Asia is the world’s biggest continent in terms of both area and people, and it is a diversified, multi-cultural melting pot of some of the world’s oldest civilizations. There’s so much to see and do in Asia that it’s difficult to restrict it to a shortlist— truly exploring just one nation may take months.
For those on a tighter timeframe or budget, seeing a little bit of everything —from the skyscrapers of Hong Kong to the magnificent slopes of Mount Fuji and the architectural marvels of locations like Angkor Wat in Cambodia — is the key to identifying the finest locations to travel in Asia.
While the current global scenario may not allow us to travel as freely as we may want to, there’s always virtual travel which has been a life-saver where travel during the pandemic is concerned and gained popularity as people started to enjoy the brief virtual escape it offered.
That being said, whatever you wish to see and do in Asia, there’s bound to be something to suit your needs. Asia is clearly the place to be since it provides travellers with a wide range of alternatives, including countries rich in culture and history. These locales, which range from culturally significant to historically significant, have a plethora of exciting surprises in store for you. Take a look!
- Bali, Indonesia
Bali is nothing short of magical, with its mile-long stretches of beaches and volcanic scenery. Bali, which used to be primarily a honeymoon and surfing destination, is one of Asia’s most popular tourist attractions today. The majority of the action takes place in South Bali, on the hedonistic Kuta Beach. Ubud, Bali’s calm cultural hub, attracts visitors looking for more than just surf and a hangover. Some even choose to climb a volcano in the lush Kintamani Region in the island’s centre. Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, owing to its magnificent beaches, hospitable Hindu culture, and stunning environment.
- Hoi An, Vietnam
The majority of visitors to Vietnam arrive in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, or go directly to Halong Bay and the beach—but the finest site to visit in Vietnam is really a closely hidden secret. The historic city of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of Asia’s oldest commercial ports. Timber frame structures, colourful French-colonial shutters, and Chinese tiled roofs still make up much of Hoi An’s original architecture. On small passageways throughout Ancient Town, Hoi An’s historical core, religious structures, courtyards, and shophouses exist side by side. The Museum of History and Culture (formerly a pagoda devoted to the Goddess of Compassion, Guan Yin), the 17th-century covered Japanese bridge, and the Old Residence of Tan Ky, a surviving 18th-century merchant’s house, may all be found on a walking tour of Hoi An.
- Siem Reap Cambodia
Siem Reap is best known as the entrance to the Angkor area and the spectacular monuments that the Khmer civilisation has left behind. Angkor Wat, the world’s biggest religious monument, was constructed in the early 12th century and spans over 160 hectares. Traditional Apsara dance performance venues coexist with French bakeries, galleries, and rice terraces in Siem Reap, which is an interesting blend of Chinese and French colonial architecture. If you have a few hours to kill before your trip to Angkor Wat, the Angkor National Museum is a great place to learn more about the ancient monuments and the fascinating society that built them.
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
Many visitors prefer Thailand’s pleasant northern capital to Bangkok’s frenetic pace of life. The majority of the tourist activity takes place in Chiang Mai’s Old City, where orange-robed monks from the city’s numerous temples grin as they walk by. Chiang Mai attracts over a million visitors each year, with everything from cultural festivals and sprawling night markets to mountain trekking and a plethora of beautiful temples. Chiang Mai is unquestionably the most popular of Thailand’s top ten tourist destinations.
- Kathmandu, Nepal
The “Metropolis of Temples” is another name for Nepal’s capital and biggest city. Kathmandu, a mash-up of Hindu and Buddhist religious influences, is replete with stupas, notably Boudhanath, Nepal’s holiest Buddhist monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Swayambhu, home to sacred monkeys and one of Nepal’s oldest temples. In a city where spirituality pervades practically every aspect of life, both religious seekers and camera-toting visitors will find much to enjoy. Kathmandu is a famous gateway to the Himalayas and adjacent locations such as the Ancient City of Patan, sitting at an elevation of about 1,400 metres above sea level. Climbers from all over the globe come here to begin their 15-day Everest Base Camp journey, but overnight tours around the city to see the Himalayas in all their glory are equally popular.
So, there you have it – 5 destinations in Asia that you definitely must add to your travel bucket list! Travelling to these gorgeous locations may be out of bounds right now, but you can always try live guided virtual tours which are calling out to you to explore the world and be everywhere from the comfort of your home.
Virtual travel experiences will help you look around and scope out cities and countries before you visit them, so that you know what to expect and will also help you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the destination that suits you best.