Best Places To Vacation In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a vibrant region of mainland and island countries. Its breathtaking landscapes, diverse cultures, and affordability make it a popular vacation destination. Here, you’ll find real advice from real travelers on where to eat and stay, what to do, what to skip, and how to get around Southeast Asia. See an interactive map of routes taken and explore honest trip reviews, or browse curated itineraries from locals and seasoned travelers. Use these trip reports to structure your own itinerary that makes the most out of your next Southeast Asia vacation.

Best Time to Visit Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia includes the nations of Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The area is ethnically and culturally diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken throughout. It boasts three of the ten man-made wonders of the world: Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the temples of Bagan in Myanmar, and the temples of Bali, Indonesia.

The weather in Southeast Asia is mostly tropical, which means hot, humid, and rainy weather. Exact seasonal patterns may vary, but generally, there are two or three seasons, depending on the region. For northern nations (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam), the wet season occurs around June to October, followed by a dry season from November to February. March through May is often the hottest time of the year, and when pollution is at its worst. For countries further south (Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore), the wet season runs from October to March, and the dry season is from April to September.

The dry season is also known as the peak season, but don’t think it’s the best time to travel to Southeast Asia. Peak season means peak crowds and peak prices. Travelers wanting a cheap Southeast Asian vacation may opt to go during the wet season for better prices and fewer tourists. Know when you’ll be traveling and plan accordingly. Not only are weather and cost a factor, but there are fewer accommodations available during the wet season.

Things to do in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a hotbed of volcanic activity, making for jagged mountains, hidden hot springs, and rich biodiversity—both on land and underwater. Its rainforest is second only to the Amazon in size, and its many reefs make for excellent snorkeling or scuba diving. It’s a destination known for its intricate temples, limestone cliffs, beautiful beaches, bustling night markets, delicious street food, and numerous waterfalls. Activities like island hopping, backpacking, or scuba diving in Southeast Asia are easy due to the inexpensive cost.

Find more travel tips for Southeast Asia from the traveler itineraries below, such as getting the best of Bali, touring Vietnam’s major cities, backpacking through Thailand, three weeks in Cambodia, or island hopping in the Philippines. AtlasGuru travelers will help guide you to your best Southeast Asia vacation.

Photos from trip reports

Koh Touch Beach - Koh RongCambodiaKoh Rong

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From the experts

Trip Tips

Food

Food in SEA is amazing! Make sure to try local dishes. Be brave and buy street food at local markets. In most cities you can find night markets with a variety of dishes to taste.

Packing

Bring good walking sandals/shoes and clothing for heat and humidity. We also pre-treated many of clothes with anti-mosquito repellant (Permethrin which you can buy at REI or Amazon). A dry bag can come in handy.

Transportation

The local tuk tuks are a fantastic way to travel in South East Asian cities.

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