Top 10 Key Attractions of Southeast Asia


When it comes to exotic beauty, natural wonders, cosmopolitan lifestyle and mouthwatering cuisine, there’s just no beating Southeast Asia! Home to the largest religious monument in the world, the tallest twin towers, the best coastlines on earth and, of course, the most exotic of all dishes, Southeast Asia is truly a traveler’s paradise.

Southeast Asia

The White Sands of Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is made up of an amalgam of different flavors: so whether you’re a fan of history, art, food or adventure, this is where it’s at! With Southeast Asia, you cannot go wrong: it’s a land filled to the brim with exotic temples, cosmopolitan folks, colorful nightlife, glorious beaches and grand architecture. If you’re wondering where to start your tour, why not take a look at my list of top ten key attractions of Southeast Asia?

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

One of the biggest draws for tourists in Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex is the biggest religious monument in the entire world. Also known by the name City Temple, Angkor Wat is a UNESCO world heritage site, and definitely something that has to be on your Southeast Asia list of places to check out.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Address: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Coordinates: 13.412443, 103.867105

Here are a few reasons why you must visit: the kaleidoscopic sunrise over the temple tops, the vast number of temples and staircases, making it ideal for explorers and adventurers alike, and the magnificence of the structures, making it a delight for history lovers and architecture students! All in all, Angkor Wat is definitely one of the list for top ten attractions of Southeast Asia.

Check out the latest rates, or book a room at a hotel near Angkor Wat here.

If you’d like to check out more on the natural wonders of Southeast Asia as you plan your itinerary, make sure you read our article: Wonders of Southeast Asia. For an in-depth review of Angkor Archaeological Park including suggested itineraries and nearby attractions, see: Angkor Archaeological Park – a World Heritage Site.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

No Southeast Asia tour is complete without a visit to Kuala Lumpur. One of the turning points of Southeast Asia’s rise to prosperity, Kuala Lumpur is an amalgam of the very old and the very new. This beautiful city has a truly cosmopolitan outlook, with the traditional Muslim culture moving side by side with Buddhism, Hinduism and a host of other religions.

Kuala Lumpur

Coordinates: 3.142610, 101.691782

One of the top ten attractions in Southeast Asia, this city draws in the tourists with its fusion of ethnic cuisine (Malay, Chinese and Indian), architectural grandeur (PETRONAS Twin Towers, KL Tower), busy street-culture encompassing the Golden Triangle and Petaling Street, the Lake Gardens and religious monuments (Jamek Mosque and Batu Caves).

For a more in depth review of Kuala Lumpur, see our other article: Travel Destination Review: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and if you’re traveling with kids, do check out: Visiting Kuala Lumpur: Fun Places for Kids

We have put together the following lists of hotels in Kuala Lumpur:

Tourism in Kuala Lumpur is still pocket-friendly, as new and exciting budget hotels pop up each year.

Pattaya, Thailand

One of the top ten attractions of Southeast Asia, Pattaya is a beautiful seaside city that boasts glorious sunsets over the ocean, an eclectic art scene, a gastronomical variety of delights, a vibrant nightlife, a seductive culture and most importantly: a parade of exotic festivals through the year!

Pattaya Beach, Thailand

Pattaya Beach, Thailand

Coordinates: 12.928824, 100.878114

Start planning your trip to Pattaya

Southeast Asia has many cosmopolitan cities, but Pattaya has its own class. Vividly known for its lady-boy cabaret shows and racy watersports, Pattaya is a must-visit destination for tourists going to Thailand!

Singapore, Singapore

Singapore, with its fusion of cultures, cuisines and people, has always been one of my favorite destinations and definitely a place worth mentioning on the list for top ten key attractions of Southeast Asia. Sixth on the list of most visited cities in the world, Singapore is one of the most diverse cities in Southeast Asia.

Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer

Coordinates: 1.353340, 103.852826

When visiting Singapore, you’re not done until you’re done with these: go on a night-safari, watch the parrots battle it out at the Jurong Bird Park, take the amazing Transformer ride at Universal Studios, hop on a cable car to Sentosa Island and pass over the cruise ships down below, go snorkeling and try out the different gastronomical delights that this city is famous for! Oh, and let’s not forget the amazing shopping experience on Orchard Road, for those willing to spend, and then there’s the haggling to be done in China Town!

You can find various curated top lists of hotels in Singapore below:

For a more in depth look at Singapore check out our article: Attractions, Things to Do, and Holidays in Singapore

Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a small town deserving of being on the list for top ten attractions of Southeast Asia for three key attractions: the magnificent temples, the beautiful colonial architecture that has both French and Lao influence and the vibrant markets.

Luang Prabang National Museum

Luang Prabang National Museum

Coordinates: 19.886279, 102.137317
Start planning your trip to Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is getting to be more famous by the year, since it is one of the few places left in Southeast Asia where one can simply relax and meander about town, enjoying its picturesque imagery and local customs. If you’re heading to Luang Prabang, remember to visit the Kuang Si falls and Pak Ou caves, and have an elephant ride through the wilderness!

Palawan, Philippines

Famous for its amazing array of underwater species of fish and sharks, Palawan is an island that beckons divers the world over!

Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan

Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan

Coordinates: 9.502112, 118.397688

What makes this one of the top ten key attractions in Southeast Asia? Simple! The friendly folks, the amazing diving and snorkelling opportunities, the aquamarine lagoons where one can swim with small sharks. The capital of Palawan is Puerto Princesa city, from where one can get a live-aboard to Tubbataha Reef, home to over 500 species of fish.

Start planning your trip to Palawan

For more information about Tubbataha Reef, read our article: Tubbataha Reef in Philippines

Bangkok, Thailand

The tenth most visited city in the world, Bangkok is a bustling city that is a delight in every way: gastronomically, religiously, architecturally, culturally and quaintly! With its amazing fusion of old and new, this city has won the hearts of millions of people all over the world.

Bangkok Street Food

Bangkok Street Food

Coordinates: 13.757792, 100.508098

Apart from the friendly locals and world class shopping, what makes Bangkok of the top ten attractions of Southeast Asia? Let’s take a look! The cabaret shows, the exotic festivals, the vibrant and colourful nightlife, the skyscrapers, the vivid culture, the street food and the feel that there’s always an adventure waiting around the next corner: this is Bangkok at its best and worst!

We have put together various top lists of hotels in Bangkok below:

Don’t miss our guide about things to do Bangkok: Things to do in Bangkok

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is one of the top ten attractions of Southeast Asia for its exotic culture and landscape. A land where tradition trumps all, and tranquil peace is a way of life for every Balinese, Bali is an island that presents mystery and intrigue to many, which is why it is so famous.

Air Panas Hot Springs, Banjar, Bali

Air Panas Hot Springs, Banjar, Bali

Coordinates: -8.398017, 115.175712

Start planning your trip to Bali

Visit Bali to enjoy the ancient landscape of temples, its beautiful white beaches and emerald waters, and for its devotion to the local culture. You’ll be enchanted! Check out our review about Bali here: Bali – Land of History, Beauty, Culture and Beaches!

Hanoi, Vietnam

Always the cultural and economic center of Vietnam, Hanoi is famous for its ancient architecture, beautiful great lakes, elegant colonial villas, vivid street life filled with colorful local costumes and innumerable food stalls and its picturesque charm.

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

21.028184, 105.838679

Start planning your trip to Hanoi

On a visit here, check out the One Pillar Pagoda built in 1042 and the Temple of Literature that was built in 1070. The city is home to over 600 Pagodas, which is why it’s ideal for the exploring tourist, as well as for history buffs! For a full review of places to see in Hanoi, check out our review: Travel Destination Review: Hanoi, Vietnam

Penang, Malaysia

When I first came across Penang, I truly felt that this was it: there’s no place like Penang in the world! Also known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is a magnificent city that fuses traditional culture with cosmopolitan outlook. One of the key towns of Penang, George Town, puts Penang on the list of top ten key attractions of Southeast Asia.

Temple in Penang

Temple in Penang

Coordinates: 5.423274, 100.342897

Start planning your trip to Penang

To truly absorb Penang, put your seat back and take a ride on the bicycle rickshaws, eat the local fruits such as Mango-stein and Durian, go shopping for your souvenirs and bask in the sunshine as you meander through George Town!

For a review of things to see and do in Penang, check out our article: Places to see in Penang, Malaysia