35 Bucket List Things To Do In Southeast Asia

January 9, 2019

Southeast Asia, thanks to its diversity and exotic grandeur, has been revered as one of the world’s must-see destinations for solo travelers, globetrotters and backpackers. Addictive and utterly entrancing, it’s a fabulous hodgepodge that will put you on a state of euphoria with its buzzing cosmopolitan cities, small ethnic villages, rice paddies and UNESCO World Heritage sites. What’s more, Southeast Asia is blessed with a wealth of natural wonders, including rivers, picture-perfect lagoons, thundering waterfalls, verdant mountains and pristine beaches.

Enjoy the amazing crystal-clear beach in South East Asia

Planning on visiting Southeast Asia? Wondering where to travel in Southeast Asia? Whether you want to escape your daily grind, experience the real culture of a country or go on an epic outdoor adventure, we have a rundown of some of the best bucket-list-worthy things to do in Southeast Asia. Check them out!

And, by the way, did you know that you fly all over Southeast Asia without spending a great deal of money? Just check out this wondrous travel hack, so you can score cheap flights to Southeast Asia for as low as $20. 

Also, a sturdy and dependable backpack is essential when traveling to Southeast Asia. Check out these cool and affordable bags for your trip to Southeast Asia. 

1. Hiking in Sapa, Vietnam

Explore Vietnam and go on a hiking adventure in Sapa that will unleash your inner shutterbug with its plunging valleys and alluring terraces

Famed for its marvelous rugged scenery, Sapa is a rather photogenic town in Vietnam that will unleash your inner shutterbug with its plunging valleys, alluring rice terraces and thick mist rolling across it peaks. Established in 1922 as a hill station by the French, this burgeoning destination also boasts a myriad of delicious Vietnamese treats and charming French colonial villas. To top it all off, a visit to this part of Southeast Asia lets you meet its hill tribe as well as immerse into their culture.

Think you need to a fortune to enjoy a luxurious vacation? Guess what? These Sapa hotels will give you a fabulous vacation for a rather affordable price!

2. Hit the enthralling lakes of Coron Island, Philippines

Check out the Lake Kayangan and lake Barracuda in Coron Island, Philippines

Not a lot of lakes in the Philippines or the whole Asian region are as hypnotizing as Coron’s natural gems – Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda.

Speaking of traveling to Coron, you really won't regret bringing a snorkeling mask. Check out this shop, to find awesome and wondrous snorkeling gear. 

Experience the immaculate beauty of Coron without breaking the bank with these amazingly affordable hotels.

3. Travel alone in Bali, Indonesia

Travel solo to Bali, Indonesia and enjoy its sandy beaches, flourishing rice terraces and varied landscapes of hills and mountains

Traveling alone in Southeast Asia? Billed as one of the best places to travel alone, Bali will sweep solo travelers off their feet with its sandy beaches, flourishing rice terraces as well as varied landscapes of hills and mountains. Globally celebrated and award-winning, Bali has a glut of archaeological and historical attractions as well, and will heal your weary spirit with its deeply spiritual and unique culture.

Looking for ways to save money for your Bali trip? Why not check out these amazingly affordable hotel bargains?

4. Explore Hoi An, Vietnam

Explore Hoi An, Vietnam and enjoy the great atmosphere with its narrow and winding lanes lined with traditional wooden houses and beautiful old architecture

Lauded for its great ambiance, this charming town has narrow and winding lanes lined with traditional wooden houses, beautiful old architecture as well as hundreds of tailor shops that sell everything from souvenirs to clothing.

From stunning views to first-class amenities, these affordable hotels in Hoi An have everything you need for a memorable stay!

5. Go on an eating spree in Penang, Malaysia

Savor the mouthwatering dishes in Penang, Malaysia at very affordable prices

With its tasty blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, Penang is truly an attraction in Southeast Asia that should be savored in the most literal sense. Known as a foodie’s nirvana, Penang is teeming with mouthwatering dishes that will surely appease your cravings, such as savory soups, delectable laksas and spicy curries. Plus, most of the restaurant food here is incredibly cheap, allowing you to binge without spending a fortune.

And when you finally have had enough, head to Georgetown (its capital), which is a UNESCO World Heritage site that serves as a home to colonial buildings as well as 200-year-old mosques and temples.

Experience the trip of a lifetime in Penang without burning a whole lot of cash by booking a stay at any of these hotels!

6. See the gleaming Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Visit at night the gleaming Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay when you travel to Singapore and witness its colorful lights

With its lofty heights and bright illuminations, Singapore Supertrees look like dream setting or a scene from the 2009 blockbuster film Avatar.

When traveling in Singapore, don't forget to pack a pair of Vessi shoes. Remember, you'll have to walk a lot in Singapore. And with its comfortable and waterproof design, Vessi ensures your feet won't feel extremely sore after days of sightseeing in Singapore. 

7. Get up close with the Komodo Dragons in Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Komodo National Park in Indonesia must be on the bucket list of every animal lover

The Komodo National Park, voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, is a remarkable wildlife haven that should be on the bucket list of every animal lover. Home to the Komodo Dragon (the largest lizard in the world), this UNESCO World Heritage site will wow you with its mighty and gigantic lizards and other interesting animals. But, honestly, there’s more to this national park than its fierce reptiles. Here, you’ll get to hike scenic trails, enjoy spectacular sunsets, and go scuba diving. And, did I mention that it has a wondrous pinkish beach?

8. Be wowed by the stunning sunrise in Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Witness the splendid sunrise alone or with someone at Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Want to catch an unforgettable sunrise in Southeast Asia? Mount Bromo is, without a doubt, one of the most striking places on the face of the earth to watch a sunrise. While it’s full of tourists, the desolately gorgeous caldera will still leave a lasting impression, no matter who you share it with.

9. Wander around Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Be impressed with the majestic Temples of Angkor in Cambodia

Famous tourist spots and attractions in Southeast Asia can suffer from unrealistic and inflated expectations. But, that’s never the case with the majestic Temples of Angkor in Cambodia. The sheer size of the renowned temple complex, paired with its intricate carvings, will surely impress even the most seasoned traveler.

Most travelers and tourists flock in the main events, such as the vine-covered Ta Phron Bayon and Angor Wat. How about the rest of the 400-square-kilometer area? Well, it’s all yours to explore and discover. Generations of Khmer leaders built a plethora (hundreds actually) of architecturally breathtaking temples around this area, meaning one day isn’t enough to see all of it.

10. Catch the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Be amazed with Thailand’s White Temple located in Chiang Rai

Even though it was built as a Buddhist temple, Wat Rong Khun in Thailand quite frankly looks like a fortress in Game of Thrones, with an eerily magical façade as well as interior walls splashed with disturbing dark cartoons.

Score amazingly affordable accommodations in Chiang Rai with these terrific suggestions!

11. See the wonderfully symmetrical Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines

Philippines’ Chocolate Hills located in Bohol are one of the iconic landmarks in this country

Symmetrical and awe-inspiring, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills are an iconic landmark in the Philippines that every bona fide travel junkie should see before they die.

Experience Bohol's finest and most breathtaking natural wonders for a very affordable price by booking a stay at any of these hotels!

12. Sail Halong Bay, Vietnam

Enjoy a fun-filled sea adventures and scenic nature in Sail Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay is an incredible 580-square-mile natural cove that contains around 2,000 verdant islands – all occupied only by monkeys, birds, ferns and trees. It’s these towering peaks – some of the hewn and cragged by years of erosion into eye-catching shapes – that have inspired hundreds of years of Vietnamese paintings and poetry.

Get the best hotel deals in Halong with ease!

13. Lay eyes on the skyscraping Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Capture the spectacular Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Petronas Towers, with its towering structures and enthralling architectural design, are a sight that will surely take your breath away in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Get the best deals to the most Instagram-worthy and dazzling hotels in Kuala Lumpur.

14. Experience the beauty of Borobudur, Indonesia

No list of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia is complete without Borobudur. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this Indonesian complex is, after all, one of the world’s greatest ancient monuments. Deemed as the largest single Buddhist structure in the planet, this ancient site will amaze you with its elaborate designs and carvings as well as its impressive size. Furthermore, it has a mesmerizing backdrop of steep volcanoes that further enhances the sense of awe and drama.

Score amazing and affordable hotel deals in Yogyakarta with these superb options!

15. Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise in Bagan, Myanmar

Witness sunrise riding in a hot air balloon to let you see the spectacular temples in Bagan, Myanmar

There are very few sunsets in the world than can rival to the light that shines on the cluster of temples on the plains of Bagan. The appeal of Bagan’s temples lies not in their individual beauty, but rather in the high density as well as the endless array of similar structures dotting the plains. More than 12,000 temples used to stand in Bagan – the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Pagan. Today, 2,000 of the still remain, and it’s this spiritual plentitude that really makes Bagan a must-visit place in Southeast Asia.

See the wonders of Bagan, while staying at an amazingly plush resort, by booking a stay at any of these affordable hotels.

16. Experience Boracay Island, Philippines

Include on your bucket list the beautiful island of Boracay and enjoy its thrilling water sports and activities

When backpacking Southeast Asia, don’t forget to swing by the party capital of the Philippines – Boracay. Praised for its crazy beach parties, Boracay has an electric and magnetic nightlife circuit that can give Ibiza and other party capitals in the world a run for their money. Of course, the island has soft white sands, beautiful clear waters and a host of thrilling water sports and activities.

Want tot look absolutely fantastic on your trip to Boracay? Check out this shop, to find great deals for a variety of bikinis and swimsuits. 

Experience a memorable trip to Boracay Island without spending a fortune with these great hotel bargains.

17. See the Batu Caves, Malaysia

Malaysia’s impressive Batu Caves is a top destination for travelers who love temples and caverns

Want to see something spectacular in Malaysia? Marvel at these limestone cliffs studded with caved cave temples and beautiful caverns.

Get the most affordable deals for your accommodations in Malaysia!

18. Take a plunge at Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Kuang Si Falls in Laos will give you a splendid time for its refreshing waters and awesome sceneries

When it comes to tourism, Laos doesn’t get as much as attention as the other Asian countries. But, make no mistake about it – the country has no shortage of diversions and splendid sites. And one of the best attractions of Laos is Kuang Si Falls. Although it’s a bit crowded, the waterfall can still give you a swell time with its refreshing waters and dazzling scenery.

Score supremely affordable hotels in Laos with these suggestions!

19. Plunge into the mystical Enchanted River, Philippines

Dive in this enchanted river in Philippines and embrace its natural beauty

There aren’t any mermaids, pixies, fairies that swim around this river. But with its ethereal clear and bluish waters, you’ll think this river was touched by the supernatural, magical beings in the Philippines.

Grab the best deals to some of the finest and most beloved hotels in Puerto Princesa!

20. Go on a hiking adventure at Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

Hiking adventure is one of the best activities if you’re going to Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

They say that on a good day, you can see all the way to the Philippines from the top of Mount Kinabalu. Quite frankly, you’d rarely see this neighboring country from the peak due to frequent rain and fog. Still, a climb to the highest mountain in Borneo is a fascinating adventure that should be on your bucket list. The ascent to the peak is technically straightforward, and it is also one the world’s most accessible mountains.

A word of advice, always bring a set of dependable equipment when hiking in Southeast Asia. Check out our outdoor shop, to find bargains for a variety of hiking gear. 

Enjoy amazing hotel bargains for your Kota Kinabalu escape!

21. Visit a colorful floating market in Bangkok, Thailand

If you’re into food trip while traveling, Floating Market in Thailand is a must for its uniqueness and tasty food

Full of color and life, these floating markets offer a memorable and fun experience in Southeast Asia, even though they aren’t as romantic as Venice’s gondolas.

Indulge on a heavenly retreat for a very affordable price with these impressive hotels in Bangkok!

22. Experience Ifugao Rice Terraces, Philippines

Experience a surreal trekking adventure in Ifugao Rice Terraces, Philippines

Overland migrants, a few thousand years ago, went down to the Philippines from what’s now known as China’s Yunnan province, and brought with them their rice terrace technology. Today, these creations layer the stunning hillsides of country’s Ifugao Region.

Entirely built supposedly by hand, the mud and stone walled terraces are irrigated by mountain springs and streams, and are tiered on incredibly steep slopes. During the harvest season in the villages of Batad and Banaue, when the rice plants are their greenest and brightest, the valleys essentially glow in the sunshine, making trekking a surreal experience here.

Get the best deals for the premier and most awesome hotels in Banaue!

23. See the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand lets you see a magical and beautiful lanterns in the sky

When November sets in, head to Chiang Mai, and see thousands of floating lanterns illuminate the sky beautifully during the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. One of the most magical festivals in Southeast Asia, this extravaganza transforms Chiang Mai’s sky into a wonderful and otherworldly sea of golden lanterns.

Looking for a remarkable yet affordable hotel in Chiang Mai? Why not check out these lovely hotel deals?

24. Visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines

Visit Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River to experience a one-of-a-kind boating ride

One of the best ways to enjoy Palawan – the world’s best island – is to experience a one-of-a-kind boat ride along one of the Seven Wonders of Nature.

Bag the best hotel deal for your wondrous Puerto Princesa vacation!

25. Go for a dive at Tubbataha, Philippines

A jaw-dropping sights and magnificent aquatic life awaits when you dive and explore Tubbataha

For diving connoisseurs, a dive at Tubbataha is a must-do, when visiting Southeast Asia. Discovered in the 1970s by divers, this glorious dive sport is filled with jaw-dropping underwater sights, incredible coral reefs and large marine life.

Want to save some cash for your trip to Tubbataha? Look no further than these hotel bargains in Puerto Princesa City!

26. Sand dune surfing in Mui Ne, Vietnam

Travel to Mui Ne, Vietnam and experience the beautiful sand dunes you’ll ever see in Southeast Asia

More than just a beach destination, Mui Ne has awesome sand dunes that can certainly quench your thirst for outdoor adventures.

Think you need to spend a ton of money for your Mui Ne accommodations? Guess what? These hotels in Phan Tiet will blow your mind with its crazy affordable rates!

27. Learn the art of Muay Thai, Thailand

Learning Muay Thai is great while you’re having a vacation in Thailand

If you want to learn a new skill, get fit, or just want to know how to kick ass, then this is something totally worthy doing in Thailand. There are institutions and schools all over this Asian country, from season pro to absolute novice. It’s a little grueling physically, but a great way to get back into shape, after indulging on many Asian delicacies.

Enjoy the best cheap hotels in Bangkok with these superb options! 

28. Check out the awesome street art in Penang, Malaysia

Penang’s awesome street art in Malaysia will make you amazed for its incredible murals

Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic left his mark in Penang, with incredible murals of children across Georgetown. The artworks are fascinating, funny and very open to everybody’s interpretations.

Engineered for budget travelers, these affordable hotels in Penang will give you a vacation for the ages!

29. Find your beach bliss in Krabi, Thailand

Krabi, Thailand is one of the perfect places for beach lovers who want to enjoy laid-back trip

Looking for the ultimate beach escape in Asia? Look no further than Krabi, Thailand. Even if it’s filled with tourists, you can enjoy a laid-back trip here on the province’s secluded islands.

Explore a plethora of remarkably affordable hotels in Krabi!

30. Cross the bustling streets of Hanoi, Vietnam

Experience the crazy bustling streets of Hanoi in Vietnam

Not for the fainthearted, this is by far one of the craziest bucket list things to do in Southeast Asia.

Get the best rates for the top and most gorgeous hotels in Hanoi!

31. Snap a jillion of photographs of Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Brunei

Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Brunei will give you an awesome impressions for its finest and luxurious mosque

Completed in 1958, this imperial mosque will give you an urge to snap hundreds of photographs with its reflecting pool, luxurious carpets, glittering chandeliers as well as lavish walls and floor made from the finest Italian marble. Moreover, it flaunts a 3.5-million-piece glass mosaic that overlay real gold leaf covering the main dome.

Get the best hotels in Bandar Seri Begawan with these terrific options!

32. Cruise the famous Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Have a unique water world experience when you explore the famous Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong Delta, fittingly nicknamed as the rice bowl of Vietnam, is carpeted in a dizzying medley of greens. It’s a unique water world moving to the rhythms of Mekong, where markets, houses and boats float upon the numerous streams, canals and rivers criss-crossing the landscape like arteries.

Think you need to spend a ton of money for your Mekong Delta accommodations? Guess what? These hotels in Ho Chi Minh City will blow your mind with its crazy affordable rates!

33. Be utterly amazed by the grandeur of Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

Witness the glittering and mesmerizing Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar

Myanmar’s Shwedagon Pagoda is a delicate pagoda that you should see at least once in your life. Not only does it have an incredible height of 99 meters, but it also flaunts a starling and unique architectural design. Not to mention, it has a glittering gold-plated dome topped with a stupa containing over 5,000 diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires.

Looking for ways to save money for your Yangon trip? Why not check out these amazingly affordable hotel bargains?

34. Soak in the lovely feel in Luang Prabang, Laos

Feel the lovely vibes of Luang Prabang in Laos and see the wondrous traditional wooden houses with a hint of European Architecture

Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage city – is a wondrous patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses as well as hints of European Architecture.  With its charming and atmospheric personalities, Luang Prabang is now on the radar of many travelers who are dreaming of going to Salzburg and Venice.

Experience the trip of a lifetime in Luang Prabang without burning a whole lot of cash by booking a stay at any of these hotels!

35. Catch the fascinating Sardine Run in Cebu

35 Bucket List Things To Do In Southeast Asia

Fond of diving? Be mesmerized by the wondrous schools of sardines dotting the coastline of Moalboal, Cebu. Afterwards, head to Pescador Island, and feast your eyes on its colorful and lively underwater creatures.

Party like a rockstar and experience Cebu like a celebrity without breaking the bank with these affordable hotel deals!

How to Visit Southeast Asia and Explore it While Loving Every Second! 

Eliminate all of the stress of planning your trips. Travel like a local and get all of the insider secrets for your Southeast Asia trips!

Did you like our Southeast Asia travel guide? Follow us on Facebook to get more insightful travel tips and inspiration in Asia! Cheers! Better yet, sign up for Trekeffect, and earn some money for your trips in Southeast Asia or anywhere in the world!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks

Book your accommodations

Let's face it.  Expedia, hotels.com (and all the other hotel booking engines) typically earn huge margins off of you.  You might think you're getting a deal, but you're not getting a deal.  Want the best deal when you book your hotels?   Of course you do! With Trekeffect you can get FREE access to discounted hotel prices and save a bunch of money.  

How does it work? Simple... 
1. Sign up for Trekeffect [FREE]
2. Click the hotels tab in the navigation
3. Search for the city you are visiting
4. Book a hotel and save a ton of money

Shop for Travel Essentials

Get all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip. 

Book your flight

Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world.  They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.  

Don't forget travel insurance

Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.

     - World Nomads (for everyone below 70)

     - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

Check out our resource page for the absolute best companies to use when you travel! We list our favorite companies that save people the most money when they travel and we think it will help you too!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported. 

Alternative Text
Ashley Thompson
A fun size lass born in rock and roll who dreams to become a rock star, or a world traveler, or both.
Trekeffect Hotel Booking Engine
Cheap & Luxurious Hotels From Around The World
Compare hotel prices in a fast & simple way. Book your ideal hotel. Get last minute deals and high-class service guaranteed.