Asia, the largest as well as the most populated continent (well, it’s home to 6 out of the top 10 most populous countries in the world) on earth sure is a treasure trove for travel lovers. A continent where you can witness the highest peak in the world (Mount Everest), experience one of the oldest civilizations in the world (Indus Valley Civilization), and climb the tallest building the world, Asia is special, in every way.
With 48 countries that offer diverse cultures, traditions, and religions, intriguing history, unique landscapes, and delicious food, there are literally uncountable things to see, do, and eat in Asia.
We know how tough it can be to decide where to start so, we asked the seasoned travel bloggers to share their expertise and recommend their favorite Asian destinations to make things easy-peasy for our readers.
Kick-off your Asia adventure right with our ultimate Asia bucket list that includes all the best places to visit in Asia.
Best Places to Visit in Asia
One of the most beautiful island nations in the world, Maldives, undoubtedly tops the list of best places to visit in Asia. From the inviting white-sand beaches, deep blue sea, swaying palm trees, to the gorgeous island resorts – the Maldives is pure luxury!
With about 1200 islands and over 150 island resorts, Maldives has so much to do and experience unless you just want to unwind and do nothing because doing nothing is one of the best things to do in the Maldives. The island hopping and beach hopping are essential experiences to have when in the Maldives.
If you’re fond of water sports, Maldives is your go-to destination. It’s a world-class destination for scuba diving, underwater adventures, snorkeling, dolphin watching, surfing, paddleboarding, and swimming.
After you’re done with heart-pumping water adventures, go watch the sunset over the azure ocean with a glass of wine.
The tropical island nation is hot, humid, and sunny all year round. The best time to visit the Maldives is from November to April with December and March being the peak months.
Male International Airport (MLE) aka Velana International Airport is the main airport, which connects the Maldives to all major countries and cities in the world including Asian countries like India, China, and Sri Lanka. There are many direct flights as well as chartered flights coming in from Dubai, Europe, and Singapore.
#2 Tokyo, Japan
Recommended by Sydney Richardson of A World in Reach
Tokyo, the exciting capital of Japan, is full of culture, delicious food, and excitement, making it one of the best cities to visit in Asia.
There are tons of wonderful things to add to your Tokyo bucket list and a visit to the city isn’t complete without a visit to one of the city’s many temples and shrines.
Senso-Ji Temple is the oldest and most famous Buddhist temple in the city. For a serene experience in the middle of the metropolis, head to Meiji Jingu Shrine, a beautiful Shinto shrine located in the middle of a lush forest.
More top things to do in Tokyo include getting a bird’s eye view from the Tokyo Skytree, experiencing the busiest pedestrian scramble in the world at Shibuya Crossing, and immersing yourself in a world of digital art at teamLab Borderless.
There is no bad time to visit Tokyo, but cherry blossom season (late March to early April) is a popular time to visit – be prepared for crowds!
If you’re arriving in Tokyo by air, you’ll either fly into Narita Airport or Haneda Airport. Haneda is closer to the city and Narita is connected to the city by the Narita Express. If you’re taking the shinkansen to Tokyo from another Japanese city, you’ll arrive at either Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station.
When planning where to stay in Tokyo, choose your accommodation to be near a subway station so that you’ll be able to easily reach other areas of the large city. Recommended areas to stay in include Asakusa, Shinjuku, Ginza, and Akihabara.
Before your first visit to Tokyo, research the train system, and buy an IC card (either Suica or Pasmo) when you arrive – this will make traveling across Tokyo much easier! Additionally, if you’ll be visiting other cities in Japan, look into a JR pass to see if it would be more cost-effective than buying individual shinkansen tickets.
#3 Osaka, Japan
Recommended by Nicole from Nicole LaBarge Travel Blog
Osaka is a very special place in Japan. There are so many things to do there.
Osaka Bay is a great area to explore. You can visit the Aquarium, also known as Kaiyukan, which is one of the largest aquariums in Japan and the premier attraction in Osaka.
I also recommend visiting Osaka Castle. The Castle is completely surrounded by stone walls and a moat and gate. The Nishinomaru Garden has 600 cherry trees that are stunning when they are in full bloom.
I do recommend visiting Osaka in the spring so you can experience the cherry blossoms.
There are two airports in Osaka so make sure you know which one your flight is leaving from. Kansai International Airport is located 37 miles from town but you can easily take a train into town. The Osaka International Airport is a domestic airport.
Wondering where to stay in Osaka? I recommend the Miyako Osaka Marriott Hotel for its great location.
#4 Kyoto, Japan
Recommended by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
There’s no better place to soak up the history and ancient cultural traditions of Japan than in Kyoto.
In a city filled with hundreds of temples and shrines, it’s best to do some advance planning and decide which ones you really don’t want to miss. Some of the most popular Buddhist temples include the Golden Pavilion, the Silver Pavilion, and the Kiyomizu-dera, which has stunning views from its hilltop position.
As for Shinto shrines, the best one is undoubtedly the Fushimi Inari Taisha, with its long pathways lined with thousands of vermilion torii gates. It’s open 24 hours, so come here first thing in the morning to beat the crowds.
Eating and drinking is also a definite highlight in Kyoto, so be sure to try some of the local specialties. There are a number of Kyoto restaurants that offer vegan and vegetarian versions of local dishes, so veggie visitors need not miss out. Participating in a tea ceremony also offers a fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture.
The best time to visit in Kyoto is in spring for the cherry blossom season and in autumn for the fall foliage season. Exact dates of these natural phenomena will vary each year, so there’s a bit of luck involved.
Kyoto can easily be reached from many places in Japan on the country’s efficient rail network. If flying, the nearest airport is in Osaka, a short train ride away.
As for where to stay, Minshuku Sanbiki Neko is a fabulous traditional guesthouse that offers comfortable tatami mat rooms and a hearty plant-based breakfast.
#5 Bali, Indonesia
Recommended by Becki from Meet Me In Departures
If you love tropical beaches, beautiful jungles, stunning temples, and delicious food Bali is a must-go-to destination. It’s one of the top destinations in Indonesia.
Some of the best things to see and do in Bali are watching the sunset at the beautiful cliff-side temples of Tanah Lott or Uluwatu temple. If you’re after that Insta-famous photo of the paddy fields, then you’ll love the Tegalalang Rice Terraces near Ubud. For the more adventurous traveler, there are tons of waterfalls to chase, white waters to raft, you could even climb Mount Batur to watch the sunrise. If you want to see the gigantic and gentle Manta Rays, then you’ll love snorkeling with them at Manta Point off the south coast.
Bali has good weather all year round, however, because it’s a tropical destination it’s also humid. There are two main seasons, the dry season which is between May and September, and wet season which is from October to April although there can be sporadic downpours all year round. If you want to avoid the crowds, then head to Bali between April and June or early September to October, it’s a little bit cheaper and less crowded. If you’re thinking of spending Christmas in Bali, you’ll pay hiked up prices.
Most people arrive in Bali by airplane, unless you’re doing a tour of the Indonesian islands, then you
could arrive by boat! There is only one airport on the island, located in the south-east of the island, which is Denpasar Airport. From Denpasar, it’s easy to get to a variety of towns, two of the best places to stay on a short trip to Bali are either Ubud (surrounded by waterfalls, temples, and the pretty paddy fields) or Canggu (to take in the laid back beach vibe and yoga scene).
If you want to find out more about things to see and do in Bali, check out this full Bali itinerary here.
#6 Flores Island, Indonesia
Recommended by Umiko from Two Worlds Treasures
To the east of Bali is another gem in Indonesia, Flores Island. Situated in the province of East Nusa Tenggara, Flores Island is surrounded by hundreds of small islands and most of them are uninhabited. Therefore, unspoiled beaches and stunning views from the hills are awaiting you in the islands.
Underwater life in Flores is also amazing, a haven for both divers and snorkelers. And let’s not forget that Flores is the only island in the world where you can see the Komodo dragons roam freely in their natural habitat. On land, you can visit traditional villages – even experience a night in the traditional house – and climb to Mt. Kelimutu for the sunrise. It’s famous for its three colored crater lakes.
When you visit, it’s better to start from the eastern part of the island, which is where Mt. Kelimutu is located. Then take a road trip to the west through the traditional villages, beaches, mountains, and ancient sites before you get to Labuan Bajo in the west, the gateway to the Komodo Islands. Once in Labuan Bajo, liveaboard for at least a couple of nights is the best way to experience the Komodo Islands.
The best time to visit Flores Island is between April and June where the weather is comfortable, vegetation is greener, and the water is calm. It is also before peak season. Or, after peak season has passed, between September and November, when the weather is perfect for trekking.
There are daily flights from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, to Labuan Bajo or Ende in the east of Flores. When you are already in Bali or Lombok, you have more choices of airlines and times to get to these two cities. For a budget traveler, you can take a combination of ferry and bus from Bali to Labuan Bajo for a couple of days’ journey. No matter what transportation you choose, you will have a great time in Flores Island Indonesia!
#7 Bagan, Myanmar
Recommended by Lee from The Travel Scribes
Hot air balloons start to float high in the orange-streaked sky as you bump along the sandy roads on your trusty e-bike, your helmet down low over your sleep-filled eyes. It’s sunrise in Bagan, one of the most breath-taking places to visit in Asia.
Once home to over 10,000 temples, the town of Bagan in Myanmar (formerly Burma), was founded in the 9th century and later became the capital of the Pagan kingdom where it was a center for religion, attracting monks and visitors from across South East Asia and seeing these thousands of temples constructed.
With many falling into disrepair over time due to inadequate maintenance and a slew of earthquakes, Bagan’s beauty began to fade as fewer people visited and centers like Yangon and Mandalay fell into favor.
Nowadays the town has undergone a revival as the remaining 2,000 temples attract avid travelers looking to climb them for the perfect sunrise view. Couple that with a roaring hot air balloon trade, this dreamy experience has many a tourist itching to brush off their passport and get themselves to Bagan for temple-hopping and ballooning each day.
While it isn’t that comfortable to get to Bagan – most trips will see you on a slightly dodgy bus out of major centers like Yangon – it’s well worth the effort.
While the Bagan temples can no longer be climbed legally, the town is still a hotspot for temple viewing and offers some of the best sunrises (and sunsets) in Asia. And even if you can’t get there in hot air balloon season (October to April) for those picture-perfect snaps, you can still visit in May or June, making this a spectacular (although a little hot and steamy) place to visit nearly all year round.
#8 Bangkok, Thailand
Recommended by Allan from Live Less Ordinary
Consistently ranked as the most visited city in the world, Bangkok really doesn’t need much of an introduction, as a city renowned for dazzling temples, floating markets, and unbeatable street food. But there is more to modern-day Bangkok than these traditional cliches as it has emerged as a vibrant, contrasting, and diverse city, with pretty much something to excite everybody.
For those seeking temples and the charm of the old city, it would be Rattanakosin Island. For the renowned shopping and megamalls, it would be Siam. Then for nightlife and entertainment, it would be either Sukhumvit or Silom. And there’s always the serenity and charm surrounding Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. And these are all like mini-cities within the city.
It is also simple enough to explore by public transport with convenient Skytrain lines (BTS) and an underground metro (MRT) then its great fun to nip between attractions on tuk-tuks or on the back of motorbikes to speed through the never-ending bustle of the city.
As Bangkok is always busy with both local life and tourism, and while the weather is non-stop sweltering year-round, the winter months are normally more amiable with less rain and cooler heats, although the torrential downpours of the rainy season are hard to forget.
When staying in Bangkok it is recommended to stay near the train lines (MRT or BTS) simply to make travel easier. Although a favorite amongst backpackers and younger crowds would be Khaosarn Road which is a convenient travel hub for the old city and for onward travel in the rest of Thailand. But again this will depend on interests and where you plan to explore. Accommodation is generally cheap everywhere so it’s easy to pick up and move on to hotels in different areas instead of being pinned down in a single part of this rather huge city.
#9 Phuket, Thailand
Recommended by Jenifer from The Evolista
Phuket is one of those places you’ve probably always wanted to visit. It’s famous palm-lined, white sand beaches and turquoise blue water of the Andaman Sea beckons visitors to this exotic paradise. While beaches and luxurious resorts may be the first draw, there are so many things to do in Phuket.
A day trip to the Phi Phi Islands is a must-do activity. Getting there is half the fun stopping at Maya Bay, featured in the movie The Beach. The Phi Phi Islands are framed by incredible Karst limestone cliffs that make this area so distinctive. Another spot with these gorgeous rock formations is Phang Na Bay. Explore the area on a kayak tour or rent a Thai longtail boat. Phuket is also a bucket list destination for divers too. Some will head out daily to different dive spots while others will take a trip on a liveaboard boat.
The night markets with delicious Thai food and party scene make evenings entertaining. You can see everything from Muay Thai boxing to Cabaret shows with ladyboys. Or dance the night away at one of the latest Patong hot spots. Follow our 2 days in Phuket itinerary to enjoy this Southeast Asia paradise!
The best time to go to Phuket is from November to March.
Phuket Airport has domestic and international flights from many countries.
The one mistake first-timers often make is choosing the wrong hotel. Phuket is surprisingly large and it has multiple beach areas that are suited to different types of travelers. If you want to party, definitely stay in Patong or Kata Beach. For a romantic trip, stay in Nai Thon or the upscale area of Bang Thao. Families find that they are often happiest in Kamala Beach that is close to many kid activities.
#10 Krabi, Thaliand
Recommended by Kerrie & Woody from Just go Travelling
The Krabi province is probably the most sort after destination in Thailand. It is located on southern Thailand’s west coast and has some of the most beautiful destinations Thailand has to offer.
The best place to visit in Krabi province is the town of Krabi which is less touristy than the rest of the destinations. It has a famous night market that runs from Friday-Sunday where you can buy delicious local cuisine and watch locals sing karaoke.
If you are more interested in the beach life, Krabi does not disappoint. The Krabi province hosts pristine beaches located in areas such as Phi Phi Island, Ao Nang Beach, and Railay Beach.
The best time to visit would be between November – March, as the temperature is more pleasant and it is less humid. Visiting just outside the peak season, November – February, it would be wise to save on costs regarding accommodation and tours.
Krabi has its own airport so it is easy to connect with. Alternatively, if you arrive in Phuket or any other nearby Islands, it is possible to get a ferry across to Krabi. This would also involve transportation to the pier via taxi.
Booking accommodation around Ao Nang Beach would be the best point to visit nearby Islands; there are many options to travel whether it is by speed boat, traditional long-tail boat, or ferry.
There are many tours not to be missed which can be done from Krabi, including the ‘4 Island tour’ and the ‘James bond Island tour’ (The Island featured in the famous James Bond Movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’).
#11 Koh Tao, Thailand
Recommended by Adriana from Czech the World
Koh Tao is a picturesque Thai island in the Andaman sea. It’s quite a small island with only 21 square kilometers but you can find there a true underwater treasure. People from all over the world come to Koh Tao to get their diving certification. It is simply a diver’s paradise!
The underwater life of Koh Tao island is incredibly varied, and you can see even sharks! Koh Tao is also a great place for snorkeling!
Among the best things to do in Koh Tao is the visit of a very popular viewpoint in Koh Nang Yuan – a tiny island only half a kilometer from the main island. Koh Tao is a perfect destination for a beach holiday as well as for activities like rock climbing, cliff jumping, paddle boarding, and other water sports.
The best time to visit Koh Tao is from late December until mid-April. The average temperature is around 28 to 32 °C. The weather from May to September is not completely bad, but you have to count on rain showers from time to time.
You will need to go by ferry to get to Koh Tao. There are ferries from the neighboring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui as well as from mainland – from Chumphon or Surat Thani. The easiest way to get to those harbors from Bangkok is by overnight train.
A nice place to stay is, the Coral Grand Resort at the northern end of Sairee. If you are looking for more basic and cheap accommodation, choose Jom Jam House.
#12 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Recommended by Erin Tracy from Traveling Thru History
Kuala Lumpur is one of the most well-known cities in Asia and is fondly known as KL. Established in 1857 at the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River, this city has grown from a small mining town to the thriving metropolis that it is today and has achieved the rank of the 6th most visited city in the world.
Visitors to KL will love the wide range of activities within the city. Historic sites, shopping districts, museums, monuments, festivals, sporting events, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and religious sites provide plenty of opportunities for everyone to find an activity that suits their preference. When visiting KL, everyone should take the time to visit the National Mosque, Batu Caves, the Petronas Twin Towers, the Islamic Arts Center, and one of the many blind massage centers that dot the city.
Malaysia is located in a tropical zone and is therefore subject to seasonal monsoons and tropical heat. To avoid the heaviest rains and the highest heat, the best time to visit is June and July. The heaviest rains occur during March or April and October or November and the highest temperatures are in January, May, and August.
When flying into Malaysia, visitors will land at KL International Airport at either KLIA1 or KLIA2. To get from KLIA2 to KLIA1, visitors can take either a shuttle bus or KLIA Ekspres, the train which takes visitors straight to KL Sentral. Be sure to hold onto train tickets as those are needed to get outside the terminal.
There are many places to stay within KL, but the best area would be in Bricktown near the city’s main transport hub: KL Sentral. Trains, buses, and taxis all pass through KL Sentral, making this the most convenient starting point to any destination within the city.
#13 Penang, Malaysia
Recommended by Marco Ferrarese from Penang Insider
Tucked in the northwestern corner of Peninsular Malaysia, not far away from the southern reaches of Thailand, Penang is a UNESCO Heritage Site and real multicultural melting pot. A trading post and colonial port on the Straits Sea, Penang today has transformed into an exciting destination for art lovers and foodies.
Start by taking a day to explore George Town and its dozens of historical buildings, mosques, churches, and temples on foot. You’ll see a bunch of street art as you do, but don’t concentrate too much on that, for Penang’s history is much more multi-faceted.
The Top at KOMTAR, Penang’s highest tower, offers panoramic views over the island, so much as Penang Hill, a former British hill station turned into a sorta-theme park — but the Habitat, a conservation park equipped with a jungle zipline and the highest observatory deck on Penang, is definitely worth a look.
For nature lovers, hiking one of Penang Hill’s many trails is a must, as it is visiting the Penang National Park, with its beaches and turtle conservation center, in Teluk Bahang.
The best time to visit Penang is hard to say, because the island always enjoys hot, tropical weather, and has many different festivals and celebrations throughout the year. The rainy season is not as marked anymore, so as long as you pack an umbrella, you’ll always be fine.
For art and book lovers, the George Town Festival, held in July, and the George Town Literary Festival, at the end of November, are two very interesting events.
Penang is well-connected by plane to most major Southeast Asian hubs. There is also a fast ETS train service available up to Butterworth, from where visitors can take the iconic Penang ferry to reach the island. Buses leave and depart from the Penang Sentral terminal in Butterworth or the Sungai Nibong Bus Station on the island.
Penang has a lot of different types of accommodation. George Town is best for heritage, people-watching, and events. Try Ren-I-Tang for a stylish heritage stay, or Drippin’ Dragon Hostel for a social hang-out backpacker pad with a swimming pool.
Batu Ferringhi, on the northeastern coast, is better suited for families and those who have the cash to splash. Rasa Sayang Resort is always a good choice, and the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel has good deals for families with kids, including a large free-form swimming pool.
#14 Melaka, Malaysia
Recommended by Caroline Keyzor from CKtravels
Melaka is a riverside town located south of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and is rich in British, Dutch, and Portuguese colonial history with a UNESCO world heritage status. The town is very compact so it can easily be explored by foot and is filled with wonderful colorful heritage buildings, ancient landmarks, and quirky street art.
There are many fun things to do in Melaka but one of the main highlights is the open-air Jonker Street Weekend Night Market. This is one of the best markets in South East Asia and runs every Friday to Sunday, starting from the river and ending at the far end of Jonker Street. You’ll find a wide variety of stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts, and amazing street food, plus there is a large stage offering fun entertainment by the locals.
Make sure you try Nyonya Laksa – a rich and creamy coconut-based noodle soup that is a Melaka specialty and a mix of Malay and Chinese influences. Another fun thing to do is to take a scenic river cruise and view the many beautiful historical buildings and interesting sights around Melaka’s old town, including Kampung Morten – one of the few remaining traditional villages in the area.
The best way to reach Melaka is either by private car transfer or by taking the bus. There are several bus departures a day from Kuala Lumpur and the journey takes 2.5 hours, costing around RM15 for a one-way ticket.
There are lots of great accommodation options for all budgets around the Jonker Street area, and if you have the cash to splash then there are some luxury hotels with swimming pools set along the banks of Melaka’s River.
Recommended by James Ian of Travel Collecting
Borneo is one of the best places to visit in Asia for its incredible wildlife and beauty. Much of the island has been taken over by palm oil plantations, but there are still pockets of rainforest that is home to unique wildlife.
Borneo is home to orangutans, and one of the best places to see them is the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, where orangutans are rehabilitated into the wild. There are feeding platforms set up in the jungle and semi-rehabilitated orangutans come to feed twice a day. To see these amazing animals completely in the wild, travelers can head to the virgin rainforest of Danum Valley in the Malaysian Sabah region.
The Borneo Rainforest Lodge, situated in the center of the primal jungle, provides all-inclusive deals with guided hikes through the jungle to see orangutans, red leaf monkeys, and giant monitor lizards; a canopy walk through the tops of the trees; and a night drive where visitors may see lemurs, giant flying squirrels, and even an elusive cloud leopard. Another highlight is a cruise along the Kinabatangan River to see proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, and pygmy elephants. There are several ecolodges on the river’s edge, including Sukau Rainforest Lodge, which arranges early morning and late evening river safaris. Borneo also has great diving – Sipadan is one of the most famous dive sites in the world!
The best time to visit Borneo is March – October when it is driest and you will, therefore, have the best chance of seeing the wildlife.
There are several airports throughout Borneo. The main airport in Sabah in the northern part of the island is Kota Kinabalu, which has frequent connections from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
#16 Siem Reap, Cambodia
Recommended by Billy Read from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic
Siem Reap is a gem in the heart of Southeast Asia. Situated in northern Cambodia, it’s much less frequented by tourists compared to neighboring Vietnam and Thailand.
Angkor Thom, an ancient city packed with famous temple ruins including the temple of Bayon, with its impressive smiling faces carved into the stones, and Ta Prohm – a temple consumed by the roots of huge, overgrown trees
Angkor Wat, the most famous landmark in Cambodia, the Angkor Wat temple complex sat at the heart of the Khmer Empire. The largest religious monument in the world, it is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Pub Street, the heart of Siem Reap, this street comes alive at night with music and entertainment, has rows of restaurants, shops, spas and massage parlors, and market stalls that sell an assortment of souvenirs and handmade Cambodian arts and crafts, gifts, clothes.
Another highly recommended place to visit near Siem Reap is the floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake. It’s a truly fascinating insight into the culture and lifestyle of a people who spend their entire lives in the floating villages.
December to January is the best time to visit, as its warm, sunny, and dry, and one of the only places in the region that isn’t affected by rain in the winter months.
Siem Reap International Airport is just 7 km away from the city center, with arrivals from all over Asia.
Siem Reap is the perfect location to stay within minutes’drive of Angkor and Tonle Sap, and it’s a small town that’s easy to get around on foot. The best place to stay is the Old French Quarter, and guesthouses are ideal for a more authentic experience.
#17 Luang Prabang, Laos
Recommended by Bec Wyld from Wyld Family Travel
Luang Prabang Laos is a beautiful place and getting there can be half the beauty. Many people opt for a cruise down the mighty Mekong River from Thailand to get there. As you finish your cruise, you can see the buildings on the banks. They are buildings left over from the Colonial times, and they are stunning. It is a different look to what many are used to in Asia but with the heat, tropical plants, and the amazing temples dotted through the town, you know you are in Asia. It is a beautiful mix.
There is so much to do in Luang Prabang for everyone. You can go out to the Kuang Si Waterfalls for a swim and marvel at how amazing nature is, you can sit in on a class at Big Brother Mouse school and help the kids there practice their English, catch the sunset up at the top of Phu Si Hill or over a meal at one of the restaurants alongside the Nam Khan River, watch a traditional Laos dance with a traditional dinner at the 3 Nagas, eat some dinner at the night market, visit the Palace in Luang Prabang or hire a bike and cruise the streets looking for that perfect Instagram shot or hidden gem.
One thing you cannot miss while in Luang Prabang is spending a morning watching the Giving of the Alms. This ceremony has been part of the daily routine in Luang Prabang for hundreds of years and is something you cannot miss.
A magnificent place to stay for you to witness the ceremony is The Lotus Villa Boutique Hotel. The hotel is right on a quiet street where the monks walk every morning just after sunrise. If you are traveling with kids you can request a room that faces the street and can sit on the balcony watching them walk past. Please remember that this is an old tradition and you need to keep your distance from the monks as they receive their Alms for the day.
The National Currency of Laos is the Kip. You can use this, but US Dollars are also accepted in Luang Prabang. The must be new, crisp notes and can have no tears or bends in them or they will not be accepted. If you do choose to use the Kip, you should try to exchange it before you leave Loas as it is tough to do so in any other country.
Recommended by Mainak Biswas from Places in Pixel
Bhutan, the Last Shangrila, is a landlocked Himalayan kingdom. Frequently referred to as the ‘Land of the thunder dragon’, Bhutan is no ordinary place. There is mystery and magic wherever you travel to this small country. This is a country where the rice is red and where chilies aren’t just a seasoning but the main ingredient. Bhutan is also the only country in the world that measured success and develop with GNH (Gross National Happiness) instead of GDP.
There are many wonderful places to visit in Bhutan. To start with the cities, Thimphu (capital), Punakha, and Paro are the major attractions for travelers. There are plenty of museums, monasteries, temples, and local-bazaars to explore in these cities. But the icing on the cake is – Tiger’s Nest – an absolutely stunning monastery perches on a precarious cliff. Any travel to Bhutan is incomplete without hiking up the Tiger’s Nest monastery.
Interesting fact: All the cities and towns in Bhutan are valleys. Hence, as the old saying goes – the journey (to these cities through the mighty Himalayas) will always to better than the destination.
For a trip to the major cities (Thimphu, Paro, Punakha), the best times would be March-May and September-November. These cities are located in the central (or central-western to be precise) part of Bhutan, thereby Spring and Autumn offer the most suitable weather.
The best way to reach Bhutan is by air. The international airport in Bhutan is in Paro and it is called Paro International Airport. It has connecting flights from various cities in India (Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, etc) and also form Katmandu (Nepal). Bhutan can also be entered by road from India, via the border city of Phuentsholing.
#19 Kathmandu, Nepal
Recommended by Meg Atteberry of Fox in the Forest
Nepal is one of the premier adventure travel destinations in the world. Chances are if you’re visiting Nepal, you’ll start your trip off in Kathmandu. Luckily, this capital city is stuffed with wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Sites and plenty to see and do. One of the best things to do in Nepal is to spend a few days exploring this historic city.
Go on a temple tour and see world-famous landmarks such as the Boudhanath Stupa, The Monkey Temple, and the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Take your time wandering the bustling streets. Don’t forget to try all of the delicious local food, such as momos (dumplings), Dal Bhat, and scrumptiously spicy Newari curries.
Spring and fall offer up the best times to visit since the weather is typically clear and mild. This also happens to coincide with the best time to trek.
Most visitors will arrive via Kathmandu’s international airport and will need to obtain a visa on arrival (be sure to have the right amount of USD before departing).
Most people opt to stay in the Thamel neighborhood. Typically this is best since rolling blackouts are a consistent problem in this emerging city.
Plan on spending at least two full days in Kathmandu. Of course, you’ll be itching to go to the mountains for world-famous trekking. Spend one full day on your way in, and one on the way out in order to make the most of your time. There’s so much to see, you may want an extra day or two just in case. Overall, Kathmandu is one of the beating hearts of Asia and this vibrant city is surely a must-see.
#20 Pokhara, Nepal
Recommended by Miguel from Travelsauro
Located on the shore of beautiful Lake Phewa, Pokhara is a popular destination among adventure travelers, as the city is the starting point for countless trails through the Annapurna Massif and other nearby mountains.
Hiking is, by far, the main reason why people visit this region. However, there are other activities such as rafting, mountain biking, or paragliding that you might like to try.
If you have time, I recommend that you don’t miss the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, which is considered one of the best treks in the world and can be completed in 7 to 9 days.
Otherwise, if you don’t feel like going on a multi-day hike, you should walk up to Sarangkot Hill (3-hour trek from Pokhara) to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Himalayas.
Besides outdoor activities, there are a few “relaxing” things you can do in Pokhara such as boating at Phewa Lake, visiting some interesting stupas, or trying the local cuisine.
The best time for hiking in the region is autumn (October to November), and spring (March to May). Keep in mind that during the monsoon months (June to September) some paths can get too muddy and slippery.
There are several buses a day connecting Kathmandu with Pokhara. The road can be uncomfortable for the 7-8 hour trip, so if you prefer to fly, there are daily flights available.
There is a wide range of accommodations in the city, although family-run hotels and hostels are the most popular options because they are great places to meet other travelers and potential hiking buddies.
#21 The Everest Region, Nepal
Recommended by Dave Chant from davechant.com
You look up from your dal bhat (Nepalese rice and lentils) to hear the tingle of bells. Stacks of Cokes and Pringles strangely line the walls of the teahouse you’re eating in. Outside the air is clear and blue, mountain peaks are a spectacle in most directions. Your eyes follow the sound of bells to see yaks, laden with provisions, miraculously crossing a thin bridge over the ravine. This is the Everest country.
If you’re prepared to don a pair of boots and a backpack, this is the place for you. There’s not much else to do but walk, eat, and admire the scenery. Life is slower.
You can do the region solo with all our gear, hire a porter to take your gear, maybe a private guide, or book a small group tour. If you go independently, teahouses or camping are typical. Most, however, go with a company though it’s about twice the price.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is the most popular route, and tourism has grown considerably in the last twenty years. But you also have the option of doing a route around the picturesque Gokyo lakes, the Three Pass Trek, or tackling one of the more demanding single peaks above 6000 meters – Island Peak and Ama Dablam (pictured) being “popular” choices.
The best way to get to within a distance of the Sagarmatha National Park is undoubtedly by flight to Lukla, rated one of the most dangerous airports in the world, due to difficult landings and take-offs. However, it’s a flight you’ll never forget.
If you’re looking for the easiest way into Nepalese trekking, try reputable companies like Intrepid Travel or G Adventures that sort out the logistics and companions for you – they offer a selection of hikes in the area.
By the end of your trip, you may be fed up of lentils, but you’re never be fed up of Nepal.
#22 Varanasi, India
Recommended by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting
One of the most incredible experiences I have had as a traveler was visiting Varanasi, India. Located on the Ganges River in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is perhaps the holiest city in Hindu India. As a foreigner, I immediately felt that I was entering a city of significance, yet I felt welcomed the entire time.
The people of India, and especially Varanasi, are accustomed to tourists who want to experience their way of living and find common ground in those who make the journey.
If you visit Varanasi, you should be ready for the chaos and beauty that coexist in Northern India. The traffic, the urban livestock, the massive amount of people – it can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. Once you get used to that, you can experience Varanasi.
One thing you must do is wake up early and experience the sunrise on the Ganges River. The holiest river in Hindu culture is worshipped at sunrise and sunset. Both times are important for Hindus and you can observe ceremonies on the Ganges with a boat tour. Most hotels will provide you with information on how to appropriately experience these events and they can often provide you with a guide.
The best places to stay in Varanasi is near the Ghats. This is where the most important aspects of this religious city are witnessed first-hand. You will have a front-row seat to the sunrise and evening prayer. The aarti, or prayer chants and ceremonies are incredible and something you will never forget.
You should also consider visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple to see one of the most important temples in Hinduism. It tops the list of best places to visit in Varanasi.
Varanasi is truly a once in a lifetime destination in Asia.
#23 Pushkar, India
Recommended by Ellie Quinn from The Wandering Quinn
Pushkar is a travelers haven in the middle of Rajasthan in India and is a well-needed break after visiting many big Indian cities.
Pushkar is home to a Holy Lake and is, therefore, one of the many spiritual places in India to visit.
Life in Pushkar is based around this lake, with streets upon streets of market vendors selling everything you could ever want to buy.
The best thing about Pushkar is its food and range of cafes and restaurants. The town is all vegetarian so you won’t find any meat on the menus, instead, you’ll find wholesome Indian dishes and some well-needed plant-based western meals too.
As well as shopping and eating, other things to do in Pushkar include walking to find sunset views, being blessed at the lake, and enjoying an Ayurvedic massage.
The best time to visit Pushkar is during the Spring and Autumn months as it’s located in the desert and is too hot to visit in the Summer!
Pushkar does not have a train station but it is still easy to get to. Ajmer is the nearest big city with a station and you can get a taxi 30 minutes from there to Pushkar.
Inn Seventh Heaven hotel is exactly what it sounds like and is the best hotel in Pushkar to stay in. It’s in a good location, it’s quirky and different and it is real heaven because even though Pushkar is chilled, it’s still in India so cow and moped dodging are ever-present and a good hotel to relax at after a day wandering around the town is needed.
#24 Delhi, India
You can’t visit India and not visit the heart and soul of the country – Delhi. The city promises you an experience like no other, the one that’s engraved on your mind forever.
Chaotic yet beautiful; dusty yet eye-opening; in ruins yet complete; ancient yet contemporary; complicated yet effortless – rightfully, a city of contradictions creates a sense of wonder in its visitors.
As you walk the narrow and lively streets of Old Delhi, history unfolds before you, one page at a time. Delhi Gate, Mirza Ghalib ki Haweli, Jama Masjid, and Lal Quila (Red Fort) – the historical gems of Old Delhi aren’t to be missed. Each and every lane and corner of Purani Dilli reminds of the times gone by.
Right in the center of Old Delhi, Chandani Chowk is one of the most famous markets in Delhi. Despite all the mayhem and pandemonium, it remains a shopper’s and foodie’s paradise. From Indian spices, colorful sarees, traditional jewelry, stationery, to Indian sweets, and mouth-watering Indian street food – you name it and you find it in Chandani Chowk!
New Delhi, on the other hand, is an absolute contrast. It’s spacious, clean, green, and posh with broad boulevards, swanky and elegant boutiques, and shops, and chic cafes. India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Safdarjung Tomb, Qutub Minar, Cannaught Place, and many more attractions in New Delhi keep the past alive amid modern development.
You even can enjoy the beauty of nature without leaving the city. Deer Park in Hauz Khas, Lodhi Gardens, Garden of Five Senses, Nature Trail Park, and other natural attractions offer a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.
The best time to visit Delhi is clearly the winter season as Delhi summers are too hot to handle.
Travelers from around the world, mostly, land in Delhi. There are two reasons for it – 1) It’s well-connected to most of the big cities around the world. 2) It’s close to the most sought-after places in India – Taj Mahal and Jaipur. So, it’s easy to spend a few days exploring the capital city before moving to Agra or Jaipur.
We have written an exhaustive guide about the best places to visit in Delhi to help first-time visitors plan a hassle-free trip to India’s stunning capital.
#25 Goa, India
Think untouched villages, gorgeous beaches, swaying coconut palms, great seafood, Portuguese heritage, luxury beach resorts, quaint cafes, trance music, thriving party scene, and locals high on life – This is Goa!
India’s smallest state is huge on attractions. North Goa is high on nightlife and has a mind-boggling shopping scene while serenity, stunning beaches, and scenic long drives epitomize South Goa.
Agonda, Morjim, Calangute, Candolim, Palolem, Varca, Baga, and Majorda are some of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. From Dauna Paula to Latin Quarters of Fontainhas and Goa Museum of Panjim to Indo-Portuguese churches and convents of Goa Velha (Old Goa) to ancient forts – Goa isn’t only for beach and party lovers.
The best time to visit Goa is from November to March and thus, it’s the time of the year when Goa is alive with tourists and travelers across the world. If you ain’t a beach bummer then visit Goa between June and September (Monsoon season) when the rain transforms the tiny Indian state into an emerald paradise. Goa is magical during the rainy season.
The Dabolim Airport in Goa is well-connected with all the major cities of India. If time isn’t a constraint, enjoy the Konkan Railway’s scenic train ride from Mumbai to Goa. Or you can enjoy the excitement of being behind the wheels with the stunning scenery if you’ve your own car. The drive from Mumbai to Goa takes about 12 hours via Mumbai Pune Highway and promises spectacular scenery.
#26 Kochi, Kerala
Kochi, a seaport city on the west coast of India has a history that dates back to the 14th century for being an important trading port especially for spices. Undoubtedly Kerala is Called the Spice capital of India.
Kochi is a beautiful confluence of many cultures as been ruled by Portuguese, Dutch, Mysore dynasty, and Britishers, traveled by traders from around the world like Arab, Chinese. The influence is visible in its architecture, food, and culture and that is what attracts people from all around and falls in love with this city. There are so many places to visit in Kochi depending upon the interest.
Kochi has many islands in the city of which Fort Kochi is popular with many attractions to visit. It has the oldest church of India, St. Francis Church where the world explorer Vasco Da Gama is buried. The Dutch Palace or the Mattancherry Palace has been converted into a museum and has exhibits that shell light on the life of royalty. The foreign influence doesn’t end here.
In fact, Pardesi Synagogue, the place of worship of Jews has in its name, Pardesi in Hindi means foreigner. Another thing that is visible not only in Kochi but across the state is the Chinese fishing nets. In Fort Kochi, head off to the Vasco da Gama square and click some spectacular pictures Especially during sunrise and sunset.
Kerala has a rich culture in arts and dance and the trip to Kerala is incomplete without experiencing them. There are many cultural centers in Kochi that have performances of the classical dance form, Kathakali every day. The elaborate costumes, facial expressions and time-consuming makeup are mesmerizing.
Kochi is a great place to shop for some unique and beautiful souvenirs that remind of the wonderful memories. Another thing that cannot be missed is the scrumptious Kerala cuisine. It is a treat for seafood lovers with a wide variety available. Do try the Kerala Parotta with a curry, idiyappam, puttu with kadala curry, Appam with stew, spicy chicken fry, traditional Karimeen fish dish, Kerala prawn and the list is endless.
There are so many reasons that every tourist that visits Kochi is charmed with its beauty, culture, and food and yearns to be back again.
#27 Jaipur, India
A part of India’s Golden Triangle along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur reserves a top place on every traveler’s India bucket list.
Best known as Pink City, Jaipur is an ultimate colorful experience for the senses.
The best places to visit in Jaipur are Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Jal Mahal, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Galtaji Temple. There’s nothing like spending an evening admiring the magical sunset at Nahargarh Fort!
From handcrafted jewelry and block-printed textiles to blue pottery and handmade puppets, Jaipur’s bazaars offer an enjoyable shopping experience.
Try spicy and lip-smacking authentic Rajasthani food at Laxmi Misthan Bhandar in Johri Bazaar.
October to March (winter) is the best time to visit Jaipur. You can plan around the Jaipur Literature Festival (the world’s largest free literary festival) which takes place every year during January and February.
Sanganer International Airport is just about 13 km from Jaipur and connects the city with most of the big Indian cities. You can also choose to drive from Delhi to Jaipur. Driving from Delhi to Jaipur is a smooth ride taking about 4.5 -5 hrs. There are many buses and Volvos that ply on the route.
When it comes to accommodations in Jaipur, nothing beats the traditional Havelis like Pearl Palace Heritage, Jaipur Haveli, and Samode Haveli that let you enjoy the royalty and hospitality of Rajasthan.
#28 Sri Lanka
Endless stretches of pristine beaches, laid-back and luxurious beach resorts, lush tropical forests, mist-covered and crisp hill country with rolling tea plantations, ancient world heritage sites, wildlife national parks, and scenic train rides – Sri Lanka, a tiny country is larger than life experience.
Your Sri Lanka itinerary must include Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Anuradhapura, Galle, Udawalawa National Park, and Jaffna. A visit to one of the tea factories in Sri Lanka’s hill country is unmissable.
Sri Lanka’s weather is dominated by two monsoons that occur at different times of the year in different regions of the island meaning you can visit the destination nearly all year round. The hill country and the west and south coasts are perfect from December to March while the east coast sees the best weather from April to September.
The only way to get to Sri Lanka is by air. Bandaranaike International Airport is well-served by major international flight carriers. There are a good number of connecting flights to Colombo (With a stop-over in Southeast Asia) from Australia, Europe, North America, and Africa and direct flights from Asia.
This little island nation is, hands down, one of the best countries to visit in Asia or rather in the World. You can never go wrong with SINGAPORE.
The top attractions in Singapore include its airport – Changi. It’s a destination in its own right. You can spend hours exploring the attractions at the airport and never get bored.
With innumerable places to visit in Singapore, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure to invest a good amount of time (7 to 10 days) to explore its diversity, culture, traditions, food, and iconic attractions. Make sure to check out our Singapore Travel Guide to plan a perfect family vacation in Singapore.
Merlion Statue, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, Little India, China Town, Kampong Glam, Katong, and Sentosa Island make up an ultimate Singapore Bucket List. Universal Studios in Sentosa is one of the best places to visit in Singapore with kids.
It’s a year-round destination owing to its tropical weather. The best months to visit Singapore include February, March, and April.
Changi Airport is well-connected to most of the countries across the world. Singapore Airlines flies direct from most of the big cities in the USA, Australia, and Asia while it has connecting flights from European countries except a few.
#30 Seoul, South Korea
Recommended by Rose from Where Goes Rose
Seoul is the vibrant capital of South Korea and one of the best cities to visit in Asia. From ancient palaces to bustling street markets, hipster neighbourhoods and poop cafes (yes really!) you’ll find everything you were looking for, along with constant surprises you never expected.
At least 5 days in Seoul is optimum simply because there’s so much to see and do. One of the best places to visit is the ancient Gyeongbokgung Palace where you can watch the changing of the guards daily at 10 am or 2 pm. Around the corner you can learn how Koreans lived in days gone by at the National Folk Museum of Korea or admire contemporary art at MMCA.
Other things to do include exploring traditional hanok houses in Bukchon Hanok Village and hiking in Bukhansan National Park, just an hour away by bus. You can also walk the Seoul City Walls, drinking in panoramic views as you do so.
Street art fans shouldn’t miss Ihwa Mural Village, a unique and vibrant part of the capital. Meanwhile, foodies will be in the element at Gwangjang Market, home to the knife-cut noodles featured on the Netflix Street Food documentary.
If you’re a fan of nightlife and quirky cafes, don’t miss Hongdae where the bars stay open ‘ti 6 am and you can visit poop, bunny, and sheep-themed cafes!
You can reach the city by flying into Incheon Airport.
The best place to stay is friendly Bunk guesthouse in Hongdae.
#31 Taipei, Tiawan
Recommended by Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear
Take a quick weekend trip to Taipei and you’ll have just enough time to explore some of the best parts of the city. This urban city has a small-town charm that is super unique, plus it’s the perfect place for foodies to visit.
The major must-do in Taipei is to eat at the night markets. One of the most famous night markets is the Shilin Night Market. By day, this area is just a metro station, but after dark, it’s one of the best places to get food. It completely comes alive and becomes filled with street stalls serving traditional street snacks such as oyster or shrimp pancakes and boba, but also more modern eats including fried pork cutlet and popcorn chicken. Some vendors also have arcade games to entertain and various products to sell.
Be sure to check out the Taipei 101 observation deck, located at the top of the Taipei 101 building. This skyscraper was once the tallest building in the world between 2004 and 2010 until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed. The views of the city are amazing and it was built to withstand strong typhoon winds, as well as earthquakes as the island of Taiwan, is located along the Pacific Ring of fire.
The best time to visit Taipei is in the fall or spring when the weather is milder.
You can easily reach Taipei by flying into Taoyuan International Airport, the closest to the city.
You can stay anywhere in Taipei as long as it is close to a metro station, it will make getting around so much easier if you’re located close to one. Make Taipei a delicious food-filled stop on your next trip to Asia!
#32 Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Recommended by Erica from Travels with Erica
Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful cities in Taiwan. It is located in southern Taiwan and is only a 90-minute train ride from Taipei! Kaohsiung is a great alternative to Taipei. It has a more laid-back atmosphere and lets you see a different side of Taiwanese culture.
Kaohsiung has a number of world-class attractions you can visit. It is most famous for the Tiger and Dragon Pagoda, but the city has way more to offer than that one famous attraction. There are also a number of viewpoints of the city you can visit, an art district with a super cool vibe, and Cijin Island – one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taiwan.
But the real showstopper in Kaohsiung is Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Fo Guang Shan Monastery is located just outside of Kaohsiung, but it is just a short bus ride away. It is home to the largest sitting bronze Buddha statue in the world and is absolutely breathtaking.
It was well worth visiting Kaohsiung just to visit Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
The best time to visit Kaohsiung is from September to November. It is a lot less humid but still quite warm. No need to pack sweaters or pants even though those are the “cooler” months!
The metro isn’t as robust as other major cities. Kaohsiung only has two metro lines, and they only intersect at Formosa Boulevard Station, so you should book a hotel in that area. It’ll be the easiest location to explore the city from because you won’t have to spend any time transferring between metro lines.
Don’t forget to visit a night market while you’re in Kaohsiung! They offer some of the most delicious street food in the world!
#33 Hong Kong, China
Recommended by Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear
Hong Kong, also known as, “the pearl of the Orient,” has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. Once a British colony that was returned to China in 1997, the colorful city is a great place to visit for the perfect East meets West cultural experience.
Walk around Central and you’ll find a mixture of old school colonial-style buildings, Chinese style “tong lau,” and glass skyscrapers. Take the Star Ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui and walk along the promenade enjoying the amazing skyline, nightly at 8 pm there is even the Symphony of Lights, a light show with synchronized music. If you visit during the holidays, you’ll be in for a treat as the cityscape is, even more, lit up than usual.
The food in Hong Kong is to die for, be sure to get the dim sum and try out a cha chaan teng, basically a Hong Kong-style diner. Of course, don’t forget the wonton noodle shops or the Chinese bakeries.
If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle and just want to get out of the city, take a day trip over to Lantau Island where you can see the Big Buddha statue, visit the Po Lin Monastery, and take the 360 Cable Car. It’s a different world out, aside from the aforementioned areas, you’ll find hiking trails, beaches, and old fishing towns.
Hong Kong is easily reachable via air, you can fly into Hong Kong International Airport. Otherwise, cruises also stop here and you can also take the train from China.
For the most convenient places to stay, the districts of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui are the best for traveling throughout the city and beyond.
You’ll love spending a long weekend in Hong Kong discovering all there is to do in the beautiful city!
#34 Beijing, China
Recommended by Annick from The Common Traveler
Lovers of history and culture shouldn’t miss seeing Beijing, China. Because of the sheer size of the city, and how long it takes to get from one place to another, visitors should plan on spending a minimum of three days in the city.
Places of interest in Beijing include the Forbidden City; the Temple of Heaven; the ancient Hutongs or neighborhoods; and the National Stadium, site of the 2008 Olympics. Travelers shouldn’t miss the night time Wangfujing Food Market, an opportunity to try many different and wondrous street foods.
The Great Wall of China, one of the seven wonders of the world, is accessible nearby and a bucket list item for most visitors to China.
First-time guests to Beijing should keep both the great distances and large population in mind when making plans. For purposes of comparison, Beijing is almost four times more populous than New York City. Travelers should be sure to bring a translating tool with them unless they are fluent or conversational in Mandarin. Most residents of Beijing do not speak English or have a limited command of the language.
Beijing’s majesty as a capital city for thousands of years has been well preserved. Visitors will be impressed with its history, grace, and beauty. The city is clean, crowded, and chaotic. The sight, smell, and noise should all be taken in. This trip will create memories of a lifetime.
The best time to visit Beijing is in the Spring when the crowds are smaller and the weather mild. If everything lines up perfectly, you’ll be greeted by the sight of cherry blossoms blooming all over the city.
Many visitors choose to stay near the 3rd Ring Road, home to the diplomatic community and central business district.
#35 Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam for the last 1000 years, is a rich cultural and heritage place that makes it one of the most visited cities in Vietnam.
Hanoi has so much to explore from museums, heritage sites, palaces, temples, and pagodas. But first, need to get used to the insane traffic and craziness. So it is better to explore the city over a few days.
The central and the most popular area is the Old Quarter where all the excitement is. The Hoan Kiem Lake or the Sword Lake is the focal point of the Old Quarter. The Ngoc Son Temple is a pagoda situated on the island on the lake that is connected to the mainland with a red wooden bridge that is a major attraction for pictures. In the evening, the area around the lake becomes lively with activities and families enjoying.
Ho Chi Minh complex is a vast area with many points of interest Like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh House, Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda that is great to spend half or full day. Ho Chi Minh is a revered leader for Vietnamese who fought for the independence of the country.
One of the top attractions in Hanoi is the Temple of Literature built in the 11th century. In fact it is the Mecca of students who still visit and pray especially during exams. There’s so much history and stories associated with the place and its artifacts. If the history and culture of a place intrigue you, then the Museum of Ethnology is a must-visit. There are so many interesting artifacts and exhibits including actual models of different types of houses that delve into the evolution of the people.
One cannot leave Hanoi without trying a variety of scrumptious food, especially the flavors of Vietnamese coffee.
Hanoi has normal tropical monsoon weather that keeps it humid throughout. The best time to visit Hanoi is February-April and September-October to avoid the scorching heat and rainfall.
Highly recommend staying near the Old Quarter and Hilton Garden Inn is a great choice.
#36 Ha long Bay, Vietnam
The trip to Hanoi is incomplete without visiting this UNESCO World Heritage site. A Picturesque sight that is so beautiful and inviting, the thousands of small islands of limestone standing tall in the emerald blue waters. This is also the most photographed place in Vietnam and is found on any information about Vietnam that one searches.
Halong Bay is best explored in a Chinese style sailboat called a junkboat. The boat cruises through the blue waters amidst the limestone mountains. During the cruise there are many activities like kayaking, exploring the limestone caves, cooking classes to indulge in.
There are various options of day cruises, one night or 2-night cruises to choose from. It is always good to spend a night enjoying the beauty of the place at leisure. There are many tour operators that have cruises ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury to suits all budgets. Most of the tours do include pick and drop from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
#37 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, the business hub of Vietnam, is located in the south of Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon, a name that is still in use, Ho Chi Minh is unlike Hanoi with high rise buildings creating a beautiful skyline along the river.
The city is divided into districts. District 1 has most of the attractions and is a great place to stay. Staying at the Le Meridian Saigon, overlooking the river makes it convenient to explore most of the attractions on foot. The worth visiting places are the Central Post Office, Independence Palace/Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ho Chi Minh is the perfect place to take day trips to Cu Chi Tunnels, floating markets like Cai Be market and Mekong Delta. Cu Chi tunnels is the vast underground network of tunnels spread across 121 km that was used by the Vietnamese soldiers as hiding spots during the war. It is commendable and also haunting to even imagine how could they survive in those cramped tunnels with limited food and water supply that too for days.
To the south of Vietnam lies the Mekong delta region spanning over 15,000 sq miles with a network of rivers, canals, islands with villages around these with lush greenery and mangrove trees. Take a day trip or explore over a few days. It’s an experience to cherish.
#38 Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Phu Quoc, an island to the southeast of Vietnam is a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate with pristine white sand beaches. It even boasts of having one of the world’s best beaches.
It makes visiting Phu Quoc even more special due to the relaxed visa policy. If just visiting the island, there is no need for a visa for 30 days. So just book a flight to the Phu Quoc International Airport and savor the beauty.
It is a fun place to take kids with theme parks like Vinpearl Land Amusement Park and Vinpearl safari. Almost half of the island is part of Phu Quoc National park with mountains, flora-fauna, hiking trails making it apt for adventure seekers. Also, there is the world’s first and longest cable car over water at Hon Thom Cable car.
There are so many beautiful beaches to choose from – Bai Dai, Bai San, Khem beach, San beach. To experience the local lifestyle, head to Duong Dong market which is the focal point of the island. From shopping of local produce, souvenirs, and savoring the food at the Phu Quoc night market.
Phu Quoc is one of the major producers of fish sauce in the world and A fish sauce factory tour provides an insight into how it is made and packed.
The best time to visit the island is from October to March which also is the peak tourist season. There are many resorts from super luxury to mid-range and budget hostels suiting the pocket. Novotel and Vinpearl are great resorts to choose from to stay especially with families.
#39 Cebu Island, Philippines
Recommended by Greta from Gretas Travels
If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Asia, you have to add Cebu Island to your bucket list. Cebu is a beautiful island with a huge variety of things to do, perfect for any type of traveler. Whether you’re looking to go canyoneering in turquoise waterfalls, hike to beautiful viewpoints, scuba dive with all sorts of marine fauna, or even just chill on the beach, Cebu has it all.
There are a lot of awesome things to do in Cebu Island for adventurous travelers, but also loads of relaxing opportunities if you’re just looking for a quiet island break. It’s one of the most visited and beautiful islands in the Philippines, a must-see in Asia!
Most of the main attractions are located in the southern part of the island, so I recommend basing yourself in Moalboal for your time in Cebu. Moalboal is a cute seaside town where you can snorkel with turtles and the sardine run, as well as enjoy some beautiful sunsets on the beach.
Moalboal is also close to the popular Kawasan Falls. This is a series of waterfalls, famous for the bright turquoise water of the river and pools. Lots of travelers come every day to slide and jump into the clear water of Kawasan Falls, or even just to float about and enjoy a day in the jungle.
Another popular spot near Moalboal in Cebu is Osmena Peak. The effort to reward ratio of his hike is perfect. With just a short 20-minute hike you will be rewarded with epic 360-degree views over the surrounding hills. You can even sea Moalboal and the sea in the distance.
Cebu Island has an international airport in Cebu City. From here, you then have to do a 4-hour bus journey to reach Moalboal. It’s long but, it will make it so much easier getting around for the rest of your adventures in Cebu!
#40 Palawan, Philippines
Recommended by Claire from Stoked to Travel
The small and hilly town of El Nido on the mesmerizing island of Palawan in the Philippines is one of the best places to visit in Asia. Consisting of a town on the Palawan mainland and 45 twinkly paradise islands, most of which are uninhabited, El Nido has quickly become one of the most popular places in the Philippines.
Its town center is filled with quirky hostels, charming cafes, and bars, plus some great beach bars, but the real magic lies in days spent island-hopping between the magical islands. You can spend day after day joining locals on their wooden boats exploring different sets of islands.
The diving is exceptional, but you can also just enjoy a beer in stunning surroundings if you prefer. You even arrange to camp on a tiny island, where a local will drop you off and pick you up. The clear and starry skies at night are unimaginably special.
It’s better to avoid the rainy season to enjoy the islands as a true paradise, so try to visit between November and May.
The main town to fly into on the island is Puerto Princesa, and from here you can easily catch a 6-7 hour minibus to El Nido. But you could also spend a few nights in Puerto Princesa, which is known for the awesome tubing in its underground river. Or stop at the beautiful, peaceful beaches of Port Barton.
Another useful thing to know about El Nido is that there are limited ATMs (there used to be none), and they often run out of money, so bring extra. If not, it’s a very long bus return bus to Puerto Princesa!
#41 Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Recommended by Kyla Hunter from Where Is The World
Samarkand is a spectacular city in Central Asia that’s still off the beaten path and exciting to explore. It’s the most famous of Uzbekistan’s silk road cities due to a large number of blue-tiled madrassas and mausoleums that dot the city.
The most famous of these is the Registan, at the heart of Samarkand, and should be the starting point for any visit to this city. The Registan’s central square is surrounded by three beautiful madrasas built in the 15th and 17th centuries. They are similar but different, and each one is worthy of a bit of time spent admiring the stunning facades and interiors.
Uzbekistan has four distinct seasons, with hot desert summers and long cold winters. It’s best to visit in the spring (April-May) or fall (September-October) to avoid the extreme temperatures. Make sure to pack layers, as the temperature can fluctuate throughout the day, especially in spring and fall.
Samarkand is well connected to the rest of Uzbekistan both by train and bus. Train travel is the recommended choice as high-speed trains are air-conditioned, comfortable, and move along the countryside quickly. It’s easiest to buy tickets at the train station or have it done at a hotel or travel agent.
There are many options for places to stay in the city and accommodation is quite inexpensive. The best area to stay is, the center of town, close to Registan St or University Blvd. Hotel Ishonch offers basic but clean rooms within easy walking distance to both the Registan and Gur-e Amir complex.
Much of the country is yet to be well connected via the internet, so although it’s still possible to travel independently, it doesn’t hurt to have local help with bookings. Many accommodations are more than willing to do this, but it can sometimes take a bit of time. Don’t rush! Slow down, take your time, and enjoy the magic of the silk road.
#42 Yerevan, Armenia
Recommended by Kamila from My Wanderlust
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, might not look like a very exciting city at first but, this is such an interesting place, definitely worth visiting.
With plenty of things to do in Yerevan, you surely won’t be bored there. I recommend spending at least 2 days in Yerevan to properly discover the city. Be sure to climb or take the escalator to the top of the Cascade, the famous staircase towering above the city. From there, you can admire the beautiful panorama of the city and if you are lucky with the weather, the iconic Mount Ararat – the holy mountains of Armenian.
Don’t miss the center with its pink buildings. Their distinctive color comes from tuff, volcanic stone used in the city. Yerevan is such a vibrant city, and the number of small cafes is outstanding. You can find most of them near the Opera or hidden in the charming backstreets. Don’t miss the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial. It’s not an easy place to visit but helps you understand the tragic and difficult past of the Armenians.
Yerevan can be also used as the perfect base to explore Armenia. You can visit most of the country’s highlights as a day trip from the capital.
Summer can be crazy hot in Armenia (even over 40°C) so, it’s better to visit in late spring or early autumn.
Getting to Yerevan isn’t always easy since Armenia doesn’t have all that many flight connections with abroad (there are flights to Russia and a few European countries) but, recently low-cost airlines started flying there, so the situation is improving. You can also travel to Armenia overland from Georgia or Iran.
There are plenty of accommodation options you can choose from in Yerevan, just be sure to stay somewhere in the center so you can be within walking distance to all the attractions.
That’s it! Phew. Have you ever got a chance to set foot in Asia? Is your favorite Asian destinations included in our list? If not, tell us more about it in the comments section.
If you’ve never been to Asia yet, we hope our list of best places to visit in Asia will get you started on your epic adventure to Asia.
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