The Happy Nomad

5 Ancient Ruins in Asia You Need to Know About

Asia is the largest continent in the world, and it is filled with mysticism and spirituality. So no wonder there are heaps of ancient ruins in Asia that attract millions of travellers from around the world each year. Here are our top 5 ancient ruins in Asia that you should add to your travel bucket list!

1. Longmen Grottoes – Luoyang, China

Some of the popular ancient ruins in Asia are the Longmen Grottoes.  The Grottoes are located near the shores of the Yi River 12 km south of Luoyang, China. Some say it is a cave dwellers’ paradise. But in reality, the Longmen Grottoes is a temple! Built in the 5th Century, this religious structure contains nearly 100,000 statues of Buddha. On both sides of the temple, you’ll find remnants of a troglodyte village. Since its creation, this holy site has suffered vandalism and plundering from thieves and pirates. Today, this cavernous destination is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Good thing too since it is such an impressive monument!

2. Borobudur – Java, Indonesia

Here in Indonesia, you’ll reach the world’s tallest Buddhist monument. One of the most important ancient ruins in Asia, the Borobudur was built during the 9th century and rediscovered in 1815 under volcanic ashes. You’ll see the richness of Borobudur which has remained structurally sound over the years. However, it was visually restored during 8 years to give it back its original character and appearance. It contains 504 Buddha statues and almost 3,000 relief panels! 

3. Bagan – Mandalay, Myanmar

Bagan is among the most important archaeological sites worldwide and one of the most visited ancient ruins in Asia. After King Anawrahta converted to Buddhism, he decided to build many temples which established Buddhism as a regional religion in Myanmar between the 11th and 13th centuries. This particular site has survived major earthquakes and invasions and thus, it has turned into a holy pilgrimage site for Buddhists everywhere. We recommend visiting Bagan between November and February when the monsoon season is over.

4. Wat Ratchaburana – Ayutthaya, Thailand

During the 15th century, King Borom Raja II built this structure for the purpose of holding the ashes of his elder brothers who killed each other in battle. During the 20th century, this site suffered from many robberies and thefts. The design might remind you of Angkor Wat and believe us, it is just as impressive. The center represents Mount Meru, the universe, Buddhist and Hindu cosmology, and the monastery was built in alignment with the morning, rising sun, specific to Thailand.

5. Ajanta Caves – Aurangabad, India

One of the most breathtaking ancient ruins in Asia are the Ajanta Caves in India. Prepare to be amazed as you discover the wonderful paintings and statues within. You’ll discover an impressive testimony of classical Indian art and other similar works. Amazingly, this site could have remained undiscovered due to its location. Hidden in a dense forest, its whereabouts were unknown for a thousand years! Luckily for us it is ready to be explored and enjoyed!


So now that you know about some of the most spectacular ancient ruins in Asia, where will you visit first?