Everybody loves getting off the beaten path—but there’s still plenty of magic to be found on it. Southeast Asia expert, John Borthwick, shares how to make the most of some of the region’s most popular spots.

The beaten path has had lousy press ever since Adam followed Eve’s footprints across the garden. But let’s be frank: Almost anywhere on the planet now can trend as someone’s digital version of the beaten track. So, does avoiding them mean we are doomed to skip the world’s great destinations?

When visiting a heritage-listed visitor magnet, today’s traveler has to strategize their route along that beaten (but not defeated) path. This might mean fine-tuning your traveling season (preferably not peak), your target days (usually mid-week), and even the time of that day. Try it when planning your time at these still-great Southeast Asian spots.