Add these must see Southeast Asia tourist attractions to your bucket list! From incredible temples to waterfalls, mountains and landmarks, these are some of the best places to visit in Asia.
Southeast Asia is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a stunningly beautiful place with countless things to see and do.
So what can you expect to find on a Southeast Asia vacation? There are enormous temples, ancient cities, gorgeous natural attractions, and so much more.
So get ready to take some pictures, do some shopping, and make some memories that will last a lifetime. You’re about to go on an adventure that you will never forget with our list of the top Southeast Asia places to visit.
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Not only is Angkor Wat one of the most famous places in Asia, but it’s also the single largest religious structure in the entire world. It covers over 400 acres and is the greatest example of Khmer architecture.
Angkor Wat was originally built by Suryavarman II as a funerary temple in which to deposit his remains.
When it was first built, it was dedicated to the Hindu gods Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu. Over time, it was gradually converted to a Buddhist temple.
It’s a truly astounding structure and a Southeast Asia must-see for anyone interested in Buddhism or Khmer architecture.
Kuang Si Falls
The Kuang Si Falls is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Laotian city of Luang Prabang.
It consists of several multi-tiered waterfalls with a number of small, turquoise pools and cascades at the bottom. The tallest of these falls drops at an incredible 50 feet.
The pools are open for swimming, except for one that’s considered sacred.
The water in the pools is pretty cold, making this an excellent place to cool off. Both the site itself and the road leading to it are beautiful too.
Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay is a nature park in Singapore that spans 250 acres. As of 2018, 50 million people had visited this park, making it one of the most popular tourist spots in Southeast Asia.
The park’s most famous feature is Supertree Grove, which features a free light and music show twice every evening. The Flower Dome here was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2015 as the world’s largest greenhouse.
It’s even been featured in a few movies such as Crazy Rich Asians and Hitman: Agent 47. If you love parks and greenery, then you’ve got to see it.
Click here to read about 50 fun things to do in Singapore with kids.
The Batu Caves are one of Malaysia’s top tourist attractions and another Southeast Asia tourism hotspot.
This series of caves is located on a limestone hill. One of these caves is actually a sacred temple that’s dedicated to the Hindu god of war, Lord Murugan.
Other caves contain paintings that depict scenes from Hindu mythology, glass cases that hold snakes and reptiles, and the rarest spider species in the world.
In addition to being one of the top tourist attractions in Asia, the Batu Caves are fairly easy to get to. They’re only 13 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur, and the main cave doesn’t have an entry fee.
Like Angkor Wat, Borobudur is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the entire world, making it another of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia.
It’s located close to Central Java, Indonesia and dates all the way back to the 9th century. It’s also an important pilgrimage site for many Buddhists.
This temple consists of nine different stacked platforms topped by a central dome. It’s considered to be a prime example of Javanese architecture.
The temple also contains over 2,000 reliefs and 500 Buddha statues. It has one of the most comprehensive collections of Buddhist reliefs in the world.
The Langkawi Skybridge is another Malaysian tourist attraction and a must-see Southeast Asia attraction for those who aren’t afraid of heights.
This is a long, curved pedestrian bridge that stands 410 feet off the ground and 2,300 feet above sea level.
You reach the Langkawi Skybridge by taking a trip on the Langkawi Cable Car, which is a fun experience in its own right.
The views you’ll see from this bridge are absolutely incredible. It might seem a little scary, but it’s completely safe.
Click here to find more fun things to do in Langkawi.
The Chocolate Hills are a unique geographical formation in the Bohol province of the Philippines. They consist of at least 1,200 hills although there may be as many as 1,700.
These Asian tourist attractions are completely devoid of trees and shrubs, and the turn a chocolatey brown color during the country’s dry season.
Geologists are at loss to explain how these hills were formed, but a number of entertaining myths have developed around them.
Either way, this unusual natural phenomenon is something you absolutely must check out while you’re in the Philippines.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalang Rice Terraces are a popular spot for tourists, painters, and nature lovers alike. You can find these terraces in Ubud on the island of Bali.
This site is well-known for its gorgeous rice paddies and unique irrigation systems. Anyone visiting Bali must stop here to get a picture.
There are also several cafes and restaurants surrounding the rice fields, making it a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat. And you’ll find locals selling souvenirs and delicious coconut drinks.
Click here to find more fun things to do in Bali.
White Temple Chiang Rai
The White Temple in Chiang Rai, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is a famous Buddhist temple in Thailand.
It gets its name because it is completely white with pieces of glass that sparkle in the sun. The white color represents Buddha’s purity, and the glass represents his teachings.
The temple was originally designed by a famous visual artist named Chalermchai Kositpipat.
Every detail of the temple symbolizes important concepts in Buddhism such as the cycle of rebirth and the Gate of Heaven. Anyone who’s interested in Buddhism or loves visiting gorgeous temples has to check it out.
Grand Palace Bangkok
The Grand Palace of Bangkok is a complex of palaces and temples that served as the residence of Thailand’s kings for many years.
It was built in 1782 back when the country was known as Siam. Subsequent kings would continue to add to it over the course of the next 200 years, and it still hosts royal events several times every year.
The complex contains an astounding number of incredible buildings with beautiful architecture.
One of its greatest attractions is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha which holds a famous Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century.
Click here to find more fun things to do in Bangkok.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia. It is located in the Strait of Malaca, near the island of Phuket.
In many ways, this bay is like seeing several attractions in one. There are limestone cliffs, collapsed cave systems, and limestone karts that just vertically out of the water.
One of these karts is named James Bonds Island because it was featured in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
There’s also Koh Panyee, a charming village that’s built on stilts next to a giant, rocky monolith.
Click here to find more fun things to do in Phuket.
Mount Kinabalu is both the tallest mountain in Malaysia and a protected national park. It stands at an incredible 13,435 feet above sea level.
This area is considered one of the most important biological sites in the world with over 5,000 plant species and 326 species of birds.
A person who’s in good physical condition can climb this summit without any mountaineering equipment although climbers must be accompanied by accredited guides.
This makes it one fo the best travel places in Asia for adventurous types, and the views from the top are truly breathtaking.
Click here to find more fun things to do in Kota Kinabalu.
It’s often referred to as the Crown of Buddha, and it’s easy to see why. It stands 99 meters high with a gold-plated dome that’s covered in 7,000 diamonds and rubies.
Although no one really knows how old it is, some claim that it’s 2,600 years old. That would make it the oldest pagoda in the world.
It’s also believed to contain relics from four previous Buddhas, including four strands of hair from Gautama himself.
Click here to find more things to see and do in Yangon.
The Mekong Delta is a region in South Vietnam where the Mekong River empties into the sea. More than half of Vietnam’s rice and fish come from this area.
It’s a veritable water world where boats and markets float on various streams and canals. Once again, visiting the Mekong Delta is like seeing several attractions at once.
There are floating markets, pagodas, rice paddies, and much more.
Many biologists also consider this area a biological treasure trove. There are over 1,000 different animal species here, and new ones have been discovered in recent years.
One of the most recognisable Southeast Asia landmarks, The Petronas Towers are a pair of twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia.
They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004, and they remain the world’s tallest twin towers.
The two towers are joined by a magnificent sky bridge, which is an excellent place for taking pictures.
When seen from the top, the towers take the shape of an eight-pointed star which is an important symbol in Islamic culture.
This gives the buildings a uniquely Malaysian feel. They’re an important icon of Malaysia and have even been featured in a number of movies and TV shows.
Halong Bay is yet another important bay in Vietnam and one of the most popular Asia holiday destinations. This bay features almost 2,000 limestone islets covering an area of 600 square miles.
It’s one of Vietnam’s most cherished attractions and a photographer’s dream come true.
There are a wide variety of activities a visitor can do here. You can check out one of its floating markets and eat at one of the floating restaurants.
There’s also swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking. Most people choose to visit Halong Bay as part of a tour that includes staying overnight on a boat in the bay.
Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar. Between the 9th and 13 centuries, over 10,000 temples and pagodas were built here.
Unfortunately, most of them were destroyed by earthquakes and Mongol invasions. Today, 3,800 of them still remain.
This city is considered an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Once you pay the entry fee, you’re free to wander and explore at your own leisure.
Every single one of these temples has its own story to tell, and exploring these wonderful buildings can be an adventure in its own right.
Big Lagoon El Nido
The Big Lagoon in El Nido is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. One look and it’s easy to see why.
The Big Lagoon is a tropical wonderland full of beautiful green waters, incredible karst formations, and astounding limestone cliffs.
Everything here seems larger than life, and it’s a perfect place for swimming, snorkeling, and boating.
There are several different tours to choose from in the Big Lagoon, all of which offer their own experience.
Enjoy some island hopping while you’re there or hang out on one of its many gorgeous beaches.
Hoi An Old Town
The Old Town in Hoi An is another one of Vietnam’s top tourist destinations. Visiting the Old Town is like taking a step back in time.
Many of the houses are at least a century old, and it’s considered an accurate example of a Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries.
There are many things to see and do while you’re here, and they’re all within walking distance of each other.
There’s the Guan Yin Temple and the Japanese covered bridge. But the chief reason to visit the Old Town is its quiet, old time charm.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Finally, we have the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam. The Cu Chi Tunnels are a huge network of underground tunnels that were used extensively by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
This makes them especially interesting for history buffs.
Exploring these tunnels is an unforgettable experience. You can feel what it was like for Viet Cong soldiers and see where the Tet Offensive was organized.
There’s even a shooting range above ground where visitors can fire M16’s and AK47’s. It’s a truly incredible adventure that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
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