7 Charming Towns in Southeast Asia That Will Take You Around Europe

Europe in Southeast Asia: 7 Charming Towns for a Europe-Inspired Getaway 

Let these picturesque destinations sate your wanderlust for the time being.

Travellers don’t always have to travel to Europe to experience sights that look straight out of a storybook. Many scenic towns and villages in Southeast Asia offer medieval-style buildings, cobbled streets, and enchanting works of architecture that are equally picturesque. From a French-inspired village in Vietnam to a lavender flower field in Thailand, here’s why you don’t have to look very far to the West to sate your wanderlust. 

1. The French Village at Bà Nà Hills in Da Nang, Vietnam

Live out your fantasies of wandering through cobblestone streets and gazing at castle-like buildings at the French Village of Bà Nà Hills! Located 40km west of Da Nang, this French Village in Vietnam captures many wonders that you might see in France: elegant churches, dreamy towers and spires, and outdoor cafés and patisseries for foodies. 

Originally founded as a hilltown resort, this picturesque attraction combines themed attractions with the breathtaking serenity of Buddhist temples. More importantly, don’t miss out on seeing the Golden Bridge, a majestic bridge framed by giant stone sculptures of two hands! 

2. Bukit Tinggi in Pahang, Malaysia

 Tour Europe Around Southeast Asia Towns

Image credit: chee.hong

How about embarking a French-inspired adventure in Malaysia? For your Francophile needs, look no further than Bukit Tinggi — a small and colourful town in the Bentong district of Pahang. It is home to the incredibly scenic Colmar Tropicale French Village, which embodies Beauty and the Beast with its brightly painted houses, timbre window shutters, French-style cafés, medieval streets, and a clock tower designed to resemble the Riquewihr Tower in Alsace, France

More than a town in Southeast Asia that reminds many people of Europe, Bukit Tinggi is also known to be a popular weekend escape from the busyness of Kuala Lumpur

3. Palio Village in Khao Yai, Thailand

 Tour Europe Around Southeast Asia Towns

Image credit: Prem Sichanugrist

Looking at the pastel-coloured buildings and narrow alleyways of Palio Village, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that you were somewhere in Northern Italy, instead of Thailand! For sun-drenched days when Rome and Tuscany seem too far away, this Italian-themed village in Khao Yai closely resembles many of the rustic houses that you can find in Italy

Also, the village even has its own public square called Primo Piazza, which is filled with cafés, restaurants, and gelato stalls for a taste of la dolce vita. No wonder it’s called the “Little Italy of Thailand!” 

Also read: 10 Fun Things to Do in Khao Yai, An Undiscovered Wonderland near Bangkok

4. Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay, Myanmar

 Tour Europe Around Southeast Asia Towns

Image credit: Paul Arps (left); Jialiang Gao (right) 

For a little slice of England in Myanmar, the picturesque hill town of Pyin Oo Lwin — once called Maymyo during British rule — still carries surviving traces of its colonial days. Formerly the military headquarters of the British Army, this town boasts of English-style country mansions, horse-drawn carriages, and Anglican churches. Today,  Pyin Oo Lwin has become a popular summer getaway for locals, especially when the temperatures in Mandalay and Yangon get too hot to bear. 

Additionally, other scenic highlights of this town include the Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall, Purcell Tower, and the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens; the latter was inspired by the Kew Gardens in London

Also read: 10 Amazing Destinations in Myanmar to Inspire Your Next Adventure

5. Wang Nam Khiao in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

 Tour Europe Around Southeast Asia Towns

Image credit: Atibordee Kongprepan

Wang Nam Khiao is frequently dubbed as the “Switzerland of Thailand” for its verdant mountain ranges, lush orchards, and refreshingly cool climate. However, the lavender fields at the Flora Park make it the spitting image of Provence, too! Certainly, it looks like this town in Southeast Asia comes with a great offer: two destinations in Europe rolled into one.

Located in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima, this serene mountain town offers plenty of fun-filled activities for visitors. After exploring the flower fields, you might want to explore the vineyards or check out the organic produce at the farmer’s market. 

6. Kota Mini Lembang in Bandung, Indonesia

Just like a gingerbread house come to life, the miniature town of Kota Mini Lembang echoes the aesthetic of idyllic villages of France and the Netherlands. Indeed, the old-world ambience of Europe comes to life in this town’s charming houses and flower-lined paths, albeit with a few modern touches, like picket fences and souvenir shops. And if you really want to channel your inner flâneur, you can pick among the costume rentals and frolic around this town in Holland-inspired outfits! 

7. Vigan in Ilocos Sur, The Philippines

Stepping onto the cobbled streets of Vigan in Ilocos Sur is one way to be transported back in time in the Philippines. UNESCO listed Vigan as a World Heritage Site in 1999, describing it as the “best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.” But long before the Spaniards arrived, Vigan had already played a crucial role in Philippine history, serving as an old trading post for the Manila-Acapulco trading galleons. 

Vigan attracts tourists with its colonial-era buildings that date back to the 16th century reflecting Hispanic heritage, from the Spanish-style houses to the kalesa (horse-drawn carriages) clattering down Calle Crisologo, a 500-metre cobbled street in Vigan. Feast your eyes on historic attractions such as the Vigan Cathedral and the Vigan Heritage Village; or partake of mouth-watering delicacies like Vigan longganisa and empanada!  

Also read: 16 Stunning Places in the Philippines That Look Like Foreign Destinations

Feeling bad about a Europe trip that didn’t push through due to the pandemic? Hopefully, these towns and themed villages in Southeast Asia will keep you inspired for the time being! 

Did you have a favourite destination on this list? Let us know in the comments section of our official Facebook page

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary.

CLICK TO SEE MORE ARTICLES BY Tiffany Conde



Related Posts