Southeast Asia is open without restrictions for visitors and now is the time to experience the region’s wonder, before the crowds return.
This isn’t a region of backpackers and beaches, but a multi-layered region far beyond its stereotypes, rich for so many reasons.
From iconic sights to exceptional hotels, hidden corners to unimaginable encounters, we round up iconic experiences for your Southeast Asia bucket list.
Angkor is not one sight, it’s many Khmer cities, palaces and temples, stretching across the jungle in an evocative state of ruin.
To explore Angkor is to live an adventure, where every footstep takes you deeper into a lost Khmer world. It seems to go on forever, temple and temple of surprise, room after room of mystery.
It’s not a one-day destination. Angkor Wat is the biggest temple complex in the world, but Angkor Thom and the Bayon are more memorable. Explore on ebikes, have lunch in a private Angkor house, do yoga at dawn among forgotten temple ruins and dine inside a candle-lit temple.
Beaches, Beaches, Beaches (with Amazing Hotels)
Southeast Asia is still an awesome beach destination. The beaches are beautiful and swoon-worthy on any Instagram account. Unfortunately, some have been ruined by over-development and over-tourism. Fortunately there are many more, beautiful off the beaten path beaches with contemporary five-star hotels. Like the all-villa Zannier Hotels Bāi San Hô, on a golden Vietnamese peninsula.
Try Song Saa Private Island, an Maldivian-like escape off Cambodia’s coast. Visit Koh Samui and stay at Anantara Lawana or Naspasai, a Belmond Hotel.
Rosewood has a fabulous hotel on Phuket, the antithesis of the island’s seedy reputation. Elsewhere on Phuket there’s Amanpuri, Banyan Tree Phuket and Anantara Layan Phuket.
Discover Vietnam’s Natural Wonders
Vietnam is impossibly beautiful for a country most famous for war and destruction. The World Seven Wonder of Ha Long Bay is the famous face of this beauty, a landscape of dazzling limestone rock formations in a turquoise sea. Travel there by seaplane from Hanoi and take a private cruise with al-fresco jacuzzi.
Vietnam is an amazing open-air studio, everything is an excuse to take photos.
Vietnam-based photographer Réhahn shares these words in an incredible interview he did with Explorer magazine – you’ll be astonished by his photos! Travel north to cascading rice paddies, east to empty golden beaches, west to jungle-clad mountains and waterfalls, and south to small fishing villages.
Explore Your Holiday Options in Asia
Experience High Cambodian Fashion
Cambodia is known on an international fashion platform for its silk. This recognition is mostly down to Eric Raisina, a designer who swapped Paris for Siem Reap and collaborates with Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent.
“Siem Reap is a big destination for luxury travel” Eric continues. “People come in on their private jets and are amazed to see fashion here. We do made-to-measure appointments and organise private fashion shows.
Eric has his own shows at events like the Paris and New York fashion weeks, where a seat by the runway will cost many tens of thousands. In Siem Reap, Eric shares his universe during private viewings and then hosts visitors for dinner at his villa.
Explore Nature, History & Culture in North Thailand
North Thailand is not a backpacker hub. It’s a highly authentic region of highly unique experiences. Our favourite Four Seasons property in the world is Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. Yes it’s a Four Seasons and you sleep in a tent. But what luxury! Amid bamboo jungles, roaming elephants and spectacular mountains!
Nearby Chiang Mai will immerse you in old Thai spirituality, with private temple blessings, visits to off-the-map hill tribes, and many intriguing family or couple-focused experiences. There’s both a Four Seasons and Anantara in Chiang Mai.
You can also explore this history and culture close to Bangkok, with a day trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, a wonderland of Buddhist monasteries, temples, statues and ruins.
Meet the People of Southeast Asia
Exploring Southeast Asia is all about surprises, good surprises. A typical itinerary could include Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Siem Reap for Angkor, plus a beach destination and a layover in Bangkok. And while the sights are remarkable, you’ll remember Southeast Asia for its people.
Like Rehahn, the photographer who sold the most expensive photo ever sold in Asia. An explorer who set about visiting all 54 tribes in Vietnam and then made a museum to display their stories.
Or a local chef taking you to a local market and then back to her kitchen. From a fighter pilot to a royal artist, a trip to Southeast Asia is all about your interactions with interesting and relevant people.
Customising Your Southeast Asia Experience
No two journeys are the same in Southeast Asia. We’re here to curate Southeast Asia as your personal playground, matching the best hotels and destinations with the most exclusive of experiences.
You won’t find these places and excursions in any backpacker guides. Southeast Asia is different to the stereotypes and now is the time to really explore.