I treasure the region, its people and its culture. Southeast Asia is a marvelous part of the world which perfectly balances mysterious temples, breathtaking landscapes and ancient history...
There are so many unmissable things here that any personality would be able to find its happiness. It's an inexhaustible source of creative and spiritual inspiration.
Most people have a loose idea of things they really want to do here. It's easy to come up with a bucket list. The problem is whittling it down to ten -I'm not kidding, my real list is three pages long. Moreover, working on the ebook "Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?" inspired me to explore more SEA -thanks to the talented writer Lois from We are Sole Sisters. From charming towns with rich history to crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches, she shares all the beauty of her trip in Southeast Asia in this illustrated ebook.
I've listed for you 10 outsider destinations in Southeast Asia that I think are undiscovered, unusual and under-the-radar.
1. Wakatobi, Indonesia
I can't help it. Indonesia is on top of any of my bucket lists. The archipelago overflows with secret spots and pristine islands. Wakatobi is a world-class diving spot, with unspoiled coral reefs and miles of golden sandy beaches, situated off the Southern coast of Sulawesi. It is an ecological tropical paradise and exclusive escape.
2. Mondulkiri province , Cambodia
A world apart from lowland Cambodia, Mondulkiri Province is the original Wild East of the country. The province is chock full of natural beauty, with a seductive mix of pine clumps, grassy hills and windswept valleys that fade beguilingly into forests of jade green and hidden waterfalls. Wild animals, such as bears, leopards and especially elephants, are more numerous here than elsewhere. Into. The. Wild.
3. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
I'm sick of listening my friends/family telling me how gorgeous is this island, and how amazing was their trip there. I have to go there see that by myself! The beaches are deemed perfectly serene, the seafood fresh and delicious, and the coconut-juice-feet-on-the-sand sounds kind of nice, too.
4. Tonsai, Thailand
Located in Krabi province, Tonsai is one of the world's greatest climbing spots. It's and utopian climbers oasis, filled with passionate people on a mission to relax and enjoy rock climbing. Beside that, we can also go paddle boarding or kayaking between beaches, scuba diving, or simply relaxing in white sand beach bars.
5. PAPUA, INDONESIA
Can you imagine yourself, living in a traditional tribe world for a week? In Papua, people still hunt their food with bows and arrows! I know it would be an (expensive) challenge to travel there, but it would be so unique. Unreal. The nature is absolutely fantastic there, snowfields and glaciers existing alongside swamps and jungles...
6. Bokeo Nature Reserve, Laos
The basic idea of the Bokeo Nature Reserve was to find a to curb the local 'slash and burning' of the jungle and the endangerment of the local species by giving the local villages an alternative way to profit from the jungles existence. Whereof we can now live in a treehouse in the middle of northern Laos jungle, travel by zip line through the forests in search of the Black Gibbon, elephants, bears, tigers (!!) and wild buffalo...
7. Bagan, Myanmar
Not really off-the-radar, but still a lesser-known destination, Myanmar is a destination we should visit before it gets to trendy. In Bagan, temples seem to pop out of nowhere. A hot air balloon ride over the Buddhist ruins during sunset would be the most awe-inspiring way to take in the scenery... - It looks spectacular on photos, I can't imagine in real.
8. Borneo's jungle, Indonesia & Malaysia
It's been on my list since I've lived in Indonesia, and became an obsession. I know I will explore the rainforest of Borneo, one day. Traveling in a Klotok (boat) down the river, through the thick jungle, searching for orangutans for a couple of days... It sounds incredibly incredible.
9. Bohol, Philippines
Bohol is a beautiful island with world class diving, waterfalls, hundreds of caves for spelunking... and the Chocolate Hills. What? The Chocolate Hills are a geological formation in Bohol Island. The hills of a generally conical and almost symmetrical shape are covered with a grass that turn to chocolate brown during the dry season, offering a unusual and unbelievable scenery.
10. Mui Ne Sand Dunes, Vietnam
It's hard to believe it's actually in Vietnam, isn't it?! They're not far from Saigon, but these sand dunes seem like they belong on another continent entirely. We can sled, bike, or just freely frolic down both white and red mountains of bliss. And right on the beach: an awesome kitesurf spot!
Ok, now that I finished that post, I have only one thing in mind: keep exploring Southeast Asia!
If you're planning a trip in this fantastic part of the world, I highly recommend you to get an idea of where to go and what to do before you hop on a plane. And I got the perfect book for that: "Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?" : a travel guide written by Lois from We are Sole Sisters and designed & illustrated by myself!
We've put our heart of adventure-seekers into this project, and we really hope you will like it. This is NOT the Ultimate Guide to Southeast Asia. It's a box. Filled with cherished memories, unexpected detours, and secret destinations. Every page is thoughtfully written and designed to induce wanderlust!