Satisfying self- drive
In South- East Asia, go on a self- drive to unearth some hidden gems.
ROAD trip! What better way to get a feel of a country than by exploring it at your own pace via self- drive. More people these days embark on self- drive holidays. Let’s rev up those engines and head out to the Asean region, and see what’s in store. This is a country of stunning scenery, from the beauty of Ha Long Bay to the rich, green terraces that “decorate” the interior. Yet, in a country of breathtaking beauty, Hai Van Pass most surely stands out.
Hai Van Pass, which literally means “Ocean Cloud Pass”, offers sweeping views of the South China Sea. This 21km stretch is the most stunning section of the 145km drive along Route 1A between the cities of Hue and Hoi An.
That stretch of the road is only part of the fun. The city of Hue, Central Vietnam, was once the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty, and to this day the great 19th century citadel remains a major attraction to visitors.
There are many other historic sites waiting to be explored in the city.
If that’s not enough, the opposite stretch of this beautiful roadway leads to Hoi An, on the central eastern coast, a wonderful city with an ancient town at its heart, famous for its vibrant canals and colourful colonial buildings.
It’s time for Route 66! Cambodia has its own version of this iconic highway.
More aptly called the Angkor Highway, it is more suitable for a two- wheeled ( motorised) adventure rather than four wheels. Parts of the route are more dusty tracks than actual highway. As you travel along it, you can see some of the Khmer Empire’s most beautiful ruins.
Start by picking up a scooter in Siem Reap, and then travel onwards to savour the beauty of Angkor Wat. What you get is 100km of beautiful countryside filled with stunning views, surrounded by jungle. Along the way, you may meet some fantastic locals! The end point is the grand 12th century temple of Preah Khan Kompong Svay. One of the best drives surely starts off from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Take a leisurely drive that leads to Genting Highlands, and feast your eyes on the lush green views. In the area is the well- known Resorts World Genting which has expansive views of the forest below, a view you can also enjoy in a cable car ride.
Moving on, as you traverse the central region of the peninsula, you will eventually catch sight of the tranquil beauty of the beaches in Cherating, Kuantan, Pahang. This is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and sample the rewards after a long day on the road.
When you set off again, you have the beauty of the East Coast to enjoy! This stunning drive on Route 3 winds along the shore, with breathtaking views of the clear blue waters. Make your way up the coast, stopping at Dungun, Kuala Terengganu, before finishing at Penarik.
Be sure to visit the bustling night market in Dungun, and Terrapuri Heritage Village near Penarik. This island is associated with the joys of bumming around on the beach. No one thinks of the open roads when it comes to Bali.
But the island is the perfect size to explore on the open road. Make your way along the coastal roads and enjoy the superb views. Away from the bustle of the busier beach resorts you will find quiet golden beaches that beckon to be explored. Enjoy a stop at Candi Dasa on the eastern side of Bali and enjoy the pleasures of the fresh water lagoon.
Alternatively, head for the centre and savour the beautiful scenery of the mountainous areas near Ubud, where great volcanoes reach towards the sky and amazing views can be found around every corner.
So beaches, mountains, valleys and padi terraces can all be seen while you are on your road trip.
Hop into your preferred vehicle – and let your adventure begin!
This article is courtesy of GOASEAN, the first multi- platform channel on all things Asean. For more information, go to www. goasean. com, Astro channel 737 and TheStarTV. com.
— Photos: GoAsean
Enjoy a road trip surrounded by jungle at the ruins of ta Kou, Angkor, Cambodia.