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10 of our Favorite Hotels in Southeast Asia for 2016

10 of our Favorite Hotels in Southeast Asia for 2016

When planning a trip to Southeast Asia finding the right accommodations can be a struggle. Here are some of our absolute favorite properties in the SE Asian region. They're unique and offer our travelers a way to spend time in areas of the world few get to explore. Relax in luxury in the middle of the Bornean rainforest or scout for komodo dragons from the deck of your Indonesian phinisi. Wake up to a kiss from a baby elephant in Thailand's Golden Triangle or gallop across the Thar desert on a breed of horses indigenous to the area. Beaches, jungles, mountains, and desert - find whatever strikes your fancy and plan your escape!

Borneo Rainforest Lodge – Access to this jungle lodge is by 4 wheel drive vehicle and will have you questioning whether you’ve accidentally stepped onto the set of Jurassic Park. This jungle chic lodge, nestled deep in the Danum Valley, has a proud focus on sustainability and some of the best wildlife spotting in all of Borneo. Relax in comfort beside the Danum River on your outdoor terrace or channel your inner explorer and wander the jungle walkways. Who knows, you might even catch sight of a wild orangutan!

Try our Untamed Borneo to experience this incredible rainforest lodge.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge main building

Topas Ecolodge – Perched high above the sprawling rice terraces of Northern Vietnam’s Sapa region, this ecolodge was built in one of the most breathtaking locales in all of SE Asia. It was constructed to adhere to traditional building methods and maintains strict environmental standards. It’s an incredible base from which to explore the local Hmong culture and the rolling hills and mountains of the Tonkinese Alps. You can only reach Sapa by overnight train, adding to the adventure.

Our Traversing the Northern Highlands Adventure gives you the opportunity to stay at the Topas Ecolodge

Topas Ecolodge at sunset

Mihir Garh Palace – An oasis set in the middle of the Thar Desert, this is a Wildland classic that just keeps getting better. Mihir Garh, the Fort of the Sun, is a romantic palace that offers you a real Rajasthani desert living experience. They offer village visits to the local Bishnois community, horse rides across the desert on their own Marwari stallions – an ancient and indigenous breed of India – and al fresco breakfasts by the lake. 

Join our Royal Rajasthan to get a true taste of India.


Tree House Hideaway – Set in Bandhavgarh National Park, the tree house is the coolest way to spend your days on safari searching for tigers. Tiger safaris happen in the morning and evening leaving you time during the day to relax in your treetop abode. Perched on stilts and nestled in five different trees these are guaranteed to be the nicest tree houses you’ve ever set foot in (sorry dad). Don’t forget to descend from your tree house at night to socialize with other tiger seekers at the aptly named “watering hole.”

Our Tigers and Travels in India not only gives you the chances to see tigers in the wild, but also allows you to stay at the Tree House Hideaway.

Treehouse interior

Song Saa Private Island – Set off the coast of Cambodia, these idyllic private islands are a luxe escape with a serious focus on the environment. Song Saa mean sweethearts in Khmer which is fitting as a handful of thatch and stone villas are dotted across a pair of islands just off the coast of Sihanoukville. The resort is situated in a self-made marine reserve and they have a team of marine biologists on staff. You can snorkel around the islands and reefs, kayak through the mangroves, or visit some of the local fishing villages that Song Saa works closely with. Don’t miss the bioluminescence swim!

Try our Jewels of Laos and Cambodia and visit the Song Saa Private Island.


The River Resort – The land of 4,000 islands is located in Southern Laos and it’s everything you’re picturing and more. The area of Si Phan Don is famous for it's laidback, lazy days and the River Resort is the perfect place to spend your time doing just that in this too oft overlooked area of Laos. The resort lies on the banks of the Mekong on land that used to be a royal orchard. The resort is eco-friendly and focuses on supporting the local community –over 90% of their staff is from the area. They have bikes for you to take out at leisure and the sleepy, flat dirt roads around the resort are perfect for exploring on two wheels

Wildland's Pearls of Indochina explores the highlights of Southeast Asia.

River Resort villa

Ceylon Tea Trails – Sri Lanka is one of the largest producers of tea in the world and Ceylon Tea Trails’ 4 colonial era planters’ bungalows, set in the heart of tea country, give you the chance to step right into this working culture. Each bungalow has its own pool fed by mountain spring water, organic herbs they grow in their garden, and world class chefs. The bungalows are spaced throughout tea country and you can even trek from one to another on well-manicured trails that pass by schools, plantation villages, and waterfalls. Visit the tea factory with Tea Trails’ resident tea expert and learn the art of growing, harvesting, and brewing fine tea. 

Our Sri Lanka Grand Tour provides two nights at Ceylon Tea Trails and the ultimate Sri Lanka experience. 

Setting up breakfast at the Castlereagh bungalow

Uma Punakha – Situated in a remote valley of one of the most remote kingdoms in the world, Uma Punakha seamlessly combines impeccable luxury with untouched natural surroundings. The property is part of the landscape, nestled on a hillside at a bend in the Mo Chu river. Every room commands sweeping views of the Punakha Valley and the Mo Chu as it winds its way through the rice fields and orchards while the interior is decorated by hand painted Bhutanese murals. Warm yourself by the bukhari after a day of trekking in the mountains and start to understand why Bhutan measures its nation’s success in Gross National Happiness 

We have a special festival series featuring our Paro Tsechu Active Adventure, which includes time at Uma.

Uma Punakha

Ombak Putih – The Indonesia archipelago has over 17,000 islands so it’s little surprise that one of the best ways to explore this area is by boat. The Ombak Putih is a traditional phinisi schooner built in 1995 using traditional materials and methods. At 42 meters she can fit 14 guests in 6 cabins and that leaves plenty of space for a state of the art galley (kitchen), kayaks, snorkel gear, and stand up paddle boards. You can also choose to sleep on deck and stargaze while the ship rocks you to sleep. 

Sail with us on our Indonesian Komodo Adventure featuring the Ombak Putih.

Ombak Putih at sea

Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp – Located at the confluence of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar – the Golden Triangle – Anantara is part hotel and part elephant conservation center. Your all-inclusive stay includes activities such as a trip to the elephant camp where a mahout will teach you the ways to handle these friendly giants, a 3 country tour via the Mekong river, and a hands-on cooking class. Don’t miss the opportunity to eat dinner with the baby elephants while watching the sun go down over the golden triangle!

We can plan custom trips to Thailand to allow you to stay at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp.

Anantara and its resident elephant herd

Need help planning a trip to Southeast Asia? Ask me, I'm happy to help. 

Your friendly Asia program director,

Kelsey Wenger

PS: Check out all of our adventures in Southeast Asia

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