Southeast Asia Travel: 5 Hidden Gems to Put on Your List
Have you ever wanted to experience Southeast Asia travel, but didn’t know where to start?
The serene white-sand beaches and the quaint rainforest villages look so peaceful and beautiful on your computer screen. But if you’re looking up pictures online and making travel plans, chances are you’re not the only one.
Hidden Southeast Asia Travel Spots
Don’t make the mistake of assuming Southeast Asia is all serene beaches and quiet jungle villages.
With around 58 million visitors coming to Southeast Asia each year, it’s easy to end up in a crowded tourist trap if you don’t do your research beforehand.
Do you want to plan your trip around hidden gems? The ones you won’t find in a major Southeast Asia travel guide?
Take a look at five of our favorite out-of-the-way travel spots and beat the crowds!
5. Gili Islands, Lombok, Indonesia
Coconut palm trees, island breezes, and sandy white beaches overlooking the crystal-clear ocean. The picturesque Gili Islands offer something for every type of traveler.
Gili Trawangan, the busiest of the three islands, has a lively bar scene, dozens of five-star restaurants, and top-quality resorts and hotels.
Gili Air showcases the local culture best of the three. If you’re looking to experience everything you can, Air has a good blend of serene beaches and city accommodations.
If you’re just looking to get away from it all, Gili Meno is simple and secluded. Book a quiet oceanfront cottage and spend a week away from all the troubles of the world.
Though the Gili Islands have recently gained popularity, they maintain a serene island getaway atmosphere. No motorcycles or dogs are allowed on the islands and the hotel developments have remained tasteful and elegant.
4. Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
The island of Nusa Lembongan is the most famous of a group of three islands that make up the Nusa Penida district located southeast of Bali.
Nusa Lembongan is another place that’s recently grown in popularity, sparking a booming economy, temple renovations, luxury hotels, and tourist boats.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a quiet beach to listen to the waves crash against the sand. Away from the city center, you can find serene oceanside cottages far enough to be away from the noise of the city, but close enough that you can travel into town.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are three main breaks on the reef for experienced surfers and scuba diving around reefs and shipwrecks.
You can find cute little cafes and bar-grills on every street. As the economy continues to boom, new high-quality hotels show up all the time. Or, you can book a secluded cottage by the beach.
3. Pai, Thailand
Pai, Thailand is a small town in a remote mountain valley in northern Thailand near the Myanmar border.
It’s located on the Pai River. It’s also on the bucket list of every mountain backpacker who gets a chance to travel to Thailand.
The town of Pai itself can get rather busy in the colder months, but for most of the year, it’s fairly easy to find quiet accommodation outside the main part of town.
It boasts a wonderful cultural scene with live music every evening and art galleries in town. For those interested in the history of Thailand, there are four ancient Buddhist temples located nearby and fascinating local architecture on every corner.
Whether you book an adventure rafting tour or a week at the spa resort, don’t miss the Tha Pai Hot Springs or the local waterfalls.
2. Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
Tubbataha Reef has been called one of the best places to dive in the Philippines. There are numerous dives sites with colorful corals, sea turtles, small sharks, exotic fish, manta
There are numerous dives sites with colorful corals, sea turtles, small sharks, exotic fish, manta rays, and shipwrecks. If you want to take in all the diving Tubbataha Reef has to offer, you’re going to have to book a week-long stay. It will be worth it.
If you want to capture the memories, Tubbataha is one of the best places you’ll find for marine life and reef photography.
The Puerto Princessa underground river and Honda Bay are both within driving distance. Tubbataha Reef is also nearby Ugong Rock, the local mountain, so if you need a break from reef diving, you can take a hike up the mountain and zip-line back down.
There are numerous luxury hotels nearby, as well as smaller beach cottages depending on what sort of atmosphere you prefer.
1. Chiang Rai, Thailand
The province of Chiang Rai in mountainous northern Thailand has a wide array of attractions but its small capital city maintains a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
The city was capital to the independent Lanna kingdom from 1296 to 1558. But the city retains many walls and moats from its cultural and religious history.
The city offers cheap, but quality accommodations and delicious local cuisine. The really amazing part of Chiang Rai though, is the city architecture. The Buddhist temples display ancient handmade statues and structures.
The Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park is home to Thailand’s largest collection of ancient Lanna artifacts, antique and contemporary art museums, and beautiful landscaping.
If you want to get a sense of the local culture, you can book an overnight, two-day, or three-day hill tribe walking experience. You can tour the Hmong Hill tribe’s farms and landscape.
Take YOUR Perfect Southeast Asia Travel Vacation
So what kind of experience are you looking for on your trip? Do you want to immerse yourself in the local culture or get away from the hustle and bustle of regular life on a secluded beach?
We’ve offered several different types of vacation spots in Southeast Asia. Whether you’re looking for a quiet beach, a bustling party scene, art and culture, a jungle village, or lush coral reefs, you can find the perfect hidden vacation spot for you.
So what are you waiting for?
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