Destinations / Travel

From lush rainforests to pristine beaches, visit these 13 destinations in South East Asia

Our pick of the most beautiful, picturesque places to visit on your next trip to the region of South East Asia.

One of Australia's closest neighbouring regions is that of South East Asia – a destination comprising 11 countries, each with their own vast and impressive landscapes, histories, cultures and cuisines. Not only is there something for every traveller here, you'll probably have a hard time picking just one place to visit.

The territory is inclusive of some of the world's most awe-inducing natural scenic wonders – lush mountains, pristine beaches, ancient rainforests and more.

Here is our pick of the 13 most breathtaking places across Southeast Asia, including popular tourist hotspots and hidden gems.


1. Halong Bay, Vietnam

Once listed among the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Halong Bay is an accessible and beautiful destination to immerse yourself in. Known for its towering limestone karsts, spend a day on the water exploring the bay by boat, cruising through caves, visiting floating villages and relaxing on the beach.


2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia


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The ancient temple city of Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia, and is the locus of the world's largest religious structure. You can visit the city by bike, helicopter – even a hot air balloon – for an insightful look into the history of the country and culture of Cambodia.

Situated in Siem Reap, the chic new epicentre of Cambodia, you'll find everything from luxurious hotels to world-class dining and shopping in the area too.



3. Paisu Pok Lake, Indonesia


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Don't miss an opportunity to dive into the crystal-clear waters of Paisu Pok Lake Luk Panenteng, situated amongst the dense forest of coconut trees in Banggai Islands, Central Sulawesi. It's a lesser-known spot, so well worth the trip before it becomes a traveller's hot spot.


4. Ban Gioc Waterfall, Vietnam


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The country's largest waterfall, Vietnam's Ban Gioc Waterfall is located on the Quay Son River, which borders China. The falls are also just a few kilometers away from one of the country's most renowned cave systems, Nguom Ngao Cave.


5. Ko Phi-Phi, Thailand

Perhaps one of Thailand's most famous southern islands, Koh Phi Phi island is the darling of the Andaman Coast, and a short 45 minute boat ride from either Phuket or Krabi (or closer to 90 minutes by ferry).

Tepid turquoise waters here are fringed by jungle and tropical beaches, where you can find time to relax and cavort in tranquility, or party to your hearts content.


5. Bagan, Myanmar

Myanmar's 'Old Bagan' is one of the region's most famed archaeological sites, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. Home to more than 3,500 Buddhist temples, pagodas and religious structures, the site is

Bagan is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. It is home to over 3,500 ancient Buddhist pagodas, temples, and other religious structures – the largest and densest in the world.


6. Batanes, Philippines


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The tiny province of Batanes is an archipelago of islands in north of the Philippines, known for its scenic waters, lush terrain and clean environment. It's a little bit more expensive to travel there, due to limited flights, weather and sea conditions, but its extraordinary beach-filled coastline and safe surrounds make for a wonderful holiday destination.


7. Phang-Nga, Thailand

Mountains topped by jungle, and bordered by dense rivers make up the province of Thailand's Phang-Nga. Bordering the Andaman Sea, Phang-Nga Bay is recognisable for its towering limestone rock islets (which you may remember from the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. 

Jump aboard a kayak to explore the bay's sunken caverns and rock formations, or take a guided tour of the bay to visit secret emerald-green lagoons and small islands.


8. Mondulkiri, Cambodia


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The forested hills of Mondulkiri are home to some of the country's most powerful waterfalls, like the Bou Sra waterfall. The protected surrounding forests are home to a vibrant community of species like monkeys, crocodiles, leopords, and the country's endangered national fowl: the Giant Ibis.


9. The Cameron Highlands, Malaysia


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One of Malaysia's most popular traveller destinations, The Cameron Highlands offer a natural oasis for those looking for a break from the beach. Lush rolling hills and tea plantation punctuate the picturesque mountainous region.

There's also a wide range of accommodation available in the area, from luxury hotels to more affordable spots to rest your head.


10. Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

The world's largest natural limestone cave is the almighty Son Doong Cave, which rests in the glorious Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. The underground system is home to its own fauna rivers, vegetation and climate.

To enter the cave, you'll need to join an official guided cave tour (visitors cannot enter on their own), and be ready for a physically active couple of days camping through the caves.


11. Siargao Island, Philippines


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Located southeast of Tacloban, Siargao is a teardrop-shaped island in the Philippine Sea. It's a pristine spot for surfing, rock climbing and caving – or for simply lounging on one of its many beaches. The island is home to an array of resorts and accommodation, and plenty of wining and dining spots – or you can take a day trip by boat to one of its neighbouring islands.


12. Luang Prabang, Laos

The ancient capital of Laos' northern province is thousands of years old, and lies in a valley where the Mekong and Nam Kham rivers converge. Visited for its many Buddhist temples that date back as far as the 16th century, it is also home to Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.

Serene cliffs and teeming green paddy fields are magnificent sights to be seen on a hike here, or you can go rafting or kayaking in the area.


13. Singapore


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While it's not exactly a natural wonder, the beauty of the city of Singapore isn't to be underestimated. Home to some of the world's most impressive contemporary architectural feats, luxurious retail and dining experiences, and world-class resorts and boutqiue hotels, Singapore is one of the world's most cutting edge and global cities.


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