Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites in our Neighboring Southeast Asian Countries

Bucket list alert!

We already know the different UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Philippines teems with historical, cultural and natural grandeur. Also situated in our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, a number of landmarks — both natural and man-made that are also brimming with history and charm, awaits travelers. To help you plot your historical hopping bucket list in South East Asia, here are some must-see UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Historic City of Ayutthaya

One would need half a day at the least, to explore this vast area comprising of beautiful ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya — which dates back to the kingdom of King Ramathibodi I in 1351. Ever seen that image of the head of Buddha entwined in the roots of a tree? Yes, that’s in Ayutthaya and among else located here — are grand temples and other majestic reminders of a storied past.

Historic Town of Sukhothai

More than 400 kilometers north of Bangkok, situates another historic town where remnants of the Sukhothai Kingdom of the 13th century still stands magnificently stretched out over a picturesque plain. It comprises of three areas of historical exploration; the Sukhothai historical park, Kamphaeng Phet historical park and Si Satchanalai historical park. It is safe to say that, Sukhothai will definitely satisfy every history junkie traveler.

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Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand include Ban Chiang Archaeological Site, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex and the Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries.


Borobudur Temple Compound

Highlighted by bell-shaped stupas pierced with intricate designs, and massive walls showing beautiful carvings, these Buddhist temples built in the 8th century near the city of Yogyakarta, is a place of staggering history, and a visual feast truly worthy of a UNESCO World Heritage site distinction.

Another UNESCO site near the Borobudur Temple Compound is the Prambanan Temple Compound. Other sites in Indonesia include the Ujung Kulon National Park, Tropical Rainforest of Sumatra, Sangiran Early Man Site, Lorentz National Park, Komodo National Park and the Cultural Landscape of Bali.


Kinabalu National Park, Kota Kinabalu

Enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its nature gifts serving as home to more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna, among more than a hundred mammal and 326 bird species, this vast national park covering 754 square kilometers also includes the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu.

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Apart from Kinabalu Park, Malaysia still have other UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be found at; the Historic towns of Melaka and George Town, Gunung Mulu National Park and the Archeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley.


Ancient Cities of Pyu in Mandalay

Many will be surprised to know that the temples of Bagan are still under the tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today though, Myanmar has only the ancient cities of Pyu included in the list. This area surrounds the five city states of Beikthano, Maingmaw, Binnaka, Halin and Sri Ksetra where ruins of the Tibeto-Burmese speaking Pyu civilization from as early as the 2nd century can still be found.

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About the Author

Marky Ramone Go

Marky Ramone Go

Marky Ramone Go is a travel-junkie, writer and photographer based in the Philippines. Aside from contributing articles to various publications and websites, he narrates his experiences wandering the tropical paradise of the Philippines, the culturally rich regions of South East Asia, Sri Lanka and India on his travel blog Nomadic Experiences. After Asia, he is keen on exploring South America and eventually hoping to trace Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" trail in the United States to Mexico.