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 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Backpacker Friendly Accommodation in Kuala Lumpur
- Best 10 Luxury Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
- Best 20 Hostels and Guesthouses in Kuala Lumpur
- Best 3 and 4 Stars Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
- Best Cheap Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
- Most Popular 10 Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
Tourism in Kuala Lumpur is still pocket-friendly, as new and exciting budget hotels pop up each year.
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!
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, 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.
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:
- Backpacker Friendly Accommodation in Singapore
- Best 4 Star Hotels in Singapore
- Best 5 Star Luxury Hotels in Singapore
- Cheap 3 and 4 Star Hotels in Singapore
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 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!
Famous for its amazing array of underwater species of fish and sharks, Palawan is an island that beckons divers the world over!
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.
For more information about Tubbataha Reef, read our article: Tubbataha Reef in Philippines
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.
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:
- Best 10 Guest Houses in Bangkok
- Best 10 Hostels in Bangkok
- Best 3 Stars and Higher Hotels Below $50 in Bangkok
- Best 4 Star Hotels in Bangkok
- Best Hotels near Bangkok’s Airport – Suvarnabhumi
- Hotels near Bangkok’s Grand Palace
- Most Popular Hotels in Bangkok
- The Best 10 Boutique Hotels in Bangkok
- Top 10 Most Luxurious Hotels in Bangkok
Don’t miss our guide about things to do Bangkok: Things to do in Bangkok
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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