What a year it has been! As I reflect on 2016, I am so grateful of all the amazing things I have been able to experience during my travels around Southeast Asia. I continue to be in awe by how beautiful and exciting this part of the world is.

Looking back on the year that is 2016, many of the wonderful experiences in Southeast Asia have definitely been bucket list worthy. So if you’re already starting to plan your travel in 2017, below is a great list to help you get started. Guaranteed that these activities will take your experiences in Southeast Asia to a whole new level of awesomeness.

So I want to end 2016 on a high and feature some amazing things to do in Southeast Asia that you need to add to your bucket list.


Sail the Turquoise Blue Waters of the Andaman Sea

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Sailing in Phuket | Hello Raya Blog

The best way to soak in the beautiful islands that surround Phuket is by hoping onto a Catamaran and spend a few days sailing.

Let me tell you that this was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had. No exaggeration… I love how postcard worthy this area is – perfectly blue water, lush greenery, colourful marine life, and calm waters.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Start your sailing adventure in Phuket.  

Experience Sunset Like No Other at Baba Nest in Phuket

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Baba Nest at the Sri Panwa Resort | Hello Raya Blog

One of the things I always look out for when travelling are cool rooftop bars. I have been to a fair number of rooftop bars in my years of travelling, but never like the one I have experienced in Phuket. Meet “Baba Nest,” a rooftop bar with 360-degree views of Phuket and its surrounding islands, cool music, and delicious drinks located at the 5-star Sri Panwa Resort. It is so fabulous that CNN ranked Baba Nest as the 2nd best beach bar in the world.

It is a pretty epic spot and there are only 12 tables available, so reservations must be made at least a month in advance.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Find out more about sunset drinks at Baba Nest at the Sri Panwa Resort.

Indulge in a Full Day Spa Experience

Southeast Asia Bucket List | The Spa at the Movenpick Resort Karon Beach | Hello Raya Blog

If there is one thing I absolutely love to indulge in (apart from food), and that is a good spa experience. And all over Southeast Asia you’ll find some amazing spots to pamper yourself while on holiday. From body scrubs to facials to full body massages – there are so many wonderful options to choose from. Many spas offer great packages, which are intended to fully pamper and relax you.

Some of my all time favorite spa experiences have been in Thailand, such as at the Cool Spa at the Sri Panwa Resort and The Spa at the Mövenpick Resort at Karon Beach.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Find out more about the Cool Spa at the Sri Panwa Resort and The Spa at the Mövenpick Resort at Karon Beach.

Experience Villa Living

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Ayara Kamala Resort Karon Beach | Hello Raya Blog

Ahhhh villa life, and where better to experience this than in Indonesia and Thailand. Some of my most memorable accommodation experiences have been in villas in Bali and Phuket. If you do find yourself in Bali or Phuket, I highly recommend spending that bit extra to stay in a villa. It makes for a memorable holiday experience.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Check out a villa experiences at the Ayara Resort & Spa Kamala Beach and Sri Panwa Resort in Phuket.


Enjoy Afternoon Tea in a Room Full of Orchids

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Afternoon Tea at Majestic Hotel | Hello Raya Blog

I love orchids, and another thing that I love about Southeast Asia is how well orchids grow. There are various ways you’ll get to see this beautiful flower. I recommend to take it to the next level and enjoy a traditional style English Afternoon Tea while sitting in a room filled with orchids. It truly is such a unique and colourful experience…and the food is delicious!

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? See what it is like to drink tea in a room full of orchids.  

Learn How to Cook Damn Good Malaysian Food

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Lazat Cooking School | Hello Raya Blog

One of my favorite things about Southeast Asia is the food… especially in Malaysia. So it was a no-brainer to visit the LaZat Cooking School in Kuala Lumpur to learn how to cook my favorite cuisine. Doing a cooking class is such a great way to learn more about a country’s culture through its food. Plus, you’ll learn how to cook some delicious dishes (and get to eat it too!).

RELATED  12 Awesome Things to do in Georgetown Penang (Malaysia)

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Get cooking at the LaZat Cooking School.  

Say Cheers to the End of the Day on top a Helipad


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Yup you’ve heard it right…. you can actually sip on cocktails while watching the sun go down on an actual helipad in Kuala Lumpur. Heli Lounge Bar is located on the 38th floor of the Menara KH building in the heart of KL city. It has a fantastic 360-degree view of the city, including views of the KL Tower and KL Twin Towers. Best to book a table in advance, because this spot is very popular at sunset.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Find out more about having sunset drinks on top a helipad.

Explore the Heritage Town of Georgetown through its Street Art

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Street Art Penang | Hello Raya Blog

Georgetown impressed me. I found it to be so colourful, and filled with so much culture and heritage….which mean some great food. I also loved the street art, which could be found all over town. Looking for street art in Georgetown is a great way to explore the area, while also learning more about its history. The street art is not random splashes of graffiti, but rather works of art that tell a story.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Find out more about exploring Georgetown.  

Be Inspired to Paint Your House Indigo Blue at the Blue Mansion in Penang

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Blue Mansion Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog

Ever since I visited the Blue Mansion in Georgetown, Penang, I have said to my hubby – I want at least one feature wall that is in the same blue as the Blue Mansion. The Blue Mansion in Georgetown is a beautifully restored heritage house that was once owned by tycoon Cheong Fatt Tze. You are able to experience the Blue Mansion two ways – firstly by staying overnight in their boutique hotel or by joining a guided tour.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Find out about visiting the Blue Mansion.

Say Hello to the Orangutans in Borneo


Orangutans are native to parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, where they have called this region home for centuries. Being able to see orangutans in the wild is a wonderful experience, but unfortunately deforestation threatens the lives and homes of these beautiful animals. There are a number of centres set up in parts of Sabah, which allow travellers to visit, and get up close and personal with orangutans.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Margherita from the Crowded Planet shares her experience seeing orangutans in Borneo. It is also possible to visit the orangutans on the Indonesian side of Borneo. Hannah & Adam from Getting Stamped share their experience visiting the orangutans in Indonesia. 


Experience Sunrise at the Borobudur Temple in Indonesia

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Borobudur Yogyakarta | Hello Raya Blog

The ancient temple of Borobudur is a must visit when in Indonesia. This 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple is located just outside of Yogyakarta in Central Java, and is spectacular. Planning a visit? Make it an even more magical experience by visiting Borobudur at sunrise.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Sher from Sher She Goes shares her experience of visiting Borobudur during sunrise.  

Surf Some Epic Waves in Indonesia

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Surfing in Indonesia | Hello Raya Blog

If you are a keen surfer, then it’s time to get packing and head over to Indonesia.

A pro surfer? Check out Lhonknga, near Banda Aceh or the Mentawai Islands. Still a beginner? No worries, there are plenty of places around Bali that are perfect for learning. Numerous surf schools are setup in Bali to help you get started.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Find out more about surfing in Lhoknga.

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Explore Magical Rice Paddy Views of Ubud


One of my favorite things about Bali is the rice terraces that fill the landscape of Ubud. It truly is such an amazing sight and worth exploring while in Bali. There are a couple of ways to do this – you could hike around the Tegalalang Rice Terrace or even explore the Ubud area on bicycle, where you’ll get to see some amazing rice paddy views.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Allison from Eternal Arrival shares about her experience cycling in Ubud.


Visit the Ancient Town of Luang Prabang

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Luang Prabang | Hello Raya Blog

Luang Prabang is an amazing town located in the north of Laos where the mighty Mekong River meets the Nam Khan River. In the late 1880’s, Luang Prabang became part of French Indochina, which meant French colonial influences is seen throughout the architecture and food in the area. Luang Prabang is a town protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason – it is a beautiful melting pot of cultures, heritage and history.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Here are all the awesome things to do in Luang Prabang.

Witness the Alms Giving

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Luang Prabang | Hello Raya Blog

This sacred ritual is also known as Tak Bat, and is performed in the early hours of the day. It is an important ceremony that takes place everyday in Laos (and in countries including Thailand). During this ceremony, locals kneel or sit along the sidewalk and offer gifts or food to the Monks. It is quite an experience to witness in Luang Prabang, however I urge you to show the utmost respect.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Flo from Yoga, Wine & Travel shares some considerations before observing the Alms Giving Ceremony.


Swim in the Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands

Southeast Asia Bucket List | Marina Bay Sands | Hello Raya Blog

I have been to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) many times…to enjoy sunset drinks, to have dinner, to see the amazing view over Singapore, but not yet for a swim in the infinity pool… You do need to be a staying guest at MBS to use the infinity pool. So this remains on my bucket list, and I hope 2017 marks the year I’ll get to do this.

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? James from Nomaic Notes shares his experience stay at Marina Bay Sands.

Sip on Delicious Cocktails at Asia’s Top Bar, 28 Hong Kong Street

Southeast Asia Bucket List | 28 Hong Kong Street Singapore | Hello Raya Blog

28 Hong Kong Street was named Asia’s Top Bar in 2016 (and 7th in the World), and it totally lives up to its reputation. It’s a quaint little bar located on Hong Kong street in Singapore and it serves some of the best cocktails around. Not sure what to order? Just let the bartender know your spirit of choice and they will surely whip something delicious up.

Interesting in ticking this off your bucket list? Check out my experience sipping on delicious cocktails at 28 Hong Kong Street.


Balloon over Bagan during Sunrise


Peacefully floating up in the sky over the ancient town of Bagan is pure magic, and an experience like no-other. The mist, the gentle pastel colors of the sky, temples and trees just make this such a unique experience. What better way to soak up the sights and sounds of Bagan then on a sunrise hot air balloon ride?

Interested in ticking this off your bucket list? Emily from She Her Travel shares about her experience hot air ballooning in Bagan.

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18 Awesome Things to Tick Off Your Southeast Asia Bucket List | Hello Raya Blog

27 comments on “18 Awesome Things to Tick Off Your Southeast Asia Bucket List”

  1. oh my gosh, I would love to see orangutans! That would have been amazing! I’ve also always wanted to try surfing but it seems so hard! I feel like I’d be the least graceful person on the planet! This is a pretty epic list though, some great ideas!

  2. Wow this post perfectly sums up what I love about Southeast Asia. So many gorgeous views and a variety of experiences. There are a few things on here that I’ve tried and some more that I haven’t. I’ve added a few more to my travel bucket list!

  3. Am I the only person who didn’t enjoy Thailand? Maybe I was just unlucky with my experiences there but I think I will have to re-do it someday for sure! As for the rest of South-East Asia, I can not wait to explore more and tick off some of these items!

    • I can totally understand…for some it takes some time to warm up to Thailand. But we spent a few months exploring Thailand and loved this country. Especially the beaches…so beautiful!

  4. Wow you did so many great things this year. I am grateful for your posts and I put everything on my bucketlist. Since I am in Bali it is not too far to go and visit these places. Great post!

  5. The cooking class sounds amazing! I took one in Thailand and it was the highlight of my trip. And the tea party looks like something I’d love, what a great location!

  6. Wow some great examples here. Baba Neat looks amazing and I will be sure to visit next time I’m in Phuket. And yes to villa living every day of the week. Bali has brilliant villas that I just can’t get enough of!

  7. I’m going to SEA in March and you just got me so excited for that! My first stop is Malaysia and I would love to take the LaZat cooking class that you took! One place I didn’t notice on your list is Myanmar – have you been here before and do you have any tips? Thanks!

    • The cooking school was so much fun…and a must in Malaysia, especially because the food is so so so good! I haven’t been to Myanmar yet, but my parents have and loved it. I am hoping to get there in 2017!

  8. I would love to see Orangutans in the wild. One of my first memories is of seeing an Orangutan in the zoo blowing bubblegum. Obviously now I would only see them in the wild, but as a child I became fascinated with them after that moment! I think I have to get to Thailand soon if only for the spas. They all sound amazing! I love that you’ve included a manageable amount of activities in each country.

  9. We have just spent a month in Thailand but unfortunately didn’t really get time to explore the south. Our plan,is to return at some point purely to explore the Islands and now I also need to make sure we stop off at that rooftop bar (BaBa Nest)-in Phuket. I would also love to do a balloon ride over Bagan.

  10. Wow, I would be so happy if I managed to do everything on this post! Seeing orangatans in Borneo is very high up on my list. Will check out the posts you linked to from there. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Love this list so much! Of these, I’ve been to Borobodur for the sunrise, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore… but also have not swam in the Marina Bay Sands pool. I also hope to do that one day!

  12. Asia is one of my favorite areas of the world and I still have a lot to explore there. You have so many great tips and things I’m already adding to my wish list!
    I love the cooking class idea and that beautiful tea shop with orchids!
    Thank you so much for sharing your tips!

  13. I have been planning a south east asia trip. And i guess this is exactly what I needed!! Will bookmark. I particularly liked the sound of villa stay. I am definitely going to check the resorts you mentioned

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