ASEAN Wonder

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                                                                  ASEAN Wonder

                                                                       Story and Photos by Chaton Chokpattara

ASEAN boasts a variety of resources different from elsewhere. It is the land of wonders, full of super-friendly locals, plentiful nature, lush r
ainforest mountains, gigantic falls, deserts, and also colorful coral reefs. It is likely that this region never disappoints both old and new
travelers, as it definitely has a number of wonders that have not yet been discovered.

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda


Kyaikhtiyo means a golden pagoda in the Burmese language. The pagoda is one of Myanmar’s most sacred and respected Buddhist sites
and located in the northeast of Yangon. What makes this attraction superior to other pagodas across the country is that the pagoda is
located on top of a huge golden boulder hanging over a steep cliff. Everyday thousands of people come to the rock to pay their respect,
including the pilgrims who were born in the year of the dog (one of 12 Zodiac year cycle believed especially by Southeast Asians in Myanmar
and Thailand) as the pagoda is designated for their birth year.

Mui Ne Sand Dune


Just 4 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne is a resort town that spans 15 kilometers along Vietnam’s southern coast in the city of
Phan Thiet, Vietnam. The Mui Ne Sand Dune is the only desert in Vietnam and in the Southeast Asian region. This vast terrain appears to be
empty and dry territory at first glance. But after you’ve found yourself familiar with this place, you may recognize that the Mui Ne Sand Dune
can be regarded as the most exotic place in the region. There are two sand dunes you can easily access from Mui Ne, namely the Red Sand
Dunes and the White Sand Dunes. The activities you should try here is sliding on the sand, running on motorcycles or ATVs, etc.

Kon Papeng Falls


Known as the Niagara of Asia and located in Champasak Province on the Mekong River in southern Laos, Kon Papeng are a series of
cascading waterfalls crashing over countless rocks and boast thousands of islands and several waterways. Also, the falls are the largest in
volume in Southeast Asia and home to a small group of rare Irrawaddy dolphins as well as the world’s largest fresh water fish called the pla-
buek, a type of catfish that is on the endangered species list. It is recommended to visit the falls during the dry season, as the rainy season
offers only very fast-flowing water with unrestrained aggression.

Angkor Wat


“See Angkor and Die!”  became a common phrase among a number of travelers who happened to visit Angkor, an ancient city in Siem Riab,
Cambodia. This temple complex was the center of the Khmer empire ruling most of Southeast Asia between 802 and 1220 AD. Though the
Khmer civilization went extinct, its astonishing and enduring architectural achievements have been appreciated by several generations for
centuries. Angkor Wat is, one of the most popular temples, considered the biggest temple in the whole complex. It was built by King
Suryavarman II with several layers over 200 feet high and features 2,600 feet of bas-reliefs. Like other temples in the complex, Angkor Wat
was a place not for the worship of the kings but rather for the worship of god.

Lakawi Cable Car


Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 to 104 islands located in the Malaysian state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border.  A reddish-
brown eagle called ‘helang’ (eagle) and “˜kawi’ (reddish brown) in the Malay language is symbolic of the Island. Don’t miss the 1.4 mile long
Langkawi Cable Car that provides an aerial link to the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang mountain, where you can get a great view of Pantai
Cenang on the Langkawi Sky Bridge. This is a 125-meter curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge hanging at about 100 meters above
ground. It swings out over the landscape to offer visitors breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea.

Top Famous Manmade Attractions


Thanks to the opening of several mega-attractions, Singapore’s tourism is growing at breakneck speed. It offers world’s amazing all-in-one
manmade attractions at which visitors can enjoy hi-tech facilities and recreation all day long, including Singapore Botanic Garden,
Universal Studios, Singapore Flyer 
– the best spot to see the panorama of Singapore’s skyline at 540ft tall, and Gardens by the
 featuring three cutting edge gardens – the 54-hectare Bay South, the 32-hectare Bay East and the yet-to-open Bay Central. Anyway
the trip to this city isn’t complete without visiting the colorful historical enclaves – Chinatown and Little India.

Chocolate Hill

The Chocolate Hills are an unusual geological formation found in Bohol, in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. There are 1,776 hills
spread on an approximate 50 sqkm area. It is believed that the hills were formed from marine limestone on top of a clay layer. They are
standing from 30 to 50 meters high and covered with grass the year around, but turn chocolate brown during the dry season, then turn
green during the rainy season.



The Borobudur Temple Compounds is a ninth century Buddhist temple complex built on several levels around a low sculptured hill. Its
stupa is a 200-sqm symmetrical monument representing a Buddhist cosmological model of the universe. Despite looking like a Buddhist
structure, the stupa was initially constructed by Hindu builders sometime around 775 AD. There are magnificent views over the
surrounding green rice fields.

The Ulu Temburong National Park


You might not have heard of Borneo’s lowland rainforests so much, but they can be truly experienced. Botanically the area is teeming with
diverse wildlife. Though one is likely to be disappointed by the apparent lack of fauna, the Ulu Temburong National Park can offer you a
birds-eye view of the surrounding forests along the steel Canopy Walkway rising 50 meters from the forest floor to the level of the highest
trees. You can even glimpse tropical poisonous snakes on the treetops.

Sam Phan Bok


Locals call it the “Grand Canyon of Siam”. Some have compared it to the surface of the moon because of a continuous current of rock
notched with 3,000 holes, which are called sam-phan-bok in Thailand’s northeastern or E-saan dialect. As a rock submerged during the
rainy season long ago, that helps to polish and sculpt the cavities. Though it’s a bit difficult to reach this attraction in a distant corner of
Ubon Ratchathani province, you’ll be amazed by this natural wonder and Mekong River scenery. Best time to visit is around sunrise or
sunset, when it’s a bit chilly with a shimmer of sunlight amid the thousands of holes.