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Hidden Gems: Southeast Asian Destinations that Should Be on Your Travel List

Southeast Asia (SEA) is a place of wonders. Few people would probably argue with that. Majestic ancient temple sites, dense virgin forests, pristine beaches, peaceful monasteries – the list goes on. The region has been experiencing an unprecedented increase in tourism activity in the past few decades not only thanks to its rich natural and cultural heritage but also the friendly travel-related policy. Consequently, SEA managed to create clusters of tourist sites millions of visitors are rushing to check off their bucket lists. However, many other areas remain unexplored whilst also having lots to offer. Here are just a few suggestions for a lovely getaway off-the-beaten-track.

Cambodia: Koh Rong Islands

When on a trip to this part of Cambodia, the trick is to head to the one that is often missed, while trying to reach the other. Confused yet? So were we! Turns out, there are two Koh Rong Islands, one right en route to the other. The one you are looking for is NOT Koh Rong Sanloem (Samloem) but the one right before it. Somewhat upstaged by its popular neighbor, Koh Rong is enjoying much lower tourist density while still having lots to offer.

The west coast is welcoming with its gorgeous golden sand beaches, while the eastern side of the island is all about turquoise waters, making it one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia to visit with someone special. Just don’t forget to carry your hammock and other essentials and look for these secret spots.

Indonesia: Nusa Islands

Nusa archipelago is actually comprised of three magnificent islands: Penida, Lembongan, and Ceningan. The former one is home to the gentle creatures called manta rays. Penida is a true heaven for diving enthusiasts, coming here to swim with these harmless beings all year round. Often called a ‘hidden paradise’, these islands are sure to surprise adventure seekers with serene hidden lagoons and seemingly boundless natural pools – a sight which, according to the locals, is very much akin to that which Bali had to offer about 30 years ago.

Malaysia: Pahang

Does your personal “good place” look like a composition of stately mountains, lush green jungle, and untouched beaches? If yes, then the majestic Pahang just made its way on your travel list. Despite being the third-largest state in the country and home to numerous ecotourism destinations, it is certainly less happening than some other travel hotspots.

One of the must-visit places here is the Taman Negara National Park. Being one of the oldest rainforests in the world, it has interesting flora and fauna to show off. One of the notable examples is parasite plants such as orchids and monster flowers. For the lush greenery aficionados, reserves and forests like Endau-Rompin National Park and the Krau Wildlife Reserve are a natural wonder. Another great feature is relatively good accessibility: Pahang can be reached by bus, taxi, or car from Kuala Lumpur.

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