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15 Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia for Couple, Honeymoon, Anniversary...

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Jan. 30, 2024

Southeast Asia consists of 11 countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippine, and Timor-Leste. They are full of vibrant places suitable for different seasons and travelers. You'll not be disappointed whether you're traveling for family trip, honeymoon celebration, anniversary tour, Christmas holiday, or just relaxation.

  • For sunny beaches in dry season, you can consider Bali from April to September, Phuket from November to March, Koh Samui from December to April, or Palawan from November to May.
  • For well-preserved elephant jungles, Chiang Mai, Phuket, or Luang Prabang are good choices.
  • For vibrant nightlife, don't miss Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, or Phuket.
  • For exotic food, Bangkok, Hanoi, Phuket, and Singapore are paradises.
  • For unique floating markets, the Mekong Delta in south Vietnam is a must see.
Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

Based on our 20+ inspection journeys and 2,000+ customer reviews, 15 best places are recommended here for your upcoming Southeast Asia trip.

  • In Thailand: Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Phuket
  • In Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh, the Mekong Delta
  • In Cambodia: Siem Reap
  • In Indonesia: Bali
  • In Myanmar: Bagan
  • In Laos: Luang Prabang
  • In the Philippines: Palawan Island
  • Singapore

Most travelers include more than one country in one tour as these countries are not far from each other and the visas are usually easy to get (visa free or e-visa). You can reach us for a worry-free travel planning (best flight connections, visa details, best suitable hotels...).

Check out the weather details on our Best Times to Visit Southeast Asia, Vietnam and Cambodia, and Thailand and Vietnam.

1. Chiang Mai — Old Thailand & Elephant Sanctuary

  • Best weather: from November to February
  • Suggested stay: 2–3 full days
Chiang Mai — Old Thailand & Elephant Sanctuary Visit an elephant sanctuary to play with the elephants in the jungle

Located in north Thailand, Chiang Mai provides you with what traditional Thailand looks like. With a calm and relaxed atmosphere, it is one of the best destinations for a Southeast Asia trip.

Top Things to Do in Chiang Mai:

  • Enjoy a leisurely walk around the Old City to see temple spires and barefoot monks.
  • Take a short bike or scooter ride out of the town to discover the countryside with its dense rain forest.
  • Visit an elephant sanctuary to walk with the elephants in the jungle, feed them with fruit, and bathe with them in the river.
  • Release your own lanterns during Thai Lantern Festivals: Loy Krathong and Yi Peng (observed on November 9th in 2022).

Check out how to plan a family trip to Southeast Asia>>>

2. Bangkok — A Mix of Modernity and Tradition

  • Best weather: from November to March
  • Suggested stay: 2–3 full days
Bangkok — A Mix of Modernity and Tradition Countdown to New Year in Bangkok

Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, is the second largest city in Southeast Asia. It is most often used as the gateway to Thailand and Southeast Asia.

From world famous temples to luxury goods shopping, from the narrow lanes to the Metropolitan Rapid Transit system, from the small street vendors to the high-end rooftop bars, Bangkok's big contrasts have so much for you to discover.

Top Things to Do in Bangkok:

  • Take a dinner cruise on Chao Phraya River to savor the gala of lights of Bangkok.
  • Hop on a colorful tuk-tuk in the evening, and satisfy your stomach with Thailand's diverse cuisines: from bizarre-shaped snacks to strange insects.
  • Experience the world-renowned Thai massage.
  • Have an exquisite cocktail in the Sky Bar at sunset — the world's highest open-air bar and set for The Hangover Part II.
  • Watch an action-packed Thai boxing match at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
  • Hike, night safari, and camp with your kids in Khaoyai National Park (2 hours' drive away).
  • Journey out to Ayutthaya to stroll around the ruins of the former capital of the Thai Kingdom (2½ hours' driving).

Further reading: How to Plan a Trip to Singapore and Thailand. Or you can check the sample itineraries of Thailand for 10 days, 12 days, 14 days and 21 days >>>

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

3. Koh Samui in South Thailand — High-End Resorts & Less Crowding

  • Best weather: from December to April
  • Suggested stay: 3–5 full days
Koh Samui in South Thailand Enjoy a romantic beach dinner in Koh Samui

For beaches in Thailand, you might hear Phuket more than Koh Samui. The main reason is that Phuket was developed earlier and so has more beach recreation facilities and is easier to get to. However, if you're looking for a truly beachfront hotel room with less people walking around, Koh Samui is definitely a better choice.

You can fly directly from Thailand's major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai to Koh Samui.

Top Things to Do in Koh Samui:

  • Enjoy quiet sunbathing on the beach.
  • Relax and enjoy a treatment in a local spa.
  • Savor the blue ocean with water sports like swimming and kiteboarding.
  • Join a Thai cooking class.

Read more details about trip costs in Southeast Asia

4. Phuket — Largest Island in Thailand

  • Best weather: from November to March
  • Suggested stay: 3–5 full days
Phuket — Largest Island in Thailand Snorkel or dive in the crystal blue water in Phuket

The popularity of Phuket is matched by its abundance of activities. With snorkeling, scuba-diving, and other water sports, this magic island offers a lot of vacation choices for families, couples, and friends.

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, as well as the first to be opened to travelers. Compared with Koh Samui, though more crowded, Phuket has more hotel choices from hostels to high-end beach resorts as well as more water sport choices. It's a good choice for family and friends groups.

Top Things to Do in Phuket:

  • Enjoy the sand, waves, and sun with your loved ones.
  • Dine with your beloved under a romantic sunset.
  • Explore Phuket's night markets to see the real Phuket, meet the locals, seek out affordable buys, and taste Thai street food.
  • Snorkel or dive in the crystal blue water of the Similan Islands.
  • Discover the fantastic caves, limestone cliffs, and lagoons of Phang Nga Bay with a canoe or sea-kayak.
  • Visit the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary to observe elephants in an elephant-friendly environment, and get close to them by feeding them and bathing them.

Suggested reading: Best Beaches in Phuket.

Further reading: How to Plan a Trip to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore>>>

5. Hanoi — Real Vietnam

  • Best weather: from November to February
  • Suggested stay: 1–2 full days
Hanoi — Real Vietnam Hop on a rickshaw to explore the Old Quarter

If you want to discover the real Vietnam, you have to travel to Hanoi. As the charming capital city, Hanoi has of a history of more than 1,000 years.

Locals sit and chat in front of a convenience store with a cup of beer on a small table for a whole afternoon.
Numerous motorbikes ride through narrow lanes and leave no space for cars.
Try a bowl of pho soup in a small street food vendor.
Do a double take, and check that you're still in the 21st century!!
The traditional lifestyle has been kept well in Hanoi.

Top Things to Do in Hanoi:

  • Walk through the street markets in the Old Quarter (Hanoi has thirty-six streets each with a product to sell: Jam Street, Sugar Street, Salt Street…).
  • Stroll around tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake and look for a "lucky turtle"!
  • Watch a traditional performance of water puppetry to soak in Vietnam culture.
  • Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and the Ho Chi Minh Museum to appreciate the man who unified the nation.
  • For more, see The Top 8 Things to Do in Hanoi.

Further Reading: Itinerary options for 2 weeks in Thailand and Vietnam

6. Halong Bay — Unique Karst Scenery in the Sea

  • Best weather: late March to early July
  • Suggested stay: 2 full days
Halong Bay — Unique Karst Scenery in the Sea Boat trip through the karst scenery in Halong Bay

After one or two days in downtown Hanoi, you are recommended to go to Halong Bay for a 2-day cruise. It is a magnificent natural wonder, consisting of over 1,600 limestone islands and islets.

Top Things to Do in Halong Bay:

  • Enjoy your leisure time on the cruise with a variety of activities: kayaking, swimming, diving...
  • Experience a squid fishing night or cap off the night with some beauty spa services.
  • Take a seaplane flight to fly over the pillars reaching up from the emerald waters
  • Visit the village floating on the river to see how the fishermen maintain their unique boat lifestyle.
  • Visit a water-eroded cave to see stunning stalactites and stalagmites in curious shapes.

Read more about the Top 10 Kid-Friendly Destinations in Southeast Asia>>>

7. Hoi An — An Exotic Ancient Town in Central Vietnam

  • Best weather: from February to July
  • Suggested stay: 2–3 full days
Hoi An — An Exotic Ancient Town in Central Vietnam Stroll around the old town to enjoy a tranquil moment

Hoi An is a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port city. It's a lovely quaint old city with a slow pace of life. Enjoy a tranquil moment with your family or fellow travelers here.

You will surely marvel at the exquisite assembly halls, be amazed by the fancy lanterns, enjoy coquettish ao dai national dress, and love boating on the romantic Thu Bon River.

Top Things to Do in Hoi An:

  • Stroll around the old town as sundown approaches around 9:30pm to soak in the beauty of Hoi An.
  • Tailor-make a traditional Vietnamese dress — an ao dai — and walk around the lantern-lit streets to travel back into ancient times.
  • Take a long-tail boat to watch the sunset on the Thu Bon River with a cup of coffee or red wine.
  • Row a bamboo basket boat through the water of a coconut palm jungle, and fish with local fishermen.
  • Observe the manufacturing process of various handicrafts: embroidery, ceramics, wood carving...
  • Ride a bike/motorbike out from ancient town to enjoy Hoi An's beautiful countryside scenery.
  • Join in a full moon festivals on the 14th day of a lunar month.

8. Ho Chi Minh — Sleepless City of Vietnam

  • Best weather: from December to April
  • Suggested stay: 1–2 full days
Ho Chi Minh — Sleepless City of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh — Sleepless City of Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, is a noisy and dynamic metropolis. With over eight million inhabitants, four million motorbikes and numerous beer bars, Saigon (its old name), now, is truly a city that never sleeps.

Although its economy is developing rapidly, it still feels full of French romanticism and influence, earning it the nickname "Paris of the Orient".

It is very popular among travelers because of its classic French architecture, mixture of old and modern Vietnam, tasty food combining French, Chinese, and local Vietnamese cuisine, and the Vietnam War ruins.

Top Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Get on a local cyclo (rickshaw) and roam around the city, passing by narrow streets, local markets, and numerous interesting sites that are not really accessible by cars.
  • Take a walking tour, traveling back to the 19th century, to visit the colonial-era buildings: War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral the Basilica of Saigon...
  • Embark on a dinner cruise on the Saigon River or drink a cocktail at a sky bar to enjoy the city at night.
  • Unlock the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine on a street food tour.
  • Take a 2-hour drive to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels to see the hardship of life in hiding and how it protected the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps.
  • More on The Top 9 Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.

9. The Mekong Delta — the "Rice Bowl of Vietnam"

  • Best weather: from November to January
  • Suggested stay: 1–2 full days
Cai Rang Floating Market Get up early to enjoy a special boat breakfast in the flourish Cai Rang Floating Market

The Mekong River ends at the Mekong Delta where it discharges silt into the East Vietnam Sea, forming a continuously expanding sedimentation zone on the southern tip of Vietnam.

The Mekong Delta is only 2–3 hours' driving from dynamic Ho Chi Minh City. It is very popular to take a one-day or two-day trip to see how most villages in the Delta still keep their traditional lifestyle of fishing, farming, and trading at floating markets.

Top Things to Do in the Mekong Delta:

  • Take a sampan through natural channels to discover the villages surrounded by rice paddies.
  • Visit local orchards and sample an amazing variety of fruits.
  • Get up early to enjoy a special boat breakfast in the flourish Cai Rang Floating Market with a cup of morning Vietnamese coffee and a bowl of pho soup

Suggested reading: Mekong Delta Travel Guide — 6 Things You Need to Know

10. Siem Reap, Cambodia — Ruins of Angkor Wat

  • Best weather: from November to February
  • Suggested stay: 3–4 full days
Siem Reap, Cambodia — Ruins of Angkor Wat Siem Reap, Cambodia — Ruins of Angkor Wat

Siem Reap is famous for the ruins of Angkor Wat, an archaeological site with an amazing array of stone temples. It offers a lot of romantic experiences.

But, you can do more than just visiting Angkor Wat…

Top Things to Do in Siem Reap:

  • Ride a bike through the jungle, walk on old stone roads covered with moss, and wander in the mysterious corridors of Angkor Wat.
  • Travel into the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Ta Prohm.
  • Enjoy the best sunset in Seam Reap on the top of Bakheng Hill.
  • Get deep into the charming countryside scenery on a quad bike.
  • Sitting on a mini Tara riverboat, float by a floating village to enjoy the time-forgotten lake scenery of Tonle Sap.

11. Bali in Indonesia — Just Perfect for Everyone

  • Best weather: from April to September
  • Suggested stay: 3–5 full days
Bali in Indonesia Challenge yourself with surfing in Bali

If you are looking for a tropical and relaxing getaway, then Bali will be a great place for you!

Bali is a magical place that has a lot to offer: from mountain villages and paddy fields to volcano hiking and beaches. You will get no disappointments, no matter whether you are adventurer seekers, a family with kids, a couple, or food lovers.

Top Things to Do in Bali:

  • Bring a towel and smother yourself in suntan lotion for a sun-soaked rest on the white beaches.
  • Watch a mesmerizing pink sunset with glamorous sunset cocktails.
  • Challenge yourself with some wild water sports like jet-skiing and flyboarding.
  • Stretch yourself at a yoga studio with lush surroundings of tropical forests and ocean beaches.
  • Hike to the top of picturesque Mount Batur (Kintamani Volcano) and enjoy a unique sunrise.
  • Admire the outstanding rice terraces, and see how the mountain villagers live their peaceful lives.
  • Suggested reading: Best Times to Visit Bali.

>>>Read about how to plan a trip to Thailand, Singapore and Bali

12. Bagan — Romantic Pagoda Jungle in Myanmar

  • Best weather: from November to February
  • Suggested stay: 2–3 full days
Take a hot air balloon ride in Bagan Take a hot air balloon ride over 2,000 pagodas and temples to watch the sunrise from the sky

Bagan, a historical ancient city and a Buddhist cultural relic, is located on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River in central Myanmar. It is the gateway to an education about Myanmar.

Time flew by in Burma, but it was recorded in the ancient temples in Bagan. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, about 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries were built on the Bagan plains. But at present, only 2,200 temples and pagodas remain to tell you about its history.

Bagan is enthusiastically loved by photographers, honeymoon travelers, and people who are sympathetic to Buddhism.

Top Things to Do in Bagan:

  • Investigate the historical pagoda jungle by horse-driven cart.
  • Climb to the top of Shwesandaw Pagoda to enjoy a romantic sunset — a memory of a lifetime.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride over 2,000 pagodas and temples to watch the sunrise from the sky.
  • Stroll around Minnanthu Village to experience the charming rural culture of Myanmar and see how cigars are made.
  • Read more at The Top 9 Attractions in Bagan.

13. Luang Prabang — an Undiscovered Gem in Laos

  • Best weather: from November to February
  • Suggested stay: 2–3 full days
Alms-giving ceremony in Luang Prabang Rise early and head to the main street to observe an alms-giving ceremony

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang is perceived as the soul of Laotian culture.

Because of its less convenient flight connections, Laos is less visited than other SE Asian countries, which keeps Luang Prabang still as it was: exotic, Buddhist, traditional, and quiet.

Top Things to Do in Luang Prabang:

  • Rise early and head to the main street to observe an alms-giving ceremony.
  • Wander around the morning market for an insight into the daily life of the locals.
  • Stroll around the ancient town to appreciate its heritage and fascinating buildings.
  • Walk into the Royal Palace Museum for a close look at Lao history and their royal family.
  • Climb to the top of Mount Phou Si for incredible sunset views.

For more, see How to Plan a Luang Prabang Trip.

14. Palawan, the Philippines — The Most Beautiful Beaches in the World!

  • Best weather: from December to March
  • Suggested stay: 3–5 full days
Dive in the sea at Port Barton to see sea turtles in Palawan Dive in the sea to see sea turtles in Palawan

Voted top among the 10 most beautiful islands in the world by two magazines Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, Palawan is an ultimate island for honeymoon trips.

It has an abundance of clean white sandy beaches and mysterious lagoons. Its sea of various colors, its numerous fish groups, its uninhabited little islands, its great variety of water sports, as well as its gentle giraffes also make it outstanding from other islands.

Top Things to Do on Palawan:

  • Dive in the sea at Port Barton to see sea turtles.
  • Paddle down the longest underground river in the world to admire the variously shaped stalactites at Princess Port.
  • Take a photo with bright orange starfish on Starfish Island.
  • Take an island-hopping tour to enjoy sunbathing on best-out-of-this-world white-sand beaches and explore the inland areas of the islands.

Want to gain detailed insights on the weather in Southeast Asia? Check out the conditions in January, FebruaryMarch, April, November, and December.

15. Singapore — Extremely Family-Friendly

  • Best weather: February, June, July, August, and September
  • Suggested stay: 2–3 full days
ArtScience Museum Marina Bay Sands Enjoy night view of ArtScience Museum Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

Singapore, a clean and modern city, is one of the most family-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia. It is favored by families due to its arts, fashion, food, culture, and big-name events.

Top Things to Do in Singapore:

  • Walk into Universal Studios Singapore to enjoy a glorious movie world.
  • Say good night to the wild animals in the world's first night safari park.
  • Enjoy a breakfast with the orangutans at Singapore Zoo.
  • Go adventuring on the island of Pulau Ubin: cycle around, kayak between the mangroves, have a marvelous night of family camping…
  • Hunt food in Singapore's most charming food court — Lau Pa Sat, or enjoy an exquisite family dinner at a Michelin restaurant.
  • Follow the Crazy Rich Asians to the iconic Singapore spots.
  • Drink a Singapore sling in Raffles Hotel, a place of inspiration for many famous writers and movie stars.

See more on The Top 19 Interesting Things to Do in Singapore.

Discover Southeast Asia with Us

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