7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia | Digital Travel Guru

“A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance”.

UNESCO

1

Komodo National Park (off Sumbawa Island – Indonesia)

Komodo National Park is a listed UNESCO Heritage Site and is in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago and located in-between (Flores and Sumbawa) – these volcanic  islands are home to approx 6000 giant lizards. Komodo National Park, covers three major islands, namely Komodo, Rinca and Padar. The Komodo lizards that live on this island are found nowhere else on earth. The area is popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, diving, snorkelling and trekking. There is a famous pink beach or Pantai Merah on Komodo Island you can also visit. It is one of the 7 pink beaches on the planet – the sand gets it’s colour from fragments of red coral mixed with the white sand. The sea surrounding the island is rich in marine life and the island has may other species living there such as  the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. The rich coral reefs of Komodo have various species, such as  sea turtles, whales, and  dolphins.


2

Angkor (Siem Reap – Cambodia)

Angkor is one of the most visited places in Cambodia, and one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia. The park has over 300 temples and stretches some 400 km2, it has a thick forested area and most of the temples are from Khmer Empire which was between (9th to the 15th century). Angkor is located in Siem Reap, this site has many sculptures, art and buildings showing the various cultural, religious, architectural elements from that era. The park is inhibited with many villages, the people who live in this area are mainly associated with the agricultural industry. Angkor is one of the largest archaeological sites in operation in the world. Angkor Wat, built during the early years of the 12th century by Suryavaram II, honors the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology. You will need a few days to fully  explore this site.

3

Borobudur Temple (Java – Indonesia)

Surrounded by volcanoes, rice fields and limestone cliffs – Borobudor temple is the largest Buddhist temple on earth, online sources state it is built from approx two million lave rocks. UNESCO helped in restoration work tot he site in 1970. The temple was discovered in 1815 and it was buried under volcanic ash. The site dates back tot he 8th and 9th century and it is located in Central Java in the Kedu Valley – (Indonesia).  Today the site is still used as a Buddhist pilgrimage site.

4

Pyu Ancient Cities (Sagaing Reigion – Burma) – Myanmar

The Pyu are over 1000 years old and existed around 200 BC and 900 AD, located in Myanmar. The three cities are archaeological sites today. The remains you can see today are (buried grounds, palaces, water irrigation systems, and many other old buildings). This site is of important historical significance as it provides us with an insight into how Buddhism started in South East Asia and the various cultural changes that occurred in that era. it is believed that these cities were formed  Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu people.

To date Archaeological surveys have unearthed 12 walled cities, including five large ones and several smaller non-fortified settlements. Of these cities, the three that are relatively more well-known are Halin (Hanlin), Beikthano, and Sri Ksetra.  These cities were inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, and were the first sites in Myanmar/Burma to be added on that list.

These earliest Buddhist sites  played a vital role in the process of sharing the literary, architectural and ritual traditions of Pali-based Buddhism to other societies in the region where they are still practiced now.

 

5

Sukhothai and Historic Towns (Sukhothai Province – Thailand)

Sukhothai was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries. It has a number of stunning monuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture. Sukhothai is located in the northern part of Thailand. Sukhothai was the first capital of Thailand (Siam) in the 13th & 15th centuries. There were two important  towns in the Sukhothai Kingdom,  Si Satchanalai to the North of the capital and Kamphaeng Phet to the South played an important role in the empire. Sukhothai Historical Park covers an area of about 70 sqkm and contains over 190 historical ruins. This area is a great place to base for a few days to be able to see the full site architectural wonders.

6

Historic City of Ayutthaya – Thailand

Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterised by the prang  and its enormous monasteries, which will give you idea of its past grandeur. When Bangkok became the new kingdom’s capital – it was built to resemble Ayutthaya. Many of the architects and craftsmen that built Ayutthaya were brought to Bangkok to assist in building works. Ayutthaya Historical Park comprises four temples – Wat Phra Ram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana – the Royal Palace and Wiharn Phra Mongkol Bophit. Outside of the historical park, the sites are spread along the west, south and eastern parts of the city. you can also visit Chao Sam Phraya to see may archaeological finds from the historical site.

7

Laos

Luang Prabang means “city of the Golden Buddha Phra Bang”, a 83cm statue of which is believed to be the source of the city’s protection since the 14th century.

Luang Prabang is located in northern Laos in a mountainous region. Luang Prabang is a fabulous place to visit to see it’s amazing architecture and it remains a well-preserved town. The majority of its buildings are wooden following ancient traditions and designs and you will find Manny temples and pagodas here. The natural landscapes here are breathtaking and it is such an interesting lace to see and explore. The ancient city in the north of the country is a delightful mix of exquisite temples and French colonial buildings – and a great place for cafes, restaurants, bars and shops.

 

 

 

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Showing 17 comments
  • Alex
    Reply

    Oh gosh I want to go to ALL of these places! Would love to see the Komodo dragons (although my daughter is terrified of them after seeing some fighting in the zoo!). Ayutthaya looks incredible – I love places where you can be surrounded by so much history!

  • lexieanimetravel
    Reply

    Oh Woah those are fabulous places “must” to visit! this 7 landmarks have absolutely charmed me as well, I would love to be in that ancient city in Burma, watch those Komodos, and be in sukhothai province (which reminds of the name of my friends restaurant) me and my husband always spend our christmas or new year in that restaurant. these places are all in my bucketlist 🙂

  • Kimberly Kruty
    Reply

    I think I need this post for when I go to places like Thailand because I feel like I can easily forget what places are UNESCO world heritage sites. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Tyra
    Reply

    I’ve only been to one Southeast Asian country, Indonesia and I didn’t get to go to Java to see the Borobudur Temple! I love Komodo Dragons and would love to see them. Waaaaaah I need to get started on completing this list!!!

  • Michael
    Reply

    The Komodo National Park looks great. How big do these Komodo lizards grow to? I am not sure that I would like to meet one in a dark alley at night 😊

    • Digital Travel Guru
      Reply

      They grow up to 4 metres long I think, the ones I saw were HUGE, and I heard they can eat children, apparently their bite is very toxic too. Yes defiantly not a good creature to meet at night. LOL

  • Helene
    Reply

    Need to visit these!! I’m especially interested in Angkor, since I’ve never been to that region (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos)! Will have to organize a trip:D Thanks for the interesting read!

  • Travelquartz
    Reply

    Angkor and Laos my favorite destination from this list but this post makes me want to visit them all immediately. I’m so much into heritage travel this year that this list is just where I should visit next. Just awesome 💎

  • Heraa Farooq
    Reply

    This post is so much informative need to put all these places on my list. Loved the photography. South East Asia has always fascinated me and now I want to visit it badly.

  • Lyf&Spice
    Reply

    This is such a nice list. I’m yet to check out Komodo National Park and Myanmar. I’m surprised I’ve covered the rest. Thanks for enlightening me 😉 Cheers!!

  • Rahat Arora
    Reply

    Very nice places recognised by UNESCO. All places looks lovely and must to explore and if you like these heritage sites then India is very idle place for you.

  • anna
    Reply

    Wow amazing input and great pictures. THANKS for sharing I enjoyed reading through and can’t wait to visit all of them! So many great historical places!

  • Indu
    Reply

    Impressively compiled UNESCO heritage sites of Southeast Asia. Loved your post adorned with wonderful pics

  • Taryn
    Reply

    Amazing pics. I love this part of the world and now have a few more places to add to my trip wish list.

  • amit
    Reply

    You know when I lived in Bali, I literally left it to the last minute to go and visit Komodo Island, and guess what I couldn’t get out there, I was told to just turn up at the airport, I did with my mate, when we got there they said they were booked up for the next month – Royally messed that one up!!! – Oh well I’ll have to go next time I go back to Bali – Anyway thought I’d share that with you haha Also I would love to see Pyu but feel it’s getting a bit too over touristy now?

  • Noel
    Reply

    HISTORIC CITY OF AYUTTHAYA – THAILAND – this is totally new for me. Haven’t heard about this before.

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