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10 Stunning Asian Destinations Away From Tourist Hotspots

10 Stunning Asian Destinations Away From Tourist Hotspots

Picture of Sarine Arslanian
Updated: 19 October 2016
Asia is home to many stunning beaches, mountains, volcanoes, lakes and jungles. It is also a region rich in culture and history. Some Asian destinations have already made it onto the bucket list of many travellers, however some remain untouched and hidden off of the beaten path. This list explores the most stunning and pristine Asian destinations which you should explore before they become popular.
Hpahan I © Sarine Arslanian

Hpahan | Myanmar

Located in Southern Myanmar, the very authentic and laid back little city called Hpahan has only recently been open to tourism. Yet unexplored by many, the city is a great base to explore the magnificent nearby caves, temples and lakes. From seeing countless Buddha statues spread out in the middle of jungle-like terrains, to taking a small, non-motorised boat trip on the most tranquil river you will ever see, surrounded by beautiful lotus flowers, there are many things to keep you busy within Hpahan. Sceneries are stunning in the area and the glorious nature is still relatively untouched.


Lake Maninjau, West Sumatra
Lake Maninjau, West Sumatra I © Sarine Arslanian

Sumatra | Indonesia

The island of Sumatra is by far one of the most beautiful and serene islands in Indonesia. It is home to some of the most stunning lakes, including lake Toba and Maninjau, national parks, mountains and volcanoes, traditional villages and more. From spotting orangutans in the forests north of Medan, to experiencing local delights in the country’s gastronomic hub, namely Padang, there are endless experiences to furnish your trip. In addition, you will hardly see any travellers around, so make the most of the rare seclusion.


Sumba | Indonesia

Sumba is a stunning island, rich in culture and history and home to beautiful beaches and mountains. However, getting there can be quite expensive, and not many tourist facilities have been built on the island yet. With many hidden villages, white sand beaches with crystal clear waters, impressive corals and species of fish waiting to be discovered, Sumba has it all. Contrary to the majority of Indonesians who follow Islam, on this tiny island the majority are Christians, which means you will also be able to visit some fascinating and beautiful churches.


Don Kong Island
Travelling Around Don Kong Island I © Sarine Arslanian

Don Kong Island | Laos

Located in the Four Thousand Islands, this tiny island on the Mekong river is very close to a popular backpacker haven,Don Det. However, proximity to the beaten path hasn’t really had much of an influence on Don Kong. The pace of life is very slow. Nature is still untouched and there are beautiful waterfalls to explore. Renting a bike to travel around the small island is the best way to experience the real Laos. Travellers will pass through small villages, see a lot of local culture and experience stunning natural landscapes.


Kep | Cambodia

A good alternative to the fast paced Cambodian city life and the popular happening beaches around Sihanoukville are the beaches in Kep. They are just as stunning yet a lot quieter as not many people make it as far as this rare gem, meaning you will most likely have the beach to yourself. Kep is a good place to observe authentic Cambodian lifestyle, indulge in good local food, and take some relaxing me-time at the beach.


Kapas Island | Malaysia

Popular amongst locals during national holidays, this paradise island is still unknown to many outside of Malaysia. If you head there today, you will probably be one of the only visitors on the island, enjoying the country’s stunning beaches in perfect, tranquil isolation. The region is laid back and perfect for relaxation and snorkelling. There are no souvenir shops, very little restaurant options (the venues currently open could be described as very simple beach bars) and only rustic guesthouses, meaning this is travelling in every sense of the word.


Dili | East Timor

Contrary to what people think, East Timor is an incredibly beautiful country waiting to be explored, and the modern capital is the best place to start. Travellers can freely walk around without being harassed by people trying to sell souvenirs. Instead, they can experience authentic culture by interacting with locals and observing at their daily lives whilst exploring the area. There are many beautiful pristine beaches close by, excellent diving spots and stunning nature.


Cooking Rice in Bamboo Sticks, Sarawak
Cooking Rice in Bamboo Sticks, Sarawak I © Sarine Arslanian

Sarawak | Malaysia

Who hasn’t dreamed of wild adventures in the jungles of Borneo. In Sarawak, there are many beautiful national parks, stunning beaches and wildlife reserves, an orangutan conservation park, and the world’s largest caves, known as the Mulu caves. The region is also home to indigenous peoples, including the very famous Iban people, who are known as the bravest headhunters of the past. You can stay with them in traditional long houses, go fishing, cook rice in bamboo sticks and drink the very famous tuak, or rice wine, while exploring the jungles.


Ella | Sri Lanka

Rich in culture and full of wonderful natural vistas, Ella is one of those destinations that people rarely hear about, but no one regrets visiting. There are many breathtaking waterfalls, temples, viewpoints and hiking trails in this beautiful, Sri Lankan hill country village. Ella itself is surrounded by tea plantation, the region is so peaceful and serene that it is the ideal spot to unwind.


Orchid Island | Taiwan

Home to the aboriginal Tao community, the Orchid Island off of the South Eastern coast of Taiwan is a tiny island with an impressive volcanic coastline. As hotels are limited, it is more common to be hosted in family run guesthouses. Yenyin village is by far the most spectacular village to visit. To overcome typhoons, villagers have built underground abodes in traditional ways and the elderly sometimes still wear the loincloths. The natural beauty of this island is clearly remarkable and something not to be missed.