Tropical Paradise-13 Natural Wonders of Southeast Asia


Subterranean rivers, coral reefs flourishing with life, rocky limestone mountains jutting up out of the sea and pink sand beaches: Southeast Asia is a diverse region offering some of the world’s most spectacular natural sights. The thousands upon thousands of islands that make up Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines as well as the mainland part of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia and Vietnam, offer up astounding biodiversity and what can only be described as tropical paradise.

Erawan Falls, Thailand


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Named after the erawan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology, Erawan Falls has seven spectacular tiers drawing many visitors to its namesake, the Erawan National Park. Located in the Tenasserim Hills in western Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province, Erawan Falls has crystal-clear blue-green waters and lush greenery, offering an ideal representation of tropical paradise.

Lake Toba, Sumatra


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Not only is Lake Toba a beautiful lake that reaches an incredible 1,666 feet deep, it’s the largest volcanic lake in the world, created after a supervolcanic eruption that occurred sometime between 69,000 and 77,000 years ago. This was a huge, climate-changing event – the largest-known explosive eruption anywhere on earth in the past 25 million years. The eruption killed most humans that were alive at the time and created a ‘population bottleneck’ in Central Eastern Africa and India that forever changed the genetic makeup of the human race.

Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia


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One of the most-visited tourist attractions in Indonesia, Mount Bromo is an active volcano with a peak reaching 7,641 feet above sea level. The name is derived from the Indonesian pronunciation of Brahama, the Hindu creator god. Mount Bromo is located in the ‘Sea of Sand’, a protected nature preserve, in East Java. It erupts fairly regularly, with several eruptions in 2011 causing a thin layer of ash to accumulate on nearby villages.

Tonlé Sap, Cambodia


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The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonlé Sap is a UNESCO biosphere brimming with life including large colonies of spot-billed pelicans and stork. What makes this lake even more remarkable is the seasonal direction of flow, which changes twice a year. During monsoon season, water is pushed up from the Mekong River into the lake, flooding nearby fields and forests. This floodplain is the lifeblood of the Cambodian people in this region, providing over 75% of the nation’s annual inland fish catch and 60% of Cambodian’s protein intake.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines


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Standing up from the forested landscape in curiously regular brown mounds, the Chocolate Hills are certainly an unusual geographic feature, making them a standout spot in the Philippines. There are at least 1,260 of them, and they’re covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season. They’re nearly symmetrical in shape. Locals have offered many theories on how they developed, but nobody really knows for sure.