Southeast Asia is so much more than an oasis of Chinese culture. Its unique landscapes and hidden islands are waiting to be discovered by mainstream tourism, and until that happens, it will be sure to please any travel-lusting wanderer. The isolation of its beauty is perhaps what sets it apart from every place else in the world.
I originally wrote about these 5 undiscovered places in Southeast Asia as a guest post for GotSaga.
5. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
There is nothing like a rejuvenating getaway amid turquoise waters and white sands. Add to that snorkeling in an underwater world of sharks, smoking shisha on the beach under the stars, riding a speedboat on low tide under the moonlight, and an upbeat atmosphere created by half a dozen small cafes serving up the most delicious milkshakes.
4. Taal Volcano, Philippines
Welcome to a volcano within a lake within a volcano within another lake! Hidden somewhere among the clouds, Taal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano, located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Tagytay City affords you breathtaking views of this natural wonder, while a climb up the volcano (strictly for the brave-hearted) can take you to the lake inside the volcano’s own crater, aptly called the Crater Lake.
Crater Lake. Flickr image by deckchuaFurther reading:
Tagaytay City, Philippines
3. Bunaken Island, Indonesia
It’s easy to lose yourself in this diving haven. Perhaps its remoteness is what makes it so desirable; you can lie on a hammock for days at end, watching the mist play hide & seek with the Manado Tua volcano. You can ride atop the roof of a speedboat at sunset, looking at the most magnificent sky. You can spends days exploring the beauty in an untouched underwater kingdom. And never once will you feel away from home in Bunaken.
Bunaken: of blue seas & anonymity.
2. Halong on Land, Vietnam
You have probably heard of the natural wonder that is Halong Bay. If you dare, take a step into the lesser known north-west where a greater wonder awaits you; what locals dearly call the Halong experience on land. You’ll see landscapes stunning enough to trick you into thinking that you’ve entered the backdrop of Pirates of the Caribbean.
1. East Timor
Make your own trail in East Timor aka Timor-Leste, because there is none to follow. Contrary to accusations of being unsafe, the locals are welcoming & hospitable, and indeed the real charm of a country that has existed for less than 10 years. Its best-kept secrets include a host of lovely beaches and a beautiful countryside, and there’s no better time to visit than now.
Which of these have you been to? Have you stumbled across any other hidden gems?