Places in Southeast Asia that look like Europe


For many of us, our idea of a dream holiday involves walking down the iconic avenue of Champs-Élysées in Paris or taking photos with the signature blue and white backdrops of Santorini. But looking at how much money and days of leave are required to plan a trip to Europe, it makes us think thrice.

Well, there’s no longer a need to shell out big bucks to fly across the globe. A few Southeast Asian (SEA) countries have brought the flavour of Europe to spots within a couple of hours from Singapore – making a short getaway to “Europe” a reality. Also, spending less on cheaper flight tickets and hotels means having more for multiple mini holidays.


1. Primo Piazza, Thailand


Looks like: Tuscany, Italy


Primo Piazza little italyImage credit: @primopiazza

During the Renaissance era, houses in Italy were painted with a pigment made of plants and mineral oxides – hence the yellowish colour. Staying true to this piece of history, Primo Piazza in Khao Yai is full of these yellow buildings and structures, including a fountain, plaza, cafe, and tower.

Primo Piazza Thailand
Image adapted from: @jiradtz 

The elegant Italian architecture and lush greenery make the perfect backdrop for the ‘Gram. Admission to this piazza includes alpaca and sheep feeding at the barn within the vicinity. For a better view of the entire attraction, head to the top of the tower near the fountain from where you can admire the vast meadows.

Primo Piazza Khao YaiImage adapted from: @parada_por, @primopiazza 

Complete the experience with a cup of coffee and a side of cakes at the cafe, or cool down with some gelato at the parlour.

Getting there: Take a 2-hour flight from Singapore to Bangkok, followed by a 3-hour drive to Khao Yai National Park.

Admission: ฿200/adult (~S$7.72), ฿100/child (~S$3.86), free for children under 120cm
Address: 200/2, 10 Mu Si, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130, Thailand
Opening hours: 9am-6pm, Daily
Contact: Primo Piazza Instagram 


2. Chocolate Ville, Thailand


Looks like: A European-style village


Chocolate Ville BangkokThere’s a Lagoon Bridge that looks like a downsized version of London’s Tower Bridge.
Image credit: @reaksmei_7

Given the sheer size of Chocolate Ville, it’s hard to believe that it’s an open-air restaurant and not a theme park. The setting and decor resemble a European village, including makeshift buildings such as a Farmville Dairy Barn and Rosewood Inn with countryside vibes. There’s even a conservatory garden with a gazebo overlooking the lake.

Chocolate Ville Bangkok london phone boothsSpot various London-famous telephone booths around the area.
Image credit: @dalee.3

The restaurant serves Thai and Western food with dishes starting from ฿145 (~S$5.60). On the menu are pizzas and fusion pastas such as Soft Shell Crab Spaghetti in Curry (฿245, ~S$9.46). Recommended grilled meats include German Ham Hock (฿475, ~S$18.34), Spare Ribs (฿475, ~S$18.34), and Rack of Lamb (฿695, ~S$26.83).

Admission: Free
Address: 23, 1-16 Prasert-Manukitch Road, Ram Inthra, Khan Na Yao, Bangkok 10230, Thailand
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 3pm-12am | Sat-Sun 2pm-12am
Contact: Chocolate Ville Facebook 


3. Santorini Park Cha-am, Thailand


Looks like: Santorini, Greece


Santorini Park Cha-am
Image credit:
@claudiastefanikorua 

A one-stop destination for theme park rides, outlet shopping, and dining, Santorini Park Cha-am looks exactly like its namesake. Picture whitewashed buildings with that shade of blue windows. You’ve seen enough photos of Oia town’s blue domes to know exactly what I’m talking about – plenty of those hues here for a convincing photo of being in Greece.

Santorini Park Hua HinPhoto ops in every corner.
Image adapted from: @mia_tsai_, @hawperd

The most notable ride is the 40m Ferris wheel, in addition to a 3D museum and haunted house. A few international brands have retail stores here such as adidas, Nike, Levi’s, and Ray-Ban. To fill your tummies, check out the coffee shops, restaurants, and ice cream stand.

Book a day tour for Santorini Park Cha-am in Hua Hin.

Getting there: Take a 2-hour flight from Singapore to Bangkok, followed by a 2.5-hour drive to Hua Hin.

Admission: ฿150/pax (~S$5.79)
Address: 555 Moo 3, Khao Yai, Cha-am District, Phetchaburi 76120, Thailand
Opening hours: 9am-8pm, Daily
Contact: +66 3289 0400


4. Fortune Island, Philippines


Looks like: A Greek island


Fortune Island Philippines
Image credit:
@ankush_pardhi03 

Greece’s appeal lies in its fascinating ancient history and alluring islands. Get the best of both worlds at Fortune Island in Batangas where rocky cliffs overlook waters that are a deep turquoise, and ruins of old columns and statues resemble the Parthenon in Athens. In a list of SEA places that look just like Europe, this one’s hard to beat.

Fortune Island Philippines ruinsImage credit: ​​@adrianaar0n 

With sandy white beaches and clear blue waters, Fortune Island is a slice of paradise where you can also get up to activities such as snorkelling and cliff diving. A day trip is great but camping overnight at one of the campsites is even better for a slightly longer escapade.

Getting there: Take a 4-hour flight from Singapore to Manila, drive 3 hours from the city to Nasugbu Terminal, and hop on a 1-hour boat ride (from P4,000, ~S$98.56 for a group of up to 6 pax) to the island.

Admission: P350 (~S$8.62)
Location: Batangas, Calabarzon, Philippines. Fortune Island on Google Maps.


5. Northern Blossom Flower Farm, Philippines


Looks like: The flower fields in the Netherlands or Provence, France


Northern Blossom Flower Farm
At a glance, this could pass off as the lavender fields of Provence.

Image credit: ​​@janahsiaton

Visiting the Netherlands during tulip season and Provence during lavender season are bucket list items for many. However, you don’t have to travel so far for vast flower fields. Northern Blossom Flower Farm in Atok has various flower species on display including tulips, sunflowers, and roses.

Northern Blossom Flower Farm tulipsImage credit: @ekajoyjacob

Locals will tell you that the best months to visit are from February to April when the flowers are in full bloom.

Getting there: Take a 4-hour flight from Singapore to Baguio, followed by a 1.5-hour drive to the farm. 

Admission: P250/adult (~S$6.15), P50/child (~S$1.23)
Address: 2612 Atok, Benguet, Philippines
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 6am-4.30pm (Closed on Sundays)
Contact: Northern Blossom Flower Farm Facebook 


6. Desa Dairy Farm, Malaysia


Looks like: The Swiss Alps


Desa Dairy Farm Kota Kinabablu
Image credit: ​​
@lawrencengyf

Desa Dairy Farm lies at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu and mentally transports us straight to the Swiss Alps. If you want to get really technical, the cattle in Switzerland are mostly brown instead of black and white, but who gives a hoot when all anyone will be looking at is the lush greenery and majestic hills?

Desa Dairy FarmImage credit: @ the_chef_sisters_msia 

Take a tour of the farm to find out how milk is processed and behold the sight of cows being milked. Young ones can partake in calf-feeding too. Before you leave, check out the retail store for fresh milk and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese.

Book a day trip to Desa Dairy Farm in Kota Kinabalu.

Getting there: Take a 2.5-hour flight from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu, followed by a 3-hour drive to the farm.

Admission: RM5/adult (~S$4.37), RM4/child (~S$4.37), free entry for children below 7
Address: Jalan Cinta Mata Mesilou, 89308 Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening hours: 8.30am-4pm, Daily
Contact: Desa Dairy Farm Facebook 


7. Colmar Tropicale, Malaysia


Looks like: Mediaeval France


Colmar Tropicale Malaysia
Looks just like the set of Beauty and the Beast.

Image credit: @darrellgraphy 

Colmar Tropicale has been on the radar of many Singaporeans for a few years now, but if you still haven’t had a chance to visit, it might be worth the consideration for your next getaway. Perched on Berjaya Hills in Bukit Tinggi, a resort which is inspired by a quaint little town in France called Colmar.

Colmar Tropicale at nightThe resort is equally beautiful at night when the street lights turn on.
Image credit: @negin_art.and.science

The quintessential French experience has to include charming boutiques, art galleries, and bakeries selling pastries and desserts, and you won’t be disappointed here. While you don’t have to stay at the resort to visit the village, a night’s accommodation costs RM240 (~S$74.95).

Colmar Tropicale hotelImage credit: @colmartropicale 

Pro tip: Colmar Tropicale is just an hour’s drive from Genting Highlands, so you can include both places to maximise your trip to the region.

Book a day tour to Colmar Bukit Tinggi from Kuala Lumpur.

Getting there: Take a 1-hour flight from Singapore to KL and drive an hour from the city, or a 5.5-hour drive directly from Singapore to Bukit Tinggi.

Admission: RM14/adult (~S$4.37), RM7/child (~S$2.19)
Address: KM 48 Persimpangan Bertingkat, Lebuhraya Karak, Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia
Contact: Colmar Tropicale website 


8. Ba Na Hills, Vietnam


Looks like: Paris, France


Ba Na Hills Vietnam
Image credit:
@banahillstourism

You may not be in Disneyland Paris, but your photos at Ba Na Hills could very well trick your followers into thinking that you are. This French theme park is just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Golden Bridge often pictured in Vietnam tourist brochures, and it boasts a number of rides for thrill seekers.

Ba Na Hills resortIs that the Louvre? No, but it could be mistaken for the iconic landmark.
Image credit: @pingpingkabphom

There are actually quite a few things to ride here: alpine coasters, cable railway ride, and cable cars, just to name a few. You can also take a stroll around the Parisian gardens for a quick escape to nature.

Getting there: Take a 3-hour flight from Singapore to Da Nang.

Admission: 750,000 (~S$44.82)
Address: An Son Village, Hoa Ninh Commune, Hoa Vang District, Da Nang City, Vietnam
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 8am-5.30pm | Sat 8am-7.30pm
Contact: Ba Na Hills website


9. Dalat, Vietnam


Looks like: France


Dalat chruch
Domaine de Marie, a Catholic church with a pink facade.

Image credit: @ekokkoy 

By virtue of its history of being colonised by the French, Dalat town has numerous buildings showcasing French architecture. Of these, the most notable ones are Domaine de Marie church, French Quarter Villas, and Hotel du Parc. 

Dalat train stationFrench-style carriages at Dalat Railway station.
Image credit: ​​@anna_bel_8

Dalat Railway Station is another must-visit historical site built by French Architects in the early 30s. Although no longer in service, the main draw are the carriages out back that are on display and totally IG-worthy. One of the carriages has also been converted into a cafe.

Getting there: Take a 2-hour flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh city, followed by a 1-hour domestic flight to Dalat.


10. The Elysee Koh Pich, Cambodia


Looks like: Paris, France


Elysee Koh Pich arc
Image credit:
@linahak2014

The Elysee Koh Pich in Phnom Penh is just 2 hours from Singapore compared to the 14-hour flight it takes to get to Paris to see Champs Elysees. You’ll even get your IG-worthy photo in front of a monument that looks just like France’s Arc de Triomphe.

Elysee Koh Pich
Image credit: ​​
@maylin_khy 

While it’s hot in Cambodia all year, to be more convincing of your Parisian travels, don a coat and walk down the cobblestone streets for your very own Paris Fashion Week moment.

Getting there: Take a 2-hour flight from Singapore to Phnom Penh.

Location: Koh Pich Street, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Experience Europe minus the time difference

If you think about it, it’s low-key satisfying to know that we can get the European experience in local currencies where the Singapore dollar is stronger this time round. No more crying over Pound and Euro conversions in our head.

Plus, no jet lag from uncomfortably long flights nor is any adjustment to time difference needed. So, you can start exploring straight away.

Fake it till you make it with these guides:


Cover image adapted from: @adrianaar0n, @banahillstourism, @primopiazza