South East Asia is a land resplendent in natural beauty. In Vietnam, the highest concentration can be found among the northern mountains, with trekking in the valleys or Sa Pa or exploring the country’s “final frontier” in Ha Giang among the most popular and stunning options. Ban Gioc waterfall, the 4th largest border waterfall in the world, is a dramatic site, and not too far away in Ba Be national park, beautiful views of Vietnam’s largest freshwater lake can be enjoyed.
Ha Long Bay, being the most famous natural site in Vietnam, and considered by many as one of the “Natural Wonders of the World” cannot be missed for nature-minded travellers. Further south in the country, Da Lat is a charming hill town surrounded by spectacular scenery just waiting to be discovered.
In Laos, the humongous caves and roaring waterfalls scattered around the many National Parks of the country steal the show. Especially good trekking can be had both in the northern mountains, with Nong Khiaw or Luang Namtha as natural bases, and on the Bolaven Plateau further south. A ride along the Mekong in a slow-going riverboat is also a great way to take in the views along the mighty river.
While Cambodia doesn’t have the same staggering amount of preserved nature, there are still some trekking locations worth a visit. Namely among the eastern hills in the Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri provinces and in the lowlands around Kampong Chhnang, arguably the best preserved natural reserve in the country.
Over in Thailand, it’s again the north that contains most of the nature attractions. Chiang Mai is considered the trekking capital of Thailand, but smaller towns like Chiang Rai, Pai and Mae Hong Son are great alternatives should you wish to avoid the big city. For more aquatic based nature, head down to the Ko Samui archipelago, and participate in one of the many activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, and trekking into the jungle covered interior of the islands.
No matter what country in Indochina you visit, a bounty of untouched nature and stunning wildlife awaits you.