As fun as the hustle and bustle of travel can be, sometimes we all need to take a break from everything, and that’s where these destinations come in. Although Southeast Asia is mostly known for vibrant cultures, busy streets and a steady stream of visitors, it’s still possible to gt away from the tourist trail and have the quiet holiday you’ve been craving in this part of the world. Here are four places to consider for a quiet escape.
Bali continues to grow in popularity — the number of Aussies going to Bali has increased by 546% since 2006. Luckily, Canggu, located on the island’s south coast, hasn’t been overdeveloped due to tourism.
Instead, it remains the laidback paradise every surfer is looking for, complete with stunning sunsets and some chilled out restaurants and bars for refuelling. There are beaches to suit beginners and experienced surfers alike, and space for hammocks if you’d rather sit back and do nothing.
Time your visit to coincide with the weekly Samadi Sunday Organic Market, where you can sample plenty of fresh, homemade food, and don’t miss the yoga classes if you fancy a gentle workout.
Con Dao archipelago, Vietnam
Take a two-and-a-half-hour boat ride away from mainland Vietnam and you’ll reach the Con Dao archipelago, a cluster of 16 islands, all of them boasting rugged, unspoilt beaches.
Crowds of tourists don’t really exist here, so sit back and make the most of the peace. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot sea turtles while you paddle in the ocean — there’s also the opportunity to go diving and snorkelling if you’re the wildlife-loving type.
Want to explore? Organise a boat trip and hop from island to island or set off on a hike through the forest or jungle (just be sure to take safety precautions and look after yourself).
Found in the south of Cambodia, Kampot is a quiet riverside city — but it’s far from boring. You could spend your days exploring the jungles, admiring the mountain scenery, or cycling around the city’s sleepy streets.
During rainy season it’s worth trekking to Bokor, where there are huge gushing waterfalls and eerie abandoned buildings (if you’re brave enough). Back by the river, there’s swimming and paddleboarding, or you could just sit and enjoy the view.
Si Phan Don, Laos
Known as the 4000 islands, Si Phan Don is awash with beautiful views and the chance to relax without interruption. Lots of the islands are small enough to explore on foot, or by bike if you fancy getting active — you’ll see coconut farms, rice fields (known as paddy fields) and the villages where the locals live in wooden houses on stilts.
Round off your trip by heading out on a boat to spot Irrawaddy dolphins, then heading back to shore to witness one of Si Phan Don’s spectacular sunsets.