Maybe you’ve spent too many beach vacations lolling about the sands of Mexico and the Caribbean. And maybe, just maybe, you are ready for a destination that’s a little more adventurous, then it's time to start planning an escape to Southeast Asia. The region is back on the radar for travelers eager for its warm waters, incredible beaches, rolling surf, and cultural diversity.
All 11 countries of Southeast Asia—Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam—have dropped quarantines for vaccinated travelers. Book a five-star train journey to explore this incredible part of the world or base yourself in one country; the choice is yours.
Bali – A beach resort is a great spot to get over your jet lag, and then start exploring. The terraced rice fields near Ubud, the black sand beaches of Tabanan, the majestic island temple of Tanah Lot—Bali is about so much more than the beach.
Balinese people are warm and kind and happy to talk to visitors about their country. Make sure you book a temple tour with a private guide to explore off the well-worn tourist path. And if you want to live your Eat, Pray, Love best life, there’s a yoga studio in Ubud for you.
Thailand – Honeymooners are booking this favorite getaway again. Popular exotic beach towns such as Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Samui, Krabi, Phuket, and Phi Phi Island are gorgeous and relaxing at the right resort, and new ones have opened up. Thailand is famous for its fantastically fresh and varied flavors—lemongrass, chili, kaffir limes—what better place to "go for Thai" than in Thailand?
Combine your beach getaway with the nightlife of Bangkok (just watch out for the wild and crazy traffic). Shop, eat, and see if you can count the number of Buddha statues you see—Bangkok has its largest one looming over the city at 230 feet high.
Vietnam – This country hugs the eastern edge of the Indochina peninsula and is famous for its beaches and beach resorts. In the capital, Hanoi, explore the labyrinth of streets in the old quarter and stop at a food stall to taste the cuisine—a yummy blend of Chinese and Thai flavors. And don’t leave before wandering the UNESCO world heritage site, Hoi An, an ancient trading village on the coast with well-preserved architecture and charm.
Singapore – This city-state is a fascinating blend of Asian and Western styles that has long been a melting pot of cultures: Malay, Chinese, Muslim, and Peranakan neighborhoods are fascinating to explore and shop in, not to mention to eat in. Just make sure that you spend time in one of its hawker-stall food markets—they’re like a food court but so much more entertaining and delicious (pro tip: the longer the line of locals, the better the food).
From gleaming shopping districts along Orchard Road to the 57-story high infinity pool atop Marina Bay Sands hotel to the chanting monks of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (not to be missed), Singapore never disappoints.
Asia’s beaches and historic sites are waiting:
Which one will you explore first?