My Top 5 Southeast Asia Destinations

Of our 2 year long round the world trip, we have spent almost half of it here in Southeast Asia. There is just something about this area of the world that always seems to draw us back. Some of our favorite places in the world can be found this corner of the universe. Here is the short list of my favorite places in Southeast Asia.

El Nido, Palawan Island PhilippinesEl Nido tour A - Palawan Philippines-3

El Nido will always be at the top of my list of favorite places in the world. The landscape is absolutely stunning. Crystal clear water with jagged limestone cliffs springing up out of the sea. El Nido is a truly unique place in the world. It still has a very remote feeling to it. It’s a place that’s not easy to get to, but definitely worth the trip. Could spend a week here as there are tons of things to do in El Nido.

Hoi An, VietnamHoi An At Night - Long Exposures-12

If I were to travel anywhere in the world solely to eat, it would be Hoi An, Vietnam. This small central Vietnamese town packs a culinary punch. They serve up dishes here that you just can’t find anywhere else. Plus they have their own twist on Vietnamese classics like the Bahn Mi that are worth the trip alone. The ancient city lights up beautifully at night and paper lanterns float down the river. During the day grab a bike a cruise through the bright green rice fields and see a peaceful rural side of Vietnam. Bartering is a big part of Vietnamese culture, it can be overwhelming, but be prepared and it’s kind of fun when you get the hang of it.

Siem Reap, CambodiaCambodia

Siem Reap is world famous for this view. Daily the sunrises over this 9th-century wonder of the world. Siem Reap and the city of Angkor is much more than a single temple, but the ruins of an entire city spread out over a huge area. The grounds are scattered with intricate temples from a time long ago. Hire a Tuk Tuk Driver and cruise around the ancient city.

Bangkok, ThailandBangkok

A trip to South East Asia without visiting Bangkok can hardly count as a trip to the area. Bangkok is always one of our first stops when we visit Southeast Asia. I think it’s best to have three days in Bangkok to truly explore the city. It’s busy, it’s a little crazy, but it’s also beautiful. It may take a few trips to truly appreciate it, but check out our guide to Bangkok to get the most out of the city.

Koh Lipe, ThailandKoh Lipe Ultimate guide - Thailand - Sunrise Beach

Koh Lipe has it all, beautiful beaches, great food, and relaxed vibe. This is for sure one of our favorite islands in the world. We came here by accident and never wanted to leave. The turquoise waters are some of the prettiest we have seen. Longtail boats bob up and down just a few feet from the white sands, this place is paradise. Throw in some top-notch spicy Thai curry and you may never get me to leave. Planning a southern Thailand trip, check out our guide to Koh Lipe including how to get there and all the details.

There you have it, after a year of living in Southeast Asia, these are our top 5 places to visit.

Where is your favorite place in Southeast Asia?

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17 thoughts on “My Top 5 Southeast Asia Destinations”

  1. I would love to go back to South East Asia! I need to give Bangkok another try. We went from a calming beach weekend in Rawaii to the chaos of this major metropolis. Ash and I plan on going back with in the next couple years and truly spend some significant time in the region.

    • Bangkok is a city you either love or hate. We fell in love with it on our first visit, and we have been back 7 times since. It is our favorite city in the world. Your first few hours in Bangkok will set the tone for your opinion on Bangkok, if something bad happened to you or you maybe just got rubbed the wrong way…what part of town did you stay in?

      • Well we stayed in an area that we deemed hotel alley. Ash’s parents gifted us a room at the Aloft in Bangkok. Personally Bangkok did not rub me the wrong way, I can not speak for Ashley though. It just was a bit overwhelming after a leisurely beach vacation with no crowds. I think next time we will start in Bangkok and give ourselves a couple of weeks to dive into the city. Do you have any suggestions on where to stay?

  2. I have to agree that Koh Rong should be well within the top 5 locations. Most likely because of the same sentiments you have with El nido. An untouched paradise is likely to expand into a tourist hotspot (if the cambodian government have their way). Hopefully El Nido will be crossed off my list this year!

  3. I haven’t been to the Philippines yet, but it’s on my list, especially after reading this. But I think your list is certainly on the mark for “must see” places when visiting Southeast Asia. These are all great places!

  4. I’ve been living in Korea for over a year now and still haven’t managed to get down south-east. I’ve only been to Japan so far. Am going to have to bookmark this for when I finally travel down there. 😀

  5. I absolutely love this list, have been to Hoi An, Vietnam. You should explore India as well, if you haven’t been there.

  6. Hi Guys
    Went to Siem Reap and then HoiI An last year and loved it! The people were brilliant and so friendly and helpful
    Will definately return !!
    Only in transit through Bkk and been to Philipines but not Palawan.. So plenty more to explore!!
    Love the blog guys, keep it up!
    Cheers
    Bruce

  7. Currently plotting a return to SEA early next year and these are all on the “potential” list. Somehow, we ended up there for 2 months in 2012 without going to Bangkok, so we will have to fix that first and then Ko Lipe looks fantastic as we are definitely looking for a more chilled out place. Hoi An looks a little like Melaka, where we spent a nice amount of time in Malaysia, so yeah, can’t wait to get back and thanks for the tips!

  8. I haven’t seen as much as Southeast Asia as I should, but my favorite place is Ko Samet. I’ve gone there each of my Southeast Asia visits and had a blast – except when it’s rained.

  9. I agree completely… The only thing I would change is Siem Reap would be replaced with Koh Rong! It is hard to pick just five though. The more I think about it the more places I have to add haha, like Koh Phangan when it is not full moon! Great photos, I love the photos on your blog. What camera do you mainly use?

    • We didn’t make it to Koh Rong! We have a few people in Siem Reap that have just made it extra special to us. We use a Nikon D5300 and D5100 we have two DSLR cameras and a total of 6 lenses with us.

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