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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

Si Thep ancient city, located in central Thailand’s Phetchabun Province, was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in September of this year – 2023. While it wasn’t, in our humble opinion, the most obvious candidate for listing, to some extent any addition to UNESCO’s prestigious list is a good one in terms of the recognition, funding and protection it provides….

The Rangri Dambulla Cave Temple – to give it the full name – is located in the area of north-central Sri Lanka known as the ‘Cultural Triangle’ due to its proliferation of spectacular ancient sites such as the nearby, UNESCO-listed rock fortress of Sigiriya, and also World Heritage-listed ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. The series of 5 shallow, principal…

Although inscribed on UNESCO’s Thailand world heritage list as far back as 1991 the ancient city of Si Satchanalai remains firmly in the shadow of its better-known and more frequently visited neighbour Sukhothai. Indeed, the extensive ruins don’t even get a namecheck, merely falling into UNESCO’s category of ‘associated historic towns‘. (1) Si Satchanalai Historical Park today – combined with…

Thailand’s UNESCO entry Sukhothai shares a triple bill with the ruins of Kamphaeng Phet, to the west. and the ancient city of Si Satchanalai to the north under the combined (and imaginative) name of Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns. The former lies some 80 kilometres southwest of Sukhothai and the latter over 50 kilometres north and while…

The vast Indonesian Archipelago is a continent-sized nation in its own right so we’re going to limit this post to areas at present covered in our scheduled tours, namely the islands of Sumatra. Java and Bali. Despite the country’s huge area, UNESCO’s Indonesia World Heritage sites list currently stands at a meagre 5 cultural and 4 natural sites. Furthermore, even…

Current Sites UNESCO’s Sri Lanka World Heritage list currently stands at 6 cultural and 2 natural sites. The 6 cultural entries are predictable and logical and include the ancient city sites of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, the cave temples at Dambulla and the rock fortress of Sigiriya with the historic towns of Galle and Kandy completing the compliment. Anuradhapurain the north-central…

Current Sites With just 2 cultural and 2 natural sites inscribed on UNESCO’s Malaysia World Heritage list this section is going to be brief. Now, at first glance on a map, the little blob tagged onto the bottom of the Thai-Malay Peninsula does appear quite small, however, once you’ve added Borneo’s states of Sabah and Sarawak to the little ‘blob’…

Current Sites The Vietnam World Heritage List forms a limited, albeit solid, portfolio consisting of five cultural sites, two natural and, with the Trang An Landscape Complex, one mixed cultural and natural listing. Although not exactly an abundance the extensive war damage during the 60s and 70s, a high population density (almost 100 million citizens) accompanied by the widespread and…

Current Sites Thailand World Heritage Sites on UNESCO’s list are at present limited to 3 cultural and 2 natural sites. A rather meagre result we feel, considering the country’s rich history and magnificent and highly varied flora, fauna and landscapes. Of the 3 cultural sites, we’d also point out that early Bronze Age Ban Chiang, while of undoubted great archaeological…

We have covered this topic in earlier posts but, with several Southeast Asian sites having been added to UNESCO’s list in recent times, here’s a brief update of Cambodia World Heritage Sites, as well as some of the candidates on its Tentative List. Current Sites Considering the wealth of unique archaeological and historical sites across the kingdom we can’t help…

Located in north-central Vietnam’s Quang Binh Province, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park consists of over 1,200 square kilometres of primary and secondary forest set amid a particularly rugged and spectacular stretch of the Annamite Mountains. Happily, the area is now protected by both the Vietnamese government and UNESCO who granted it World Heritage status in 2003 as  “one of the…

A Borobudur sunrise visit is definitely going to be one of the undeniable highlights of any Java, or for that matter, Indonesia tour. Certainly, a world-renowned site but just to remind you; UNESCO World Heritage Borobudur is a 9th-10th century Mahayana Buddhist Temple situated around 40 kilometres northwest of Yogyakarta City. A sunrise entrance pass costs extra so keep visitor…

We’re delighted to see Cambodia gain a 3rd UNESCO World Heritage Site, after Angkor and Preah Vihear, with the granting of such status to the ruined 6th and 7th century Khmer capital at Sambor Prei Kuk.   These picturesque ruined temples, scattered through forest north of Kompong Thom in central Cambodia, represent the remains of the royal capital, Ishnapura, of…

Since our recent Facebook photo proved popular we thought we’d post a few more of these wonderful images – the Maidens of the Clouds from Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. So-called because these wonderful frescoes are found halfway up a sheer cliff at the ancient site, and UNESCO World Heritage-listed, Sigiriya rock fortress in Sri Lanka’s ‘Cultural Triangle’. The rock shelters…

To round up our round-up of Southeast Asian World Heritage Sites last, but not by any means least, here’s a rundown on Vietnam World Heritage Sites as well as some of their would-be entries. Vietnam weighs in with seven sites currently inscribed on the list and whilst you may think that’s not a huge return on it’s spectacular and varied…

In this one Chinese province alone we’ve found five Yunnan UNESCO World Heritage sites; 3 natural, 2 cultural plus an additional location on the tentative list. Indeed the fact that China already has over forty inscribed sites with an equal number on the ‘Tentative’ list just emphasizes the total futility of trying to ‘do’ the vast country in a single…

Malaysia World Heritage Sites includes 2 cultural sites in the Peninsular and a national park each in Borneo’s Sabah and Sarawak States. A further 2 candidates in the tentative section adds a second national park in Sarawak plus the famous Taman Negara in West Malaysia. Considering the country’s rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes that’s a relatively poor return though…

Thailand World Heritage sites currently number a mere 3 on the UNESCO ‘culture’ list with 2 ‘natural’ sites although a further 4 have tentative status. With the kingdom’s spectacular and highly varied landscapes it’s surprising there’s only 2 in the natural list and we have a few more suggestions that we’ll come to later but what spectacular sites the two…