Southeast Asia is so much larger than most think. There are numerous pictures of white sand beaches online as well as rainforest villages that look beautiful and peaceful. However, this does not mean that the entire region is quiet. It is a mix of adventure experiences and many destinations you might not know about. That is where we are diving in – the hidden travel destinations in Southeast Asia.
There are almost 60 million people that visit Southeast Asia every single year. What guides don’t tell you is that the top tourist spots can be really crowded. This is why we want to highlight some really incredible hidden gems you need to know more about and consider for your next vacation.
Gili Islands – Indonesia
First on this list of hidden travel destinations In Southeast Asia is the Gili Islands which are picturesque and easily overlooked. When you visit, you can see countless sandy beaches and coconut palm trees, all while experiencing the breeze.
If you are looking for a lively scene with many restaurants and complex nightlife, go to Gili Trawangan. If you want to experience local culture, head over to Gili Air. Those that are looking for a secluded getaway can go to Gili Meno.
Even if the Gili Islands are much more popular now than they used to be, they are still secluded and can be considered hidden gems of Southeast Asia.
Pai – Thailand
This small town is located in a beautiful remote mountain valley, close to the Myanmar border, right on the Pai River. Mountain backpackers that visit the country always have this destination on their bucket list.
Even if Pai can be pretty busy during cold months, during the rest of the year, it can be incredibly easy to find affordable, quiet accommodation. The cultural scene is wonderful and you can see some well-maintained ancient Buddhist temples.
Tubbataha Reef – Philippines
If you are interested in diving, you absolutely need to visit Tubbataha Reef. There are countless dive sites there with sea turtles, exotic fish, small sharks, shipwrecks, manta rays and colourful corals. It is best to book for an entire week to experience everything that the area has to offer.
To make matters even better, both Honda Bay and Puerto Princessa are really close, just like Ugong Rock. This means Tubbataha Reef can be your base for many exciting adventures ranging from zip-lining to reef diving.
Chiang Rai – Thailand
Chiang Rai is located in the northern mountainous Thailand region. It offers many attractions but even so, the capital city has a relaxed and quiet atmosphere. Here you can find some quality, cheap accommodations and numerous delicious local dishes.
What is particularly interesting with Chiang Rai is the architecture of the city. There are different Buddhist temples to visit that display handmade statues and more. The beautiful landscape, contemporary art museums, and antique museums only add to the allure.
Those that visit and want to get a glimpse of local culture should book a hill tribe walking experience. This gives you access to the tribe’s landscape and farms.
It does not matter what experience you are currently looking for. Southeast Asia surely has what you need. However, it is better to stay away from the top tourist spots. This is because they can be pretty crowded.
This region is perfect to get immersed in local culture and save money at the same time. The hidden gems we mentioned above are just some of the local spots that few people know and that can give you long-lasting memories.