UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Breathtaking Treasures of ASEAN (Part 3)
(VNF) - In the last part of series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in ASEAN, we’ll share the 14 remaining heritage sites in ASEAN—from some of the world’s most famous sites like Angkor Wat in Cambodia to cultural landscape of Indonesia‘s Bali Province: the Subak System as a manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy.
25. Borobudur Temple Compounds (Indonesia)
This famous Buddhist Temple is one of the most recognised landmarks and tourist attractions of Indonesia. These temples date back to the 8th and 9th centuries. You can visit the temple in Java, Indonesia.
The temple is built on three tiers: the base is a pyramid with five concentric square terraces, while the middle part consists of cones with three circular platforms and the top consists of the monumental stupa. The temple covers a total land area measuring up to 2,500 miles square.
There are also 72 openwork stupas located around the temple, all of which contain the Buddha statue. UNESCO helped to restore and preserve the site.
26. Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy (Indonesia)
The rice terraces in Bali, along with its water temples, are one of the most important features in the province of Bali in Indonesia. The site covers up to 19,500 hectares in land area.
The temples, canals, and weirs are all part of a cooperative management system that was established in the 9th century. The 18th century Royal Water Temple of Pura Taman Ayun is the most significant architectural edifice on the island’s water management system.
Due to the subak water system, it has enabled the Balinese people to become one of the most progressive rice growers in the world.
27. Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
This natural site was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia on 1991.
This is a group of volcanic islands that serve as home to around 5,700 giant lizards that have earned their name as “Komodo dragons” due to their appearance and aggressive behavior. In fact, these lizards exist nowhere else in the world and had been the focus of study for scientists to understand the theory of evolution.
28. Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)
This is another natural site in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia. The national park measures up to 2.35 million hectares in total land area. It is the only protected area in the world that covers both a tropical marine environment and snowcaps.
The complex geology in the area has resulted in an ongoing mountain formation, glaciation, and fossil sites all combine to make this an important natural site in Indonesia.
29. Prambanan Temple Compounds (Indonesia)
It is located in Central Java and was built during the 10th century. This temple is the largest in Indonesia that was dedicated solely to Shiva, one of the Hindu pinities.
The three temples rising above the square are among the most distinctive feature of this Buddhist architectural feature. The three temples are also dedicated to the three Hindu pinities: Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma.
30. Sangiran Early Man Site (Indonesia)
During the mid-20th century, there were a series of excavations done on the site wherein archaeologists were able to discover the first hominid fossil.
After more excavations were done, there were 50 more fossils that had been unearthed at the site. In fact, half of the world’s hominid fossils were excavated on this site.
31. Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia)
There are three national parks covered within over 2 million hectares of land area included in this listing of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia.
These national parks include the following: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
These sites were recognised for their potential to hold long-term conservation of the floral and fauna species that live in these protected areas.
32. Ujung Kulon National Park (Indonesia)
Located at the extreme southwest tip of Java, this national park includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and many offshore islands near it.
The natural beauty and geological interest both make this national park an important site to Indonesia. However, it is also home to the largest remaining lowland rainforest, making it of higher natural value. There are several endangered species that live in the area including the Javan rhinoceros.
33. Botanic Gardens (Singapore)
The 156-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens is the most iconic garden in the green-obsessed city-state.
In 2015, the 183-acre tropical garden paradise widely regarded as an icon of the so-called "garden city" was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- Singapore's first.
Only two other botanic gardens have received the honor: the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, and the Padua Gardens in Italy. It's the first garden in Asia and the first tropical garden to be recognised.
Visited by 4.4 million people each year -- remarkable when you consider Singapore's entire population numbers 5.5 million -- the Singapore Botanic Gardens may just be Asia's most fascinating garden.
34. Town of Luang Prabang (Laos)
UNESCO describes the first Laotian site thus: "Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions."
Found within northern Laos, Luang Prabang does not just benefit from beautiful architecture, but also the setting that the town finds itself in. Located on a peninsula between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, a ring of mountains encircles it, providing Luang Prabang with the perfect backdrop.
Luang Prabang's exceptional history is partly down to its strategic position on the Silk Road. Between the 14th and 16th centuries it was the capital of Lane Xang - a powerful kingdom, with a name that translates Land of a Million Elephants. The city's modern name comes from a statue of Buddha, known as the Prabang, that was given by neighbouring Cambodia and reflects the fact that Luang Prabang has been the centre of Buddhism in the region for centuries.
35. Vat Phou and associated ancient settlements within the Champasak cultural landscape (Laos)
This is what UNESCO has to say about the second site in Laos: "The Champasak cultural landscape, including the Vat Phou Temple complex, is a remarkably well-preserved planned landscape more than 1,000 years old. It was shaped to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity, using an axis from mountain top to river bank to lay out a geometric pattern of temples, shrines and waterworks extending over some 10 kilometres."
This rich and perse site is mainly associated with the Khmer Empire. The Vat Phou complex is seen by many experts as an important location due to the way that spiritual significance was integrated with the natural surroundings to create a cohesive whole for those who lived and worshipped within its grounds.
36. Angkor (Cambodia)
Angkor Wat © Photo: jh_tan84
Angkor is a major Southeast Asian archaeological site. It is composed of the remains of the capital of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th century. The Angkor site especially includes the famous temple of Angkor Wat, the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom, and the jungle-invaded Ta Phrom temple.
37. Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia)
The temple of Preah Vihear is composed of series of sanctuaries dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Its isolation has permitted to preserve its exceptional architecture from the 11th century.
Dedicated the Hindu Deity Shiva, this temple pre-dates the more famous Angkor Wat. Its cliff-top location offers sweeping views of the plains below. Due to its remote position the remarkable architecture and intricate stone carvings are very well preserved.
38. Temple of Sambor Prei Kuk (Cambodia)
The 16th and 17th century forest temple of Sambor Prei Kuk.
With its inspiring and tumultuous history, Cambodia attracts tourists from around the world who often make a beeline for the Angkor Wat temple complex, another world heritage site.
On July 8th, UNESCO added Sambor Prei Kuk or “temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language to its heritage list. Located 206 km (128 miles) north of the capital Phnom Penh, it is home to numerous temples, 10 of which are octagonal.
UNESCO said Sambor Prei Kuk had been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the ancient Chenla Empire, a Khmer civilization that flourished in the late 6th and 7th centuries and preceded the Khmer Empire./.