12 Must Visit Destinations in South East Asia - Handpicked Itineraries
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Whether you're a South East Asian veteran or this is your first time to this wondrous region, discover our top hidden jewels on this unforgettable journey to the top 12 must-visit destinations in South East Asia! From the mesmerising tropical landscapes of Bali to the majestic temples of Cambodia, immerse yourself in the beautiful natural landscapes and vibrant cultures of the fascinating countries of the region...
BY Emma Hookway
Luxtripper Travel Editor

These 10 destinations are some of the best that South East Asia has to offer!

Halong Bay - Vietnam

Let's begin with a showstopper. Halong Bay is an enchanting garden of islands, scattered as far as the eye can see across sparkling emerald water. Considered to be Vietnam's greatest treasure, the hidden sandy coves, spellbinding caves and traditional floating villages are unlike anything I'd seen before. 

The intricate caving systems of Halong Bay's many islands are a truly remarkable sight to see on a Vietnam holiday. The Sung Sot Cave on Bo Hon Island is mesmerising, an enchanted Aladdin's Cave of natural wonders. Inside, you can gaze at the naturally-chiselled stalactites and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling whilst following a magical illuminated path through two expansive cave chambers. 

Exploring Halong Bay on a Paradise Luxury Cruise is the perfect way to spend an unforgettable honeymoon in Vietnam. On the cruise, you'll be able to experience your own tropical island castaway on Soi Sim Island, a secluded gem in Halong Bay, with a beautiful ivory-white cove and crystal-clear water. 

The Gardens By The Bay - Singapore

Looking for luxury? Feel the ferocious bite of the Asian Tiger as you wander through the pristine and glitzy streets of Singapore. The home of the hit film Crazy Rich Asians, experience South East Asian splendour in this opulent city-state. 

Singapore is a vast melting-pot of cultures, a fusion best reflected in the city's tantalising street food. A heavenly dish, try Singapore's signature chilli crab, guaranteed to make your mouth water, or visit the culinary paradises of Little India and Chinatown for an eclectic range of spice-infused flavours. It's also no surprise that Singapore is considered to be South East Asia's 'garden city'; with the tropical Botanic Gardens and the Gardens by the Bay (home to the worlds tallest indoor waterfall!), you can enjoy the best of both worlds in Singapore

From the Marina Bay Sands hotel's iconic ship-shaped rooftop, you'll feel like you're in a scene from Avatar as you feast your eyes on the luminescent lights of the Gardens' iconic Supertrees! For a Singapore honeymoon, watch the sunset over Singapore from the hotel's famous infinity pool. Singapore is great to twin with other destinations in South East Asia, such as Bali or the Philippines! 

Chiang Mai - Thailand

Cocooned by steaming rainforests and staggering mountains, a visit to Chiang Mai is like stepping back in time to Thailand's mystical past. 

A beautiful ancient city surrounded by a historic moat, you can wander within the old fortress of Chiang Mai on your Thailand holiday and visit dazzling Buddhist temples weaved throughout the city; don't miss the golden Wat Phra Singh. As you enjoy tantalising Thai dishes at the many bustling street markets in the Old City, you'll realise why Chiang Mai is known as the 'country's kitchen' - it really does have the best food in Thailand

Whilst in Chiang Mai, you must head to the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park for an immersive retreat in nature. Accessible by car, witness the scenery change into a tropical rainforest as you wind your way through the trees to the gleaming Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple in the mountains. Afterwards, listen to the rippling burble of the many waterfalls as you soak your feet in the cool, cascading waters. There is no better place to stay in this cultural haven than the Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai; the hotel's palace design will make will feel like true Thai royalty on your Thailand honeymoon

Langkawi Island - Malaysia

Not visited Malaysia yet? Known as the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi Island is a pristine natural haven in the north-west of Malaysiaimagine unspoiled jungle trails, soft, sandy beaches and turquoise water teeming with multi-coloured fish. 

A quieter version of Thailand, Langkawi Island is still largely off the beaten track so retains much of it's natural splendour. With white-sand beaches sheltered by lush, tropical flora and the glistening crystal-clear water of the Andaman Sea, you can immerse yourself in your beautiful surroundings and glide smoothly across the water by kayak. Langkawi is best explored in the clouds on the Langkawi Sky Bridge; 660 meters above sea level, you'll feel like a bird soaring over paradise as you weave your way through the treetops on the longest free span and curved bridge in the world.  

For a romantic honeymoon in Malaysia, the Datai Langkawi is the best place to stay to experience true natural paradise. Nestled in amongst the rainforest, this 5-star secluded sanctuary is cocooned by tranquil jungle-thicket walls and the hushing murmur of a river. 

Borneo - Malaysia

Six o' clock strikes; the songs of the native gibbons echo throughout the rainforest as the click of cicadas begins. As you listen to the omnipresent hum of wildlife on your Borneo holiday, you'll savour the cooling mist of the rainforest on your skin as you embark on a magical jungle trail through the trees. 

Borneo, a giant island in the Malay Archipelago, is home to steaming ancient rainforests teeming with unique wildlife. Rich in biodiversity, this spectacular landscape is famed for it's amber-furred orangutans, recently featured in Dame Judi Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure. At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, you'll see rescued orangutans stumble through the rainforest as they learn how to climb and forage for food - watching the feeding sessions is a truly heartwarming experience. 

Immerse yourself in the jungle at the the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, a secluded retreat perfect for a Malaysia honeymoon. A proud eco-lodge surrounded by lush foilage, nature is at the heart of Sukauembark on a variety of wildlife-focused tours and glimpse orangutans in the wild on a tranquil river cruise at sunrise. 

Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam

No two parts of Vietnam are the same. The North and South, not only geographically distant, are separated by distinct cultures, cuisines and climates; when visiting Vietnam for the first time, it's vital you travel to more than one place; so here's two! For a diverse flavour of Vietnam, I recommend travelling from the historic city of Hoi An on Vietnam's central coast to Ho Chi Minh City in the steaming south. 

Hoi An has a rustic elegance unlike anywhere else in Vietnam. Known for it's mesmerising lantern displays, you can wander through quaint streets illuminated with the warm, romantic colours of lantern lights, before heading down to the tranquil riverfront and releasing your own glowing orb across the water on a Vietnam honeymoonWhen in Hoi An, there is no better place to stay than the nearby Fusion Maia Danang Resortthe home of some of Vietnam's best beaches, you can unwind with the resort's 'all-inclusive' spa treatments!

Ho Chi Minh's bustling streets will feel a world away from Hoi An; and there is no better way to feel the hum of the city than by weaving your way through the pulsating city streets on a vespa at night. Whether riding solo or with an expert guide, there is plenty for you to see; stop off at Ben Thanh Market, one of 'Saigon's' earliest surviving structures, and grab some sensational street food; a visit to Vietnam incomplete without enjoying a steaming bowl of Pho noodle soup. Stay in the centre of the city and be fully-immersed by staying at the InterContinental Saigon hotel.

Boracay - Philippines

Not sure where to start in the Philippines? It's no surprise that Boracay is regarded the Philippines' best island beach paradise. With tropical palm trees bent slightly in the caressing breeze, endless stretches of white sand and turquoise water sparkling under the equatorial sun, Boracay brings to life the beaches of your deepest imagination. 

With a lush interior comprised of vividly green native flora, Boracay is a tropical haven; despite being 7km long (at one point only 1km wide!), this tiny island has an abundance of postcard-perfect beaches. Alex Garland's much-loved novel, The Beach, was actually inspired by the Philippines, however, to ensure that the Philippines remained pristine, he set the novel in Thailand, which was already a popular destination!

You can enjoy the best of both worlds in Boracay on your Philippines holiday, whether you're after bustling beaches or tranquil seclusion. Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa, positioned next to the tranquil Banyugan Beach, is a hotel oozing exotic romance, ideal for an intimate honeymoon in the Philippines. A small cove protected by a tropical thicket wall of palm trees, you can snorkel in water akin to a swimming pool and watch with wonder at the multi-coloured array of tropical fish swimming beneath you. 

Ubud - Bali

Ubud is the Bali of your dreams. Cradled by cool mountains, verdant rice terraces and lush rainforests, Ubud is the best place to experience a fully-immersive Balinese getaway in nature. 

Nestled in Bali's tranquil uplands, Ubud is a tropical paradise perfect for a Bali honeymoon. With a variety of natural wonders, you'll be able to feel the cooling spray of the cascading Tibumana Waterfall, listen to the symphony of calling birds as you trek through tropical rainforests, and cycle through vivid-green rice terraces. Perfect for a tranquil wellness-focused escape, Ubud is a great place to soothe your mind whilst in Bali; you can unwind with an enlivening yoga session and taste authentic Balinese flavours at a vibrant cooking class. 

A secluded haven surrounded by a steaming rainforest, the Samsara Ubud is the perfect wellness resort on your holiday in Bali; you can connect with nature and inhale the tantalising aromas of the rainforest from the hotel's infinity pool. 

Mekong River Cruise - Vietnam to Cambodia

Technically a two-in-one experience, we know - but we couldn't resist! The Mekong Delta effortlessly connects Vietnam and Cambodia, offering travellers the chance to experience both of these fascinating destinations by luxury cruise. 

With a journey as memorable as the final destination, you can embark on a 4, 5 or 8 day expedition from south of Ho Chi Minh on your Vietnam holiday. With views across quintessential rice fields and waterways lined with majestic palms, you'll pass through My Tho, famous for it's bright, chaotic floating markets; experience the hustle and bustle of life on the river as you see canoes laden with vivid tropical fruit and pass local people on their way to work. 

Once in Cambodia, you can visit Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world. Standing amongst a lush, tropical garden, this mighty temple is adorned with more than 3,000 enchanting heavenly nymphs; be camera-ready as you stand in wonder before the perfectly rectangular moat with mirror-like water. The best place to stay when exploring this vast temple complex is at the Belmond La Residence d'Angkor, a leafy retreat great for a Cambodia honeymoon surrounded by a dense thicket of palms

Krabi - Thailand

Imagine gliding over glistening turquoise water and entering a world akin to Leonardo DiCaprio's in The Beach (the movie, this time!). With over one hundred offshore islands dotted along Thailand's dramatic south-west coastline, the islands of Krabi are your gateway to natural paradise. 

A unique alternative to the famed Phang Nga Bay, the islands of Krabi are from a dream; picture solitary limestone peaks scattered alongside lush, tropical islands in the azure water of the Andaman Sea. Best explored by kayak, this tropical wilderness offers some of Thailand's best secluded coves and enthralling caves;  let-loose your inner intrepid explorer and test your strength at free-climbing on the islands' jagged limestone ledges. An adventure in Krabi doesn't stop on land; beneath the glassy surface of the water is a kaleidoscopic world of multi-coloured fish darting beneath vibrant cities of coral.

The Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort is the gateway to this tropical paradise, perfect for a Thailand honeymoon. A beachfront hotel, you can enjoy a romantic evening as you watch sun set over the hazy island silhouettes and listen to the soothing sounds of the waves beating the shore. 

Feeling inspired?

To book a holiday to any (or all!) of these incredible destinations, simply get in touch and one of our Luxury Travel Specialists will be more than happy to make your travel dream a reality...

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Marina Bay Sands
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Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort
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Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
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