South East Asia is a traveler’s Mecca. It has become one of the most popular places to visit and you will always find yourself bumping into many fellow travelers on your journey throughout this diverse region. It has become increasingly difficult to find a places that that you can explore, discover and appreciate or your own or with very few tourists. However, we have found a few places that we would like to share with you that are still relatively undiscovered and untouched by mass tourism and that are not on the major tourists trails.
1. Ratanakiri, Cambodia
Located at the north-west tip of the country, Ratanakiri province is one of the country’s most important natural destinations. The capital of Banlung, which is located around 330 km from Phnom Penh, entices visitors with volcanic lakes, jungle trekking, spectacular waterfalls, rafting and opportunities to meet the native people. Also get the opportunity to view the Cambodian countryside, take a beautiful canoe ride, hike the National Park and see Gibbons in action. Ratanakiri is nestled close to the Laos and Vietnam borders and has some of the most biologically diverse lowland tropical rainforest and montane forest ecosystems in mainland Southeast Asia.
2. Bolaven Plateau, Laos
With an area of 10,000 sq km and a height of up to 800 m, this seemingly endless plateau rises above the surrounding land like an upturned plate. The Bolaven Province has countless waterfalls, the Tad Lo waterfalls in particular are beautiful and others that cascade downwards at its edges. Countless coffee plantations, elephant trekking and visits to one of the unique villages of the ethnic minorities the Plateau has many educational and interesting opportunities for tourists.
3. Kengtung, Myanmar
Only a small number of travelers make it as far as this attractive enclave in the eastern region of Shan State. Situated at around 800m above sea level and serving as a central hub between Thailand, Laos and China, Kengtung is the secret capital of the Golden Triangle. Former smugglers’ routes function as hiking trails to the homes of the Shan, Wa, Akha, Lahu or Palaung mountain tribes, whose women are known for stretching their bodies with brass rings. The enclave occupies an idyllic seaside location and is characterised by hills and rice terraces, traditional tiled roof houses, colonial buildings, more than 30 Buddhist holy sites and the remnants of the town walls.
4. Nan, Thailand
The town of Nan, which is located near the Laotian border, was a separate, autonomous kingdom from the 13th century onwards and remained semi-autonomous until as recently as 1931. Though it has traditionally been one of Thailand’s less-visited areas, it has much to offer tourists, with heaps of authentic, old-style charm and an exciting annual boat race. The surrounding region is populated by mountains, forests and waterfalls. Make sure to visit The Nan National Museum, which is in the original palace of the last two feudal lords of Nan and also The King of Nan’s Teak House which was built in 1866 with golden teak. The town also has an abundance of stunning and beautifully decorated temples.
5. Phan Thiet, Vietnam
A 16-kilometer bay – the so-called “Côte d’Azur of Vietnam” – extends between this port city and the nearby coastal town of Mui Ne and offers a broad variety of attractive resorts and restaurants. As in many areas of this coastal region, a number of red-tiled Cham temples can be seen rising above the landscape. The city is set against a geological wonderland of orange-red sand dunes. Make sure to visit Ta Cu Mountain where the panoramic views are spectacular from the top and you can also take a cable car to the top to see the white reclining buddha.
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