Travel Tips

7 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

April 04, 2012 ||
Koh Phangan Island - Thailand

Popular Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has an abundance of diverse countries for all types of travelers. You may think only backpackers visit Southeast Asia, but that’s just not the case. You can make a trip to this region on a budget or easily spend $50 per night on a fancy hotel.

Bukit Peninsula – Bali

The Bukit Peninsula in Bali will always hold a special place in my heart. With turquoise water, gorgeous beaches, world class waves and inexpensive food options how can you really go wrong?

We stayed in one of the more expensive lodging options near Padang Padang beach. Our luxurious hotel room set us back $50 per night, but the $10 to $20 per night options are endless in this area.

For more information about this area, see our post on travel and surf in Bali.

Surfer at Dreamland Beach - Bali

Mui Ne, Vietnam

Mui Ne is another destination where we splurged on a hotel room. After spending $5 per night in other Southeast Asian countries, we decided to live like kings at the Tien Dat Resort for $40 per night which included a breakfast buffet where we could gorge ourselves every morning right before we planted ourselves by the pool with a view of the ocean.

When you visit this area, you must take a tour to the sand dunes and if you are feeling adventurous, rent a sand board from one of the local kids for the memory of a lifetime. You will definitely get sand in places you didn’t even know existed.

Click here to learn more about Mui Ne, Vietnam and our adventures in this unique Vietnamese town.

Sand Dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

We fell in love with Hoi An from the moment we arrived. Hoi An has unlimited options in the way of lodging and shopping with photo opportunities around every corner. The architecture of this ancient town dates back to the 15th century and the food is to die for.

You can treat yourself to a lavish hotel room with a pool for under $20 per night. Just be careful, Hoi An has a way of seducing travelers with it’s comfort and food. You may never want to leave.

Click here to learn about our favorite restaurant and more things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Luang Prabang, Laos

I’ve heard some travelers say they expected more from Luang Prabang, but our experience was quite the opposite. We didn’t expect much and ended up pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed our time here.

After “roughing it” in other parts of Laos, we were more than ready for tidy restaurants/bars with free wi-fi. Luang Prabang has a mix of Lao and French Colonial architecture that you could spend hours photographing.

A trip to Luang Prabang is not complete without a day trip to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. This was definitely another highlight of our stay here. Our only regret during our stay in Luang Prabang is that we didn’t wake up early to witness the daily ritual of the locals giving alms to the monks.

Kuang Xi Waterfall Laos

Koh Phangan, Thailand

What comes to mind when you think of Koh Phangan? Drunken full moon parties? That’s all Scott and I thought this island had to offer, but fortunately we were proven wrong and this place has since become our favorite spot in Southeast Asia. I kid you not.

If you are looking for swimming beaches, you can try the southern beaches near Haad Rin or the north east beaches. There is also a legendary waterfall on the sunrise side of the island (north east side).

Kata Beach, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand is known for partying and tourist hotels. We usually shy away from places with too many people, especially loud, drunk people. (I’m not judging. I was once a partier myself.) We just prefer the quieter things in life these days.

Kata Beach is slightly calmer than its neighbor, Patong Beach. We came to Kata on a recommendation from a friend and because it’s one of the only places you can surf in Thailand. The accommodation was more expensive than other parts of Thailand, but it’s still not outrageous. We paid $30 US per night for a beautiful air-conditioned room with a sliding glass door that opened to a welcoming pool.

We were less than 5 minutes walking distance from Kata Beach where we enjoyed 3 blissful days of surfing in turquoise and deliciously warm, salty water.

Kata Beach - Phuket, Thailand

Boracay, Philippines

The infamous White Beach on Boracay island remains one of the top beaches in the world and is great for partying. Those who like peace and quiet can head to Puka Beach, the second-longest beach in Boracay.

Whether it be water sports, laying on the beach, indulging at the many spas or getting your drink on, this tropical paradise has something for everyone.

By Christy Woodrow

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on



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Christy&Scott

Hi! We are Christy and Scott and we've been traveling the world together since 2006 -- surfing and taking photos along the way.

Our goal is to inspire others to live an adventurous life, as well as provide trip ideas and helpful travel tips for people with limited vacation time.

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