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South East Asia Trips & Tours

Woman looking over Ninh Binh lake in Vietnam
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Brimming with cultural experiences, breathtaking landscapes and tropical beaches, it’s easy to see why South East Asia is a favourite destination among travellers. From the bustling streets of Bangkok in Thailand to the serene waters of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, explore a mix of metropolitan cities and natural wonders. Watch as the sunrise comes up over Mount Batur in Bali, and lose yourself in the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Relax on the Philippines’ untouched islands and get ready to meet like-minded new friends in vibrant beach bars. Tick off your bucket list as you travel on a group adventure tour, learn a new skill, or volunteer at an important local project. 

Read more in our South East Asia Travel Guide.

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South East Asia Highlights

Golden Buddha statues in Wat Pho temple in Thailand

Wat Pho - Thailand

Discover Bangkok’s largest reclining Buddha, a true sight to behold. Wander the temple complex as you marvel at the beautiful architecture, and see how important Buddhism is in Bangkok and wider Thailand.

Sunset over Phi Phi islands in Thailand

Phi Phi Viewpoint - Thailand

This iconic island is a hub for backpackers, and the best views across the whole island can be found at Phi Phi Viewpoint. The steps up to the several different stops will feel worth it as you gaze across the picturesque twin bays.

Stone-carved entrance to Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

Angkor Wat - Cambodia

This Hindu-Buddhist temple is considered the largest religious structure in the world, located in Siem Reap. The best time to go is sunrise to witness the orange sky beautifully reflected in the surrounding waters.

Misty peaks of Mount Batur in Bali

Mount Batur - Bali

Trekking up the active volcano, Mount Batur, at sunrise is one of the top experiences you will never forget. The 2 hours hike to the summit will reward you with vast views above the clouds and the opportunity to cook yourself breakfast using the heat from the volcano.

People in board on a river in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An - Vietnam

With diverse cultural influences, Hoi An is a lively city that offers unique experiences. Stroll along the river, and watch as it illuminates with paper lanterns after dark. Learn how to make your own lantern and jump in a boat to let it float in the water. Feast on the endless delicious food, from pho to banh tom.

Aerial view of the bay of El Nido and surrounding islands in the Philippines

Palawan - The Philippines

Ideal for travellers looking for an authentic experience in the Philippines, mixed with dreamy blue waters, magical marine life and pristine beaches. Uncover popular spots such as Coron and El Nido, as well as hidden bays to snorkel in.

Komodo National Park in Indonesia

Komodo National Park - Indonesia

Consisting of three large islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as 26 smaller islands, Komodo National Park will leave you in awe of its natural beauty. Many embark on an overnight Komodo Island boat trip to experience these unique sights, get a glimpse of Komodo dragons, and experience a new side of Indonesia.

Boats sitting in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam with surrounding islands

Ha Long Bay - Vietnam

Tick this UNESCO World Heritage site off your bucket list as you soak up incredible views of the limestone islands. Stay on an overnight boat to cruise Ha Long Bay, and hop out to paddle the calming waters in a kayak. Some Ha Long Bay cruises will also take you to tranquil Cat Ba Island, considered more of a hidden gem.

Orangutan in a tree in Sepilok, Borneo

Sepilok - Borneo

Adventure through the enchanting rainforest, the dream destination for wildlife lovers. Famous for the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, you are sure to fall in love with this cheeky wildlife, whilst learning about how the centre cares for injured and orphaned orangutans. You can also see the important work done at Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

People walking on a walkway suspended between tree-like structures in Supertree Grove in Singapore

Gardens of the Bay - Singapore

On the Marina Bay Waterfront, Gardens of the Bay boasts the Flower Dome, Floral Fantasy, Cloud Forest, and Supertree Grove. Marvel at the colourful conservatories and feel like you’re walking through a real-life fairy tale. At night, witness the magic of the spectacular light shows.

South East Asia Travel Advice

Pristine beach in Thailand with islands in the distance

Climate & Weather

The climate varies across South East Asia and will depend on which country you are visiting. Generally, the dry season falls from December to April, whilst the rainy season is from May to October. Many love visiting in the rainy season due to lower costs and rainfall is often heavy but short. Due to the vastness of the climate, there will always be somewhere with great weather no matter when you plan your visit.

Colourful lanterns displayed for Vietnam new years festival

Best Time to Visit

Travellers should think about what they are looking to experience during their trip to South East Asia. For a sunny Christmas on the beach, visit the Philippines. Celebrate the Vietnamese and Chinese New Year in February to experience the amazing culture. Songkran, which is the Thai New Year celebration, brings special water fights to the streets in April.

Gold buddhist statues in a Thai temple

Customs & Culture

Customs and culture will vary depending on where you visit in South East Asia. Generally, travellers should dress modestly when visiting sacred sites, temples and mosques. Countries in Southeast Asia hold great respect for their elders and travellers should do the same. In destinations such as Thailand and Vietnam, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, and you should not touch another person's head. You may stay in a homestay or guest house, and it will be expected that you leave your shoes at the door. You will also be expected to remove your shoes at some temples.

Red and blue british passports

Passports & Visas

Your passport should have no damage and at least 2 empty pages. Your passport should also be valid for up to 6 months after your arrival date. 

British Passport holders can visit most countries in Southeast Asia without a visa, or get a visa on arrival, which is a straightforward process. For example, British Passport holders can enter Thailand without a visa for up to 30 days. Whilst, in Bali, British Passport holders will be issued a 30-day visa visa on arrival. Read our country-specific pages for more advice. Always check the embassy website before travel as visa rules are subject to change.

Traveller sitting on a rock overlooking islands in the water in Thailand

Health & Safety

Travellers should visit their GP before travelling to South East Asia to ensure they have all the required vaccinations, as well as get any general medical advice and make sure you have any prescribed medication that you need. You should also ensure you have fully comprehensive travel insurance for your trip. Pack plenty of suncream to avoid getting sunburnt, and insect repellent to keep the mosquitos away. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and be vigilant of petty theft when in busy areas. Check the FCDO travel advice for country-specific safety concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

The quick answer is, yes definitely! South East Asia is brimming with like-minded, solo travellers who want to explore just like you. Whether you want to experience new cultures, explore scenic landscapes or party in beach bars, you’ll never truly be alone when solo travelling in South East Asia. The best way to meet people is by staying in hostels and joining a group tour so you have instant friends to travel with.

This depends on the destinations you visit, and activities you would like to do. If you plan to be a true budget backpacker, you can find accommodation in most countries from £5-£20. If you eat local food, you can get meals for less than £5! You will need to budget more for traveller favourites, like Thailand’s islands, compared to destinations like Laos. Many backpacker's biggest cost is alcohol, so take into account how much you want to go out in the evenings. You will also need to budget more if you plan to do some of the big, bucket-list experiences, like scuba diving.

South East Asia is filled with so many diverse activities and experiences. The important thing to remember is that you will have lots of opportunities to do laundry, so don’t overpack! Pack light, breathable clothing for hot and humid temperatures. Pack something that covers your shoulders and long trousers/skirts that cover your knees for visiting religious sites. Bring a light rain jacket for showers. Bring a comfortable day bag and reliable shoes for light trekking and exploring cities. If you plan to do more intense hiking, consider packing good walking boots.

Whilst it is possible to bring a suitcase to South East Asia, many travellers find that bringing a backpack provides an easier travel experience. Backpacks are less hassle when jumping in and out of boats and other transport, and are straightforward to store. You may find it more convenient to get a backpack that zips open like a suitcase, so you can access your belongings more easily. If you do want to bring a suitcase, consider a soft suitcase.

When staying in hostels, you will most likely have access to free WiFi. Free WiFi is also readily available in many cafes and restaurants, especially in the more popular travel destinations such as Thailand’s islands or Canggu in Bali. It is also easy to get a local SIM or an e-SIM when travelling South East Asia, so you will be connected at all times. You may have some nights where you stay in remote destinations, or in homestays/guesthouses, where you will most likely not have signal or access to the internet.

@gap360official | South East Asia

Travellers on Gap 360 Vietnam Adventure Plus in south east asia
Why should Sa Pa be on your bucket list? ⁠🌾- Rolling hills & breathtaking scenery - 😍Staying here offers unique cultural experiences 🙌 ⁠ -Perfect for hiking lovers 👞 ⁠ - Get off-the-beaten track from the typical tourist areas in...
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Group traveller at Mount Batur in Bali
Moments like this on Bali Intro 🥹 ⁠ ⁠ On Day 11, wake up early for a memorable trek up Mount Batur 🌋 You'll reach the top just in time for a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise!⁠ ⁠ 📸 : @ellieewatts_
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Gap 360 traveller on southeast asia adventure
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Group of travellers at Angkor Wat in Cambodia South East Asia
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South East Asia Trip Reviews


Ella Lewis

Life changing. Best trip ever

Melissa Conyers

Amazing four weeks! Best time ever.

Rebecca Gardner

Amazing trip

Morwenna Bunt

A brilliant cultural insight that was easy to get organised and ready for!

Lauren Gould

Amazing, eye opening, fun, challenging, exciting, an opportunity of a lifetime

Anna Jean

It was incredible I loved every moment and it was an incredible experience that I am so so grateful to have gone on. Highly recommend :)

Shannon Gray

There are too many highlights to write down! Bangkok is full of amazing sights and full of culture. Moving to Hua Hin was nice, as it let you see the quieter, less touristy side of Thailand. In Hua Hin, you go to Thai markets and…

Heledd Owen

we saw a lot in a short space of time and I made some amazing friends

Rachel Littlewood

Best month of my life!! I had the most amazing time, the tour guides were lovely and I felt like we did so so much in 5 weeks that it felt like years! There is a lot of travelling but so worth it and didn't feel like travelling at…

Simon Rowley

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