By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2019
Beautiful beaches, ancient cities, untouched rainforest, stunning lakes and exquisite cuisine: South-East Asia has it all.
It’s no wonder then that the region continues to heave with tourists, who fly in from around the world in droves every day. Most flock to popular attractions like Angkor Wat or Ha Long Bay, but there are also plenty of hidden gems off the beaten track like Khao Sok National Park and Georgetown in Malaysia.
I’m one of those travellers who loves South-East Asia, whether it’s the beautiful beaches with their crystal-clear water, the stunning ancient cities or the delicious street food found on every corner.
One visit to South-East Asia and you’ll be hooked.
You’ll want to explore every nook and cranny, from rainforests teeming with wildlife to the bustling big cities dotted around the continent.
Beaches, lakes and islands
Tourist hotspot: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
After huffing and puffing up 400 steep steps, I reach the observation deck at the highest point of Ti Top Island and am met with breathtaking views of the emerald waters and towering limestone pinnacles of Ha Long Bay.
Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam boasts about 1600 islands, making it the perfect location for island hopping.
Though new hotels are being built on some of the islands, staying on a diesel-powered junk or modern cruiser gives travellers an up-close experience.
Most of the boats cruise around the many islands, giving visitors a chance to enjoy a variety of the activities on offer.
Like me, you can climb to the top of Ti Top Island and enjoy the stunning views, or visit Cat Ba Island and swim with turtles while golden-headed langur monkeys swing in trees nearby.
If trekking isn’t your thing, there are countless places where you can swim, snorkel, canoe and soak in some sun. Ban Chan Beach is off the beaten track and provides a stunning mountainous backdrop of sheer cliffs.