A sweet escape from hectic city life

Southeast Asia can satisfy any kind of rejuvenation and relaxation against the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Whether a weekend getaway close to home in sun-kissed beaches, a farther-flung bucket-list trip to steamy jungles or even a multi-stop tour, the incredible destinations on this list which are curated by The Finest’s editors can make a road map inspiring both leisure travelers and explorers in 2016.

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Sparkling water over a coral reef

As a top destination for island hopping in Southeast Asia, El Nido is home of about 50 sugar-white sandy beaches and secret lagoons hidden behind karts rocks, enchanting travelers with unspoiled beauty, abundant wildlife and amazing seascapes. During the definitive travel time from February to May annually, explorers can easily find their very own deserted beaches in this paradise on earth and be delighted with various water sport activities, cliff climbing and cave exploration.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Fuzzy tea plantations spread over hills

Nestled at an elevation of 1,440 meters in the north of Kuala Lumpur, the verdant plateau Cameron Highlands is known as the former hill station by the British for a retreat from blast-furnace summer temps. Including four main townships of Tringkap, Brinchang, Tanah Rata and Ringlet, the combination of genteel tea culture, hiking trails, dotted British colonial houses and mild temperatures has made the highlands irresistible since discovered in the nineteenth century. In addition to eco-conscious trekking, unexplored forests and interesting temples, visitors are also attracted by eucalyptus, fuzzy tea plantations roll into the distance, strawberry farms snooze under huge awnings and forests in the white mist.

Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

A well-marked path to conquer Mount Kinabalu

Standing majestically 4,095m in the north of Malaysian Borneo, Mount Kinabalu is an ideal heaven for adventurous explorers to discover indigenous cultures, limestone formations, jungles and an array of wildlife. Strolling along the picturesque trail to conquer such one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia, visitors will be immersed in impenetrable tropical rain forests where they can see rafflesias, the world’s largest flowering plant, thrive together with a various range of other unusual plants.

Bagan Temples, Myanmar

Temples at Bagan in the evening glow 

Located on the Irrawaddy river bank, the verdant plain of Bagan is known as one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites, which is festooned with an unparalleled concentration of 2,200 ancient Buddhist temples, stupas and pagodas. Such once-forgotten remnants feature sophisticated vaulting techniques and elaborate mural paintings which should be seen no more in other Asian civilizations. Visitors can explore unique stories hidden beneath every monument about religious devotion and the ancient capital of Myanmar. But, the most exotic and spectacular way of discovery which visitors always prefer is flight over this magical land in a hot air balloon.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Spectacular landscapes of lush forests

Ubud is the most famous country village in the middle of the Indonesian tropical island of Bali. Such serene town is surrounded by terraced paddy fields, small farms, steep ravines and dense forests which make it become the perfect destination for tranquil haven. Including strong characteristics of a preeminent arts and crafts hub in combination with a horde of neighboring themed attractions, Ubud has a huge appeal to both explorers and connoisseurs who are looking for the exclusive harmony of Asian traditional and modern social features.

Mui Ne sand dunes, Vietnam

Sand dunes during sunset

Stretching over Cam Ranh Bay in the Central region of Vietnam, Mui Ne brings tourists unadulterated fun time with deep turquoise beaches, white and reddish sand dunes and a fairly tropical climate throughout the year. Impressively, the near-constant oceanic winds sculpture the sands into wonderful Saharaesque formations which can get spirits of landlubbers high with abundant outdoor activities including riding ostrich, quad bike and dune buggies, playing kite and catching beautiful sunset. In addition to the desert on the left and the scenic coastline on the right, this land also offers cultural experience and traditional crafts in local villages.