Heading to South East Asia? We share the 5 best destinations to visit in South East Asia that you can’t miss, along with Asia travel tips!
Not sure when to visit? Read this guide to the best times to visit Southeast Asia.
Tips for visiting Asia
- Vaccinations – Visit your local doctor’s surgery or health centre at least 5 months before you travel. Some vaccinations take a while to order in and need to be taken over a three-month period. Explain exactly where you’re going and they will be able to advise you on which jabs you’ll need. This site is an easy-to-navigate NHS website that can help you plan your vaccinations.
- Plan around the weather – Check the weather for each of your destinations and plan around the heat. Avoid monsoon season and aim for the low season to get the best deals.
- Travel Insurance – linked to the above, get your travel insurance! There are too many stories of 20-something backpackers getting into a horrific accident and not affording the hospital bills because they weren’t insured. Get decent insurance! We use World Nomads to get the best offer and to be fully covered. You can even get money back on delayed flights.
- Visas – Myanmar, Vietnam and China require visas before arrival so do your research and get them sorted before you leave
Best destinations in South East Asia
Home the arguably the best temple complex in the world and our favourite Temple in Asia, Siem Reap in Cambodia welcomes millions of visitors each year as they look to marvel at Angkor Wat. The complex of ancient ruins is recognised for its appearance in the Tomb Raider movies but explore deeper to find quieter, less visited temples. You can also learn more about the country’s history in the capital of Phnom Penh.
- Everything is cheap: hotels, transport, food, drink and attractions are all relatively cheap and perfect for those on a budget.
- The people: everyone we came across in Cambodia was warm and friendly citizens who welcomed tourists to their country.
- Attractions: The capital city of Phnom Penh holds some destructive history that is worth learning about and exploring. Whilst you are there whilst Siem Reap is home to the stunning and expansive Angkor Wat, an ancient complex that was hidden from civilisation for thousands of years.
- Tourism: Cambodia is still fairly quiet in comparison to its neighbouring countries, meaning prices are still low but there is still a collection of restaurants and bars available.
- Location: Wedged between Thailand and Vietnam, there are many buses and trains that offer routes into Cambodia as well as a growing network of domestic flights that arrive in the country daily.
- The country is under-developed so expect bumpier car and bus journeys.
The island city of Singapore located in Southeast Asia is the perfect example of diverse cultures living side by side beautifully. With a community made of Malaysia, Indian, Chinese, English and Arab, you can expect a diverse variety of food to try from all areas of the world. You can’t fault Singapore for being an incredibly clean destination so you can feel comfortable exploring the lush green gardens and attractions around the country.
- Innovative: at the height of sophistication, the contemporary city of Singapore is a perfect choice for those looking for some luxury in their travels. Here, skyscrapers meets tradition and you will marvel at the differences and contrasts across the city.
- Attractions: Singapore is starting to build and provide more and more fun attractions for tourists heading to the city. Marina Bay is a treasure trove of casinos and shopping whilst the Sentosa island offers a host of family attractions, including a Universal Studios.
- Neighbourhoods: Singapore is made up of lots of different neighbourhoods that are worth a visit to explore themselves. Each area has a unique feel and vibe whilst offering some great attractions, stores and food.
- Food: With such a vast variety of areas and influences, you can get so many different types of food in Singapore, all fairly cheap and mostly delicious!
- Hotel prices: As a modern metropolitan city, accommodation in Singapore can be fairly pricey especially for those on a tight budget. However, try one of the many hostels available or a hotel slightly further away from the centre of Singapore to grab cheaper rates.
The Philippines is a beautiful place to visit but is yet to open to tourists fully. However, once it does, make sure to head to the country and explore Palawan.
Expect karst limestones, endless beaches, mystical caves to explore and amazing jungles. Divers will love this destination so make sure you visit in 2022 whilst the crowds are low and the islands are quiet; offering you plenty of escape.
- Variety: Philippines offers a mixture of busy city centres, luscious landscapes and picturesque beaches. There is so much to enjoy across the country of Philippines that makes the place well worth a visit,
- Cost: Hotels, transport, attractions, food and drink are all pretty cheap in the Philippines, making it ideal for travellers on all budgets.
- Beauty: There are some truly stunning sights to be found in Philippines that is untouched from bustling tourists and large co-operations.
- Tourism: Philippines is not as crowded as beaches and cities in Thailand or Bali, making it a scenic and quieter area to visit.
- Transport: Because the country is a developing area with less tourists than the rest of South East Asia, transport between the cities and different islands can be slightly trickier and longer than in the rest of Asia.
Vietnam has a lot to offer visitors; from exciting and bustling cities, rich history, amazing food and super cheap travel experiences. As the country slowly reopens to international tourism, you can explore the beauty of Vietnam in destinations such as Da Lat, Halong Bay, Da Nang, Sa Pa, Hoi An and Phi Quoc Island.
- Attractions: There are so many different cities, towns and attractions to explore in Vietnam; from the War museums and Cu Chi tunnels to one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World; Halong Bay. You could spend months in Vietnam exploring and learning about this rich culture.
- Cost: Vietnam is one of the cheapest places in South East Asia, with private ensuite rooms costing as little as £5/$8 a night. Everything is accessible at great prices including flights, transport, attractions and lifestyle.
- Food: The Vietnamese food is just delicious! Get your hands on a Pho or Bien Sandwich to enjoy some mind-blowing tastes. Vietnam is packed with vendors, street stalls and markets that offer some of the best food we tried in Asia.
- Transport: There are lots of places in Vietnam that are worth a visit to, particularly along the east coast. Buses to and from Vietnam from neighbouring countries are relatively cheap and hassle free; with lots of night buses available. Trains and buses between destinations in Vietnam are also quick and cost very little whilst flights don’t break the bank either.
- Tourism: Vietnam is a popular destination for most backpackers exploring the region, meaning that Ho Chi Minh City in particular is full of tourists and travellers. That being said, we didn’t find that the attractions, bars or restaurants were any different because of the tourism so this isn’t a massive con.
If you have been following our blog for a while, you will know that we live in Thailand and I am so happy to say that the country is opening back up to tourism after a year and a half. Hotels in the country are offering fantastic deals whilst the lack of tourism has led to the restoration of the more natural areas of Thailand; beaches are golden again and the national parks are looking more luscious than ever.
Read more about travel in Thailand on our website That Bangkok Life.
- Diversity: There are so many things to see and do in Thailand. Head up north for incredible temples and culture, explore the lively city of Bangkok then relax on one of the many, many beaches on the islands of the south.
- Transport: Thailand has plenty of transport options for visitors, with cheap flights with airlines such as Air Asia, affordable train fares and even fair priced private drivers.
- Food: Thailand has some of the best food in South East Asia that you must try. Not only do they have plenty of local dishes from all regions of the country, but you can also find food from all over the world too.
- Cost: Thailand is still relatively budget friendly, especially if you head to the islands in the South.
- Over-tourism: Thailand is incredibly popular. Youngsters head here to enjoy the cheap nightlife, many choose to retire here and there are plenty of expats (like us) working in the country too. In 2021, the borders are slowly reopening up and tourists are flooding back into the country, meaning you can expect very busy attractions, especially during peak season.
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Hunza is also a nice place to visit
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