Southeast Asia is one of the most famous backpacking route in the whole world due to it’s affordability, ease of access for most towns and cities, friendly people, gorgeous beaches and the list goes on. There are tons of off the beaten path destinations, unspoiled islands and tropical rain forests that you could explore.
But for those who aren’t in for an adventure and just want a relaxing laid back exploration of cities and towns then don’t worry as there are also plenty of choices in Southeast Asia.
But before you book your flights to Southeast Asia, make sure to that your passports are up to date as you will not be able to fly out if your passport are due for renewal. If you’re thinking of renewing your passports, get in touch with your local travel service provides and avail of their passport services.
Once your travel documents are updated, then you can visit the beautiful towns in Southeast Asia.
Here is our list of 24 beautiful towns in Southeast Asia.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Sunset Boat Cruise in Luang Prabang by jmhullot
This small city is located in the North of Laos and it is a beautifully preserved colonial city. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is beside the might Mekong River and surrounded with beautiful hills and mountains. It’s a perfect example that we could protect and preserved our rich heritage and our environment while developing the city. You could hop on a bike and explore Luang Prabang or join group tours and explore various interesting sights. You could also just stay in your hotel or resort and enjoy the tranquility of the place while having tea or coffee. There’s also a bustling night market full of beautiful handcrafted products.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Vang Vieng by emadman
Gone are the days of too much partying and tubing in Vang Vieng. The local government is strictly monitoring these activities to prevent accidents caused due to excessive alcohol consumption in this town. And that action regains the admiration of visitors who go to Vang Vieng to enjoy it’s serenity and the beauty of nature surrounding Vang Vieng. There are may boutique hotels that can be found in Vang Vieng and the scenery is just simply breathtaking. Time stops in Vang Vieng and you wouldn’t even noticed that a week has already passed.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Don Det by puffsdaddy
Don Det is a small island in Southern Laos and it’s very laid back and rustic but at the same time has many options for outdoor activities, plenty of bars and restaurants. It has become the next backpacker’s paradise in Laos.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Angkor Wat by archer10
Siem Reap is known as the gateway to Angkor Wat. Many people flies to Siem Reap from all over the world to see the beautiful temples at Angkor Archaeological Complex. Some tourists fell in love with the charm of Siem Reap and have decided to stay a bit. There are many cafes and restaurants in Siem Reap that serves affordable but delicious food. It’s great to explore this place by bike or motorbike to cover more grounds in your own pace. It’s relaxing, charming and very affordable. There are also many art galleries that you could visit.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Battambang by JodeiGallagher
Battambang is actually Cambodia’s second biggest city next to Phnom Penh but the entire land of the city is not that developed yet and it makes you feel like you’re just in a small town when you’re in Battambang. There are many well preserved colonial houses that you could check out. You could also hire a tuktuk for a day or two that will tour you around the interesting sights that the city offers. Battambang is just a couple of hours away from Siem Reap so in case you have some days to spare, spend a day or two in Battambang.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Kampot by fabulousfabs
Kampot is a small town in Cambodia situated near a river and with a majestic view of the Elephant Mountains. This place is famous for it’s delicious peppers (Kampot Peppers) and sumptuous seafood dishes. It’s a very rural area but with a handful of quaint guesthouses and some bars and restaurants serving both local and international dishes.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Hoi An by archer10
Hoi An is a small town in Vietnam famous for it’s well preserved colonial heritage and also it’s talented tailors. A lot of tourists stop over in Hoi An to relax and hang out and have some dresses and suits made for them. It’s also just a quick motorbike ride away from the beach where you could party with your friends.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Sapa by needoptic
Sapa is not only frequented by foreigners but also by local Vietnamese alike. It’s cold weathered, friendly people and beautiful rice terraces makes this a great destinations. This is also a great place to meet the local Hmong people who lives in various villages in the mountains. These talented people creates beautiful handwoven fabrics that you could buy at the local market.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Ninh Binh by JohannesReifferscheid
Ninh Binh is a beautiful small city although it is eclipsed by the popularity of Hanoi. It is a great destination nevertheless and worth a day or two. If you don’t have enough time to spare for Ninh Binh, you could book a day tour in Hanoi instead. The most popular tour in Ninh Binh is a cruise along a small river to see the majestic karst formation in the area.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Pai by ClaireBackhouse
Pai is one of the most relaxing towns in Thailand. And due to the increasing numbers of tourists that visit this town every year, Pai developed very nice hotels and resorts and you could also find many restaurants and bars. It’s like small town living with most of the amenities that you could find in small cities.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Chiang Mai by archer10
Chiang Mai is a big city in terms of land area but the development is contained in a small part of it. It has all the amenities and the facilities of a modern city but without the hustle and bustle of it. Chiang Mai is able to retain the small town vibe and laid back culture that alot of people like. There’s a lot of accommodation options in Chiang Mai that will suit everyone’s budget. There are also plenty of options when it comes to bars and restaurants. And if you want to be closer to nature, then you’re just a few kilometers away from it. Many tourists fell in love with Chiang Mai and have decided to call this place their second home.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Kachnaburi by rocrowley
Kachanaburi is often regarded as just a day trip destination from Bangkok due to it’s proximity from the capital city. There are many sights that can be seen in this town such as waterfalls, historical places like the bridge over river Kwai, Tiger Temple, etc. But if you spend a little more time in Kachanaburi, you’ll discover that this is also a great place to just hang out and rest. The laid back atmosphere and the affordability of accommodation, food and drinks make this a great place for backpackers to hangout and relax.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Bagan by jmhullot
Bagan is probably the most visited place in Myanmar because of the popularity of the temple ruins that can be found scattered all over the town. Most people spend a few days in this town just visiting some of these temples. Bagan is also a great place to just hang out and relax. There are many restaurants in town and the food in Bagan is amazing.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Mandalay by CortoMaltese_1999
Mandalay is a big city with small town vibe. It’s a great jump off point to the interesting and beautiful small towns around it.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Kalaw by romankorzh
Kalaw is a hilltown in Shan state and a favorite jump off point of travelers to other villages in the region. Som travelers hang out in this area just to relax and learn more about the local life. A lot of people also trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake (or vice versa).
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Melaka by chanc
Melaka is a very charming city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are many quaint little guesthouses and the ambiance is very laid back and relax. You shouldn’t miss Melaka on your next trip to Malaysia.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Georgetown by TrevorMills
Georgetown can be found in the island of Penang. There are so many well-preserved heritage buildings and of course there are so many restaurants that serve great food. Most people go to Penang to eat, eat and eat. Georgetown is also one bus away to the other tourist attractions of the island.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Kuching by Peter Gronemann
Kuching is one of the main cities of Malaysia and although it’s a big city, there are so many places here where you could just relax and enjoy your time. There are so many interesting sights, worthy museums and tons of restaurants serving delicious food.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Sagada by raffywolfe
Sagada is one of those places that makes you close to nature. It’s up in the mountains and quite far away from the capital city of Manila but the long bus trip is definitely worth it. The climate is cold which makes it a great summer destination to escape the scorching heat of the city. There are also many beautiful rice terraces and huge caves to explore. It’s a great place for those seeking solitude and at the same time for those who wants to share the adventure with their love ones. Sagada is a place that will surely appeal to everyone who visits this magical little town.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Taal by storm-crypt
Taal is one of those quaint little town that will take you back in time. There are so many heritage buildings that are well preserved. The environment is clean and the people are friendly. It’s also very near Tagaytay which is a popular weekend destination for those who are living in Metro Manila. It’s also very near Taal Volcano (one of the smallest volcanoes in the world) and also Taal Lake. Don’t forget to take a boat ride and explore the area. There are not much accommodation in the town but you can opt to stay in Tagaytay instead and then rent a car to explore Taal town and the other neighboring towns.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Dumaguete by bortescristian
Dumaguete is becoming an expats haven due to the laid back lifestyle, affordable living and proximity to various great beaches and snorkeling and diving spots. Another great town that you should check out near Dumaguete is Valencia.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Ubud by kaptah
Ubud is the heart of Bali. It’s a very beautiful town in a very beautiful island. A lot has already been written about the Island of the Gods and if you haven’t been to Bali yet then make it your next holiday destination.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Cemoro Lawang by bonar
Cemoro Lawang is a very picturesque small town and a jump off point for tourists who wants to see the majestic Mt. Bromo. Many people stay here for awhile to soak up the beauty of it’s surroundings.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Prambanan by zsoolt
Yogyakarta is a very laid back city full of beautiful and interesting sights. It’s the jump off point to the world famous Borubudur and Prambanan. Thousands of people flock to Yogyakarta just to see these beautiful monuments. Aside from these two, Yogyakarta is also a great place to learn more about Batik which is their traditional culture of dyeing textiles.