Not far away from the beach resorts of Phuket and Bali, or the mega cities of Bangkok and Singapore is another country that has perhaps been sitting in the shadows of its more popular neighbours for far too long. This country has over 7,000 tropical islands, most with beautiful untouched beaches. It has a megalopolis of 24 million people. It has huge forests hiding an amazingly unique array of wildlife. And an incredibly long and diverse history to be learned.
Beaches aside, the islands do hide other attractions. Volcanoes are a common site, as are large karsts similar to the likes of Halong Bay. In the mountainous north of the country, the hillsides have been carved up and turned into vast rice paddies. Then there’s the truly unique spots such as the Chocolate Hills, an amazing site of hundreds of perfectly shaped hills covering one of the islands; and Puerto Princesa Underground River which is navigable and stretches up to 8 kilometres inland.
The inhabitants of the many islands are diverse and wide ranging. There’s the tarsier, one of the smallest species of primates in the world and one so cute that you’ll be tempted to smuggle one or two home with you. There’s anteaters, tigers, wolves, a billion different types of monkeys and over 600 species of birds, nearly 200 of which are only found here.