The world is a big place, and nowhere is its diversity more evident than Southeast Asia. If you’re not from near there and have never visited, you’re in for a treat when you finally do make it to that corner of the world, because this is a region that gives and gives and gives. Whatever your interests are, Southeast Asia will make sure you’re well entertained – and usually in an offbeat way that you would never have expected.
It is a big region, however, and any trip will have to be thoroughly planned if you want to make the most of your time there. While every person’s itinerary will vary, it’s useful to have a starting point from which you can play journey outward. In this feature of a two-part series, I have highlighted the places across Southeast Asia that are a must visit for any avid traveler.
There is nowhere on earth than can match the mania of Bangkok. You’ll find it overwhelming, both in terms of the people and the senses it thrusts upon its visitors. You’ll also, hopefully, find it exhilarating. You’ll only be here for a few days, we’re sure, so throw yourself into the lights and food and odd blend of the past and the future.
Thailand’s cities may knock you off somewhat, but happily the country is on hand to rejuvenate you with some stunning beaches. Krabi, Thailand is home to many of these beaches, including Railay Beach, which is one of the best in all of Southeast Asia. It also has Ko Phi Phi, the beautiful archipelago that was featured in the Leonardo Di Caprio film The Beach.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, offers the essence of Southeast Asia all in one city. Here you’ll find thriving urban life, outstanding food, religious sites, and sites of political importance, including Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. In all, this fascinating city will almost certainly have something to prick the interest of every visitor, but specifically those with a keen interest in history.
You don’t hear much about Laos, with most visitors to the region opting instead to spend their time in the big hitters – Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. This, however, is beginning to change, and with good reason. Laos is absolutely beautiful, offer a level of natural beauty that the other countries might possess, but which have been overrun by tourists. Laos is a laidback nation, so you can’t imagine too much changing in the coming years. If you only get the chance to visit one city, make it Luang Prabang, which is comprised of old temples and Laos homes. So beautiful, in fact, that the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Angkor Wat Temple
You can’t talk about Southeast Asia without mentioning Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temple and the surrounding area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best examples of archeological ruins in Southeast Asia, and also includes extensive forests and other points of interest. If you do one thing in Cambodia, make it this.
Part II of this series will feature four other beautiful and diverse countries across Southeast Asia.