South East Asia, an adventurer’s dream destination. Filled with charm and smiles, the places of South East Asia never fail to amaze any souls who step into its vicinity. There are many well-known spots in South East Asia but some are so commercialized that real adventurers are now seeking alternatives, an off-the-beaten-path alternative where they can see South East Asia at its original best. Our team has compiled a list of 5 off the beaten path attractions in South East Asia that you can add to your itinerary the next time your adventure craving kicks in:

1. Prambanan, Indonesia

Hidden deep within Yogyakarta, Candi Prambanan is one of the less known UNESCO World Heritage sites and is part of the Prambanan Temple Compounds.

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Photo Credit: Nedim Chaabene

Candi Prambanan or Candi Rara Jonggrang is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound is located approximately 17 kilometers northeast of the city of Yogyakarta on the boundary between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces.

An amazing sight awaits adventurers who take the less beaten path towards the temple. We wouldn’t want to spoil it for you with too many pictures.

2. Hindu Temple At Mount Bromo, Indonesia

The Mount Bromo temple is a unique place that exists above the Bromo mountain. Sporadically surrounded by rolling clouds, this place brings a surreal feeling to visitors taking the effort to reach its grounds. The temple organizes the annual Yadnya Kasada ceremony which lasts for about one month.

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Photo Credit: Tim Jenka

3. Visiting the Sama-Bajau community

The Sama-Bajau are traditionally from the many islands of the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines (where they are grouped together with the Moro people), as well as parts of the coastal areas of Mindanao and northern Borneo. In the last 50 years, many of the Filipino Sama-Bajau have migrated to neighboring Malaysia and the northern islands of the Philippines, due to the conflict in Mindanao. As of 2010, they were the second-largest ethnic group in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

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A Sama-Bajau settlement in Malaysia. Children as young as 4 would learn how to catch fish, squids, lobsters and other seafood.

Some of the Sama-Bajau people live on the houseboat for their entire lives with their family until they get married, better known as the sea nomads. Their source of food is mostly from the sea, mainly fish. The divers have so experienced in fishing and hunting that some of them are able to dive for more than 3 minutes in the water. Their diving habits would often cause hearing disorders at a later age. A gem in South East Asia, catching a glimpse of the life of the Sama-Bajau people is an experience not to be missed.

4. Wae Robo Village, Indonesia

Wae Rebo is an old Manggaraian village, situated within a pleasant, isolated mountain scenery. The village offers visitors a unique opportunity to see authentic Manggarai housing and to experience the everyday life of the local community. In the village of Wae Rebo, visitors can see mbaru niang – traditional, circular cone-shaped houses with unique architecture. Nowadays, it is still a place to hold meetings, rituals and Sunday-morning prayers together.

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The village can only be reached by way of a three-hour hike (depending on your physical condition) from the lowlands. The hike is definitely worth the effort: the dense rainforest along the narrow path to Wae Rebo is one of stunning biological diversity. Not only does it host interesting vegetation, including orchids, palms, and different ferns, but also an impressive population of singing birds.

5. Ayutthaya, Thailand

Two hours away from Bangkok by train, Ayutthaya was previously founded around 1350 and it became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Back in the days, it was a busy capital with merchants and trades happening everywhere but all that came to a tragic end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.

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Photo Credit: Mike Chu

Today, only a few remains might give a glimpse of the impressive city they must have seen. Its remains are characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and big monasteries. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time. Recognized as one of Thailand’s UNESCO world heritage sites, a day trip to Ayutthaya holds hundreds of years of history ready to be learned by those who reach out to seek it.

Have more off-the-beaten paths travel locations that you know about? Let us know in the comments below!

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