Sometimes walking down the sandy tract throws your soul into a tranquil reverie and on other occasions, you stand stunned watching the sun unabashedly painting the sky’s canvas. At times, you just like to wear your hair down and so often to just glide along the blue-green waters. A soul seeker or not, a beach bum or not, these beautiful destinations with their spellbinding beauty will beckon you! Here’s a list of the lesser known gems of South-East Asia, that will invoke a new sense of love for the sea, skies and the sunset.
Pronounced as ‘Hway’, Hue in Vietnam, like its name, is blessed with myriad colours. Sitting pretty along the Perfume River and bustling with a royal charm, this city is the former capital of Vietnam and just an hour away by flight from Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Dotted with historical edifices that narrate a tale of ancient charms, Hue is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a world away from the world. Whether its the dynamic Nine Dynastic Urns along with, the fantastic Hue Imperial City or the green carpet of Bach Ma National Park and the scintillating Tam Giang Lagoon, Hue with its rustic hues will enthall the connoisseur of the old and the nature-lover in you.
2. Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Leave the chaotic lanes of Bangkok and travel to the luscious land of Kanchanaburi that spells magnificence and paves the way for some soul seeking midst nature’s luster. Let the scenic vistas flooded with serenity wash your soul clean. Devour lip-smacking food in the lap of nature, at a floating restaurant, shop away at the floating markets or saunter through the verdant jungles. The Sai Yok National Park or the Safari Park Open Zoo are other attractions that will bewitch you while you explore the aural gems of the countryside. If you’re a brave heart, then dive into the dark and dingy side of the city that was touched by the wrath of the second world war.
3. Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia
Nestled away in southwest Cambodia, the gorgeous Cardamom Mountains offer fecund spectacles of beautiful biodiversity where wild elephants stroll in their full splendour. Home to Phnom Aural, the highest peak of Cambodia, this alluring place is a haven for climbers and nature enthusiasts. It’s interesting to note that the Cardamom Mountains has a community project where travellers can plant trees to fight forestry. When here, also visit the mesmeric Tham Phu Wa Temple that is adorned with intricate carvings. All in all, the Cardamom Mountains is an exquisite destination to touch base with your innate self.
4. Mt Pinatubo, Philippines
The Philippines is a country, brimming with many natural wonders but this one is definitely for the adventure enthused souls! Mt. Pinatubo stands a league apart for its blessed with heart-stopping beauty. After it erupted in 1991, the crown of the mountain got replaced by a lake like a crater. Though the trek entails a craggy circuit and takes several hours, its worth your time for the pinnacle beholds a lovely panorama. The peak is encircled by clear and emerald waters, that let you unwind like never before, after a long and a hectic trekking trail. Stay in tents by the lake and surrender to pristine beauty. When here, check out the stunning rice terraces of Banaue, the eighth wonder of the world while the hikes pass through the stunning coffee plantations and serene waterfalls. Also get a chance to interact with the Aetas, the indigenous of the land.
5. Vientiane, Laos
The underrated but not the unheard capital of Laos, Vientiane, offers a plethora of beautiful sights. While the city is famous for the gorgeous Vang Vieng and the Luang Prabang, it is also home to aplenty unique places. Visit the Wat Si Saket Buddhist Temple, then venture to the War Monument, Buddhist Stupa and the Pha That Luang. Also, gobble down some delicious street food at Lane Xang and catch the dazzling sunset over the Mekong. The night bazaars bustling with vibrancy and the French-impacted food scene are also a must if you’re visiting Vientiane.
With the dawn of the New Year, be sure to visit these unheard, unexplored, yet wonderful places of Southeast Asia.