Southeast Asia has been an incredibly popular tourist destination for travelers from all over the world for a while now, thanks to its unspoiled beaches, dramatic landscapes, rich culture, tasty food and affordability. But there are some places in Southeast Asia that still hasn’t been fully discovered. Let’s take a look at some of the most underrated places in Southeast Asia.
1. Nusa Islands, Indonesia
Bali is by far the most attractive tourist destination in Indonesia and welcomes millions of visitors each year. But not many people have discovered, or takes the time to go to, the Nusa Islands. Even though it’s one of the highlights in Bali, it’s still a fairly underrated place in Bali. The Nusa Islands consist of three islands – Lembongan, Ceningan, and Penida – and are just off the coast of Bali. Here, you can find white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, dramatic cliff sides and naturally-formed infinity pools. You can also go scuba diving, swimming and snorkel with manta rays here. Nusa Islands are a must if you’re in Bali. It’s only a short ferry ride away!
2. Con Dao Archipelago, Vietnam
Vietnam has been a favorite amongst travelers for a long time now and most places in Vietnam has been found by backpackers. However, the Con Dao archipelago still remains a hidden gem. It’s a short flight away, but not many travelers make the effort to come here. Therefore, if you’re on the island, you’ll find yourself almost alone on the roads. Rent a motorbike here, go to one of the many sandy beaches, marvel at the natural beauty of the islands and dive in the turquoise water. It’s truly one of Vietnam’s most beautiful places and should not be missed. Go here before the crowds gets there first!
3. Hsipaw, Myanmar
This laidback town lies in a low valley and is the perfect jumping off point if you want to go on thrilling hikes and see waterfalls. Most people who visit Myanmar don’t go further than the “tourist trail” such as Bagan, Yangon and Mandalay. But there’s so much more to Myanmar and Hsipaw is one of those gems that you must visit. Just getting there is half the experience. Take the famous train route, connecting Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, and Hsipaw, and marvel at the incredible hill country. It’s a view you won’t soon forget.
4. Battambang, Cambodia
This small town remains one of Cambodia’s best kept secrets. It’s a charming place with tons of social enterprises, where you can grab a cup of coffee while helping children in need. Besides walking around town and looking at the colorful buildings, there’s also plenty of things to do and see outside. The most popular way to see the main sights is by hopping on a tour, which your hotel/hostel will gladly help you with. You must visit the bamboo train, the horrifying killing caves, and see the bat cave at sunset, when thousands of bats fly out of the cave. Battambang is the perfect getaway when you want to unwind, relax and see a different side of Cambodia.
5. Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
Are you ready to visit the world’s largest cave, which was discovered in 1991 by a local villager? Then you have to go to Vietnam! The cave opened to the public in 2013 and has since been fully booked. But if you’re a good planner, make sure to book your spot in good advance and prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Inside the cave, you will find beaches, its own localized weather system and even a subterranean river. When you go on the tour, you’ll camp inside the cave as well. Sounds pretty incredible, right?
6. Mae Hong Song, Thailand
Forget about Khao San Road in Bangkok and the islands in the south. If you want to get away from the tourist trail in Thailand, head north instead, close to the border of Myanmar. That’s where you’ll find the spectacular province Mae Hong song, with its hundreds of hidden caves, parks, hot springs and waterfalls. For those who are a fan of nature, there’s no better place than here. There are world-class trekking opportunities here too where you can visit indigenous hill tribe villages. End the day at Phu Klon Mud Spa and treat yourself after a long trek.
7. Taman Negara, Malaysia
Taman Negara is one of the world’s oldest deciduous rainforests and is estimated to be more than 130 million years old! This is for the more adventurous travelers who wants to trek deeper into the jungle. There are both unguided and guided treks, but it’s advised to do it with a guide. The treks can last up to nine days so make sure you bring all the necessary supplies. At night, join a safari for the chance to see rare mammals such as the Asian elephant and Malay tiger.