We always say that there are no places to go, since what can be the place to take the best memories of your trip, for another it may mean nothing. We, for example, attach great importance to food, which is why Malaysia, among other things, is among our favorite countries. But we also read many people say that there is nothing interesting to see, which we can not understand.
Others can not understand how we did not spend more time on the beaches, and how on our second trip through Thailand we toured the South without going to any of the islands. We prefer to leave the sand and sun for the Philippines, Malaysia and even Cambodia, where we can be quieter than in the touristy Koh Phi Phi, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao. But for those who like going to the beach by day and partying at night, there are few places like these.
Singapore we love, while many say that it is not necessary to spend more than 2 or 3 days because it is nothing more than a modern city. From Chiang Mai many are in love, but for us it is one of the most prostituted (literally) places in all Southeast Asia.
When you are planning a trip to Southeast Asia it is difficult to choose, or because you do not know anything about the places you are going and you go because everyone goes, or because you read a lot and everyone tempts you. The main recommendation that we give to those who ask us for itineraries is that they do not try to cover much in a short time, because you know the saying of which does not squeeze, besides that you will end up tired and spending a lot more.
But as tastes are tastes, a Malaysian would say while eating a choclo ice cream, we decided to write this list with our 10 favorite places in Southeast Asia. The only country we have yet to meet is East Timor, although we will return for you!
We do not know every corner of Southeast Asia, this is best places to visit in southeast asia
10 Best Tourist Places in Southeast Asia
1. Tam Coc Vietnam, Best Places in Southeast Asia
"It's like Halong Bay, but without water," Guada from Hasta Pronto Catalina had told us. Yes, it is a good definition to give you an idea of what this place looks like, but the best thing is that you will not feel like you got into a tourist anthill. The reason why many do not come to Tam Coc is because most of the tour bus companies do not include it among their stops. Well, do not expect to have reached the most remote spot in Southeast Asia, but it does not compare with Vietnam's most famous destination.
We were given five gray and rainy days. Following the laws of Murphy, on the day we left we woke up with a radiant sun, which at least let us see those mountains that look like out of a traditional Chinese painting. When the wind and rain left us, we set off on a bicycle, pedaling along dirt paths between mountains and narrow alleys with stone houses, men dressed in dark green and military cap and red flags with yellow star everywhere . An ideal place to film a movie from the Vietnam War. Or better a romantic one.
Many refer to Tam Coc as Ninh Binh, but this is a noisy and rather ugly town that is 7 kilometers away. While it has more cheap accommodation, it is best to stay in Tam Coc where there are also some backpacking options and it is much quieter and picturesque, plus you will be at the entrance of the National Park.
2. Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei Darussalam, Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia
We have already told you several times about our love for small and little-known countries. Those on the world map are only a tiny dot and no one speaks, neither for good, nor for bad reasons. These countries are the most intriguing cause, precisely because we know very little about them.
"And what about ... Brunei?" We asked. What better way to find out than going to Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the Sultanate.
We found a very quiet town with a village atmosphere. With one of the most beautiful mosques we have seen, where we sit to watch magical sunsets, relaxed, as all the locals seem to be. With a parochial museum where showcased protocol gifts were made to the Sultan ("What are we doing, Sultán, with this that a Menem from Argentina sends him?" "What do I ... !? And, what most astonished us, with the biggest floating people in the world, Kampong Yesterday, formed by 42 villages united by catwalks, where almost 40,000 people live in palafito houses. There are schools, mosques, markets, service stations for boats, police station, fire station, a hospital ... in short, everything you can imagine of a town, but on the water.
For many, Brunei has nothing worthwhile, but those afternoons in the courtyard of the mosque or by boat by Kampong Yesterday were special to us.
3. Pulau Kapas in Malaysia, Best Southeast Asian Beaches to Visit
If the paradise you idealize has soft white sand, turquoise and warm water, live coral with goldfish and some bar but do not disturb the atmosphere ... then Pulau Kapas is close enough.
We believe that nothing can be more fleeting than this information, because in a few years surely the small island will not be the same. The beach will be crowded, diving tours will triple by affecting the coral, bars will occupy the entire coast and the jungle will be thrown down to meet the demand for accommodation. Hopefully this does not happen, but it seems inevitable. From what we live, when someone talks about postal beach, Pulau Kapas is one of those we imagine. No matter how many beaches you have in Thailand or the Perhentian (the most famous ones in Malaysia), we would tell you to save yourself some days for this beauty.
4. Kawah Ijen in Indonesia, Cheapest Destinations in Southeast Asia
Mount Bromo takes the entire press in Java, causing too much tourists to take much of the magic out of the experience of walking on an active volcano. But if you look to the East, there is another cone that boils and sends smoke signals: Kawah Ijen.
Unlike most active volcanoes in Indonesia, for the ascent to Kawah Ijen you do not need guides, permits, or previous experience, which makes it a very accessible and cheap place.
On the night walk to the top you will not be alone. Next to you, the "devil workers", men with herniated backs that mortose their lives in search of sulfur, the liquid gold that is extracted from the crater of the volcano, are going to march. The turquoise lake and the surrounding landscape will be your reward. For them, it will be just another day in one of the most unhealthy jobs in the world.
5. Mae Salong in Thailand, Favorite Places in Southeast Asia
Thailand is full of super tourist destinations, but we stayed with the friendly Mae Salong, one that not many consider.
Mae Salong has nothing to do with other parts of the country, but it is as if they had taken a piece of the Yunnan Province (China) and taken it to Thailand. The entrances of the houses are decorated with red lamps and the little drawings that welcome you to each side of the door, the people speak yunanés, they watch Chinese television, there is Chinese food, the school classes we went through were in Mandarin, and appearances are from Yunnan. If it were not for the 7-Eleven and because the Baht is still the currency, we would say that we are in China.
The climate is cool, the surrounding mountains, tea plantations cover the hills, cheap accommodation and ethnic minorities are not disguised for tourists to take photos, but still wear their traditional clothing.
After four months of traveling, our place in Thailand arrived just when we were about to leave. If you travel north, do not just stay with Chiang Mai, there is much more to see.
6. Yangon in Myanmar, Beautiful Places in Southeast Asia
Without waiting for it, we fell in love with the personality of Yangon. We arrived thinking that it would be one of those cities in which you want to escape barely stepping on it, but some of it caught us.
Picturesque coming down, photogenically dirty and happily chaotic. Yangon is unlike any city you knew. When you thought it was similar to Calcutta, you wake up in the morning and see the monks receiving their daily offerings, then you realize that you are not in India. The mosques make it look like Dhaka, but the pagodas remind you that you are in Southeast Asia. But if you're in the Southeast, why is nothing familiar? Yangon is the core of the transition between these two subcontinents and, as such, has the best and the worst of each.
Myanmar may not welcome you with the most beautiful face, but the real face. You may hear many tell you that it is not worth spending more than necessary in Yangon, but it would be a shame to listen to them, since in the capital you will have the best introduction to what awaits you on the trip.
7. Flores Island in Indonesia, Best Holiday Destinations in Asia for Family
Traveling by the island of Flores we arrive at Labuan Bajo, a village from which the visits to the islands of Komodo and Rinca are organized. At first we had our doubts to go, since the only way, unless you can pay the boat for yourself, is with a group. But two Chileans came to speak to us, and with them a couple of Germans, saying that they needed two more to be able to leave the next day. When we thought about how close we were to the only place in the world where we could see the Komodo Dragons we had heard so much about, we were convinced.
The two-day tour did not stay on these huge beasts. Just for the snorkelling would have been worth doing. The sensation of swimming with giant stripes, with that artistic passivity with which they move, is exciting. In the Flores Sea one can still see what would be seen in the southern islands of Thailand if there are not hundreds of boats per day destroying underwater life.
Although we are fervent anti-tours, especially in countries like Indonesia where the songs abound, everything came out much better than we expected. If we had stayed Labuan Bajo, we would have gotten lost in this magical place, outside and in the water.
8. Singapore, Relaxing Places in Southeast Asia
Singapore is a modern city and nothing more? But please do not make us violent! Singapore is a mixture of cultures, united under the same sky and the same flag, but maintaining its traditions that make them unique. In one day you will feel that you were in China, India and the Middle East. You will enter a Buddhist temple and see bellowing souvenirs in Chinatown, then lunch a thali in Little India to the rhythm of Bollywood music and in the afternoon listen to the call to prayer of the Sultan Mosque as you walk through Kampong Glam, the Muslim Quarter . And save energy for the night, because the thing gets good, with recitals and free movies, lights show in Marina Bay and ladies night in several clubs.
Singapore is Asia in relaxed version, where laws are enforced, where no car / motorbike / truck / tuk-tuk / pickup truck will stomp you if you try to cross the street, nor will you be charged extra for being a foreigner. If you come from traveling in Southeast Asia, it will be a place where you can lower your guard and relax. If you just start your trip, you're going to have the most peaceful introduction to what's to come.
9. Nagtabon in Philippines, Best Destinations in Southeast Asia
We believe that here we are revealing one of the great secrets of the Philippines. We would like to keep it for ourselves, but if we are talking about our 10 favorite places in Southeast Asia, we can not be selfish.
The idyllic beach that we present is called Nagtabon. It is located only 40 kilometers from Puerto Princesa, on the island of Palawan, but very few know it, which makes it much more special.
If it had not been for Jonathan, who had lodged us at Puerto Princesa, we would have missed it too. As a military man, Jonathan knows about his country, and assured us that Nagtabon is the best beach in Palawan.
Despite being very close to Puerto Princesa, there is no direct transport to Nagtabon. We reached our finger and walked quite a bit under the harsh sun, but when we arrived we found one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. Transpired we ran to meet her, and there she was. White, fluffy, pristine, free of stones and plants, refreshing and crystalline ... empty.
10. Penang in Malaysia, Favorite City in South-East Asia
If we have to choose our favorite city in Southeast Asia, Georgetown, the capital of Penang, is namber uan. So much we like that the second time we came we stayed for 15 days and that's when our love began to grow.
Georgetown is a bohemian city like few in Asia, with its houses that by careless are picturesque; With art tattooed on its walls; With the untidy Chinese business that does not seem to have changed in decades to the delight of the photographers and, to make it complete, also has the food ... uffff ¡enak !, almost without discussion the best in Malaysia. Penang changed in recent years to attract more tourism, but not sold to the masses, but uplifting its essence.
In addition to all this, there is also Little India, the most colorful neighborhood in the city. If you've never been to India, this is a very light version of the original, where you'll be able to enjoy music, atmosphere and food, but without stepping on cow poop, having to dodge piles of garbage or being chased by unbearable sellers.
If you want to rest from the city, on the other side of the island is Penang National Park. There are some people in the daytime, but not much. But if you spend a night, chances are you have the whole beach to yourself.