Looking for somewhere to go for a quick end-of-year getaway but tired of the same old tourist spots? We have a list of some underrated destinations around the region that might be exactly what you are looking for.
- Hsipaw, Myanmar
Myanmar is an up-and-coming tourist destination with much of the action happening in the bustling capital Yangon. So why not avoid the traffic jams, construction sites and hordes of backpackers and head instead to Hsipaw?
Situated in northern Shan State, Hsipaw was the seat of the last Shan prince and is home to one of Myanmar’s minority ethnic groups. Hsipaw not only offers an authentic experience of Shan culture with its palace and famous market, you can join guided tours and take part in hikes in the state’s pristine countryside.
Five Buddha Hill and Nine Buddha Hill in particular are perfect places to appreciate a soothing sunset.
- Hue, Vietnam
The former imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty, Hue is still a bustling city but decidedly less so than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
After soaking in the culture, you can enjoy an authentic Vietnamese dinner while cruising down the Perfume River which flows through the city. The chilly winter weather can also be a pleasant break from the usual sweltering Southeast Asian heat.
- Camiguin, the Philippines
If you are looking for a small-island experience that is off the beaten track, look no further than Camiguin. Located off the northern coast of Mindanao in the Philippines, Camiguin has thus far remained off the radar of most backpackers and tourists.
The volcanic island offers a plethora of activities and attractions, including hot springs, waterfalls, diving and snorkelling (the sunken cemetery is a particularly famous spot), both black and white sand beaches, a bubbling soda water park – a result of the island’s volcanic springs – and hiking trails up Mount Hibok Hibok, an active volcano.
With beautiful views everywhere, plenty of things to see and do, and a local population not yet jaded by too many tourists, Camiguin is a real hidden gem, at least for now.
- Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Located on Cambodia’s southwest coast on the Gulf of Thailand, Kampong Som is also known as Sihanoukville after former king and prime minister of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk.
Sihanoukville’s main attractions are by far its abundance of beaches and exuberant nightlife. While not exactly a hidden gem, Sihanoukville’s beaches are for the most part less crowded than their counterparts in Thailand and Bali.
Visitors to this coastal city are spoilt for choice when it comes to options for soaking up the sun on sandy beaches such as Otres Beach, Ochheuteal Beach, Independence Beach, Victory Beach and Sokha Beach.
- Nan, Thailand
Thailand has many famous destinations, but Nan is perhaps one you might not have heard of.
Nan’s main draws are its rich history and abundance of temples or wats. Wat Phumin with its Tai Lü murals is an unmissable attraction. The nine-metre-tall golden Blessing Buddha, which overlooks the city at Wat Phra That Khao Noi, is also a favourite of visitors to the valley.
The Nan Riverside Arts Space and the Nan National Museum hold more cultural treats for you to digest, while for the nature inclined Doi Phu Kha National Park offers a large swathe of untouched nature to trek through.
Whether you choose any of these destinations or simply use them as inspiration to search for your own, we hope you enjoy your trips and travels around our great region of Southeast Asia!