Time Out has released its list of the 40 coolest neighborhoods in the world.
As always, the annual list was conducted through their index survey, where roughly 38,000 respondents wrote in their answers and voted on the best neighborhoods of their favorite cities.
From creative districts to outlying suburbs, these are the “places that represent the soul of the city.”
So obviously, we had to check if any cities hailing from our part of the world made the cut.
Lo and behold, these are the five coolest Southeast Asian cities.
1. Chula-Samyan, Bangkok
Thanks to the efforts of Chulalongkorn University’s property agency, its surrounding neighborhood has had quite the glow up.
Previously cluttered, abandoned shophouses have been refashioned into eye-catching galleries and eating hotspots, and a massive park has been opened to the public.
The local mall, Samyan Mitrtown, is also an attractive tourist spot with a 24-hour bookstore, an indie cinema, and a public rooftop garden.
With all these activities, more tourists are visiting Samyan for a good reason.
2. Bugis, Singapore
Singapore may be more commonly known for its modern metropolis with its high-rise flats, but in some parts of the island city, little hints of the past remain.
The kampung (village) spirit lives on in Bugis, where small businesses collaborate to empower each other, and independent galleries and street art can be seen all across the alleys.
3. Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Binh Thanh district is undeniably a hot spot for tourism, with its maze of alleyways filled with all kinds of surprises in store.
With friendly locals and an electric atmosphere, it’s perfect for those looking for an adventure.
A thriving food scene is what you should definitely look for. From higher-end spots to simple streetside hawker stall food, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
4. Taman Paramount, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Other places in Kuala Lumpur may have stylish spots and their high-rise buildings, but Taman Paramount has its charm as a quaint little neighborhood you can go to for a change of pace.
A hallmark for nostalgia, the area has well-established eateries and hawker stalls that are popular among local families.
With the dash of nostalgia is a breath of fresh air as newer spots are popping up for the younger crowd as well.
5. Banjar Nagi, Ubud, Indonesia
Minutes away from central Ubud lies the discreet neighborhood of Banjar Nagi.
With its numerous paddy fields and chirping crickets at dusk, the neighborhood is a far cry from the beach clubs of Kuta.
But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which saw Bali restricting tourism and losing its main source of income, resorts around the area have began hiring local staff and providing financial support for the community.
The neighborhood is a lovely tourism spot, but more importantly, it protects its own people during times of crises.