Compiling a 10 Best things to do in South East Asia list is no mean-feat. 50 Best things is more realistic! One of the premier backpacker Destinations, South East Asia is best known for it’s diversity, ease of travel and sheer amount of amazing things to see and do.
Our 10 Best things to do in South East Asia list is compiled from our favourite places and experiences during our lengthy travels through South East Asia. I hope you enjoy them!
1. The Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia
You cannot come to South East Asia and not visit these world famous temples in Cambodia‘s Siem Reap. Beautiful architectural design on a mind blowing scale, you’ll need at least 3 full days to explore the major temples. The sense of history and the grandeur of a lost civilization is incredible. Sunset at the phenomenal Angkor Wat temple is not to be missed.
2. Buy a Motorbike and Cruise Vietnam
No other country in Asia has so many motorbikes! Ride down the truly amazing coastal roads of the famous Highway 1 and the less visited central highlands. With some of the best scenery in south east Asia, what better way to experience it then to ride at your own leisure through unspoilt countryside, villages and rice terraces.
An excellent motor bike infrastructure exists throughout the whole country. With spares and repair shops in every town and high quality 2nd hand bikes to be had. Make sure you are covered by your travel insurance and are experienced and confident enough to enjoy the ride.
3. Dance all night at the Full Moon Party, Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
Backpacking in SE Asia would simply not be complete without getting your boogie on at The Full Moon Party in Thailand! World class sound systems, entertainment, and enough UV paint for a lifetime!
Even if your not a party animal, there’s still plenty of fun to be had at probably the best party in the world. Check out The Quieter Side of Koh Phangan when your hangover is at its worse!
4. Drink Beer Lao Watching the sun go down in Luang Prabang
Sleepy Luang Prabang, the jewel of the Mekong, and Laos‘ No.1 tourist destination. Dripping with ex-French colonial charm; it’s the perfect a place to unwind with an ice cold Beer Lao (Possibly the best beer in Asia?).
As well as the famous laid back Lao attitude, their favourite beer is also seen as a national institution.
5. Stay on Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Blue sky, white sand, warm clear sea, you’ve got to stay in absolute paradise on Koh Rong Island! If you want time alone with your book or to top up your tan you cannot get a more perfect place. Situated a two hour boat ride from Sihnoukville, southern Cambodia – Koh Rong Island is quiet, secluded and ideal for some peaceful solitude.
6. Try Muay Thai Boxing, Thailand
Eaten too much Pad Thai? Drunk a few too many whiskey buckets?
If you want to get fit, learn a new skill or simply learn to kick ass, then this is definitely something worth doing in Thailand. There are schools all over the country that cater for all levels, from total novice to seasoned pro. It’s physically gruelling, but great if you want to get back into shape after going too crazy at the full moon party.
7. Relax in a Hammock Beside the Mekong River, at 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don), Laos
Picture it. Swinging in a hammock, head in a good book, total peace and quiet, listening to sound of the Mekong river below… Grab a cold Beer Lao and enjoy the an amazing sunset over the river. Does it get any better?
8. Visit Maya Island, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
To get to Maya Island, first you must arrive on Koh Phi Phi. It’s much smaller and than Thailand’s other islands, but is home to some great bars and restaurants, beach parties and impressive fire shows. Maya island is unspoilt beauty at it’s best.
It became popular over night when the film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo Di Caprio was filmed there. The only way to get there is by boat, about an hour from Koh Phi Phi. Totally undeveloped; with no hotels or go-go bars in sight! Lets hope it stays like that.
9. Drink Bai Hoi in Hanoi, Vietnam
Pull up a little plastic stool with the locals and sink a few glasses of ‘Bai Hoi‘. The Vietnamese have adopted a Czech brewing process to create an excellent beer that’s brewed daily. It’s light, very cheap and extremely drinkable. This is coming from someone who didn’t drink beer before I went travelling!
10. Do a Thai Cookery Course
Undoubtedly one of the best cuisines in the world, and probably one of the best things about Thailand. Spicy papaya salad, massaman curry, pad thai; sooooo many delicious options to choose from! Gain new culinary skills and take some of the country home with you. Impress everyone with your new mouth watering recipes. Yum!
We’d love to know what your Best Things to do in South East Asia are!