There’s no guarantee that we can all travel as we normally do in 2021, but just in case the best happens, you better book a flight to any Southeast Asian country. You can visit them at any season, as the climate’s pretty consistent throughout the year. Also, food and drinks are way cheaper; delicious street food can fill you up for no more than $1, and the booze isn’t heavy on the pockets. What’s more, you can converse with any local because most Southeast Asians have English as their second language.
As with any country you visit, you shouldn’t forget about proper decorum, respect, and cultural sensitivity when travelling to Southeast Asian countries. If you’re visiting a Muslim country, a sacred temple, or any place of worship, you’re expected to dress modestly, stay silent, and to respect the worshipers.
But worry not, because most of the time, you’ll find yourself able to loosen up and have a great time. So without further ado, here are the best countries to travel to in Southeast Asia:
When it comes to scenic landscapes, rich coffee, scuba-diving, relaxing spas, and shopping, Indonesia is your country. Bali is the most popular city for tourists, but Ubud has hidden gems. In there, you’ll find luxurious but affordable boutiques and restaurants and breathtaking sights.
Wherever you stay in Indonesia, you must try their civet coffee (kopi luwak), which is infamous for being made of cat faeces. Don’t be repulsed, though, because it’s completely safe to drink and tastes heavenly. It’s not the most expensive coffee in the world for nothing.
Myanmar is also abundant in picturesque landscapes. In Shan Hills, you’ll find Inle Lake, where many of the country’s subsistence-based tribes reside. Most indigenous people live in stilted bamboo homes, and the fishermen practice a distinctive style of rowing, which you may find interesting. The Shan region also boasts a Chinese-inspired cuisine and other unique practices and goods such as Lotus textile weaving and “cheroot” cigars. And if you’re a wine lover, a local village in Shan Hills also has a vineyard, where you can taste their wines.
The experience doesn’t end there yet. You should also see Hsipaw, where the highest bridge of Myanmar stands. The village of Hsipaw, in fact, lies in a low valley, on a site perfect for day hikes.
Solo travellers will love Brunei. It doesn’t offer much in the way of nightlife, but that makes it an ideal country for travellers seeking relaxation and peace. They don’t sell alcohol, so you’ll really get to be present in every moment.
Head to Bandar Seri Begawan, the country’s capital, and see Kampong Ayer, the world’s largest water village. Like the inhabitants of Inle Lake of Myanmar, the residents there also live in stilt houses. There’s also a boat tour of the village, where you’ll pick up bits of cultural knowledge, and of course, fun.
As for the must-try food, it’s ambuyat, Brunei’s national dish. It’s made of starchy sago palm with a texture reminiscent of glue but tastes nothing like it. It’s usually eaten for lunch with a fermented sour sauce and a side dish of various veggies.
Most travellers and tourists would probably tell you that it’s way too expensive to travel in Singapore. While that’s true to a certain extent, it’s not impossible to enjoy this country on a limited budget. Singapore City is filled with inexpensive eateries, affordable shopping centres, and drink vendors that serve their beverages in a plastic drawstring bag. It’s cheap and easier to carry around than a bottle!
Singapore’s tourism industry is truly magnificent. For several years now, Changi Airport still ranks number one at the “Best Airports to Sleep in.” Tourists and layover passengers may check in to Singapore Changi Airport Hotel and experience its world-class service and amenities.
Cambodia prides itself on its ancient culture, which they can maintain until now. You’ll encounter at least ten tribal communities in Mondulkiri, a place full of sprawling forests, mesmerising waterfalls, and rolling hills. There’s an “elephant reserves,” “ocean of trees,” and locally-run strawberry, rubber, and cashew farms in the area as well.
Backpackers and beach-lovers will delight in Koh Rong Sanloem, a peaceful, undeveloped area with a great variety of available accommodations, from tree houses to private luxury huts. Needless to say, it’s another perfect spot for unwinding and practising mindfulness.
Southeast Asia may not have romantic spring seasons, dramatic autumn landscapes, and a white Christmas. Still, they are undoubtedly rich in culture and can give you experiences no other place in the world can offer. So jot these countries down (and more!) in your bucket list, and book your flight ASAP!
Brooke has been a connoisseur of back roads and obscure places since she was a girl. Growing up in a small working farm, she knew at a young age that there was so much to see and understand about the world. Since she left home at 17, she’s been gallivanting around the world. She’s a go-to resource for fearless Euro travel and extreme budget adventures. Her colorful experiences moving from one country to another with only time to spare will surely inspire you to leave the rat race and chase your backpacking dreams.