In our quest to discover the world, we can’t help but come across some places that are just so spectacular that we never want to leave. For me, this is the case with certain parts of Asia – from the ancient ruins in Cambodia to the peaceful lake life in Vietnam, there are plenty of destinations here that you should add to your travel bucket list. Whether you’re looking for unique and interesting things to do or just seeking out some breathtaking scenery, here are some of my favorite places in Asia (in no particular order) that I think everyone should see before they die!
1. Osaka, Japan
Osaka is the third most populous city in Japan and its population is estimated at over 2.7 million people. It’s the perfect spot for exploring culture and architecture, which are two of Osaka’s most popular attractions. The Umeda Sky Building stands over 200 meters tall with restaurants on top that offer some of the best views in all of Osaka. The Hanshin Expressway Observation Deck offers an incredible view from the 41st floor and you can also take in sights from atop the Osaka TV Tower to see everything from Mount Rokko to Tempozan Mountain.
2. Beijing, China
For many people, a trip to China is the experience of a lifetime. Beijing, one of the country’s most historic and modern cities, is on the itinerary for most visitors. The Forbidden City should be high on your list of must-see attractions in Beijing; it was where the Ming and Qing dynasties held court in olden times. Then there is Tiananmen Square and the Palace Museum nearby. You can also visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu (1-hour drive from Beijing) or Badaling (the closer option). There are other ancient sites as well: the Lama Temple, Yonghegong Lamasery, the Temple of Heaven, and the National Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine.
3. Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam: This is one of the most beautiful and green cities in Southeast Asia. It’s very cheap to travel here, and with its street food markets, outdoor cafés, pagodas, and temples, it’s difficult not to fall in love with this place. There is plenty of traditional cultures to be found here too, as a lot of the old colonial buildings have been preserved as they were at that time. Siem Reap, Cambodia: Siem Reap, Cambodia: Angkor Wat is probably the most famous temple in this region, but there are many other places worth visiting like Bayon Temple or Ta Prohm. The ancient temples are surrounded by tropical jungle-like vegetation.
Yangon, Myanmar: Yangon, Myanmar: Is one of the lesser-known places in Asia and definitely worth visiting if you’re into exploration!
4. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is known for its wide variety of street food vendors and soju bars. There’s a spirit in Seoul called Samgyeopsal-lovers line up at night to enjoy thick slices of fried pork belly cooked to order. Seoul has many museums and historical landmarks including Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village. Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo offers some great shopping, world-class cuisine, and all sorts of cultural activities from sushi-making classes to visiting local shrines. One thing not on everyone’s radar: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a peaceful respite from the bustling city outside its gates. Bangkok, Thailand: Bangkok’s population may be densely packed but it still manages to feel like one big village with markets by day and by night. One of my favorite spots?
5. Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is a captivating and cosmopolitan destination with a unique blend of Asian and Western influences. The city offers an endless array of things to do, see, and experience.
A visitor may choose to explore Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island that offers incredible views over the harbor and beyond; shop at one of the many luxury malls such as IFC Mall, Harbour City, or Pacific Place; or enjoy world-class cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants like Jade Garden or Sushi Ginza Onodera.
6. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is an Indonesian island with a population of 4.2 million people. It is famous for its all-inclusive resorts and its capital city, Denpasar. Bali has emerged as a leading tourist destination in Southeast Asia and is the 16th largest island in the world by landmass. One of the most popular places to visit on the island is Ubud, which is known for its spas, art galleries, boutique shopping, amazing architecture, and delicious cuisine. The city of Ubud was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995. Another popular place to see is Lake Bratan, where you can enjoy water sports like boating or wakeboarding or just relax on the beach. The lake provides a picturesque setting surrounded by volcanic mountains and palm trees.
7. Bangkok, Thailand
For business and leisure travelers alike, Bangkok has many different things to offer such as Wat Arun Temple, The National Palace Museum of Thailand, Jim Thompson’s House, the Giant Swing at Lumpini Park, and The Grand Palace. There are also temples built by the Chula and many eating places.
Asia is a continent that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for bustling metropolitan areas like Hong Kong or Tokyo, or the pristine natural beauty of the Indonesian rainforest, there’s no shortage of beautiful and interesting places to visit. If you’re considering traveling there, one thing to keep in mind is how much time and money you want to spend exploring – it can be a pretty expensive place! For example, the 10-day Singapore tour costs $3,000 USD per person on average (not including airfare). However, if you’re looking for some budget travel ideas and destinations with fewer crowds, I recommend checking out Taiwan. The country has plenty of interesting cities worth visiting as well as gorgeous national parks such as Taroko Gorge National Park and Sun Moon Lake National Park.