All around Southeast Asia, there are magnificent architectural remains of empires and kingdoms that reached their height a thousand years or more ago. There are dozens of major sites, but I've highlighted four of the most outstanding ones below.
- Prambanan / Borobodur, Indonesia
- Central Java is actually home to some of the oldest empires, whose Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture influenced later kingdoms such as Angkor and Bagan. The two biggest and most impressive sites are the Hindu Prambanan and the Buddhist Borobodur.
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- The capital of the Khmer kingdom in northwestern Cambodia remains one of the most outstanding legacies of the ancient world. Many have the impression that Angkor Wat is a single temple, when in fact there are more than 40 sites still recognizable to this day. Visitors planning to see the ruins should allow at least three full days to get a good overview. Five days is ideal.
- Bagan, Myanmar
- Comparisons to Angkor Wat are probably inevitable, but Bagan is a very different place. None of the monuments at Bagan are a match for the size of the temples of Angkor, but what Bagan lacks in scale, it makes up for in numbers. While there are less than 50 monuments at Angkor, there are more than 2,000 temples still standing at Bagan.
- Sukhothai, Thailand
- The ancient city of Sukhothai holds a special place for Thais. It's here that Thais believe the first "Thai" kingdom was established in the 13th century. There are a good number of fine ruins, as well as some significant outlying cities to see.