Southeast Asia is one of the most tourist attraction destinations in the world. Not only it is well-known for delicious dishes and beautiful beaches, but Southeast Asia also steals travellers’ heart with its exquisite ancient cities. Take a look at the top 6 beautiful and mysterious cities of Southeast Asia. Guaranteed that once you see it, you don’t want to miss it!
1 - ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA: THE MOST FAMOUS ANCIENT CITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
At the heart of Siem Reap, the Khmer Empire in the past, lies Angkor Wat which was, and still is today, a wonder to behold. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world with both Hindu and Buddhist influences. It is one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.
2 - BAGAN, MYANMAR
From the 9th to 13th centuries, this place used to be the capital of Pagan Kingdom. It was the first kingdom to unite the area that would become modern-day Myanmar. For 200 hundred years, Bagan remained the capital of the mighty Pagan Kingdom. During the kingdom's golden era between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples were constructed in and around the city and over 2,000 are reserved to the present day. The 26 sq mile Bagan Archaeological Zone is on the banks of the Irrawaddy and is an incredible sight to behold.
3 - HOI AN, VIETNAM
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom controlling the spice trade between Indonesia and China. Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century, with buildings and a street plan that reflect both indigenous and foreign influences. Make sure that you spend time admiring the sparkling night view of Hoi An which is lightened up by thousands of lanterns. It is, indeed, a symphony of colors that would take you back to the 1900s.
4 - OLD CITY CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
This city served as the capital of 2 different ancient kingdoms, the Kingdom of Lanna and the Kingdom of Chiang Mai. The Old City of Chiang Mai exists within the modern city of Chiang Mai. Surrounded by ancient walls and moat, the old city boasts many well-preserved ancient temples which are still in use today.
5 - AYUTTHAYA, THAILAND
Once the capital of Siam, Ayutthaya was a major trading center where the west met east. Ayutthaya sits on a man-made island at the confluence of three rivers, the Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Passak. Although the city was destroyed in a war with the Burmese, the surviving monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, are found amidst the modern city of Ayutthaya. A visit to Ayutthaya makes a good day trip from Bangkok. It's also a convenient stopover on the way to Chiang Mai.
6 - Luang Prabang, Laos
The city’s name means “The Royal Buddha image,” and its old name was Muang Sua. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has exceptional and well-preserved architectural sites, along with religious and cultural heritage.
The city dates back to 698 CE, from which time it has been continuously been inhabited. As time passed, this area has strong French influences dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.
The combination of old and new makes the city more charming, with Buddhist temples mixing with modern establishments. A great place to start when visiting the city is Wat Chom Si shrine to pray for a safe passage through the Mekong River while sailing the day away.