So you want to go out in the world and travel? If you are a fan of simply going out and seeing some natural wonders instead of the sometimes over-hyped cities in the western world, then maybe you should consider traveling to Asia and seeing what this amazing continent has to offer. The reality is, we all got caught up so much in traveling to Europe or the States that we forget about Asia.
Even as just a small part of the whole continent, the Southeast has a lot of exciting natural wonders you can visit and spend weeks exploring. Not only is the Southeast quite rich in various attractions, but the whole continent, in general, is quite cheap. All of the expenses you would have for a typical holiday in the western part of the world are halved in Asia and your biggest expense is the plane ticket needed to get there.
On top of that, the regulations for visiting Southeast Asia are quite lax and most countries don’t require visas to visit them. This means no waiting period, just hop on a plane and go to whatever place seems attractive to you in Southeast Asia. While we are at it, let’s see what amazing choices there are for visiting nature’s works of art in this part of the world.
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Since the airport in Bangkok has the most flights from everywhere around the world, Thailand is a good place to start your trip. Although Chiang Mai is a city located in the north of Thailand, its cultural heritage and epic sights around it simply need to be mentioned.
The city of Chiang Mai has a lot of culture, amazing food markets, relaxed atmosphere, polite locals, old temples and pretty landscapes. It was able to become “the spot” for backpack travelers and digital nomads in the past couple of years.
Chiang Mai offers some of the best street food in whole Thailand and it is very cheap with the cost-per-dish being around one dollar. You can find hotel accommodation for just 3 dollars per night and get a place to stay with the locals for an even cheaper price while learning more about their culture and enjoying their hospitality.
Once you’ve settled in, go jungle trekking as Chiang Mai is the start for many routes. Go to the Elephant Nature Park, go zip lining through its surrounding mountains or tour the amazing temples you can find all around Chiang Mai. Set aside some extra time when visiting Chiang Mai as you will love it and want to spend more time here.
2. Sapa, Vietnam
You can get to Sapa through two separate means of transport, by bus and a train ride. You can grab a train from Hanoi to the station called Lao Cai. When you arrive there, take a taxi or a shuttle bus to Sapa. The road from Lao Cai to Sapa costs around 3 dollars and it can get a bit shaky.
The Sapa valley is full of beautiful sights and this city is the main base for all trekking that goes around here. Apart from having amazing nature around the whole valley, there are also many traditional small villages and various hill tribes you can visit while trekking.
Sapa is also well-known for its marketplaces where you can buy a lot of souvenirs including the handcrafted items people from the tribes around the city come to sell at Sapa marketplaces.
3. Taman Negara
Taman Negara is a large rainforest and one of the oldest of its kind. Thousands of tourists visit this national park every year to see all of the beauties that it has to offer. The best way to get to Taman Negara is to go through the Tembeling river with a boat.
Through the river, you can reach the small village called Kuala Tahan, which is the base for all of the adventures you can have in this national park. If you do this through tour companies, make sure that they explain all the details to you and make sure that they don’t simply drop you off in Kuala Tahan, and leave you there to manage the rest of the tour on your own.
One of the most famous canopy walkways is located in Taman Negara as it is the longest in the world. The whole track is well signposted and just after 45m, it offers tourists amazing views of the whole rainforest. Experiencing it costs less than a dollar. What’s even better is the fact that you can find all the information you want on the wildlife and birds you see from these treetops.
4. Mount Kinabalu
One of the tallest mountains of Southeast Asia is called Mount Kinabalu and its 4095 meters tall. This mountain stretches across north Borneo and it’s the highest peak between the island of New Guinea and the Himalayas. A person with good physical conditioning can climb this mountain easily, as there are no difficult slopes and there are many routes and roads that lead to the top of the mountain.
There is also no need for any climbing equipment, but just in case, there are a lot of guides who will go with you and help you avoid any problems. The climbing experience is amazing and even those people who’ve done this a lot say that it’s fun to climb Mount Kinabalu. The easiest way to get here is to catch a minibus from the capital of Borneo Kota Kinabalu.
The whole area around the mountain is also a national park and there are many tourist guides who can show you around and help you experience the complete beauty of this place.
5. Komodo National Park
The Komodo National Park is located in Indonesia, a country further to the south. This island is located between two islands called Flores and Lombok. To get to the Komodo National Park, you will first have to go to Bali and from there, catch a plane or a boat.
You can catch a flight from the airport in Bali to Labuan Bajo which is one the Flores Island. This is the leading base for exploring the national park. From this place, you can take some great diving tours and enjoy the marina located there.
At Labuan Bajo, you can also get a charter boat and go on a cruise around all of the Komodo islands and go snorkeling or discover some interesting things about the archipelago. You can also go sightseeing from Bali. Here, you can get on board on a liveaboard and go on an amazing diving cruise around Komodo marine and Lombok Island.
When in Labuan Bajo, go discovering the whole island with a bus or hire a driver guide that can take you around all the gems this island has to offer. Everyone who visits this national park is, of course, there to see the Komodo dragons. These are the largest lizards on the planet, and they can only be found here so, if you are nearby, take this amazing opportunity.
The best locations for seeing them are on the Komodo and Rinca islands. They are dangerous and they have attacked people in the past, but they are usually quite slow and don’t move a lot. But still, always have a guide present and listen to their instructions.
No matter which of these places you visit, make sure that you get to know the locals living there and talk to them. You can learn amazing things and they can show you what these places have to offer to the tiniest detail. If you can visit Southeast Asia, I guarantee you that you will have a memorable holiday with a lot of great experiences.