Southeast Asia doesn’t have the widespread popularity of Western Europe or the Caribbean as a vacation hotspot for Americans. However, cities like Manila, Philippines and Cambodia’s beaches are contributing to growing interest in southeast Asia as a destination for tourists.
Southeast Asia is comprised of the countries south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region experiences average temperatures of 80 F across its tropical rainforests, mountains, beaches and coral reefs.
Each country in Southeast Asia offers unique must-dos for tourists. For the best collection of hikes, temples, beaches and food, head to Thailand.
For Big City Attractions: Bangkok
Bangkok is a beautiful mix of new and old. Wander through the grounds of the Grand Palace and nearby temples. Lumpini Park offers trails and ponds with skyline views. There are also plenty of museums to visit from the National Museum to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Join international backpackers and locals alike for restaurants, bars and shops on Khao San Road and the quieter Soi Rambuttri. Bangkok’s Chinatown is also worth exploring for good food. There’s nightlife for every type of traveler throughout the city, from neon-flooded dance floors to laid back bars.
For White Sand Beaches: Krabi Province
Towards the southern end of Thailand, about an hour flight from Bangkok, is Krabi Province. Krabi Town is home to coffee shops, Thai restaurants and international cuisine, night markets, a mountaintop temple and natural hot springs.
Nearby are multiple beaches with crystal-clear blue water and white sand. The beautiful shores of Railay Beach are only accessible by water taxi due to towering cliffs. You can walk along the cliffs to Phra Nang Beach for more white sands and symbolic caves. Ao Nang Beach is also a beautiful beach with both humble hotels and luxury resorts nearby. There are a handful of islands located just offshore as well.
For Beautiful Hikes: Kanchanaburi
National parks and World War II memorials are a two-hour drive west of Bangkok in Kanchanaburi. Erawan National Park offers seven levels of waterfall but can be very busy during high season. The Pha Tad Waterfall in the Srinakarin Dam National Park is also beautiful during the week when locals are working.
The Burma Railway passes through Kanchanaburi on the way to Hellfire Pass, where thousands of POWs labored during World War II. Now, visitors can learn about the past at Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, which can be reached by a combination of train and taxi from Kanchanaburi.