Market to get the true flavor of the town.

Discover more about the country’s culture by seeing a traditional Apsara dance performance or visiting the Cambodian cultural village.

In the evening, Siem Reap has a cosmopolitan drinking and dining scene that is just begging to be enjoyed — check out the 10 best restaurants in Siem Reap. It is little wonder it was named ASEAN City of Culture for the period 2021–2022.

Just outside the city, you’ll find yourself in beautiful countryside, where you can see silk farms, rice paddies, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary.

Most importantly, though, is the fact that Siem Reap is the closest major city to Angkor Wat — Cambodia’s iconic temple complex. This national symbol and sacred site is instantly recognizable around the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A must on any trip to Southeast Asia.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

When thinking about Thailand, most people picture the metropolis of Bangkok or Phuket glorious beaches. Chiang Mai offers a different side to the country. Ancient temples, thick tropical rainforests, and mountainous terrain await in this city.

There are more Buddhist Temples in Chiang Mai than anywhere else in Thailand. Some of the most prominent include Wat Chiang Man, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Many of these are found on the hillsides, offering great views.

Staying in Chiang Mai also gives you the perfect opportunity to head out to Doi Inthanon National Park. Be sure to bring your hiking boots and take in the amazing Himalayan vistas.

There are also opportunities to meet some of the local hill tribes around Chiang Mai, including the Karen and the Meo. Learn about their history and culture and check out their authentic handicrafts.