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12 Natural Wonders of Southeast Asia

The perfect tropical climate, island chains of volcanoes, and sparkling waters are just a few of the things that make Southeast Asia such a prime destination for captivating natural landscapes. Here are 12 natural wonders of Southeast Asia that are sure to impress!

Railay Bay is a natural wonder of Southeast Asia (photo: Chamaiporn Kitina)
Railay Bay (photo: Chamaiporn Kitina)

SE Asia Natural Wonders

1. Krabi Province – Thailand

Jagged limestone cliffs and clear Andaman seas make Krabi an inspiring destination in the south of Thailand. 

A few adventurous opportunities include climbing on the rock formations, adventure trekking, island hopping, or just relaxing and admiring the wondrous natural beauty.

Krabi is a great place to learn how to dive amid coral reefs and see an entirely new dimension of environmental beauty on a memorable vacation.

Sunrise in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand
Sunrise at Sangkhlaburi, Thailand

2. Sangkhlaburi – Thailand

Located on the Thai Burmese border, Sankgkhlaburi represents pure relaxation and natural charm. 

The simple town surrounding the lake's emerald-green waters is friendly, easy to manage, and laid back.

The best way to see it is during the cool climate of early sunrise. A thick layer of fog hovers above the lake, slowly dispersed with every second of gaining light. 

The morning sunshine in Sangklhaburi is so soft; it feels healing.

Mount Kinabalu is one of the natural wonders of Southeast Asia.
Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

3. Mount Kinabalu – Sabah, Malaysia

Borneo is an island blessed with abundant natural forests and hundreds of square miles of magnificent landscape.

The island is divided into three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. In the Malaysian part of Sabah lies the unmissable Mount Kinabalu.

Ascending the peak takes determination and lots of energy, but the plant life and views of the island make it worth every step.

4. Taman Negara – Malaysia

Taman Negara National Park, a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site with a dense ecosystem of plant life, is considered the world's oldest rainforest. You can even see komodo dragons.

The beautiful attractions are trekking through the old-growth forests, walking through the top layer of the trees on the world's most extensive canopy, and spotting wildlife.

This natural wonder of Southeast Asia is the ideal vacation destination if you want to see unique flora.

Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia
Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

5. Lake Toba – Sumatra, Indonesia

Located in the center of the massive Indonesian island of Sumatra, Lake Toba defines the ideal tropical paradise.

A break in the lush forest makes way for one of the world's deepest volcanic lakes. 

The lake is so calm and pure that it's possible to stare into the water and see the volcano's depth.

Mount Bromo is another of Southeast Asia's natural wonders (photo: Dave Lee)
Mount Bromo at sunrise (photo: Dave Lee)

6. Mount Bromo – Java, Indonesia

Indonesia is an island nation that is formed on the foundation of volcanoes.

This area consists of two prominent volcanic peaks, Mount Bromo and the continually active Mount Semeru.

The view from the top ledge surrounding the Bromo basin is moon-like, a truly surreal landscape.

The famous sunrise over the volcanoes creates vibrant colors of light.

Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines
Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines

7. Palawan – Philippines

The Philippines is home to some of Southeast Asia's most concealed and gorgeous beaches. 

From Coron to El Nido, the island of Palawan is a treasure trove of crystal clear waters, private beaches, and underwater springs and caves, with an expansive underground lake.

8. Chocolate Hills – Bohol, Philippines

The perfectly rounded cone-shaped hills on the island of Bohol, Philippines, appear to be evenly spaced throughout an area of 50 square kilometers. 

These symmetrical mounds of earth transform to a chocolate brown color during the dry season, resembling a field full of giant Hershey's Kisses!

9. Mount Pinatubo – Philippines

The volatile nature of volcanoes gives them the power to destroy and create some of the most dramatic natural scenes of beauty available.

Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, creating a caldera from the excess lava flow. 

The basin began to fill with water, resulting in a turquoise volcanic lake surrounded by the hands of Pinatubo.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are a natural wonder of Southeast Asia.
Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

10. Batad Rice Terrace – Philippines

Rounding the final corner of the hike and facing the amphitheater of the rice terraces of Batad is nothing short of breathtaking.

The rugged mountain scenery of this fantastic place cradles the irrigated rice fields, or rice paddies, on terraces built directly into the side of the highest mountain in complete natural harmony.

Hiking and swimming in waterfalls is another incredible thing to do here in this verdant destination.

The stunning terraced hills of this hilly region make it one of the Philippines' most popular tourist spots.

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

11. Ha Long Bay – Vietnam

In Northern Vietnam, there's a vast mystical bay with thousands of limestone islands proudly sticking out of the water. Welcome to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.

Travelers can explore limestone island caves and paddle sea kayaks through the dreamlike landscape. Magnificent photos are a given in such a naturally beautiful area.

The Mekong River flows through Southeast Asia.
Mekong River, Laos

12. Mekong River – Laos

The wide Mekong River is a vital part of life in Laos. 

The expanse of the brown-colored river weaves its way through green jetting mountains, nurturing natural ecosystems and the farms of local communities and indigenous people along the way.

A boat ride on the river gives one a glimpse of its power and the environment that so crucially relies on the waterway.

The natural wonders of Asia are a stunning display of mountain peaks, glassy lakes, turquoise seas, and chocolate hills!

Visiting any or all of them would provide nature lovers with a truly memorable vacation.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:


Saturday 27th of October 2012

Great list. I wanna visit each of these wonderful places someday.


Sunday 15th of April 2012

wow! philippines is the best!


Thursday 29th of December 2011

I'm glad you included the fabulous Philippines here because it is my personal favorite. I have been to a lot of different places and the this is the best for me. The beaches are second to none and the people are among the friendliest in the world. They weren't always hounding me to buy stuff but they were always willing to help out of sheer kindness. I really must go back. I am truly amazed at how many people skip this amazing place when traveling through Asia. Go to El Nido!!!!!!!


Tuesday 23rd of August 2011

Beautiful shots. :) love Coron, Palawan.  and i was always curious about Laos! two places on my list to visit soon.


Tuesday 23rd of August 2011

Beautiful shots. :) love Coron, Palawan.  and i was always curious about Laos! two places on my list to visit soon.

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