3 Unforgettable UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is committed to protecting and restoring the historic treasures of the past. At the moment there are 759 cultural sites on their famous heritage list. Whether you are planning your first trip to South East Asia or returning for another adventure, consider checking out these three UNESCO World Heritage sites. They will definitely impress even the most seasoned travelers and remind you of architectural styles of previous civilizations.

3. Melaka and Georgetown, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

The City Hall in Penang, Malaysia

The City Hall in Penang, Malaysia

Melaka and Georgetown are must see cities for first-timers visiting Malaysia. Infused with colonial architecture and delicious street hawker food you will find it difficult not to relish their charm. They are both prime examples of multi-cultural trading towns that represent different stages of colonial influence with strong elements of traditional Asian heritage.

 Locals drinking beside some aged shops in Melaka

Locals drinking beside some aged shops in Melaka

Since Melaka is only 2 hours by car from Kuala Lumpur, it serves as a great day trip for many tourists.  Penang is about a 4 to 5 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and only 45 minutes by plane.  Although both of these spectacular cities have historic shophouses, townhouses and a broad range of monuments, they showcase different colonial influences. Melaka shows off the influence of the Portuguese and Dutch whereas Penang displays the influence of the British.

St.George's Church in Penang.--The oldest Anglican-church in South East Asia

St.George’s Church in Penang.–The oldest Anglican-church in South East Asia

2. The Historic Center of Macau

 The Historic Center of Macau boasts plenty of historic monuments

The Historic Center of Macau boasts plenty of historic monuments

Known to many as a place filled with massive casinos and wild night life, Macau often gets overlooked as an epicenter of historical significance. The historic center of Macao displays a beautiful combination of Chinese and Portuguese architecture which characterizes the influence of Western and Eastern civilizations.

No shortage of historic architecture in Macau

No shortage of historic architecture in Macau

The Ruins of St. Paul’s is a stunning monument that attracts almost all those who visit the city. Walking from the casino strip into the historic colonial region of the city is truly a fascinating experience.  To photograph the stunning Ruins of St. Paul’s try to wake up early to beat the crowds because this 17th century monument sure can attract first timers to the city.

The famous Ruins of St. Paul's during a busy morning in central Macau

The famous Ruins of St. Paul’s during a busy morning in central Macau

1. The Town of Luang Prabang, Laos

A monk walking quietly down the street in Luang Prabang, Laos

A monk walking quietly down the street in Luang Prabang, Laos

An exquisite sign post in Luang Prabang, Laos

Even the signs in Luang Prabang are exquisitely designed

After the nauseating but scenic ride on Route 13 from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang tourists suddenly get rewarded with beautiful French architecture, delicious cafes and tranquil river views. Protected by the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River, Luang Prabang in northern Laos continues to solidify itself as one of the nicest cities in all of South East Asia. A fusion of modern Laos and colonial French architecture make it an extremely photogenic location, with almost every street being meticulously preserved in the UNESCO region of the city.  Housing some of the most architecturally sophisticated temples in South East Asia, you will be impressed by the sacred atmosphere of Luang Prabang. Delicious roadside cafes and spotless guesthouses make it a super convenient location for tourists of all ages.  To make your trip to Luang Prabang complete, grab a hearty meal at the tourist market, bike around the city and then head out for a scenic river cruise.

The Mekong River beside Luang Prabang

The Mekong River beside Luang Prabang

How to find the best rooms in Georgetown, Macau and Luang Prabang?

I would suggest using large booking sites that provide enough selection and a sufficient number of verified guest reviews. Three examples include: www.agoda.com, www.booking.com, and www.hotelscombined.com

To save you some time I have created links to these sites based on location.

Luang Prabang – www.agoda.com          Georgetown – www.agoda.com  

                                             Macau – www.agoda.com

Luang Prabang – www.booking.com        Georgetown – www.booking.com  

                                           Macau – www.booking.com

Luang Prabang – www.hotelscombined.com     Georgetown – www.hotelscombined.com

                                      Macau – www.hotelscombined.com

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