Top 5 Destinations in South-east Asia
Choosing destinations to visit on a trip to South-east Asia can be difficult. There are so many worthy cities and areas to choose from depending on your interests. If you're making up your itinerary based solely upon natural beauty, the choices become a bit easier to make, but there are still enough to keep you travelling for several years to see them all. However, if your time in Asia is limited, here are five destinations that will thrill you with their natural, tropical beauty. Be sure to bring your camera along as simply describing these sights to friends and family at home will not do them justice. They have to be seen to be believed.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay has an area of well over 1,500 square kilometres that include around 2,000 spectacular, foliage-draped, limestone islets. Many of the islets are hollow and feature grottos and caves that can be explored. Most of these islets are uninhabited. The residents of the bay mostly live in four, fishing villages, and make their living harvesting fish and molluscs from the surrounding waters. The easiest way to get to Halong Bay is to take a bus, minibus, or car from Hanoi, which is 170 KM away. Once you’ve arrived, board one of the many boat cruise operators to tour the islets in comfort. You have your choice of a luxury cruiser or a converted junk that offers bunk beds or double beds. They also offer English-speaking guides, meals and drinks and on-board entertainment.
Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, Indonesia
You’ll be entering a place of strange and desolate beauty when you visit this national park on the island of Java, Indonesia. Both Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru are active volcanoes and will constantly be erupting during your visit. They are not dangerous to visitors as long as you keep your distance. But, climbing the mountains requires both a permit and some planning and is best undertaken only with an experienced local guide. The landscape is gravel plains, volcanic sand and the denuded cones of the volcanos, although lush, green, tropical valleys are scattered about throughout the area, fed by rivers from the peaks. Visiting the national park is truly an awe-inspiring experience. To be surrounded with such powerful earth forces will truly take your breath away.
Luang Prabang, Laos
One of the most charming and picturesque cities in South-east Asia, Luang Prabang was listed as a UNESCO heritage site in 1995. The picturesque beauty of the city is provided by its religious, cultural and architectural heritage, which has been well-maintained and preserved by the residents. The city contains numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries as well as French colonial buildings. The city sits on a peninsula where the Nam Khan and the Mekong River converge. It’s surrounded by lush, green mountains that provide a dramatic backdrop to the majestic temples and saffron-robed monks collecting their daily alms amid the residents going about their daily routines. Trekking in the green hills surrounding the city is a popular tourist activity, and there are kilometres of trails suitable for all fitness levels of visitors.
Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia
Mount Kinabalu, is a mountain in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site that is also the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago. The mountain is listed at 4,095 metres high. The altitude is the reason for the Kinabalu montane alpine meadows ecoregion that surrounds the area. It provides a home for thousands of species of plants and more than 400 species of birds and animals that inhabit the ecoregion. The stark beauty of the rocks and boulders at the mountain’s peak is entrancing and provides stunning views of the surrounding rainforests. Climbing the peak is a popular activity for visitors and the climb not difficult for a person in good physical health without the need for mountaineering equipment. But climbers must have an accredited guide accompany them to comply with park regulations.
Krabi Province, Thailand
Krabi Province has been a favourite destination for travellers ever since the world first saw the limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. It's also become a favourite location for the most famous blockbuster filmmakers. Krabi is a paradise for rock-climbing enthusiasts, explorers, hikers, snorkelers and divers. The many limestone cliffs in the province can contain many dramatic caves and grottos. And the surrounding jungles have numerous, picturesque streams and waterfalls to delight hikers. The waters surrounding the area contain both hard and soft coral reefs that provide a home for an abundance of colourful marine life. If you can visit just some of these destinations on your visit to South-east Asia, your trip will be worthwhile. The sheer natural beauty of the surroundings and the warmth of the people you will meet along the way will surely have an impact on you. You'll fall in love with this stunningly picturesque part of the world, and the images you capture will be treasured for the rest of your life.