By Haris Quintana

Southeast Asia with its cluster of diversely rich countries makes a very fascinating region to travel to. These countries are gifted with indigenous cultures, history and nature’s blessings. The people too seem foreign and fascinating with their mix Indian, Chinese, and western culture. The same region also has the largest Muslim populations as well as Buddhist communities.

 Photo courtesy of  Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

The local cuisines, temples, trails, and beaches all at affordable prices make Southeast Asia a very touristy region.

Brunei:

Those who are fond of architectural monuments and remarkable structural designs will love their visit to Brunei. Just make sure never to leave the country without trying their native delicacy Ambuyat. Also, the Billionth Barrel monument is a sight worth seeing!

Cambodia:

Cambodia is a country with astounding temples and a colourful culture to boot. Not to mention, the eighth wonder of the world, the temple complex of Angkor Wat is in Cambodia.  The empire of the gods is not the only attraction though. The historically evil Tuol Sleng Prison is equally fascinating and scary at the same time.  

Singapore:

Singapore has loads to offer. A backpacking trip to Southeast Asia can never be complete without a stop in the lion city. The skyscrapers, the gardens, the trails and places like the Raffle hotel all come together to make Singapore one of the best places for a retreat. Frequent flyers can buy Singapore airlines points to save some money on the trip, and enjoy the lavishness of Singapore on a budget.  

Island of Java:

The Indonesian island Java is a land of mystery and magic. Once upon a time, this land was the heart of Hindu-Buddhist Empire and while these people are not here anymore, what they have left in their wake still stands proudly and mysteriously. One of the most distinguishing attractions of Java is Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple. Made of 2 million blocks of stone, this temple was built over 75 years in the 8th and 9th century. By the time 14th century rolled around, this temple was found abandoned. The history of this temple is lost and no one can tell from where the temple came from. It lays hidden amidst the jungle, beneath layers of volcanic ashes.  Today it is a World Heritage site.

Bangkok:

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is not a very old city. It started off as a trading post during the 15th century and has gradually turned into a city that is home to eight million people. The city’s floating markets and picturesque setting make it popular among backpackers. Temples, snake farms, bars on every corner and peculiar shopping centres make Bangkok one of the top destinations in Southeast Asia.

Puerto Princesa:

If Philippines is Asia’s best kept secret, then the province of Palawan is Philippines’. This island is an unsurpassed destination for professional divers. Not only are the diving spots in Puerto Princesa perfect in every sense of the word, but Japanese ship wrecks from WWII attract explorers and adventurers from all over the world .

If you are planning a trip this year, perhaps a visit to Southeast Asia should be on the top of your list.