This study evaluates the performance of the Non-hydrostatic Regional Climate Model (NHRCM) in simulating the present climate over Southeast Asia to determine its applicability in downscaling climate projections in the region. Simulations from 1989 to 2008 are conducted over the region at 25-km resolution using boundary conditions from the ECMWF ERA-Interim dataset. The topographic effect on rainfall is well represented in NHRCM but can result in wet (dry) biases in the windward (leeward) side of mountains. NHRCM is able to reduce the overestimated rainfall in ERA-Interim, particularly over eastern Philippines and in the Maritime Continent, with improvements in spatial patterns. Both seasonality and daily distribution of rainfall are represented in most regions. On the other hand, there is a tendency to underestimate the number of wet days, especially during the respective wet season of the subregion, and to overestimate daily rainfall intensity. NHRCM also has an overall cold model bias, which reduces the warm bias in ERA-Interim, except for some parts of Indochina during boreal winter and spring. These results indicate the improved representation of present climate in Southeast Asia using NHRCM, and its potential applicability in downscaling climate projections to increase projected climate scenarios for the region.