1. Fort Rotterdam, Makassar
History: Fort Rotterdam was initially named Fort Jumpandang – a Gowanese fort with its origins from as early as 1545, when Karaeng Tunipalangga Ulaweng, the tenth King of Gowa, still ruled. However, when the Dutch colonised Makassar, it was rebuilt and was later renamed Fort Rotterdam.
Architecture: The fort’s Dutch-influenced architecture of low-lying colonial houses with steeply gabled roofs is noticeable right away.
Sights: Inside the fort is Museum Negeri La Galigo, which highlights an extensive collection of cultural and historical artefacts, including musical instruments and traditional ethnic wear.
What’s Nearby: Take a stroll along the boulevard before arriving at Fort Rotterdam. After visiting the fort, you can head south along Losari Beach and drop by Masjid Amirul Mukminin, also known as the ‘floating mosque’.
Fun Fact: 11 ouf of 13 of the fort’s buildings are the original 17th century Dutch-built structures.
Jalan Ujung Pandang, Bulo Gading, Ujung Pandang
2. Fort San Pedro, Cebu
History: One of the oldest and smallest forts in the Philippines, San Pedro was constructed during the Spanish era as a military defence commanded by the Basque-Spanish governor Miguel López de Legazpi.
Architecture: The fort is weathered in some places; what’s left are its intricately carved stone walls and impressive gateway.
Sights: These days, the fort serves as a museum, where you can discover more about Cebuano and Filipino history through the sculptures, artefacts, paintings and weaponry on display.
What’s Nearby: Religious sites like Magellan’s Cross, a Christian cross planted by 15th-century explorers, and Basilica del Santo Niño, the nation’s oldest Roman Catholic church, are within walking distance.
Fun Fact: There are 14 cannons within the fort.
Antonio Pigafetta St
3. Bekal Fort, Kerala
History: Accessible from Kochi and Coimbatore, Bekal Fort is one of Kerala’s largest and best preserved forts. It was constructed in 1650 by Shivappa Nayaka, the legendary ruler of the Keladi, an important dynasty in post-medieval Karnataka.
Architecture: Unlike many other ornate forts in India, the keyhole-shaped structure was built solely for defence. Because of this, its architecture and features are rather austere, with stone stairs leading up to high observation towers and sea bastions.
Sights: The fort is massive, so you can easily spend a couple of hours exploring. Drink in spectacular views of the sea and of nearby coastal towns from its vantage points.
What’s Nearby: Time your visit so you catch the sunset at Bekal Beach. Other activities you can enjoy include kite flying and horse riding.
Fun Fact: The total area of Bekal Fort is 160,000m2
Kanhangad, Kasaragod Rd, Bekal
4. Fujian Tulou, China
History: Situated just over two hours west of Xiamen in Nanjing County, Fujian Tulou is a UNESCO-listed collection of over 40 earthen Hakka citadels erected between the 15th and 20th centuries. Back in the day, each circular (or sometimes rectangular) tulou would house an entire clan.
Architecture: Featuring towering mud walls with dark-tiled roofs, each medieval-looking tulou is several storeys high, with a central courtyard and – as a means of defence – only one entrance.
Sights: With shrines, vantage points and locals going unhurriedly about their daily lives, there are plenty of photo opportunities around the tulou. Their lush, mountainous setting also adds to the spectacle.
What’s Nearby: The nearest big city, Xiamen, has plenty to offer visitors, from the verdant Wanshi Botanical Garden to the historic mansions on the pedestrian-only Gulangyu island.
Fun Fact: A rough number of 800 people can be accommodated in the average tulou.
Shangban Village, Shuyang Town, Nanjing County
5. Galle Fort, Sri Lanka
History: Situated in the coastal city of Galle, the fort was built in 1588 by the Portuguese, before being taken over by the Dutch and then the British. It has housed a chapel, a prison camp, warehouses and an arsenal.
Architecture: Within the thick walls, you’ll find low Dutch colonial houses and a picturesque church.
Sights: Galle Lighthouse offers views over the rooftops and the Indian Ocean, while Flag Rock is best for sunsets.
What’s nearby: 10 minutes away is the Sea Turtle Hatchery Centre Mahamodara, where you can meet the facility’s rescued critters.
Fun Fact: Galle Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Church St, Galle
This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine