Cambodia vacation venues

image via Aussie Assault

People like the idea of having an adventure someplace exotic. Often, however, the experience that you imagine while armchair traveling doesn’t match up  with what actually happens if you decide to go through with your dream trip plans.

Lots of people head to Southeast Asia hoping to find a land of quaint villages, dancing apsaras, ancient temples, traditional life, and postcard-like views at every turn. They will find these qualities, but a lot of their travels will be defined by dusty towns, dangerous roads and spartan accommodations. That’s not to say that the experiences you have while traveling aren’t memorable, but there is an element of comfort that many travelers on such journeys end up missing.

Luxury private villas Asia

image via Anthony Spratt

The big question is “can I find a place where I can experience luxury and comfort without foregoing the kind of adventures that I want to have?”

Travelers flock to Bali and Cambodia  to experience all things exotic. The crowded tourist scenes in these places can take away from some of the “magic” that people are expecting. Travelers often leave thinking: that was nice, but not quite the life-changing month (or week) that I was expecting.

Luxury resorts in Bali

image via Joan Campderrós-i-Canas

Even if they splurge on luxury accommodations for at least part of the trip, something might feel like it is lacking.

One of the best ways to get the full Southeast Asia experiences in Bali or Cambodia is to opt for independent venues. Unlike larger resorts and chain hotels, which, no matter how nice, focus on offering touristy activities and sightseeing trips, indie resorts and rental villas can provide a totally personalized itinerary. And it certainly helps that these venues are some of the most luxurious you are ever likely to come across.

Cambodia private island

image via Venuelust

Cambodia's Song Saa resort is a great illustration of the kind of Southeast Asia dream experience we are talking about. Located on two private islands off the coast of the beach town of Sihanoukville, this resort consists of a number of private villas. In all, there are 27 accommodation options. Some of these multi-room residences are tucked in the virgin forest in the middle of the islands, while others are right next to the sand. People who stay in these villas are only a few footsteps from the clear water that is common in this part of the Gulf of Thailand.

Personalized experiences private villas

image via Venuelust

Song Saa's restaurant brings authentic flavors and quality to guests. The spa services provide the chance to be pampered while also tapping into the traditional treatments and high level of service that this region of the world is famous for.

The best part about Song Saa and resorts like it is that they can personalize your excursions. If you want to take a kayak trip through the islands or to the coastal mangroves, you can do so without having to join a group of other tourists. Song Saa has some exclusive excursions, such as a trip to Sala, a Cambodian village where the people still live a traditional lifestyle. If you are on the islands for a special occasion, the concierge can even arrange for a local Buddhist monk to officiate a blessing ceremony (for a marriage, anniversary or any other special event).

private luxury villas

image via Venuelust

Bali's Infinity Villa offers something a little bit different. Bali is much more of a tourist destination than Cambodia. The popular Indonesian island can get very crowded. A private villa is a way to avoid the crowds and to control the kind of adventure that you want to have. This serviced villa has 14 bedrooms and an infinity pool. Unlike the faux nature that surrounds some Balinese resorts, Infinity has totally natural surroundings. Better yet, it is only steps from the beach. The nearby town of Pererenan is not at all touristy, allowing guests at this private villa to get an unfiltered view of Bali. If you have ever been disappointed by the staged "cultural performances" that are so widespread on resorts in Bali and places like it, then nothing could be more attractive than exploring the surrounding area, with the help of Infinity's staff.

Exotic island villa

image via Aaron Bradford

These two independent Southeast Asian vacation venues really define what "venuelust" means: places that can offer you something totally unique and utterly special along with a personalized experience that even the best resorts on earth cannot hope to match.

Your turn

Have you ever stayed at a independent vacation venue like the two we mentioned in this post? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below.