Southeast Asia boasts of some of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. Every year, millions of tourists brave the sweltering tropical heat that prevails over this region so that they can enjoy all that this part of the world has to offer.
Those who travel to Southeast Asia go there for several reasons, the first of which is the warmth of the sun. Studies show that many tourists who visit are from cold countries that have four seasons. Maybe you’re one of these folks eager to escape the harsh winter of your country, to trade in your snow boots for a tank top and flip flops.
Those who love the sun almost always love a beautiful beach as well and Southeast Asia has some of the most pristine beaches in the world. Being in a tropical portion of the globe, it’s only natural that it offers fine sand and crystal clear blue waters for tourists to explore and enjoy.
Aside from the sand and the sun, tourists visit Southeast Asia for the great bargains, as many of its countries are shopping meccas for bargain hunters. From Chatuchak in Bangkok to Divisoria in Manila to Little India in Singapore, each country offers a world of shopping possibilities!
Many tourists are also foodies who like going to different destinations to try the food. From spicy to sweet to tangy, Southeast Asia offers all types of food, from the exotic to the mundane! Fine dining and street food alike are sumptuous to even the pickiest of palettes. So foodies who visit Southeast Asia should get ready to gain a few pounds for their gastronomic adventures!
For the trendy and discerning set, lodgings are a major determinant of the trip. There are those that equate luxury to a good trip and have no qualms about shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a beautiful place to stay and Southeast Asia is certainly not lacking in luxurious lodgings!
Who doesn't dream of setting foot on the beautiful island of Bali in Indonesia? This resort town is flowing with tourists at all times of the year, due in part to the almost year-round sunny weather, save for a few months of thunderstorms. Aside from the expanse of beach, there are other tourist attractions in Bali as well, such as waterfalls and temples. One of the many hotels of choice is the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort, a definite five-star hotel. Its two-bedroom villa goes for roughly $700 a night. It’s well-worth the price when you see its amenities, which include a huge living and dining area, private pool and garden, and breathtaking views. Who could ask for a better Bali vacation?
Singapore isn’t called the Lion City for nothing. It’s a true melting pot of a myriad of cultures and traditions, with so many different types of nationalities residing in this minuscule nation. It’s also the financial power of the Southeast Asian region and as a result, many multinational companies have set up their regional offices there. As a tourist destination and one that’s a little more expensive than its other Southeast Asian neighbors, it boasts of many 5-star hotels, one of which is the Shangri-La. The luxury hotel is found off Orchard Road, which is the main shopping district of the country. A suite goes for as much as $1,320 a night. It’s well-worth the price because a stay in any Shangri-La property guarantees guests five-star service and amenities.
Up until ten years ago, Vietnam wasn't really the go-to place for tourists. However, now it has become one of the top tourist destinations in Asia. Like many of its Asian neighbors, it’s proud to have beautiful beaches dotting its land. One coastal city that has a lovely shoreline is Nha Trang. Since it’s a tourist spot, it has many hotels to house its visitors, one of which is Six Senses Hideaway at Ninh Van Bay. This luxury resort’s villa can cost around $1,490 a night and rightly so. Its earth-toned villas are nestled away from the madding crowd in a secluded little cove, offering the privacy and seclusion a quiet traveller craves.
Before Angelina Jolie displayed her action hero chops in the movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Cambodia was under the radar to the western world. However, since showing the movie, where the Hollywood star was seen hopping and swinging through the ancient temples in Siem Reap, its biggest temple, Angkor Wat, suddenly became one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Some tourists don't mind shelling out a pocketful of cash for a stay in a top-class resort, like Amansara. Operated by the Aman group, the resort was once a private guest house of a former king and its suite can go for a hefty $1,500 a night. If you're looking for the ultimate luxury experience, Amansara is the place to be.
Among all the Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines perhaps has the most number of beaches, being an archipelago comprised of more than 7,000 islands. Many of its beaches are still remote and untouched but there are many resorts that have sprung up in the shores of the country’s beautiful beaches. Perhaps the most popular and visited beach in the Philippines is Boracay Island. Nothing compares to the powdery-white sand and crystal clear waters of Boracay. So when a group like Shangri-La builds a resort there, with villas going for $1,800 a night, you can be sure you'll be getting the ultimate luxury beach experience.
3 Rupar Mandalar Resort (Myanmar): $2,800/night for the presidential suite
Another low-key nation that’s slowly coming into the tourist spotlight is Myanmar. Once occupied by the British, Myanmar has a very rich heritage and culture. Its beautiful temples and edifices speak volumes of the Burmese love for aesthetics and attention to detail. Many resorts have been sprouting up in tourist destinations, one of which is the Rupar Mandalar Resort. With its biggest suite costing up to $2,800 a night, the resort strives to give the guests a feel of the local atmosphere, with its traditional Burmese décor and ambience.
2 Hilton Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia): $3,000/night for the penthouse
There’s more to Malaysia than the Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur. Like Singapore and Myanmar, this tiny country also once saw British colonization and as a result, it’s yet another Asian nation that boasts a fusion of east meeting west. For the city-loving set, Kuala Lumpur is pleasantly cosmopolitan, with modern structures and a myriad of five-star hotels. The Hilton Kuala Lumpur caters to the modern traveler. With its contemporary style of rooms and a penthouse suite costing up to $3,000 a night, it’s not only modern, but it’s high-tech too, with the latest entertainment and IT systems, even in the bathrooms.
1 Sofitel Metropole Hanoi (Hanoi, Vietnam): $3,240/night for the Opera Wing
With its blend of traditional Vietnamese traditions infused with the culture that the French instilled as colonizers, Vietnam is a beautiful meeting of Asia and Europe. Its capital, Hanoi, is a testament to this blend, with its many European-style buildings and structures. One such building is the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, located a few feet away from the Opera House in the French Quarter. With the hotel’s Opera Wing costing around $3,200 a night, staying there brings you back to the pages of Vietnamese history when European opulence was prevalent.
Thailand holds the distinction of being the only Asian country to have never been colonized by the western world. As a result, its rich culture is devoid of outside influences and is purely and proudly Thai. This is one of the many reasons it attracts millions of tourists every year. Aside from Bangkok, the other city tourists flock to is Chiang Mai. It’s here that the second most expensive hotel in Southeast Asia is located. A villa in the Four Seasons Chiang Mai can cost up to $5,200 a night! With a price like that, you're guaranteed a spectacular view of the beautiful rice paddy-filled hills.
It’s no surprise that the most expensive hotel in Southeast Asia is located in the region’s richest country. Singapore is home to Raffles Hotel, the seat of old-world opulence in all of Asia. Built in 1887 and mentioned in literature by some of the world’s greatest writers, Raffles’ all-white walls and marble columns further enhance the hotel’s class and elegance. For a whopping $9,600 a night in the hotel’s presidential suite, no expense is spared in ensuring every guest at the Raffles is treated like royalty.