Southeast Asia is known as a budget destination for travelers who want to see different sights, experience different cultures and traditions, feast on different cuisines — all without breaking the bank. However, the region can also offer luxurious adventure to those who can afford it.
Here are some of the best and most expensive places in Southeast Asia.
The World’s Most Incredible Airport
Airports are not tourist attractions in most places around the world. While tourists go through them every day, often, they are designed with function, not style, in mind. Even in some of the most expensive cities in the world, an airport is a place that people want to get away from as soon as possible.
That is not the case in Singapore. The Changi Airport is, on its own, a sight to see when in Southeast Asia.
It is not just an aviation hub; it has everything that you will need. It has thousands of restaurants, a movie theater, art museums, gardens, and more.
If you need to rest, you can head directly to Yotel Air, the Singapore airport hotel. Whether you are staying for the night or only have a few hours to stretch your legs and nap in between flights, the facility can accommodate you.
The Jewel, a lifestyle hub that is part-mall and part-rainforest, is a must-see. The building is shaped like a doughnut. At its center is the Rain Vortex, a hole where water drops seven stories through the structure. True to its name, the Rain Vortex collects rainwater and recirculates it through the tall waterfall.
Singapore’s Changi Airport has been crowned as the best airport in the world by the annual Skytrax World Airport Awards. It has beaten the Tokyo Haneda Airport in Japan (in second place), the Hamad International Airport in Qatar (third place), the Incheon International Airport in South Korea (fourth place), and Munich Airport in Germany (fifth place).
A Private Resort — Only for the Rich
Southeast Asia is known for its gorgeous tropical beaches but, because of its affordability, most places are populated by tourists. However, if you want to enjoy crystal clear blue water and breathtaking sunsets in peace, pay a little more to stay on one of the luxurious private islands in the world.
Banwa Private Island in Palawan, Philippines offers exclusivity like nowhere else. The resort only welcomes a limited number of people at a time and each group gets a villa of their own. Although the island is small, the villas are far apart and have their own private views. It feels like you have the island all for your own.
The resort is also located at a Marine Protected Area where critically-endangered sea creatures like the dugong (sea cow), hawksbill turtle, black-tip reef sharks, and a lot more are thriving.
Relaxation Like No Other
Fusion Maia Da Nang is a five-star hotel that offers stunning villas, with its own private pools, in Vietnam. However, it is their spa that you have to experience.
Its famous all-inclusive spa has been enticing luxury travelers from all over the world for a reason. It has an extensive wellness menu that includes daily practice of yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and meditation. The resort takes a holistic approach to wellness which will reinvigorate your body, mind, and spirit.
The spa center is also situated in the middle of a lush tropical garden and a rich blue sea. No matter where you look, your eyes will be blessed with a beautiful and relaxing sight.
Luxury Without Harming the Environment
Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia proves that humans can co-exist with nature in peace. The resort, albeit tagged as a luxurious getaway, has a commitment to be ethical and sustainable. Its villas are created using materials sourced locally and were built by local craftsmen.
The architecture and design of each villa take eco-friendly to heart. If you look closely, you might recognize the discarded oil drums that have been turned into fashionable lamps, driftwood serving as a bench or a table, and salvaged-wood from fishing boats becoming decks and floors. Everywhere you turn, you will see old things being given a new life, but it never feels like the resort did it to cut corners. It feels luxurious, even if the elements of your villa is upcycled from items that otherwise will be heading to a landfill.
Nowhere else in the world will you be able to experience luxury while also being eco-friendly.
Southeast Asia is a diverse region. It has great experiences to offer to budget travelers, but it has luxury and exclusivity to provide to those who have a little more cash to burn.
Brooke has been a connoisseur of back roads and obscure places since she was a girl. Growing up in a small working farm, she knew at a young age that there was so much to see and understand about the world. Since she left home at 17, she’s been gallivanting around the world. She’s a go-to resource for fearless Euro travel and extreme budget adventures. Her colorful experiences moving from one country to another with only time to spare will surely inspire you to leave the rat race and chase your backpacking dreams.