Ideal History & Culture Places to Visit 2020/2021

Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines

There are countless historical & cultural places across Asia continent. Whether you’re craving a charming town with an abundance of colourful lanterns, strolling through the most charming alleys, or an unforgettable trip to the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia – Angkor Wat Complex or travelling back in time when seeing many colonial architectures in George Town, Asia always has many amazing destinations to offer your wishes. Read this post to learn more about the Ideal History & Culture Destinations to Visit in Asia in 2020/2021!

 

1. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the gateway to the impressive Angkor Wat which is a Buddhist temple complex and also known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Siem Reap will offer you many interesting activities and ample attractions such as French colonial architecture, the floating villages on Tonle Sap River, vibrant night market and sacred waterfalls. With its rich culture, tasty traditional cuisine, friendly people and the highlight Angkor Wat complex, Siem Reap is a jewel of Southeast Asia.

  • Best things to do: Explore the impressive Angkor Wat complex, Have a spa day, Visit Angkor Pottery Centre, Have a cycling tour, Watch Apsara Dance Performance, Discover floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake
  • Best time to visit: December and January when the weather is sunny and dry 
  • Insider’s tip: If you want to buy souvenirs, remember to haggle for those
  • Recommended duration: 2 - 3 days

 

2. George Town, Malaysia

George Town

George Town is the capital city of Penang state and located on the west coast of Malaysia. With the special influences of Europe and Asia, this city has a unique multicultural heritage that can be found at almost every corner. Due to its rich history, natural beauty, colonial architecture and traditional gastronomy, George Town was listed by UNESCO in 2008 as a “World Heritage Site”. If you are looking for a place to step back in history with a laid back vibe atmosphere while witnessing the most beautiful historic buildings, George Town should be on your travel bucket list.

  • Best things to do: Visit the famous Kek Lok Si Temple, Goddess of Mercy Temple, Waterfall Hill Temple and Penang Floating Mosque, Explore Penang Botanic Gardens, Have a Sky Walk and Relax on Miami Beach
  • Best time to visit: December to April when the weather is pleasant and fairly cool
  • Insider’s tip: If you happen to be a fan of Asian food, George Town is Malaysia’s food paradise with endless street food options
  • Recommended duration: 2 - 3 days

 

3. Hoi An Town, Vietnam

Hoi An

No trip to Vietnam is complete without travelling to Hoi An ancient town – A famous town with thousands of colourful lanterns hanging on almost every store, restaurant and house. This well-preserved town is an example of a Southeast Asian trading port from a glorious era of Hoi An dating from the 15th to the 19th century. As a world heritage, Hoi An will offer you a unique insight into the culture, an opportunity to taste the delicious food and relax on the beach.

  • Best things to do: Explore Hoi An Ancient Town, Take a cooking class and lantern class, Visit Tra Que and Van Lang fishing village, Buy tailor-made clothes and Try the delicious local food
  • Best time to visit: February to May when the weather is mild with moderate temperature and less rain
  • Insider’s tip: The best way to visit Tra Que & Van Lang fishing village is by bike
  • Recommended duration: 3 - 4 days

 

4. Inle Lake, Myanmar

Inle Lake

Inle Lake, natural and cultural, is the 2nd largest lake in Myanmar and is probably one of the most impressive and magical places of this country. Located in the middle of the Nyaungshwe Valley in Shan State, this lake has a length of 22 km and a width of 11 km and is dotted with many stilt houses of nearly 17 villages, verdant vegetable gardens and plenty of long-tail boats. As most of the lake inhabitants belong to the Intha group who are devout Buddhists, you can easily find a hundred Buddhist pagodas and a thousand stupas in Inle Lake. Another remarkable feature which you will be interested in is the leg-rowing Intha fishermen. 

  • Best things to do: Take a boat ride, See the one leg-rowing fishermen of Inle Lake, Visit the ancient stupas at Indein, Get lot among thousands of Stupas at Kakku, Make a visit to the long neck women of Kayan
  • Best time to visit: November to February when the weather is dry and comfortable
  • Insider’s tip: The town of Nyaung Shwe is the gateway to the lake, you can take the flights from Mandalay, Bagan and Yangon to the Heho Airport of Nyaung Shwe
  • Recommended duration: 3 - 4 days

 

5. Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang in Laos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well-known as one of the most laid-back places in Asia. This city can be reached via either flight or bus from the capital city Vientiane. This destination lies alongside the conjunction of the Mekong and Nam Khan River and is a delightful mix of the most sacred temples (e.g., Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Aham and Wat Souvannapoumaram) and French colonial architecture with rich culture and history.  

  • Best things to do: Visit the impressive Kuang Si waterfall, Cruise the Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves, Enjoy the delicious Laos cuisine, View sunrise/sunset at Phou Si Hill, Explore the Royal Palace Museum
  • Best time to visit: November to February when the weather is rather dry with pleasant temperatures
  • Insider’s tip: Please don’t purchase birds to release for “good luck” because many of them will be recaptured to be sold again 
  • Recommended duration: 3 - 4 days

 

6. Bagan, Myanmar

Old Bagan

If you travel to Myanmar and skip Bagan on their trip, that will be a mistake! There is no comparison between Bagan and any other destination of this country, but a trip to the picturesque and cultural Bagan is a must-do during any Myanmar adventure. There is indeed a great number of tourists visiting this place, but since the area is enormous with more than 2,000 temples and pagodas, it seems that you will never have the feeling there are many people there and your memories will only fill with breathtaking landscape, the charming sunrise/sunset and more.

  • Best things to do: Visit some popular temples and pagodas (e.g., Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Temple and Shwesandaw pagoda), Try the hot air balloon over Bagan
  • Best time to visit: November to February when the weather is mild and pleasant
  • Insider’s tip: Please be aware that Bagan is very hot, you might want to wear something light, airy and breathable. Also always have a sarong (for women) or longyi (for men) along with you since you will need them to cover your shoulders and legs when entering the largest temples. 
  • Recommended duration: 3 - 4 days

 

7. Vigan, The Philippines

Vigan City

Whenever referring to the Philippines, a few things will immediately spring to everyone’s mind: countless white sandy beaches, delicious fruit, luxury shopping malls, thousands of inhabited and uninhabited islands. However, not many people know that the Philippines also owns a charming city with a colonial atmosphere which offers you a feeling like travelling back in time – Vigan city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated in Ilocos Sur province, and this city features well-preserved Spanish-era architecture with many colonial-era merchant houses & Baroque churches. Aside from its historical significance, a holiday to Vigan can also be packed with a memorable cuisine adventure where you can feast on signature Ilocano food.

  • Best things to do: Walking tour of Calle Crisologo, Visit the Bantay Bell Tower, Syquia Mansion and St Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Explore Baluarte Zoo and Crisologo Museum
  • Best time to visit: November to April when the weather is relatively cooler and clear
  • Insider’s tip: One of the world-famous coffee stores for the feast and tasty breakfast – Café Leona. This café is situated in Calle Crisologo
  • Recommended duration: 2 - 3 days

 

Which cultural destinations do you consider the best places to visit in Asia?

Siem Reap

George Town

Hoi An Town

Inle Lake

Luang Prabang

Bagan

Vigan

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