If you are looking to visit Southeast Asia, you are in for a treat. This group of diverse countries sits between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Many indigenous cultures have seen influences from Indian, Chinese and Western.
There are many different religions that stem from Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and Hindu among others.
It offers a start contrast to what many western travelers will be used to and delivers an experience like no other.
In This Guide
You can span from the border of India, all the way down to the latest member of the ASEAN region, East Timor that sits halfway between the last place on the list and Australia.
Families have the chance to explore temples, tramp treks through jungles, dive in some of the clearest waters on the planet, experience some of the world’s largest cities, and savor some of the most delicious street food imaginable.
Here, we will look at the best places to visit in Southeast Asia, but squeezing them all in will depend on how much time you have, and how many stops you have on your itinerary.
Myanmar, Burma as it is still known by many sits at the bottom of Southern China. It had struggles over the years but is now becoming a popular tourist destination.
Any time of year is great to visit this country, although the wet season hits around July to September.
There are plenty of places to visit and Mandalay being a must see place. With countless temples, the U-Bein Bridge or a climb up the Mandalay Hill.
For something full of excitement, you can take a hot-air balloon ride in Bagan, which the kids will love.
Alternatively, for something with your feet on the ground, you can take a trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. This is a two-day hike, so you will be passing plenty of local villages.
To get a taste of culture and history all in one, two of the most popular places you can visit are the Shwedagon pagoda, which is situated close to Yangon, or visit the Temples of Bagan.
Moving south, you enter into Thailand. There are many traveling families who make this a stop all of its own. Thailand travel has never been so popular.
With pearly white beaches that stretch for miles, a rich cultural heritage, and lots of things to do, Thailand is a top tourist destination where no one will leave feeling fulfilled.
One of the main stops has to be Bangkok. This is the heart of the country and one of the chaotic and vibrant Southeast Asian cities.
This can be too much on the senses, and after a quick visit, many travelers head back to the seclusion of the beaches.
Before doing so, you do need to visit the Wat Pho Temple and the Grand Palace. If you are there over the weekend, then a shopping expedition in the Chatuchak weekend market can open up some real bargains.
Top places to visit are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Koh Tao, Phuket or any of the other islands.
Thailand is a mecca for scuba fans. If that is a little too relaxing, you can head deep into the national parks close to the Doi Mon Jong, or the Phu Chi Fa mountains and check out any of the many elephant sanctuaries in Thailand.
Many travelers link Thailand and Vietnam in one go, but this misses out on two great countries to visit.
Cambodia isn’t on every persons places to visit, and a lot of this is because they don’t know how much there is to see there.
It has a checkered past, and there are still grim reminders around, but there is a wealth of places to explore and experience.
In the northwest lies Siem Reap, Cambodia home for no end of places, which will make you feel like Tomb Raider.
There are plenty of ancient temples such as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm and Angkor Thom that rise up from the surrounding jungle.
Angkor Wat being something truly remarkable and covers 400 square meters. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best way to absorb yourself in the Khmer civilizations culture.
After taking your time around all the temples, you can seek out some of the local beaches, or the nearby islands.
Koh Rong being a top island to visit, but the kids may find the lack of internet connection a little frustrating.
It is a chance to get them in the clear untouched waters and see any of the countless fish that bask in the clear skies above.
Back to something, which resembles western culture, can be a trip to Kep and Kampot, which are not far from Phnom.
Any decent Cambodia guide will take you to see the floating villages of Tonle Sap, these sit on the largest freshwater lake in all of Southeast of Asia.
Another country that is worthwhile visiting before heading into Vietnam is Laos. This is another country for any Southeast Asia travel that is becoming increasingly popular.
If you have family members who are keen to explore? The vast mountainous ranges, the lush jungles and the deep underground river caves around the isolated city of Luang Prabang will be enough to awaken the intrepid adventurer.
It doesn’t have beaches, but it more than makes up for this in the beauty of the country. Being the least visited, any travel to Laos will almost guarantee peace and tranquility.
Once you cool down in any of the many waterfalls. You can sample the Indian and Thai influenced food while deciding where to visit next.
The country may be inland, but is still manages to have the Si Phan Don Islands. These sit in the Mekong River and do offer places to visit.
The larger islands such as Don Det and Don Khon deliver better accommodation and more nightlife options.
Heading back into nature is the Bokeo Nature Reserve, the winding river by Nong Khiaw for trekking and hiking, or head underground in Tham Kong Lo in the Phu Hin Bun national park for underground river adventure.
There are countless places to visit, and the highly renowned Banana Pancake Trail covers many of them as it winds its way around the country.
Vietnam tourism has seen a massive increase over the past couple of years. It is a land of staggering beauty with lots of culture and contrast.
There are huge cities, but as soon as you head into the country, you are in a different time.
There are many references to WWII, and some of these do make compulsive viewing, although some may be too much for younger children.
World War II was a harrowing time, and everyone should know the horrors that both sides faced as the Japanese eagerly pushed the French from the country.
Since then, the people of Vietnam have moved on, but there are still lots of place where Colonial architecture can be seen. None more so than the aptly named Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City.
There are many places where there are French influences, and all through the country, there are botanical gardens that sit in some idyllic settings.
Traveling this far, European influence isn’t what everyone comes to see. The country has more than enough of its own culture and beauty.
Venture out of town to the world famous Ha Long bay and see the huge limestone cliffs hanging high above the crystal clear waters.
Venturing south, you can make your way along the beaches, and finally end up in Nha Trang. All around there is the mystery, history and charm.
The Po Nagar Towers show the old skills, or you can take a day on the water and visit Mum Island.
Hoi An is another vibrant city that sits along the banks of the Thu Bon River, or you can take a trek up Marble Mountain where the kids can check out the huge caves and caverns that are naturally cut into the rock.
The country is full of wonder and is worth any traveling family’s time.
A quick flight from Ho Chi Minh City can take you down to the peninsular Malaysia sits on, and Kuala Lumpur.
Here you will still find lots of culture, but the country is a little more up to date. With the Petronas Towers hitting the skyline of KL, any family is in for a treat.
There are so many things to do in Malaysia. Travel from KL to Penang and George Town, to venturing out into the countryside to explore all around the Cameron Highlands.
Rising up, you can scale Mount Brinchang, or if you are a golfer, you can try one of the pristine courses that are dotted around.
Kuching was home to the second white Rajah Charles Brooke, and you can still see the life he left behind.
You can head off to Kota Kinabalu and visit the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. This day trip can be one of the best island trips you can take.
Other islands such as Tioman Island are just accessible, or you can work your way down to the very tip of Malaysia to Johor Bahru.
This can be your last stop before heading off to sample all the Singapore attractions.
This city doesn’t need an introduction. There are so many things to do; it can be hard to keep up.
This ultra-modern city boasts it all. Kids will love it here because there is the Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark among others.
It is one of the smallest countries in the world, but as an eye opener to what the future may hold, it is one of the best places to visit in Asia.
For history lovers, there is plenty once you are passed all the glitz and glamor. The Raffles Hotel where Charlie Chaplin used to frequent is still in operation.
If you prefer something current, there is Marina Bay, or step into nature with the Kent Ridge Park, or the East Coast Park.
There is plenty for everyone, and the last place you can spend some time before heading off is Changi Airport.
From here, it can be a short flight to your next port of call. Philippines, Singapore by air is around 4 hours, so you can get some well-earned rest.
It’s more fun in the Philippines, well that’s what they say and they may be correct. With over 7,000 islands, you could spend years paying a visit to all of them.
However, there are plenty of Philippines attractions that are closer to the capital Manila, so you don’t need to travel too far out of your way.
If you love the beach and swimming, then you’ll never be far from heaven. With some of the best beaches in the world. With places like Palawan, Puerto Princesa and El Nido. You are never far from water.
Head in land and you can see the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, or travel down to Cebu or Luzon. Travel around in a multi-colored jeepney, or flag down a tricycle for a quick trip around town.
The Philippines has been popular for years, but is still undiscovered by many. Not to mention it sits halfway between the last airport and to the final Southeast-Asia country.
One of the world’s top destinations, it is easy to see why Indonesia tourism is among the highest in the region.
If anyone says Bali, you instantly picture paradise. There is as many islands as there are temples to visit with a whopping 13,000+.
Like anywhere, you have the chaos of Jakarta, the dragons of Komodo, and the adventure playgrounds of the Sumatra.
For every adventure loving person in a family, there is something to do in Indonesia. Temples and mountains of Java are waiting to be discovered, or the vastness of a sister island Lombok which is still quiet.
With the chance to see real-life orangutans in the Tanjung Puting National Park, you can visit the largest national park in south-east Asia.
Lorentz is on the island of Papua and covers just under 10,000 square miles.
Puncak Jaya stands as the highest mountain between the Andes and the Himalayas, so you can see all the mangroves, rainforest and the equatorial glaciers spread out before you.
There is an abundance of unspoiled beauty, which is much the same with any of the above countries.
There is something for every member of the family, and no travel guide will ever fit in all the gems that are waiting to be explored in each of the Southeast Asian countries.
There is so much culture and difference between the worlds you will see and what you are used to, there are thousands of picture in Getty images which you can see, but why look at pictures when you can live the dream for real.