Asia’s New UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Asia’s New UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Four important Asian sites were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. These are: the old tea forests of Jingmai Mountain in China; the cosmological axis of Yogyakarta in Indonesia; the archaeological site of Koh Ker in Cambodia; and the ancient town of Si Thep in Thailand. In addition, the designated area of Halong Bay in Vietnam has been expanded to include the nearby Cat Ba Archipelago.
Each of these sites represents a unique chapter in history and played an important role in shaping Asia’s culinary, cultural and artistic heritage. Asian Trails’ range of tour itineraries enables guests to take a deeper look at these important cultural treasures and connect with the communities around them.
The Ancient Tea Forests of Jingmai Mountain, China
Steeped in centuries of history, China’s Jingmai Mountain is a captivating destination that is widely celebrated for its historical tea plantations. These mountains form part of the ancient Tea Horse Route, which brought China’s famous Pu’er tea to the rest of the world. The tea-cultivating communities that live on these mountains can be traced back to the 10th century and are deeply connected with nature and tradition.
With Asian Trails, guests can discover the rich culture of the Bulang and Dai ethnic minority villages. Our four-day journey includes a hike through the tea plantation forest and a chance to get up close with Asian elephants.
See our recommended itinerary: South Yunnan Discovery: Xishuangbanna to Jingmai Mountain
Contact: Asian Trails China & Hong Kong
The Cosmological Axis of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Celebrated for its fine arts traditions, from ballet to batik textiles, silver-making and poetry, the city of Yogyakarta is an important cultural centre on the Indonesian island of Java. The city is built around a cosmological axis, a six-kilometre line that that connects Mount Merapi and the Indian Ocean. Situated directly on this north-south axis is the Sultan’s Palace, also known as the Kraton, an important centre for culture.
Asian Trails’ recommended four-day journey in Yogyakarta explores the city’s daily life, artistic heritage and spiritual traditions. We take in views of sacred temples and enjoy a bicycle ride through Kota Gede where skilled artisans craft exquisite silverware.
Koh Ker, Cambodia
Nestled deep within the jungles of Cambodia, Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer Empire in the 10th century and it is an archaeological gem that pre-dates Angkor Wat. The site encompasses an array of temples and monuments, including the iconic Prasat Thom, a seven-tiered pyramid that towers over the surrounding landscape. Koh Ker’s historical significance, combined with its striking architectural marvels, make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and travellers seeking to explore beyond Siem Reap to uncover another rich chapter of Cambodia’s past.
Asian Trails’ guests can walk in the footsteps of 10th century Khmer kings while exploring the remote temple of Koh Ker, including a picnic lunch near the ruins of Beng Mealea.
The ancient town of Si Thep, Thailand
Dating back over 1,000 years, the historical town of Si Thep reflects the architectural style of the Dvaravati Empire which thrived in Central Thailand from the 6th to 10th centuries. The site is surrounded by a moat and features the remains of a Buddhist sanctuary and sacred stupas. The artistic traditions of this town influenced the Si Thep School of Art and has been spread to other South-East Asian cultures.
Image credit: JJ Harrison
Si Thep Historical Park is nestled within the Pa Sak River valley in Phetchabun province, approximately three hours’ drive from Bangkok. Consult our Asian Trails Thailand team to learn more about our unique tour options or to arrange a customised private journey in Thailand’s north-central region.
Contact: Asian Trails Thailand
Halong Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago, Vietnam
Vietnam’s iconic Halong Bay was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, but this year’s designation has been extended to include the neighbouring Cat Ba Archipelago. A sprawling maritime forest spanning more than 17,000 hectares, the Cat Ba island cluster is home to a rich diversity of animal and plant life, including several rare and endemic species.
Asian Trails arranges scenic cruises for guests to explore the area around Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago. Several two-day and three-day cruise options are available.