Southeast Asia is one of the most popular regions in the world for tourism, and it’s easy to see why. Not only do its countries have gorgeous beaches, cultures, and cuisines, but they’re also really cheap. For what you’d spend on a tiny hotel room in Mykonos, you can get a massive villa in a range of stunning Southeast Asian islands.
There’s plenty of information about the best beach destinations in Southeast Asia (there are too many to count!). But what about cities? There are lots of fascinating cities throughout the region which are well worth a visit. If you’re at a loss for where to start, here are 5 awesome cities to visit in Southeast Asia.
Laos is a really small country, and is all-too-often overlooked by tourists. However, its capital city, Vientiane, is one of the most charming places you’ll ever visit. It differs from most other tourist destinations in the region as it is landlocked, but its combination of French-colonial architecture and ancient Buddhist temples makes for a fascinating trip. Spend a few days in Laos, then find your way from Vientiane to Siem Reap.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phnom Penh is the most famous city in Cambodia, but Siem Reap is host to the incredible site of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Originally designed as a Hindu temple, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist complex. Siem Reap has to be on your list for Angkor Wat alone, but don’t plan on spending too long there. A couple of days is plenty to get a good taste of what it has to offer.
Singapore is a city-state – it’s both a city and a country. As a country, it is tiny. Mainland Singapore stretches 31 miles lengthwise and 17 miles across. As such, it is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, it is one of the most fascinating cities on the globe. Singapore as it is today hasn’t existed for all that long, as it stretches over a lot of reclaimed land. What’s amazing is that it has become one of the most modern places in the world, with technologically brilliant solutions to the lack of space and the need for greenery. The musical Supertree Grove at the Gardens by the Bay will astound you. If you have time before you leave, go to Jewel at Singapore’s Changi airport, where you’ll find an insane indoor waterfall.
Hanoi is an incredible city because of its vibrant culture. As a Western tourist, you’re going to have a hard time making sense of it. This is definitely a good thing, as it never gets boring. You’ll find delicious street food, get to tour on the back of a bike, and leave wanting so much more.
Bangkok is well worth a visit, as you’ll find some of the best shopping in the world. I’m not talking about high fashion, although you’ll find that too. Rather, the markets are an experience in and of themselves, where you’ll haggle for clothes and souvenirs, along with cultural artefacts made to order. Definitely try the street food. It’s even better than it looks.