Great Places in Southeast Asia the Tourists Have Not Found

  • 01 of 08

    Great Places in Southeast Asia the Tourists Have Not Found

    With more and more people crowding into the same hot spots across Southeast Asia, finding that untouched beach or genuine experience seems more difficult with each passing year.  Do not give up hope - many intriguing and relatively unknown places are patiently waiting for you to close the guidebook and start exploring.

    While not completely devoid of tourists, these little-known destinations dotted around Southeast Asia rarely make the headlines.  Take advantage by planning a visit before the masses - which are sure to come - get word!

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  • 02 of 08

    Dili, East Timor

    Once considered a dangerous place, the United Nations has been painstakingly rebuilding East Timor as well as providing security forces during the reconstruction.  Following the invasion by Indonesia in 1975, East Timor became synonymous with refugees and barbed wire.

    Today, Dili is a modern city with miles of undeveloped coast; the diving is excellent.  The large number of Westerns living and working in Dili during the reconstruction has effectively eliminated all hassle to tourists.  Dili is one of the few places in Southeast Asia where tourist walk unnoticed. Residents will not try to sell you anything — you are free to explore with little stress as daily life unfolds.

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  • 03 of 08

    Balik Pulau and Penang National Park

    Georgetown and Penang are among the most visited destinations in Malaysia.  However, most tourists are too busy enjoying the food in Penang to grab a bus for the other side of Penang Island.

    Balik Pulau is an agricultural district in Penang.  Sprawling rice fields, world-renown durian fruit, and a laid back atmosphere await anyone willing to venture just 40 minutes outside of Georgetown.

    Penang National Park, on the opposite coast of Penang, is Malaysia's newest national park.  Pristine hiking trails cut through rainforest to isolated beaches.  Camping is allowed at a campground near the beaches — a nesting site for endangered sea turtles

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  • 04 of 08

    Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

    The tiny, oil-wealthy, independent nation of Brunei separates the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo.  Despite having virgin rainforests, excellent diving, and miles of clean coastline, Brunei has never popped up on the tourism radar.

    Bandar Seri Begawan - Brunei's capital - is a clean, interesting place to learn more about Islamic customs.  Brunei is the most observant Islamic nation in Southeast Asia.

    A high quality of life, low crime rates, popular king, and lack of income tax help make Brunei one of the friendliest places in Southeast Asia.

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  • 05 of 08

    Kelimutu Volcanic Lakes in Moni, Indonesia

    The Flores archipelago is a string of islands on the southern edge of Indonesia.  While tourists are fighting over hotel rooms in Kuta and Ubud, Flores remains lightly traveled.  Highly volcanic, Flores is a place to climb volcanoes, see coffee grown, and experience the “real” Indonesia.

    The multicolored lakes of Kelimutu often appear on postcards, but relatively few foreign tourists visit the volcano.  Three lakes have formed in the top of an inactive caldera; the views at sunrise are extraordinary.  Surrounded by rice paddies, the pleasant village of Moni is the jumping off point for Kelimutu and is well worth hanging around to enjoy daily life.

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  • 06 of 08

    Rinca Island, Indonesia

    Another stop in Flores, Indonesia, most tourists willing to travel to Labuanbajo to see Komodo dragons in the wild only go to Komodo Island.  Nearby Rinca Island has even more Komodo dragons, yet receives far less traffic than the more-famous Komodo Island.  The lack of human presence greatly increases your chance of seeing the dragons and other wildlife in their native habitats.

    Rinca Island remains wild; an abundance of wildlife - most of which serves as food for the dragons - calls Rinca home.  Both Rinca and Komodo are part of the Komodo National Park, but you can avoid the tour groups by visiting the smaller of the two islands.

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  • 07 of 08

    Whale Hunting in Lamalera, Indonesia

    Lamalera was recently put into the spotlight thanks to National Geographic and BBC coverage, however few people make the effort to visit this remote place.  Famous for sustenance whale hunting from traditional canoes, Lamalera is reached through Larantuka on the eastern side of Flores.

    Fishermen allow visitors to accompany them in long, traditional canoes for a day of both exciting and dangerous hunting.  While they only take around 20 whales per year, they do regularly harpoon sharks and dolphins.  Conservation groups have generally agreed that the fishermen have little impact, and not a scrap of any fish taken is wasted.

    Consider making your way to this remote corner of the world for an unforgettable adventure!

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  • 08 of 08

    The Plain of Jars in Laos

    Most tourists in Laos never leave the Vientiane-Vang Vieng-Luang Prabang trail.  The Plain of Jars in the north of Laos is an archaeological mystery reminiscent of Easter Island or Stonehenge.

    Hundreds of large, stone jars — thought to date back to 500 B.C. — stretch across an eerie landscape.  Tourists can wander the areas which have been cleared of landmines. Many of the jars were broken apart by shockwaves caused by bombing during the Vietnam War.