Southeast Asia has an
enormous amount to offer from
history and culture to adventure
and relaxation. Walk in the
steps of ancient civilizations,
meet ethnic minority groups,
enjoy picturesque scenery and
unwind at a beautiful beach
resort. With such diversity there
is something for everyone and
each visit to this fascinating
region brings new discoveries.
Southeast Asia has a long and varied history
with numerous civilizations having left their
mark on the region. The Khmer civilization
constructed the amazing Temples of Angkor
in Cambodia which is one of the most
extensive and well preserved historical sites
anywhere in the world. Another spectacular
array of temples is at the Bagan Plains in
Burma where over two thousand buildings
Evidence of a flourishing history is everywhere:
from the trading port of Hoi An to the imperial
capital of Hué in Vietnam; and at the culturally
significant cities of Chiang Mai in Thailand
and Mandalay in Burma. However some
aspects of modern history have not been
kind to the region and you may discover
more about this in Saigon and Phnom Penh.
The most picturesque landscape in the
region is possibly Halong Bay where
limestone karst hills rise from the water
forming around two thousand separate
islands. Also in northern Vietnam is Sapa
where the highest mountains in the country
and the surrounding rice terraces provide
stunning vistas. Spectacular mountain views
can also be found in northern Thailand
around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Laos has some alluring scenery especially
the Kuang Si Falls and Mekong River near
Luang Prabang, which is itself one of the
most beautiful towns in Southeast Asia.
In the south of the country visit the pretty
area of Four Thousand Islands. Also discover
Borneo with its rainforests, mountains and
One of the best ways to really understand
a country is to meet and interact with the
people. A great way to do this is to visit
the hill tribes at Sapa in northern Vietnam
or Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in northern
Thailand. Here you can encounter the
H’Mong, Dao and Akha minority groups.
Walk through the small villages to see the
local people in their traditional costumes
and meet them at home and at work.
Another good place to observe local life
is in the Mekong Delta where much of
Vietnam’s local produce is grown. See
people working in the fields and trading in
the markets. For a taste of a more religious
way of life visit the monks in Luang Prabang
or Mandalay; and for tribal culture visit
ethnically diverse Borneo.
There are plenty of opportunities for
relaxation in Southeast Asia. Thailand is rightly
famous for its popular beach resorts including
Ko Samui, Phuket and Cha’am but there are
many other opportunities across the region.
Vietnam is one of our favourites with beautiful
sandy beaches at Mui Né and Nha Trang,
Langkawi in Malaysia is a popular choice and
for somewhere a bit different try the seaside
resort of Sihanoukville in Cambodia.
A great way to take it easy while travelling
is aboard a Pandaw River Cruise on the
Mekong or Irrawaddy rivers. These luxury
ships are replicas of colonial steamers
and combine character with comfort for
relaxation, although the itineraries
provide plenty of opportunity for adventure
as well. Also consider one or two nights
aboard a junk boat in beautiful Halong Bay.
The best time to visit Southeast Asia is usually from October to March when the weather is warm and relatively dry although the north may be cool. In late spring temperatures and humidity start to increase, while in high summer it may be very hot and wet.