Travel Guide: Exploring ASEAN

ASEAN is the abbreviation for Association of South East Asia Nations which consists of 2 Economic powerhouses in this region, Singapore, Brunei along side with my beloved country, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. This ASEAN is home to lots of favourable destinations which most travelers like such as Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Cebu, Bali and many more.

Since my wordpress had approximately 6000 readers outside ASEAN and been traveling to most of the ASEAN countries except The Philippines and Myanmar. This particular page serves as a travel guide or destinations where to go when you’re in Southeast Asia and hopefully it may bring benefits for those who are seeking for advises rather than going through tons of TripAdvisor’s forum.


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Singapore, the richest nation in South East Asia. It is also home to one of the two Universal Studios in Asia continent. This place is rich of unique food and sky scrappers and it is definitely the best place for travelers or backpackers who are in deep love with architecture. Apart from that, Singapore has the best connection to every part of the world. You can easily find your way home (in case you get stuck in Singapore) as Singapore Airlines, their national carrier has the best network connection in the world.

Suitable for: Architecture or sky scrappers lovers, food and nightlife.
Places to go: Singapore is a small nation. You can easily go anywhere you want.



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Located in between Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia. Brunei is famous and richest for it’s oil and gas. This country might be small and have less attractions compared to other parts in South East Asia, but their Grand Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan is something you should not miss. If you’re a local or going to Miri, Sarawak for a visit, please do not forget to cross border into Brunei and try the fresh and cheap sushi in Kuala Belait.

Suitable for: Petroleum Engineers to-be, cultural enthusiasts.
Places to go: Bandar Seri Begawan



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My country, Malaysia. Proud to be a Malaysian as my country has lots to offer. But travelers would like to come for island, food, cultural and even nature. Yes, you’re right! Many backpackers come to Malaysia just because of its nature. We have the best undisturbed rain forest in this region and our food is awesome. One should not miss our nasi lemak and char kueh teow, which Penang has so much to offer. Not into food? Why not nature? We have lots of rain forest for jungle trekkers to trek or even mountains to hike. We have Bako National Park in Kuching Sarawak and Mulu Cave in Mulu, Sarawak. Just another information, we have Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia.

So you think our country has no history? Travel down south of Peninsular Malaysia and discover the Dutch and Portugese heritage in the city of Malacca.

Suitable for: Cultural enthusiasts, food, history, nature lover and island lover.
Places to go: Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak.



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Is there anyone who do not know Thailand? Need I say more? Well, Thailand is definitely a heaven for all types of travelers. Whether you’re into shopping, beaches, natural, some transgender show, food or even cultural and heritage visit. You name it, they have it all! Oh yes, not to miss.. they have the cheapest accommodation in this region and it is widely recognized as the first destination to visit in South East Asia. Even here in Malaysia, it seems like Bangkok is in everyone’s list. Of course, one shall not miss out the largest night market in the world, Chatuchak Market. (Thou I’d been to Thailand, but definitely I would wanna go back again).

Suitable for: You name it, they have it!
Places to go: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi and so far, Hua Hin island makes up to the list.



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A country which has the most active volcanoes in the world and the most numbers of Island in the world. It is also the most favourable place for me! Indonesia is the biggest country in this region and it consists of 5 main island. Correct me if I’m wrong, Indonesian friends. They are Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. Each of the main Island has its own attractions. Java is the most popular island in Indonesia. It is home to the Bali (beaches), Jakarta (shopping), Yogyakarta (cultural heritage) and Bandung (cheap shopping and volcanoes). In Sumatra, not need to say much, Lake Toba is the famous place which travelers use to go when they are traveling in Island of Sumatra. Nothing much in Sulawesi except for Tanau Toroja. Lastly, not to miss, the famous Island of Lombok is gaining fame slowly.

Suitable for: beaches, natural, culture & heritage, island and shopping lovers.
Places to go: I recommend Bali, Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar (Tanau Toroja).



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Philippines is an archipelago in this region with more than seven thousand Island in this country, just behind Indonesia. This country is undeniable a paradise lover with so many wonderful beaches in the world. According to travel expert, it takes about 20 years to spend a day on every island. This country not only famous for its island but also religious history. This country is the Asia’s largest Catholic country and the beauty and architecture designs of all the churches is a thing that one shall not miss.

Suitable for: beaches, cultural and religious and island.
Places to go: Cebu, Manila, Boracay, Bohol & Clark.



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Part of ASEAN nation and yet we do not have the visa free access to this country due to political factors. This country is slowly opening its door to the world and lots of curious tourists like me wanna go and have a look. However, I am concern with the political unrest since the election is coming soon. From what I read in all articles, travel guides and even forums, the two things you need to do in Myanmar is pay your visit to Shwedagon Pagoda and Hot Air Balloons. These are the two famous things which travelers used to do in Myanmar. However, not to forget Inle Lake and also Bagan. *Nothing much I can comment about this country as I haven’t been there before*

Suitable for: religious and cultural, nature.
Places to go: Suggested (Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Hsipaw)



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Laos is one of the poorest nations in South East Asia and yet they have lots to offer. It is a mountainous and landlocked country. This country is regarded as a sleepy country and everything seems to be so slow and people there are enjoying the slow life. If you want to take a long break away from the bustling life in your city, Laos is definitely you’re looking for. Hiking and even tubing is what travelers are flocking into Laos. Oh yes, do not forget to watch the Alms ceremony. It is one of a kind in South East Asia. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage town and one shall not miss.

Suitable for: Cultural and Religious visit, nature and relax.
Places to go: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Pakse.



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The Ho Chi Minh’s land is one of the most favourable place for cultural and historical enthusiasts like me. Vietnam is a long size country which they have lots to offer. The bustling city of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) is where you find yourself starting from scratches just to learn how to cross the road. Imperialism in the past has leaved their marks in Vietnam. Once shall not miss Hue when they visit Vietnam as well as cultural visit in Hoi An. Backpacking in Vietnam is not that hard as their train system integrates every places in Vietnam.

Suitable for: Cultural, food, historical visit, UNESCO heritage (Halong Bay)
Places to go: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Sapa.



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The flag says it all. It is home to one of the UNESCO World Site, Angkor Wat. As mentioned in my blog post previously, Cambodia is not just famous of its Angkor Wat. They are also history behind the brutal regime in 1975-1979 when the Khmer Rogue leaves a brutal mark in the country’s history. Do not leave Cambodia without knowing the country’s history. This is definitely a place for tourists who are keen on history and landmarks visit.

Suitable for: World Heritage sites (Angkor Wat), history, nature.
Places to go: Phnom Penh and Siem Reap while Sihannoukville is gaining its fame slowly.

*All Information are displayed as of October 2015*



3 Comments Add yours

  1. TravelDevoted says:

    Wow. Nice write-up!

    1. Elton Hiew says:

      Thank you. It was written back in August last year. Feel free to follow my blog for more updates =)

  2. Vietnam and Singapore have been on my travel list for years now. I’d love to visit both place. I’ve never thought of Brunei but the pictures are absolutely beautiful. There is so much culture in these places, which is probably why there’s such a pull for tourists. Not to mention the culture, people and, of course, the food. Great blog post, full of inspiration.

    We’re currently looking for some great travel content on Creators. Would you be interested in sharing your thoughts, opinions and tips on the platform? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail so I can expand on that. You can find my contact details on my blog. Hopefully talk soon.

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