I don’t know about you guys but the thought of being cooped up in the air for 8 hours or more does terrify me a little. While the most beautiful wonders in the world are usually known to be in faraway places like Iceland or Scandinavia, there are many hidden gems in Southeast Asia which haven’t been discovered yet!
So, we’ve carefully curated a list for you to discover these 9 mind-blowing getaways save the flying time (and some money, of course)! ?
1. Koh Lipe, ThailandCredit: @olivia_yoyo on Instagram
While everyone else is flocking to Krabi or Phuket, Koh Lipe is the underrated version of Thailand’s signature teal waters and white sandy beaches. Koh Lipe is a small island located in southern Thailand’s Satun Province near the Thailand/Malaysia border. So yes, ferries and speedboats are available at three major points of embarkation, which is Krabi, Phuket (both in Thailand) and Langkawi (Malaysia). Talk about being highly accessible! ?
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Some of the popular activities include snorkelling, scuba diving and sea kayaking. With beautiful diving spots such as the 8 Mile Rock and Yong Hua Shipwreck, you can definitely count on Koh Lipe for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Due to the size of the island, you’re also able to walk around easily or catch a motorbike for the thrill junkies.
2. Siquijor, PhilippinesCredit: @wir_weit_weg on Instagram
Siquijor is known to the locals as a healing haven, filled with traditional healers brewing old medications. As promised, Siquijor is definitely a healing haven for tourists too. Scattered with waterfalls and teal waters around the island, you’ll definitely be blown away by Siquijor’s beauty. To get a whiff of serenity, do head to Salagdoong beach. It is highly recommended by the locals too!
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For the risk-takers, there are 7-metre and a 10-metre cliff diving spots in the area. In addition to that, there are man-made water slides carved into rocks that will make you squeal - definitely the right combination of peace and thrill! While you’re enjoying the activities, just ensure you take a little breather to enjoy the spectacular views ?
3. Kratie, Cambodia
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To get a truly immersive Asian village experience, you need to travel to the Kratie province in Cambodia. Home to one of the best Cambodian sunsets, Kratie has more to offer than just meadows and French architecture.
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Many travellers are attracted to the exotic freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins found in Kampi, about 15km north of the provincial capital, but the town itself is alluring on its own and makes a good base from which to explore the surrounding villages.
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The best way to explore the Kratie province is by riding a bicycle as you’ll be able to interact with the locals and take a whiff of the morning cocoa air.
4. Ba Na Hills French Village, Da Nang, Vietnam
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In the midst of the warm and clear sunrises, the picture-perfect Marble Mountains in Da Nang Vietnam look like sculptures. They're a group of 5 limestone and marble hills in the Hoa Hai District, approximately 9km south of Da Nang. One of the recommended activities is to climb up the marble hills to catch amazing views of the beaches! Other than the beautiful natural landscapes that Da Nang has to offer, one of the most prominent landmarks in Da Nang is actually an accommodation that you can stay in! ?
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Nestled at the top of the rustic Ba Na Hills Mountain range outside of Da Nang, Mercure Ba Na Hills French Village ensures that your whole accommodation experience will be nothing short of captivating. The hotel facilities cater to all your needs, from shopping to recreational activities such as swimming. Did we also mention that they have their own in-house cable car services? ? Imagine getting to your hotel room via a swanky mode of transport.
Credit: Jen Baculina on Facebook
What’s more alluring about this accommodation is the European-inspired architecture. You will definitely get the best out of both worlds when you’re staying in Mercure Ba Na Hills French Village – aesthetically pleasing nature and IG-worthy photo spots! ?
An Son Hamlet, Hoa Ninh Commune, Da Nang, Vietnam 550000
+84 236 3799 888
5. Vigan, Philippines
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Developed in the 16th century, Vigan is an example of a preserved Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture shows a combination of cultural elements from the Philippines, China and Europe, making it a riveting cultural landscape.
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Due to its size, Vigan’s attractions are all in close proximity to one another. Perfect for a 2D1N stay, this town will give you a break from bustling Manila. With European-inspired plazas and the winding Mestizo River, you don’t really have to travel to Seville or Venice for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
6. Bangka-Belitung Islands, Indonesia
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The Bangka-Belitung Islands are a province located off the coast of East Sumatra that comprises islets surrounding two larger islands, Bangka and Belitung, and are known for being untouched areas of beauty. We’ve all seen Pamukkale in Turkey, but how about Danau Kaolin in Bangka Island? The lake was formed from an abandoned mining site. After mining actives came to a halt, land that has been dredged and filled with rainwater became a beautiful artificial lake.
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The best part is you get to enjoy the crystal blue water without having to worry about any sulphur, as compared to other well-known craters in Indonesia! Bangka-Belitung Islands are also known for their water sports such as snorkelling and fishing ?
7. Z9 Resort, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Some of the things tourists associate Thailand with are the cuisine and friendly people. However, there is a hidden gem in west Thailand known for its vivid history and… a floating resort! And yes, we’re not talking about the Maldives or Bora Bora.
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The Z9 resort in Kanchanaburi, Thailand offers 15 contemporary, upscale rooms that give you panoramic views of the reservoir surrounding it. With only 15 rooms available, rest assured that the service and quality would not be compromised. The resort also has in-house activities such as kayaking for adventurous souls.
Credits: Z9 Resorts website
For those of you who prefer a much more laid-back trip, grab your best buddy and sip a cuppa while overlooking mountains and sunsets.
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Kanchanaburi is also known for its Death Rail tour, which brings you about The Death Railway built during WWII. The bridge honours the prisoners-of-war who spent their last days building the railway. If you’re a history junkie, Kanchanaburi should definitely be in your list!
8. Phu Quoc Island, VietnamCredits: Khanh Le on Facebook
Travellers often associate Vietnam with the bustling Ho Chi Minh or the undulating waters of Halong Bay. Phu Quoc Island offers beautiful beaches and passionate sunsets, making it the perfect holiday destination for travellers desiring a serene scene.
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Nestled at 45 kilometres west of Ha Tien in the far south of Vietnam, the northern part of the island is relatively off limits due to its status as a UNESCO-listed national park, but there are plenty of resorts and F&B outlets in the southern side.
Credit: Phương Hà Nguyễn on Facebook
Other than the water activities, visitors can also venture through traditional villages, large nature parks and Buddhist pagodas, all of which can be easily accessed by motorbikes, taxis or day-trip tour agencies.
9. Koh Yao Yai, ThailandCredit: @minmin_manatsanan on Instagram
Another Thai island makes our list in the form of the stunning Koh Yao Yai. This island that sits between Phuket and Krabi tends to get overlooked by tourists, but all the better, because it boasts all the beauty that the island has to offer, without being overcrowded or over-commercialised. Visitors most commonly get to Koh Yao Yai by flying to Phuket, then taking a ferry from either the Bang Rong or Chianwanich piers.
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Bask in the tranquil beauty of Koh Yao Yai - you'll be greeted every morning with incredible views! Pamper yourself at one of the private resorts on the island, or indulge in water activities such as snorkelling, island hopping or even kayaking through the mangroves on the island.
Credit: @ieva.uli on Instagram
Interestingly, the population is also 90% Muslim, so as you visit the island, you'll be able to see the religion interwoven into everyday life in this slice of paradise (not to mention it'll be easy to find halal food!)
With breathtaking natural landscapes and architecture, these 9 getaways will absolutely blow your mind once you’ve set foot on them. ? So, the next thing to do now is to book your flights and start packing!