Jan 11

nomad4ever pollSouth East Asia is a vast region with gorgeous landscapes and everlasting impressions. Wandering her many cities and countries – looking for adventure, pleasure, luck, love, business or plain relaxation – you can see travelers from all over the world flocking to our favorite region.

Of course, somehow we all have our favorite countries here to travel to over and over again. The usual suspects come to mind: Thailand, Malaysia even China.

But how about the smaller or not-so-known ones?

Today is the day of truth. What is your favorite country in South East Asia?

The one you love to travel to again and again. Of which you carry fond memories wherever you go. Your first backpacking experience, the first trip without your parents or with that special someone. Where you had the best days of your life. Or found the love which seemed to be lost.

The one you adore and tell all your friends about it; trying to sway and persuade them to go and check out for themselves.

Today is your day!

Fancy the beaches of the Philippines? Or the jungles and pagodas of Myanmar? The serenity of Brunei? Or the baguettes with duck liver pastry in Vietnam? The unspoiled nature of Papua? Or the roughness of East Timor? You can even vote for Australia, which – following Wikipedia – is culturally a part of South East Asia.

There can only be one. Yours.

Are you still reading? What are you waiting for? ;-)

The poll is in the left sidebar of the blog. Vote for your favorite country in South East Asia. Watch the results pour in over the next few days and learn if other travelers out there share your taste or if you discovered a little best-kept secret for yourself.

It’s a bit tricky to cover this huge region, by just putting up the countries. Someone might fancy Bali but not the rest of Indonesia, Borneo but not Peninsula Malaysia, some may say to put Hong Kong and China in one line is a sacrilege. You are all right! I hope we can differentiate those issues in one of the next polls. Please forgive any obvious mistakes or make yourself heard in the comment form.

Please use the comment form below this post as well, if you want to justify your choice or to convince other readers why your chosen country rocks the boat!

From now on I’m planning to publish a new poll question every 7-10 days or so. The results will stay for a longer while, as there is a poll archive attached. If you have a recommendation on what questions you want to vote in the future; as usual I’m always open for suggestions and requests. ;-)

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written by Chris

92 Responses to “What is Your Favorite Country in South East Asia? Poll’s up!”

  1. LeighNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    I’d have to say that Cambodia left lasting memories for me. The humorous people, Ankor Wat and best of all, our own private island for three days off the coast of Sihanoukville… Hard to believe what these people went through just 30 years ago.

  2. haydenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    My vote goes to Laos.

    Why, because the people, the ultimate in relaxation, food, safety, and just the pure feeling the country still has. It has scary adventurous parts too like having someone with an AK 47 stopping your bus in the middle of nowhere. Finally the really beautiful untouched(so far) landscapes.

    If you would like to know more contact me at Bootsnall.com or better yet check out our trips so you can see for yourself.


  3. AndrewNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    The Pacific country of West Papua from its snow covered lime stone peak to its vivid marine environments is a much better place to see its echidna and kangaroo than the southern flat mainland.

  4. digitalnomadNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Wish I was better traveled…everywhere I have been in Asia is now part of China (guess they always were). Hong Kong and Macau are great, if you have lots of money. Ha

    And, of course, it’s debatable that Taiwan has always been part of China as a province, and is not really a country at all. Depends on your politics I suppose.

  5. Made SuardanaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    If Bali is a country, I believe many travelers would choose it :)

  6. ScribetrotterNo Gravatar PANAMA Says:

    I have to vote with Hayden – Laos it is. Natural and cultural beauty, not too westernized, and as the cliche goes, what Thailand used to be like 30 years ago.

  7. yearinthelifeNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    I voted Thailand – specifically, Kanchanaburi is the place I think of when I dream of easy, cheap living, glorious food and lovely people. Perhaps I should travel more :p

    Laos is a close second but getting there and around the country is just more of a challenge. That slow boat down the Mekong has scarred me for life (or was it just that wooden seat up my a*se?)

  8. Thai QANo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Laos for sure. Quite a special place, really worth a trip. And then Burma.

  9. Dave StarrNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I was happy to see both the second and first place countries as they are, so far. I lived in Thailand two years and like it fine, but I live in the Philippines now and find it a better place for a Westerner to ‘live Eastern’. Nice poll.

  10. Gerry CacanindinNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for putting out some words for the Philippines and I think you made the right decision to settle here.

    As for the others reading this post, I’m a Filipino and though I would naturally root for my own country, I can objectively say the Philippines has as many exciting places to offer as Thailand or Indonesia–without the crowds.

    We still have miles and miles of deserted white sand beaches, just waiting to be discovered. Our country’s lack of tourist-friendly transport and infrastructure has preserved most of these yet-to-be-discovered gems.

    The Philippines is not a tourist-friendly country in terms of getting around the islands. But the people are warm and welcoming. If you are more of traveller than a tourist, then it would be worth your time to discover my country.

  11. ChampDogNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    I vote Malaysia. :)

    My hometown is in Malaysia and I only been to China, Singapore and Thailand. Comparatively, I vote because a lot of freedom to do whatever you like and most importantly lower living cost (other than KL).

  12. Pisio808No Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Loved this thread… I had to vote for the Philippines since my wife is from Mindanao, but it is by far the most beautiful place outside of Maui and Colorado that I have ever been…

    Good Luck!

  13. EarthoriaNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    I have to vote for Thailand – especially North and North Western Thailand!

  14. RichardNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    MMM in order of the ones i like the most

    Bali (yea i know its not a country but its so diferent from the rest of Indonesia)

  15. ChrisNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    Thailand is my perennial favorite. The people, the food, the temples, the markets, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the cheapness, the ease of getting around, the proximity to other countries.

    The worst? Hard to say, but perhaps China…Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but I don’t find much interesting there. The worst elements of communism and capitalism combined.

    Honorable mentions:
    Taiwan for its untouristedness and friendly people
    Laos for its laid-backness
    Brunei for its quirkiness
    Malaysia for it variety
    Cambodia for Angkor
    Hong Kong for its cemeteries

  16. RichardNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Great call on HK; I lived there and worked as a Photographer and loved the cemeteries.

    Singaopre for its Orchard Road

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Wow – thanks for the manifold reasons for your favorite countries! It’s nice to see a very diverse taste – that’s how it should be. =D>

  18. CarinaNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    hands up 4 the Philippines!

    but I reckon THAILAND,VIETNAM and MALAYSIA is good as well!!

  19. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Philippines hands down.

    Lao PDR

    as runners up. :)

  20. DonNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I agree with Gerry and Dave.

    Philippines FIRST …. then Thailand. I love them both

  21. ryan ZoupNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    L-)oops me my indonesia,is pretty enought 17000 islands most nature and beautiful story and up list java islands legendaris hindu budhist mahabrata ramayana,melanisia form ambon to papua multicultural indonesia the only had in the world and unesco say YES too :D

  22. robertNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    me, too, ryan…your indonesia…full of beautiful syt…the only reason i retire early…

  23. robertNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    would it be nice just to stay 2 to 3 months in each of the above countries?..i have lived in each of the SE asian countries for 2 to 3 months each…but i still find Indonesia the most attractive to live…Chris, what is your next destination? may i guess… Philippines or Laos.. my next country is either Goa or Sri Lanka…

  24. ryan ZoupNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    ola robert,chris in india ,to find beautiful indian girl and some info for income google,for good reader chris the only one for it HEHE

  25. Richard ReitmanNo Gravatar CAMBODIA Says:

    in order of where i liked the best for food/travel/people/photography


    Countries where i have loved to live


  26. jimNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    Can’t stand the philippines, the people – there is so much garbage there. Its not a safe country for a westerner to visit IMO.

  27. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    robert, you are spot on! Moving around every couple of months is something I liked to do also. Even though it’s maybe more than 2-3 months, I enjoy staying a bit longer. Actually I planned for a couple of month in Palawan after India. Still figuring out, if that’s possible regarding infrastructure etc. Some place I have on my mind doesn’t even have an ATM within 12 hours bus ride, so don’t know yet, if that’s realistic. Maybe another place in the Philippines then. ;-)

    Oh, and I love Laos! It’s a nice country, but for staying longer, I definitely would need an ocean. As a born land rat, I’m now completely addicted to my daily swim in the sea.

  28. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Richard Reitmann, wow – you have some interesting countries listed there, where you lived already! How is living in Nepal or Cambodia? Care to elaborate a bit in another comment? I’m also open for Guest Writers, if you are interested? ;-)

  29. Richard ReitmanNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Love living in Cambodia :-)

    I lived in Nepal in the middle 80’s when we were running bicyle trips from Lhasa to Kathnamdu and its still one of my favorite places but hands down Thailand is the ultimate winner, ( 22 years there !!)

    Cambodia is like Nepal in that is is on the edge and dirty and poor yet still the people make the country great!!

    Spent 8 months on a bicycle in India/Sri Lanka and that was a trip that has a very high place in the best year of my life.

    Would love to write for ya as long as i can get some pics up as well

    U can see them at

  30. Richard ReitmanNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    forgot the url Phuket

  31. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Richard Reitmann, really interesting! Thanks for the added info. I’ve sent you an e-mail.

  32. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    @Jim –

    Well, funny you’d say that there is a lot of garbage in the Philippines. I have a lot of Australian friends who visited and ended up living in that country. Maybe you should step outside the girly bars for a change mate. From what I can surmise from your words, you are not an extremely smart person nor a well-traveled one either. >:) >:) >:) >:) >:) >:) >:) >:)

    @Chris –

    I think Palawan is an excellent choice (Puerto Princesa is pretty well equipped I think). Or Boracay? I think I’d recommend Bohol… It has nice beaches and tons of places to visit (and dive sites)… And the people there are sooooooo friendly! There is a quite sizable expat community there too composed of mostly Europeans. Boracay is another place you may wanna consider as well – it is pretty well-stocked with tons to do, huge expat community (mostly Westerners, mind you Jim) and I think they are starting to have direct flights to Puerto Princesa (Palawan) at the Caticlan Airport as well as Cebu, Clark, and Manila. At the bigger airport in Kalibo, they have direct flights to Taiwan now and occasionally Korea, China and Russia. They are currently building the International Terminal. In the next few years, there will be direct international flights in Bohol, and across the channel, Cebu has direct links to Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.

  33. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Ryan, yep that were my thoughts also. Bohol I know quite well already, so I will probably want to try a new destination. Boracay is nice amenity-wise, but quite small, so maybe too small for a few months. I visited a couple of times for a week and after the week was over, I mainly hat itchy feet already. So yeah, maybe Palawan or Dumaguete, or Cagayan de Oro or maybe even Puerto Galera could be an interesting destination…..still working on it… ;-)

  34. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Dumaguete is an interesting place. Never been there but the diving in Apo Island was said to be superb. I dunno about Puerto Galera- too kitschy I think- never tried going there (but I am a snob). I would soooo envy you if youd live in Palawan! Maaannn, that place is just paradise.Oh hey, have you heard of this place – Caramoan Peninsula in Camarines Sur? I’ve seen the photos and it looks like Little Palawan with nice coves and beaches, it has a decent wakeboarding complex nearby (biggest in SEA I heard), and there are surf spots, and close to the annual whale watching in Donsol. Two volcanoes are also nearby. Im thinking of a trip there around Easter this year.

  35. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Caramoan Peninsula in Camarines Sur? Never heard of it, Ryan! But sounds very interesting. You really have a lot of great ideas! So another place for me to check out. Wish I had faster internet here to check some Flickr pictures. It’s too darn slow here to do that…so have to cope with Wikipedia for now then… :-B

  36. RyanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Ugh… I really wanna go to Caramoan Peninsula and Batanes … check out their official website….(www.caramoanislands.com)

    Oh yeah, I also have another wishful thinking list

    1) Tawi-Tawi (the southernmost islands of Mindanao) apparently has super-stunning white sand islets that could totally sh*t on any beach in the world (including within the Philippines)… sigh.. only if it would be safe to travel over there…http://beach.fujikawa.com/2007/10/langit.html

    2) Sulu (http://beach.fujikawa.com/2007/11/donut-hole.html)… another hotbed of Muslim insurgency.

    3) Zamboanga Peninsula – no-go for tourists as well. sigh…

  37. JayNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Tie between 4:

  38. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I never knew that China and Japan are parts of Southeast Asia. I always thought that they are East Asia, but then again some people still thinks that the world is flat and you can drive from Sydney to Perth in a day.

  39. DanielNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hong Kong is not a country; nor is it in South East Asia… why is it even on the list?

    Favourite SEA country probably Thailand because it has great food and exotic culture.

  40. SherwinNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I do love to travel.
    I’ve been to these South East Asian countries:

    THAILAND- loved the buddhist temples, Phuket and Chiang Mai
    INDONESIA- enjoyed beaches of Bali, was amazed by the Borubodur
    MALAYSIA – it is truly Asia

    but above all these, I was really really touched by the HOSPITALITY of the people of the PHILIPPINES

  41. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Good that this thread is still going strong here. Sure Ryan and Daniel, some of these islands aren’t technically SouthEast Asia, maybe should’ve rephrased the question to ‘Asia’ and ‘destinations’ instead of countries. Too late now. :D

    Sherwin, I could agree with most of what you said, except Malaysia – for me it’s NOT truly Asia (what they suggest in their Ads), but that’s a different story. :D

  42. XavieryNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I’m a Filipino, and of course I have to vote for the Philippines..
    Aside fom that I love to go to Indonesia and Laos. Nature tripping.. ;-)

  43. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    It depends on what you are looking for:

    1) Singapore: business, work, financial services, healthcare (almost all hospitals are JCI accredited! Probably the highest concentration anywhere on Earth), education, safety (Among lowest 5 in the world for crime rates), clean streets; shopping for computers; English speakers; crowded public places

    2) Malaysia: Lowest costs of moderately quality goods and services; cheapest immigration programme; English speakers; street robbery & parangs; corrupted police; dirty streets

    3) Thailand: Night life, prostitution; spa; cosmetic surgery; gay scene; transgender scene; Buddhist temples; traffic jam

    4) Australia: human rights; relaxing mood; English speakers; parks; cultural scene; retirement villages; education; expensive hotels; clean streets; quietness at night

  44. Richard ReitmanNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    2) Malaysia: Lowest costs of moderately quality goods and services; cheapest immigration programme; English speakers; street robbery & parangs; corrupted police; dirty streets

    Drawback; Moslems trying to eliminate fun., BORING

    3) Thailand: Night life, prostitution; spa; cosmetic surgery; gay scene; transgender scene; Buddhist temples; traffic jam

    Not to mention GREAT beaches, great food, Great scenery and a wiode variety of places to visit along with shopping that equals Sinapore

    :( :)

  45. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I’d choose Thailand overall. But the obstacle is its visa rules. It’s time the Thai govt offered something similar to MM2H of Malaysia. Requires foreigners to deposit US$30-50k in a fixed deposit or govt bond. Allow them to withdraw half for medical or housing purposes. Grant them and their dependants 10y visa.

  46. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Good points here, Sunny and Richard Reitmann. Now, I just wish that Indonesia would adopt the visa rules of the Philippines or Malaysia – and better yet – with the costs of visas for Singapore. Meaning: Zero Dollars. Or ASEAN would decide, that Visas are complete bureaucracy BS and a waste of valuable government resources, that hinder the development of tourism. So remove them all for everyone. Haha, would that be a cool word! Okay, everyone can dream on…. :D

  47. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    The Philippines also offers a long-term visa programme which requires US$75,000 investment in the Philippines (which may include stocks). The Indonesian government should offer such a programme for long-term residents too. But I’d suggest that the amount be reduced to US$30,000 to 50,000. With US$40,000 investment, one could get a permanent VISA in South America. Perhaps more nomads should email the governments of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines to make this suggestion. Write directly to the Prime Minister/President or Minister in-charge of Tourism.

    A good programme should be:
    1) US$30-50,000 in investment. Choice in Fixed Deposit, stocks, life insurance endowment, unit trusts/mutual funds or residential property registered in the country.
    2) May withdraw investment and remitted out any time.
    3) May use up to half for medical or education for self, spouse, parents or children
    4) Income earned outside the country tax-exempt.
    5) Investment returns that exceed the minimum deposit may be withdrawn annually.
    6) Permanent VISA for applicant, children, parents and spouse
    7) May buy car and real estate of any price
    8) May bring in items for personal use without tax
    9) Easy renewal of VISA stamp whenever a new passport is issued. Endorsement VISA cert with new passport number can be issued from any embassy within 3 days of application, and the cert may be stapled onto the passport.
    10) Permanent Resident status after 5-10 years in programme.

  48. NeilNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I have to say Vietnam. There are many beautiful beaches, landscapes, and temples. Besides, the people are friendly, hospitable, and nice. The food is also fresh and delicious.

  49. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Flying to Kalibo Ati-atihan this weekend and then in Albay/Sorsogon first week of March. Just came from Puerto Princesa couple of weeks back.

    Regarding visa rules, I think there is a pending bill in the Philippine Congress currently being discussed now and this new rule would make visa entry even easier to the country.

    Heh, I think anyone who says that other countries have beautiful beaches obviously haven’t seen the thousands of stunning beaches in the Philippines. :-B :-B

  50. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Think about it. There are so many islands in the Philippines. I doubt any country in Southeast Asia-even Thailand that also has a few famous island resorts-can match the Philippines in terms of the variety of beaches. Perhaps Greece with more than 2000 islands could, but’s it’s in Europe, a much more costly place for nomads. So, the only problems for the Philippines for nomads would be safety, access to remote places, retirement facilities and VISA rules. Chris had explained to us that it does have a wide wireless internet access infrastructure, so communication isn’t a problem. But perhaps it should develop a wider network of domestic and regional airlines that should, preferably, be linked to regional leaders like AirAsia.com and Tigerairways.com .

    Its government should increase defence budget significantly after weathering the financial crisis and, with the co-operation of foreign powers, uproot the terrorists once and for all, at all costs, like what the Sri Lankan government just did. Following that, more defence budget could be channelled into the police force to ensure that investors, tourists and local talents feel safe there.

    Retirement villages like those in Australia and New Zealand could be developed by tender in a few key locations where the climate is moderate (15-25 degrees Celcius round the year) and there is no threats of natural disasters. This will attract the ageing population from the Western World and developed Asian world such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. Nursing and medical schools should be doubled in number and student enrolment capacity to provide qualified healthcare workers for such facilities. I am sure that many retirees who are receiving pension or annuity income would be pleased to settle down in a retirement house near the beaches at much lower costs in the Philippines if all these are in place.

    Lastly, it should lower the bar for foreigners who wish to settle down there. Perhaps US$30-50k of investment should be required instead of the present US$75k under SIRV. It should think beyond the initial investment. When you attract more foreigners to obtain the SIRV, there will be more of them going to the Philippines to spend money in the Philippines economy. This spending equates to extended long-term tourism and the economic benefits should far surpass what that of the initial investment amount.

  51. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    @ Sunny, check this out -Regarding proposed new visa rules: Philippine Immigration and Naturalization Act (Pina) of 2009 –

    For aviation: ASEAN starting this year is set to fully liberalise the industry with even the crappy Philippine airline Cebu Pacific set to commence the first direct flights from Manila to Phnom Penh.

    Safety wise, you could go walking in a busy shopping area in Hong Kong and gets sprayed acid. Those who rant about safety in the Philippines never fully realise the size of the country. Manila for example is over 1,000 kilometers away from Maguindanao where that horrid massacre happened last year yet suddenly people were canceling tours in Manila! What the country needs is good PR. Thailand spends millions and millions of dollars to sell their country and even with Malaysia with no so much sites to offer gets more tourists than us and these same countries have the same ‘problem’ as the uninformed traveler would say about the Philippines! Southern Thailand suffers from a festering rebellion but that dint stop people from visiting Phuket, BKK and Chiang Mai – these places had bomb attacks in the past couple of years! Who wouldn’t forget the Bangkok Airport Seige? That dint stop Thailand from getting 13 million tourists compared to the Philippines’ 3 Million even if the latter has far superior beaches, and more diverse culture. Malaysia has a problem with extremism as well – Jemaah Islamiyah have strong Malaysian and Indonesian ties but that dint stop people from visiting Malaysia nor Bali.

    This is because for so long, and everyone loves to make the Philippines the whipping boy, it is just convenient for people to trash the country. Even Nat Geo recognised that the Philippines have a really bad PR problem in its description of the country when it listed it as one of the Top 25 Best New Destinations of 2010. With infrastructure, international airports all over the country are being built as we speak, and more hotels too. However, I personally dread the coming of more tourists here, believe it or not. Too much and too many will make us look like another Thailand, and Thailand with its mass tourism and accompanying environmental destruction is not an example that Philippine tourism should ever imitate.

  52. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sunny, while I agree with you, that the Philippines have some of the most diverse and beautiful beach islands on the planet; I just want to add the fact, that there is one country in Asia with more islands and diverse beaches: Indonesia. Just because you asked. :) Let the numbers speak for themselves: Philippines 7.107 islands, Indonesia over 15.000. Both countries have in a way similar issues attracting tourists, where in Pinas most foreign tourists probably concentrate on Boracay, in Indonesia it is Bali (with close to 70% of all tourist income generated).

    In a way, it is a mixed bag, that both governments so far were pretty slow or incapable in developing other tourist destinations in their respective countries better, bad for the country’s economy, good for nature and travelers, who prefer unspoiled nature and destinations off the beaten track.

    Still, I would see it rather as a blessing for both countries, although there is less development like in – let’s say – Thailand, the obvious mistakes are so far avoided also. So yeah, go out there and visit the beautiful beaches of the Philippines and Indonesia, before mass tourism catches up with you. :D

  53. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Oh, careless me to miss out Indonesia! Indeed, Indonesia has more islands. You are quite right to mention that both Indonesia and the Philippines are more unspoiled than the islands and beaches of Thailand. Looking at the sheer number of islands in both countries, it’d take decades for all the islands to be spoiled by tourism. After 3G internet access has 100% coverage in both countries, I think it’d be perfect for nomads to travel around both. It’d be cheaper, internet-connected, unspoiled and offer more choices. With Retirement VISA requiring US$50k from the Philippines, it’s a step ahead of Indonesia in attracting long-term tourists-nomads. Indonesia’s economist President should catch up with the Philippines and Malaysia. Philippines, however, will continue to be favoured for two reasons. It’s safer and English is more widely spoken. With natural disasters and terrorist attacks so widely reported in Indonesia, I doubt Indonesia is desirable except for a few places like Bali.

  54. chinese-guyNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    “The usual suspects come to mind: Thailand, Malaysia even China.”

    wait a minute. China is not even in southeast asia!

    China is in NORTH east asia, or (in UN’s language) simply “east asia”

  55. KiwiNomadNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    The Philippines
    Brunei (surprise!)
    Indonesia (Bali would make second place, but let down by other parts of Indonesia I have visited)
    Vietnam (…yet to try Laos and Cambodia)
    Hong Kong

    I guess I am not a real “Nomad” as I still manage businesses to support my lifestyle, however I have lived in SEA (mostly), the US and Europe for the past 25+ years.
    I have a Philippines SVEG visa as I employ 10+ Filipinos which gives me a “residency” without “investing” in the bonds and securities. When I move to Bali I will get KITAS but I dont think it should be necessary as I go back to the Phil and Brunei every 6 to 8 weeks.

  56. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    KiwiNomad, sounds like a great plan, commuting between those 2 countries. I’m planning a similar thing, maybe just fleeing from the raining season….switching to areas below the equator around mid year and above the equator around end of year should help. So back in May to Bali and maybe over New Year again to Pinas….let’s see……hehehe. :D

  57. ConnorNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    I’ll be in Thailand in April with a friend. After the months through I’d like to move on to Cambodia, alone. In all honesty, I’ve never made it out of Canada and I am feeling abit timid about venturing off on my own while being unfamiliarized with whats around me.

    Any advice? Safety Concerns? Places to avoid? Anything is much appreciated;)

  58. ConnorNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    It’s off-topic, sorry fellas. I should be able to participate in this poll… soon enough, seeing as it has been going on for years. =D>

  59. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Connor, with a bit of common sense there are not many places to avoid in Thailand, Cambodia or other locations in Asia. Of course, shady venues at night far off the beaten track you should avoid anywhere, but you will be safe, don’t sweat it. And yeah, I wouldn’t jump around the unexploded ordnance in Cambodia or Vietnam. Most locations from the Lonely Planet and internet forums in Thailand or elsewhere (i.e. Angkor Wat) are more than safe and you will have a ball of a time, leaving Canada for the first time. Have a great trip! ;-)

  60. TokyNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    vote of Malaysia. >:)

  61. Ray RayNo Gravatar IRELAND Says:

    Thailand – Koh Tao
    Indonesia – Gili Islands
    Philippines – hundreds of pristine beaches
    Vietnam – Phu Quoc

    South east asia is probably the best region of the world

  62. jakeNo Gravatar SAUDI ARABIA Says:

    I love philippines because i find the people very hospitable and easy to communicate in english…the different islands offers alot of unique traits…

  63. jomelNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    philippines for hospitably of filipinos ;;)

  64. RyanNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    Going to Cambodia in Sept.. :) Yahoo! Tho I wish I can go to Philippines soon… I miss nice and unspoilt beaches.. :(

  65. michaelNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    My favorite country in SEA is Vietnam…I’ve been there last year..The people. the food, the landscapes are extraordianry nice. :) I’ll be there again in September..Can’t wait !!!

  66. jeliNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    i vote for philippines,,, in being hospitable country to others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ilove them so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i dont care what u says to our country ..,,,,,,,,,,,, but istill ,,,,,,,my loyalty is in my own country the phillipines

  67. RyanNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    I guess my choices needed a bit of updating. So far my favourite countries in SEA (aside from the Philippines)

    In this order:

    1. Cambodia
    2. Burma
    3. Lao as a runner up, but tourists are ruining it.

    I am going to go to Indonesia next month, so I will see how that pans out.

  68. KiwiNurseNo Gravatar NEW ZEALAND Says:

    In terms of Hospitality, English Communication and entertainment

    The Philippines is the most ideal asian habitat for westerners, beautiful islands and cities, cool people! not the typical asians you would meet in the airports. very easy to communicate with in English, Ive been to Singapore, malaysia, brunei and thailand, but i did get a lot of “No English Sorry”, in the Philippines, even the beggars can speak english…

  69. tempo duluNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I’d go for INDONESIA – for its diversity, beaches, culture and volcanoes!

  70. euniceNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Singapore for me…cos it’s my home :D .. OK other than that, I think it’s Malaysia, cos I love the food in the peninsula. I also like Sabah for its beaches and laid back lifestyle. ;;) I should discover more of SEA…

  71. berehNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Malaysia is the best for me..
    vote for Malaysia. :D :)) =D>

  72. Arvin KennethNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I’ve been almost to all countries in Southeast Asia. East Timor, Brunei, and Myanmar are the only nations in SEA that still i wasnt able to visit.

    So, here’s my list of my favourite countries that i really enjoyed(i’ll exclude Philippines for I myself will surely vote it as number 1. :D) :

    1. Thailand.
    Pros. I really love the Thai Architecture, the hospitality, the cleanliness, respect for national anthem and the royal family, phuket beach, the foods.
    Cons. Really hard to communicate. Some can’t speak english even in the supermarket. I have to always use my thai language booklet to see some phrases in Thai language.

    2. Singapore.
    Pros. Modernization. Really modern nation. The cleanliness, the architectures, etc.
    Cons. Hmmmm. Can’t think of any.

    3. Indonesia
    Pros. Many looks like the same as Filipinos(But some filipino faces are more westernized as Indonesians are a more Asian). I feel like i’m also in Philippines because of the places. Hehe. I love Bali for beaches and Yogyakarta for the Borobudur. Jakarta is like Metro Manila.
    Cons. Many beggars. When you watch the news many is about killings and terrorists attacks on eastern indonesia.

    4. Malaysia
    Pros. Diversity of the people. Malaysians are very proud of being Malaysians. English skills is not a problem. Beautiful malays.
    Cons. I got handpicked in a coffee shop. :(

    5. Cambodia
    Pros. Angkor Wat! Hospitality. Cheap products.
    Cons. I traveled here by Bus from Vietnam so it’s very tiring. I got scared with fried tarantulas! :(. and there are many scammers near Siem Reap.

    6. Vietnam
    Pros. THE FOODS! It’s like little China. Friendly people but fierce. I love Hue.
    Cons. I think only few can speak english. The Vietnamese language is very hard. When you buy you use hand gestures for them to understand. There are many motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh City and the drivers are reckless.

    7. Laos
    Pros. The temples. Serenity of the nation.
    Cons. Don’t think of any.

  73. Happy TravelerNo Gravatar CROATIA Says:

    Thailand for sure!

  74. cheeNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    malaysia for sure~~truuuly asia@many cultural will u find here (malay,chinese,indian,siamese,european,arabian and others)..its an asian!!love the food very much..a stable political and govt..nice country ever seen =D>..speak english clearly..very proud to be malaysian..most friendly people ;;)

  75. DjachsanNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Choose INDONESIA !!!
    it has more than 17.508 where home for 740 Ethnic who speak 737 local language with different costum each other of course, but u can also find Arabian,Chinese,INDIAN,European (like portugese,dutch etc).
    It has mega Biodiversity, the 2nd most,after brazil !!! ASIAN,Endemic AND australian FLORA and FAUNA !!!
    Well, its muslim majority country indeed 89%(muslim), but it has 5 other Official RELIGION,and 200 other local FAITH !!!
    Mountains,LAkes,Savanna,Volcanoes,Rainforest,see,beach and so forth u can find here!!!
    dont trust me ??? Come here or Google it b4 come here !!! :)

  76. denmarNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Id rather choose Philippines because of its unique traits, hospitality, nice people and easy to communicate with. Lots of fine beaches, arts, culture and a lot more!!!

  77. DarianNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    the best is always my Indonesia ! :D here i’ll give you something=

    1. Many can speak english (even though some may speak badly) because all were taught english when they were young

    2. man, the prices of things in Indonesia are cheap! eg. mineral water in Europe normally costs 2-5 Euros, but here in Indonesia you can get a mineral water for only 0.01-0.5 US Dollar (1-5 Cents). If you are a fashion addict and you actually want to buy some fake LVs or Guccis or etc., in Indonesia you could get one of those for only 1 US dollar (lol). Fakes in other countries may cost above 50 US dollars. This is why living in Indonesia is easy because the cost of life is cheap! but i still dont understand why many are still living in poverty :(

    3. Man you should try out some food in here, especially if you are a person who like simple food. Indonesian noodles and fried rices are way better than any other you have tried. Indonesia has its own types of food like eg. Satay, Soto ayam, but they have food from China like noodles.

    4. Don’t ever think that Indonesian people are all people with no minds that live in Kampungs, because you could also find some Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian, and arab people.

    5. Shopping in southeast asia is like heaven, and Indonesia is on the list too, they have almost all branded items from all over the world, and you’ll notice too that in Indonesia more people go to the food place than to the shops, and you’ll think they’re crazy but that’s what people in Asia do mostly, after work, after school, or in the weekends people go to the mall just to eat.

    6. I’ve never been to U.S. before, but i think they have big houses, but in Europe it’s hard to buy a big house because everything is so expensive. If you are a wealthy person and wanna get houses as big as Bill Gates’ buy a house in Jakarta because there really is no limit of area, I’ve seen houses in Jakarta that’s almost as big as a mal (lol and wow)

    7. The people are very friendly! it’s like other southeast asian countries (mostly Malaysia, Thai, and Vietnam). There’s a very unique fact about southeast asia, it is that people dont like to follow rules (if you want to know what I mean just look at the traffics in southeast asia :D), and that is why people are very nice. I have an example of why people are real nice in here, in the parking lot of a mal sometimes you see a sign where it says to not give a tip to the “parking guider”, if that happens in Europe or in America i’m sure they would follow the rule but in here you just tip them. People in Singapore compared to other countries in Southeast Asia has a big difference in kindness, they are kind too, but almost all have money and their culture are already mixed up with the western world so they kinda got strict. Never speak bad about Jesus or other religious stuffs in Southeast Asia because in southeast asia people are really deep into religion, there’s really no grownup in southeast asia that really dare to say an “f” word. In the west you always think of going to Church for 45 minutes is a long time but if you go to a normal Church in here 3 hours is just normal.

    8. Indonesia is one of those countries who has so many culture and religion and so people are really happy because Indonesia may be the only country that has the most national holidays (man, 5 religions!!!). For a student, this is what they always get: “lebaran” can be up to 1 month+ 1 month Christmas+ all school holidays 5 months+ other holidays (new year, chinese new year, waisak, independence day, etc.) about 2 months+ weekends.

  78. den marNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Just visit us and you will be kinda amazed of the true beauty of the Philippines why?

    1.Not only will you find world class hotels all over the city, you can also choose your preferred lifestyle in a single day. If you happen to feel like wanting a corporate lifestyle then all you need to do is visit the super busy but equally super elegant cities such as Makati or Ortigas.

    2.Should you choose to spend your day just as a shopper and observer then you can visit humongous malls such as the Mall of Asia and SM Megamall. Otherwise, you can shop from open markets where you will find the lowest of prices suited for both retail and wholesale buying through the busy market places of Divisoria and Greenhills in San Juan.
    3.The country’s summer capital is called Baguio. This place is called summer capital because of its very unique climate compared to other places within the country. While the weather in Philippines can get really hot during summer, people in Baguio are used to be wearing thick clothes all throughout the year because of the cold weather out there. During Christmas and New Year season, it can get really cold at this place.
    One of the most famous resorts all over the world, the Boracay resort is located in Visayas. While two other favorite destinations of international tourists, Puerto Galera and Palawan Island are both located in Luzon. And have you ever heard of the monkey eating eagle? These eagles can be found in Davao which is located in the island of Mindanao.

  79. stephanieNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I will choose Philippines people there are so nice….
    and i also love the destinations in Philippines ;;) :)

  80. AustinNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    I would choose these country ..
    Philiphine, Singapore, & Malaysia(Borneo) The Truly Asia …

    Philiphine – The great country, easy to communicate with their people. Many great places .. :D

    Singapore – the cleanliness Country same like P’phine …

    Malaysia (Sabah, Borneo) – you can climb One of the high peek in Asia Mount Kinabalu… The beauty of Sipadan Island… One The Best,clean City in Malaysia..
    Difference kind of race, culture, & etnic… Sabah is the truly asia (not Msia) xDD

  81. JeraldNo Gravatar not found Says:

    1. The Philippines – Great beaches, friendly people

    2. Japan – Rich culture and arts, love their music =)

    3. Korea

    4. Thailand

    5. Singapore

  82. den marNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Well Philippines is always be my choice I go to other places like in Bali Indonesia and Phuket in Thailand but it seems that tourist destination here is quite good. Philippines is really a blessed land I love the fancy beaches in Cam Sur and Boracay the exotic foods of Igorots in Baguio and many more to discuss just visit us here in the Philippines.

  83. ishNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I went backpacking around Thailand,Burma,Laos,Cambodia & Vietnam earlier this year..so to sum up (personal opinion)

    1.Philippines – English speaking country,that “Latin-Asian” vibe going around (love it!),pristine beaches (el nido,anawangin,calaguas,cebu,siquijor and other off the beaten track beaches) big malls, friendly people,lots of good looking people (if you know where to look) again..pristine beaches, not so many tourists,hard to get around the islands (which is not a prob for me)

    2.Cambodia – Sieam reap is very laid back,people are friendly also,cheap goodies,angkor wat is magnificent and i really like pub st. and the night market

    3.Burma – Shwedagon pagoda is a sight to behold, amazing temples/pagodas in Bagan, Burmese people are very friendly and some of them speak english really well. I love how their culture is preserved.Twas like transported back to the 80’s when I was in Yangon.

    4. Laos – i love the karst mountains in Vanvieng,Lao people are nice and friendly. There are many drunken tourists (tubing)

    5. Thailand – I absolutley love thai food and shopping. The beaches are nice..Kohphiphi is beautiful but there are SOOOO many tourists, that’s the downside of Thailand. It is good for their economy but the tourists is just too much,not to mention i met some obnoxious travellers there. Koh Phangan, very nice party place but a lot of guys just pisses on the beach. Krabi is laid back,i kinda like it there.

    6. Vietnam – i love the sand dunes in mui ne, war remnants/cuchi tunnel you’ll feel sorry what they’ve been through,pho noodles,nice people,cheap

  84. unbelieberNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    my choice would be the philippines because of their ability to speak in english, friendly and hospitable and prices cheap. there are also a thousand and one tourist spots to explore. singapore is next because it is clean and people speak english too. then hongkong. i maybe biased to english-speaking destinations but it is not the reason. i just love these places.

  85. BrosyNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    South East Asia country are
    Indonesia ONLY

    I don’t know why people don’t choose Malaysia, I am from China and I’ve been there many times. I love the foods(it’s cheap and it depends on where do you eat to find a cheap food), diverse culture, it TRULY ASIA (I mean seriously) this post had been written on 2008 and some comments are in 2008, 2009 and 2011. This year (2011), I believe they had been better than they are before, because of the new govt. made this 1Malaysia stuff. I think Malaysia are definitely the best country compare to Thailand, which I think Malaysia is much safer, compare to Singapore, where Malaysia is much cheaper, and I believe some of the Singaporeans like to buy stuff from Malaysia, and compare to Indonesia, which Malaysia also has many beautiful beaches. I think visitors should explore Malaysia more because it really Truly Asia. I would say too, Malaysia is much better than my homeland, China. Vote for Malaysia!

  86. MaiNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    my favorite countries aside from where I’m from(not bias:d) those where I’ve been to:
    1. Cambodia: the temples and people, exotic place!
    2. Laos : peaceful country, the sceneries are amazing.
    3. Indonesia : Bali = paradise and I love satay chicken
    Sadly, Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia didn’t impressed me. maybe I found those are too crowded with tourists. I really wanted to enjoy the trip
    Next destinations: Myanmar, Brunei, or Phillipines!

  87. AgungNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I vote for Indonesia ,Philliphines and Singapore. Indonesia is my homeland and I will take care of my country because of many issues is happening and help out people. For Philliphines and Singapore, it’s a cool country and nice scenery and friendly people,clean and to be honest safe.

    Love Indonesia 100% :)

  88. nicoleNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    the philippines is most beautiful even our country not as much
    you can tour to many tourists spots just like boracay ,ppur bohol,chocolate &banaue rice terraces
    try it! you will amazed

  89. mariaNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    top 5
    5. malaysia

  90. tonNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I will say that Philippines is the best among the rest, Filipinos are very Hospitable, 98% of the Philippines’s population can speak in English. The Culture is like westernized, they have beautiful beaches like, El Nido, Boracay, Pueto Galera, Dakak and many more. If you’re fan of bar hopping then Malate, East wood and Libis is the place to be. If you’re fan of shopping then Philippines had a 3 spots in the Top 10 Biggest mall in the world according to Forbes.com, and they also have highly urabanized cities like Makati city, Pasig, Mandaluyong and all of the cities in Metro Manila Region…

  91. nadhiraNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    For me, My country Indonesia is the best place !
    Although many peoples just thought Indonesia full of traffic, corruption, beggars, dirty, etc. But this is the real ‘paradise’. –> If you have MONEY, it’s really paradise, because you can do anything you want. And, we have sooo many culture, FOOD, unique behaviour (hehehe), beautiful scenery, and our people really welcoming. Hmm. . :D I can’t tell you for everything about Indonesia, but you have to see that indonesia is INDONESIA not only bali. I loooove my country so much !

    Ah anyway, other countries in asia that I like is :
    – Japan !! This country is awesome for me.
    – Korea :)
    – Vietnam (This country very beautiful and unique)
    – Singapore (heaven for me~ travel around the country just about 3 days)
    – China !!

  92. mariaNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    =D> :-/ ;-) ;-) ;;) ;;) ;;) :D =)) :(( >:) x( x(

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