Sat­is­fy­ing self- drive

In South- East Asia, go on a self- drive to un­earth some hid­den gems.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TRAVEL -

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.

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