South East Asia 2018-02-02T17:18:56+00:00

South East Asia

There is so much to South East Asia that a lifetime of holidays will barely scratch the surface.

Whatever your heart’s desire and wherever your interests lie. Southeast Asia stretches all the way from the Himalayas to the jungles of the far flung Indonesia Spice Islands, ensuring its natural beauty is as varied and enticing as its rich heritage. The region has smiling, welcoming locals, and each country manages to retain a traditional and authentic flavour alongside an exciting modern culture.

South East Asia is not just about the beaches. A popular combination is to combine a beach holiday with one of the region’s exciting gateway cities, such as fun-filled Bangkok or the global melting pot that is Singapore and, of course, there’s the high-rise money-hub that is Hong Kong.

Venture from the cities and beaches and the region also delivers a never ending array of cultural and historic sights. Explore the vast ruins of Angkor in Cambodia, its temples slowly emerging from the forest as the archaeology continues. Explore the colonial delights of Malacca and Penang in Malaysia, two cities savouring a cuisine enriched with the spices of India. Another Malaysian highlight is sampling fresh tea high up in the terraced hills of the Cameron Highlands.

Explore Vietnam and discover a landscape and a culture shaped by centuries of conflict with China, as well as the more recent tragedies of the 20th Century. Youthful, energetic and proud, the people of Vietnam always ensure a unique and memorable experience. Spectacular natural scenery includes magnificent Halong Bay (its innumerable limestone karsts are simply breathtaking), a rugged interior and the naturally luxuriant Garden of Eden that is the Mekong Delta.

Best time of year to visit

As it covers such a vast area the climate across South East Asia varies from country to country.

Singapore experiences a tropical climate all year round and it is likely to be hot and humid whenever you choose to travel. The wettest period is between November and January, but although there is a chance of rain year round, there is also plenty of sunshine and consistently high temperatures.

Southern Vietnam is generally dry from November to April. May to October is warm, with heavy showers and the odd overcast day. Northern areas are cooler and drier from January to May and September to December. June to August can be hot, humid and showery.

Borneo

The beautiful island of Borneo is split between Indonesian Borneo and Malaysian Borneo, and the tiny state of Brunei. Malaysian Borneo offers something for everyone, whether it is beautiful beaches, hiking Mount Kinabalu, or seeing some of the most beloved wildlife.

Much of the country is covered in rainforest, which means you see can get up close to many of the beautiful animals that make their home here. The orangutan orphanage at Sepilok allows you to see the wild animals during their feeding time, a stay in a river lodge and a cruise along the river gives the opportunity to see the famous Proboscis monkey, pygmy elephants andd even the odd crocodile.

Its tropical climate means that you can visit all year round, with sunny days and warm temperatures. The climate can be different between the east and the west and you should expect higher rainfall between November and January.

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Singapore

Well-organised, spotless and orderly, this island city state has a squeaky clean reputation which makes it a delight for tourists to discover on their holiday to Singapore. With English widely spoken and an easy to navigate transport system, Singapore is perhaps the most accessible of Asia’s grand cities. Above all, Singapore is a culturally rich, multi-ethnic mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and other influences, all of whom retain a strong sense of tradition and identity against the backdrop of modern Singapore. Famed chiefly for its fantastic shopping, Orchard Road still consists of miles and miles of malls, with most international brand names found here.

To escape the city, locals and tourists head to Sentosa Island, a resort self-titled as ‘Asia’s Favourite Playground’. The island is home to Resorts World – Singapore’s own Universal Studios, the adrenaline-fuelled theme park of Imbiah Lookout and a number of fun-filled attractions along its two mile beach. Sentosa Island is a family’s dream destination which also features charming coastal and forest ecosystems and nature walks, ideal for a bit of wildlife spotting.

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Vietnam

Vietnam’s cities and towns offer a spectrum of contrasting delights from French-colonial houses to Chinese temples; chaotic markets to designer boutiques; and flavourful street food to high-end restaurants. Cyclos contend with mopeds for space on the main roads whilst centuries-old architecture emerges from the shadows of skyscrapers. The attractive coastal cities of Hué and Hoi An boast tranquil rivers and striking architecture whilst Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi offer a more hectic pace, along with historic treasures and contemporary culture.

Vietnam’s beaches are typically in the southern half of the country, from Danang right in the centre, south through Hoi An and Nha Trang to the idyllic island of Con Dao out in the South China Sea. Vietnam is an engaging and captivating country to explore. The north-south geography adds to the convenience, as well as making a beach break extension a simple add-on. The vibrant, exciting, competing cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) are bewildering in their ceaseless cacophony noise and activity. Motorbikes and scooters flow round the cities day and night and crossing the road is an experience in itself. But within both lie a rich bounty of sightseeing gems and experiences. Hanoi particularly, with its preserved French colonial heart is a joy to explore with stalls and street diners spilling onto the pavement and into the busy roads themselves. Museums abound and those with an eye on recent history can even visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh himself and pay peculiar homage to the embalmed remains of the long deceased revolutionary leader himself.

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