Planning for retirement is an exciting time; you finally have time to do all those bucket list things you’ve been dreaming of.
Travelling is often a priority for recent retirees who suddenly have time to spare. If you’re feeling the wanderlust and are ready to embark on some truly unforgettable adventures, these destinations in south-east Asia should be at the top of your list.
1. Nusa Islands, Indonesia
The Nusa Islands are composed of Lembongan, Penida, and Ceningan and are accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride from Bali. Indeed, the islands are said to resemble the Bali of 30 years ago.
The Nusa Islands are ideal for beach lovers. The scenery on each of the three islands is second to none, as you would expect from coastlines with names such as Paradise Beach, Dream Beach, and Crystal Bay.
Another popular activity is diving, as Manta rays can frequently be spotted off Manta Point on Nusa Penida Island.
2. Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia
Nestled in Pahang, the third-largest state in Malaysia, Taman Negara National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
The rainforest is perfect for hiking and exploring. There are lots of trails of various levels of difficulty to choose from – the most difficult will require you to be accompanied by a guide.
The rainforest also offers some truly unique experiences, including:
· A visit to the indigenous village of Kampung Orang Asli
· Cave-diving in Gua Telinga
· Traversing the 530 metre-long Canopy Walkway
· Night trekking to see the jungle wildlife at its best.
Whatever your fitness level, Taman Negara provides an experience unlike any other.
3. Siem Reap, Cambodia
If city life is more your thing, Siem Reap cannot be beaten.
Lonely Planet describes Siem Reap as “the epicentre of chic Cambodia” because it caters to all sorts of different tastes. From the botanical gardens of Senteurs d’Angkorto Les Chantiers Écoles, an education centre that is encouraging the rebirth of traditional Cambodian culture, there really is something for everyone.
Siem Reap cannot be discussed without mention of the exquisite temples of Angkor Archaeological Park, including the most famous: Angkor Wat.
The most ancient of the monuments here date back to 802 AD, and they cover an area of around 400 square kilometres. As well as being historically significant, the temples and monuments are incredibly beautiful to behold. Some are small and intimate, while others depict intricate artistry, such as a stone representation of the Hindu cosmos.
4. Luang Prabang, Laos
Rough Guides describes this settlement as “an Indochinese romance sprung from folktale to life […] a hipster river town overlooking the confluence of the Khan River as it curls into the mighty Mekong”.
Luang Prabang sits on a peninsula and is encircled by the PhouThao and PhouNang mountains, making for a stunning backdrop. It has received significant investment over the past few years and as a result offers romance and luxury alongside tradition and spirituality. It is a real fusion city of old and new, which is what makes it so fascinating to visit.
Fill your days with trekking, cycling, or kayaking to take in the beautiful scenery, or witness the traditional alms-giving ceremonies of the Buddhist monks.
5. Hoi An, Vietnam
Located on Vietnam’s South China Sea coast, Hoi An is a great place to take a step back in time. Many boutique shops in the Old Town have retained their charm from years gone by when French, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese traders would frequent the city.
Hoi An will be of particular interest to cycling enthusiasts. Cars and motorbikes have been banned from the town centre making it the perfect place to explore by bike.
6. Koh Kood, Thailand
This is the ultimate escape from the rat race. There’s only one road through this island – other than this it is all white sands, lush green forests and the odd abandoned monastery.
It is the place to go if you want to avoid large tourist crowds, or crowds of any kind. The beaches stretch for miles, and you’ll often have one to yourself.
Since there is very little development on the island, the best way to get around is by motorbike or scooter, which can be hired from most of the resorts. That said, many visitors find that the resorts on Koh Kood are so welcoming that they rarely feel the need to explore further. In fact, once you arrive you may not want to leave at all!
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