2018 has come and gone and it’s now a brand new year! I’m sure many of us are starting 2019 filled with a new set of resolutions and exciting plans for the year ahead. Every year, at the top of the list of many aspiring globetrotters is the wish to satisfy their wanderlust and venture to many interesting destinations. In fact, I bet some of us are already planning our next big trip!
But, each year is usually the same. That dream destination you had in mind is way different than you imagined it. It’s often too crowded or too noisy! Either way, sometimes, you would not even feel like you actually went on a holiday. This year, why not think about taking the road(s) less travelled? There are plenty of lovely destinations in Asia that have so much to offer. And I’m not talking about the usual suspects like Japan or Korea either!
From lovely island paradises to lovely countrysides, Asia houses plenty of natural havens that can provide blissful escape from city life. Don’t believe me? Check out these alternative natural havens in Asia to visit in 2019!
1. Koh Lanta, Thailand
Koh Lanta is often overshadowed by its more popular sibling, Koh Phi Phi, making this place a hidden gem that only a few would know. Compared to Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta is more remote and tranquil. Here, you can immerse your mind and soul in the laid-back atmosphere and simply enjoy life. Thanks to the general location of the beach, you can bet you’ll be treated to an immensely beautiful vista come sunset. #nofilter
During the day, you can plan a trip to Mu Koh Lanta National Park for some jungle trekking or explore the many faces of Koh Lanta Old Town. With so much to see and do, it’s only a matter of time before Koh Lanta becomes a mainstream destination> So hurry and visit before the tourists start pouring in!
2. Koh Rong Islands, Cambodia
What was once a jungle-clad wilderness, Koh Rong is rapidly developing while retaining its natural beauty. For nature lovers, Koh Rong is a place that will make you fall in love almost instant;y. Just Imagine waking up every day to a paradise of white sandy beaches, clear water, colourful corals and the sweet sounds of a rustling jungle.
However, what makes Koh Rong so special is the view at night. The lights around the small town of Koh Tuh are completely off by about 11 p.m., leaving you with the perfect opportunity to stargaze. What’s more, in the darkness, the plankton in the sea light up, creating a luminous path along the ocean floor. The view is simply unreal!
3. Sri Lanka
The beautiful island country of Sri Lanka does not shy away from the gorgeous blue sea and scenic sunsets.. True to its nature as an island nation, most beaches in Sri Lanka are about 10 minutes away from each other. That means you can beach hop and explore each of them easily. Starting from Unawatuna Beach to Arugam Bay, you can surf and swim to your heart’s content!
Apart from alluring beaches, Sri Lanka is also home to plenty of stunning natural attractions and historical sites. This beautiful, untouched gem is sure to charm any visitor and 2019 may just be the best time to visit!
4. Pai, Thailand
Who doesn’t like a slice of Pai, am I right? Okay, I tried….Puns aside, Pai is a countryside settlement located in the mountainous region in the North of Thailand. It has a reputation for being a hub for holistic health and natural living thanks the the vast amount of vegetation and fresh produce there. Delicious vegan and vegetarian options are available in abundance.
Nestled in the mountains, Pai offers a wide array of unique geographical landscapes. On one hand, you will see paddy fields everywhere and on the other, you have a canyon for you to explore. There are even hot springs and waterfalls here! Despite the countryside setting, there’s also plenty to do at night. You could hit up the local bar or walk around the bustling night market and try to find some unique souvenirs.
5. Ba Vi National Park, Vietnam
A vacation in Vietnam is more than just good pho and the bustling city life. A place like Ba Vi National Park provides an escape into nature that most people would find welcome. Surrounded by verdant scenery, you’re more than likely to find your inner peace amongst the serene sounds of the forest.
Originally, the park was used as a resort during the French colonisation. Today, you can still find remnants of the resorts, covered in moss. Great for photo sessions. On the other hand, you can also test your stamina by hiking up 600 steps to a hilltop temple within the jungle! It may sound tiring, but trust me the view will be worth the toil!
6. Makalu Barun National Park, Nepal
Nepal is a treasure trove of jaw-dropping natural scenery and Malaku National Park is one of the top destinations in the country to admire such vistas. The park is one of the most protected national parks in the world and is a popular hiking and camping spot amongst locals.
Malaku National Park is also home to the 5th highest mountain in the world, Mt Maluku. As you make your way towards the base camp of this massive mountain, you’ll come across a plethora of flora and fauna. From musk deer to red pandas, the park is home to over 600 wildlife species. For avid photographers, you will be busy clicking away at Mother Nature’s artistry as you trek along the lovely paths!
7. Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
Ask anyone who’s been to Mount Pinatubo and they’ll tell you that this travel looks very much like a postcard. Home to a majestic crater lake, this volcano in Luzon, Philippines last erupted in 1991.
While riding in a jeep or cycling across the ash fields might make you feel like you are in a Mad Max movie, there’s also plenty of lush greenery surrounding the lake as well. There’s also plenty of things to do within the vicinity of the mountain. You can trek your way to Bamboo Hills and Lake Craven or relax and unwind with a volcanic spa treatment and by taking a dip in a hot spring.
Here’s to a great year of adventure!
And there you have it, some underrated travel gems in Asia that are sure to reinvigorate your heart and soul in 2019! Which one’s your favourite?