While it may seem like it’s some time before we begin exploring the steaming jungles and ancient temples of Cambodia, the soaring mountains and rushing waterfalls of Vietnam, and the beautiful beaches and wildly buzzing cities of Thailand, here at Not In The Guidebooks we don’t think it’s ever such a bad thing to dream every now and then.

In fact, it’s certainly not a bad thing to dream of your next adventure in one of the most addictive corners of the world in South East Asia, especially when there are so many off-grid, off the beaten track experiences you can discover, get inspired by, and start planning.

Our local hosts help you get off the beaten track in South East Asia, so that you experience genuine, authentic culture most tourists don’t. They show you the highlights in unique and quirky ways, and take you to places you would simply never find without the help of a local.

If you want to experience authentic local culture, cuisine and the hidden gems of Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam, then look no further than these off-grid holidays in South East Asia.

Off-Grid Holidays in Cambodia

palm trees and rice paddies in cambodia

Cambodia is one of the lesser-known, and lesser-visited, countries in comparison to Vietnam and Thailand. For this reason, it is one of the most compelling holiday destinations on earth.

Incredible ancient temples, sleepy backwater villages scented with incense drifting from small pagodas, deep jungle and winding rivers, tropical beaches and some of the friendliest locals you could ever hope to meet; getting off-grid in Cambodia is a truly rewarding travel experience.

1.      Cambodia Tuk-Tuk Adventure

Embark on an 8-day adventure on Cambodia’s most ubiquitous form of transport, roaming deep into the countryside to discover areas most tourists will miss entirely.

Whilst you’ll still visit Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh, learn stories of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and float on the peaceful Tonle Sap, you will also experience some truly local, offbeat and off-grid moments that are sure to stick with you forever.

tuk tuk in phnom penh cambodia

On this tour, that could be visiting the home of a local in Siem Reap for a beer and a barbecue, it could be learning local silk weaving techniques in a remote village, or it could be witnessing the local fish market at a floating village.

More often than not, some of the most treasured memories our guests take from this tour come at the end of each day. As they climb into their tuk-tuk with their guide (by now a friend), and drive off through the warm evening air amongst the rice paddies, with a fulfilling day of unique experiences behind them, it’s these moments of drinking in just how far off the beaten track they have come that stick with them forever.

2.      6 Days in Temple Town

The perfect example of an off-grid holiday that shows you the highlights, the bucket-list attractions of a country, but then also gets you doing something completely different, this experience covers vast lakes, Angkor Wat, and Cambodia’s gentle giants – elephants.

ancient gate in cambodia

After a few days exploring the buzzing Siem Reap, meeting local people, discovering colourful markets and excellent authentic cuisine, you’ll head to an elephant sanctuary, where you will spend some time working to help protect the future of these majestic, personable creatures.

You’ll head deep into the jungles of northern Cambodia, and stay at an elephant sanctuary where you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime experience, working with and looking after the animals in an entirely ethical way.

3.      Paradise Island on Koh Rong Sanloem

One to wind down with now after all that exploring. On this escape to a tropical paradise, get off the beaten track on the stunning, white-sand island of Koh Rong Sanloem, and spend a few days relaxing in gorgeous weather, surrounded by the warm turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

white sand beach and sea in koh rong sanloem

Switch off, slow down, and luxuriate in the pace of life that can only be afforded by staying on a remote tropical island. Try the local food, chill in a hammock with a beer as the sun goes down, snorkel in the clear waters just off the island, and get off-grid in the most relaxing way possible.

This experience works perfectly as a standalone trip, or as a way to round off an energetic, off-grid tour where you may have been staying in comfortable yet basic homestays.

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Off-Grid Holidays in Vietnam

waterwheel in puluong vietnam

There’s a reason so many travellers cite Vietnam as their favourite destination in the world. Lush jungle, jaw-dropping waterfalls, incredible mazes of limestone karsts in sapphire blue seas, white-sand beaches, beautiful ancient towns and countless scooters swarming through the manic streets – and that’s just the sights.

Vietnam is also home to a fascinating history, a rich culture, an incredible number of friendly, warm locals, and one of the best cuisines found anywhere on the planet. Get off-grid in Vietnam, and discover a country of quite literally endless adventure, for all the senses.

1.      Ha Giang Easy Rider

For anyone aiming to get truly off the beaten track, look no further than this journey deep into the mountains of North Vietnam. Travelling by motorcycle with a local guide and driver, you’ll head far from the standard tourist trails, into some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

motorbike in northern vietnam

Enjoy the freedom of sweeping along stunning mountain roads, stopping at small mountain communities and staying in incredibly hospitable family homes, where you’ll enjoy properly authentic, home-cooked Vietnamese food and the company of your local hosts.

Trust us when we say that relaxing on the decking of a local homestay, watching the slow, rural life pass you by as waterwheels turn lazily in the warm evening air, cold beer in your hand and a mountain vista in the difference as smells of home-cooked food waft from inside, is a moment you’ll want to return to.

2.      8 Day Central and South Vietnam Adventure

Whilst South and Central Vietnam may receive more tourists throughout a year, it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t still get very much off-grid and see a side to the country that so many miss.

Ancient temples lying off the beaten track, experiences with locals in a three-generation home trying some stunning home-cooked food, trips across incredible mountains passes, all of this and more awaits you on an all-encompassing tour that truly gets you under the skin of Vietnamese culture.

hoi an at night

Explore the ancient fortified citadel at Hue, the beautiful complex of Chinese shophouses and Japanese pagodas at Hội An, and vibrant, bustling markets in Ho Chi Minh. But best of all, get to know the local people who make your holiday what it is. Experience incredibly warm hospitality from your hosts, a passion for showing visitors their homes, and get off the beaten track thanks to inside, local knowledge.

3.      Local Trail Walking and Eco Retreat – North Vietnam

A true once-in-a-lifetime adventure, this incredible adventure in Northern Vietnam combines some of the best hiking in the country, along off-grid trails you would only find with a local, with a stunning eco-retreat in the mountains where you can relax and recharge after a busy week.

mountains in northern vietnam

You’ll start in Hanoi and head out into the mountains, on point to point treks that get you properly off-grid, taking you to beautiful little rural villages where you can get a taste of true Vietnamese culture, cuisine and hospitality. Of course, the trekking itself is absolutely stunning. It heads past beautiful rivers that wind through cascading mountains, epic caves and gleaming rice paddies, and finishes in impossibly picturesque villages.

At the end of your adventure, take some time to relax and soak up the memories of the last few days in the infinity pool overlooking chains of mountains stretching into the distance. A journey you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Off-Grid Holidays in Thailand

temple in thailand in the jungle

Probably the most touristy destination of the three, Thailand is a country that, if you get off-grid, can still reward you in countless ways.

Whether it’s in the mountainous north, around the magical beaches in the south, or the bustling Bangkok, there is a whole offbeat world in Thailand that, once discovered through a local lens, will never be forgotten.

1.      Off the Beaten Track 11 Day Adventure

Whether it’s cycling through the manic streets of Bangkok, exploring atmospheric shrines and ornate temples, enjoying a drift on a fisherman’s boat under the warm sun on impossibly blue seas, everything on this tour is designed to get you off the beaten track and experiencing something local.

Bangkok sightseeing

Spend most of your time exploring how you wish, staying in incredible locations that make it easy to allow the wanderer within you to fully express itself. Throw in the best places to eat, local knowledge when it comes to things to do, and an overnight train ride (an absolute essential when in Thailand) and you’ll struggle to find a more complete 11 day adventure of Thailand and it’s beautiful southern coast.

2.      Discover Thailand like a Local in 12 Days

This incredible 12 day tour of Thailand starts in the addictive Bangkok, with three days of exploring the capital from the perspective of a local. You’ll visit unique stilted houses, atmospheric waterways, sample some of the best Thai food you will have ever have tasted, and discover the offbeat attractions that most visitors will miss entirely.

After these hidden gems of the capital, you’ll get out of the city to Khao Sok National Park. Here, you’ll be able to experience getting up close and personal with Thailand’s elephants in a sanctuary, located one of the oldest rainforests in the world.

After this you’ll be staying in an incredible floating lodge on a lake, surrounded by jungle-covered mountains. Explore beautiful waterways by boat and drift amongst the thousands of emerald islets of Koh Lanta. Finish by enjoying white sand, palm-fringed beaches and snorkelling in crystal clear seas, rounding off this stunning South East Asia adventure.

Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we offer a wide variety of off-grid holidays in the UK, as well as in Asia, Europe, Latin America and more. We believe that you see the best of a country when you get truly off the beaten track, away from the most popular tourist attractions and to the places that help you see the true culture of a destination, undiluted by overtourism.

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