Asia has some of the oldest known tribes and cultures. It has some breathtaking destinations that you need to visit at least once during your lifetime. Being a blend of diverse cultures and customs has added multiple dimensions and colours to this continent and has made it truly unique.
Let us look at the top destinations in Asia that attracts visitors and tourists from all over the world.
10 Asian Cities to Visit This Year:
1. Beijing: Beijing could seem to be a farrago of divergent views and emotions but it is the seat of some of the World Heritage Sites such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. This gigantic city, which has been in existence for over three millennia, offers other equally gripping sites of visit like the Tiananmen Square and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. While it may seem to be a little synthetic and distant at first, you’ll soon discover that the people in general are quite welcoming and generous. You can also visit the national museums and the palaces that still stand from the times of the imperial rulers. Don’t forget to try the food which has a distinct flavour and appeal.
2. Gansu: Gansu, a province in North-Central China, is unbelievably well-connected for a place that is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, arid peaks, and beautiful deserts. This is where you should be if you want to get a feel of Mother Nature’s loving touch. From the awe-inspiring Overhanging Great Wall to the striking Danxia National Geopark, you have a lot to do and see at Gansu. The gigantic Buddha statue at Bingling Monastery, known to add a mystic charm to the place, is considered to be a must-visit. You should certainly not miss the Mogao Grottoes, a cavernous region full of Lord Buddha’s statues, which underwent a major renovation in 2015. Don’t forget to check out Labrang Monastery which is considered to be extremely well-maintained.
3. Siem Reap: Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor Region of Cambodia, can enthral you with the colonial-style French architecture and the humongous remnants of the structures that were built by the Chinese in the past. Apart from visiting a panoply of museums and cultural villages, you can keep yourself engaged by being a part of the traditional Apsara-style dance sessions that are hosted at different parts of the city. It also has a vibrant and truly cosmopolitan dining and drinking scene where you can unwind in the evenings. The far-flung fishing villages can take you many centuries back and the bird sanctuaries offer a respite for the reclusive visitors.
4. Melaka City: This city in Malaysia, appeared on the radar of tourists for the first time in 2008 when it was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO. Since then, it has managed to pull a decent number of tourists every year. People come here to visit the heritage buildings, many of which have undergone a complete makeover, and to take rides along the Melaka River, which has become an extremely popular tourist activity in the recent years. There is no dearth of art galleries and shops if you want to take back souvenirs. You can also look for amazing deals at the Trash & Treasure flea market here.
5. Hanoi: Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, has beautifully transitioned from its war-ravaged past to its modern self. However, more than 600 pagodas and temples in the city bear testimony to the fact that the people here haven’t forgotten their proud heritage and culture. If you get bored from your visits to the religious sites, you can always turn your attention to the city’s nightlife and drown yourself in the city’s thriving party scenes. The monuments and the Old Quarter have been preserved well and offer a peek into what the city looked like during the imperial era. Don’t forget to block some time on your itinerary for visiting the Hoa Lo Prison and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. If you want to know about water puppetry, buy a ticket with your credit card to the Thang Long Puppet Theatre.
6. Trincomalee: If you want a place that has temples, forts, and even cathedrals, Trincomalee could be your choice. This beautiful port city in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka will capture your imagination with its war memorials, forts, port activities, and even reefs just off the coast. If you love quietude, you could amble down the gentle curves of the Manayaweli Bay and maybe even check out the local fish market, known for its variety. You might also want to catch a boat to the sea to watch whales. The Koneswaram Temple is a major attraction to both Hindus and non-Hindus from across the world.
7. Chiang Mai: While Bangkok and Phuket may still be drawing bigger crowds, if you want to bathe yourself in the country’s true culture and heritage, visit Chiang Mai, the largest city in the northern part of Thailand. You can visit the many heavenly temples and heritage sites that are spread throughout this ancient walled city. If you love verdant forests, and lofty mountains, DoiSuthep is where you should be. You’ll love the quaint restaurants and peaceful city parks and Wat Phra, the most iconic temple in the region. If you’re looking for a different experience, try the night safari which has been modelled after the one in Singapore.
8. Seoul: Often considered Asia’s pride due to the tremendous pace at which it keeps expanding, Seoul in South Korea is where you should be if you love lip-smacking food, fast city life, and well-preserved architectural marvels. You can start with the War Memorial of Korea, which has war memorabilia and military equipment on display, and move onto the Grevin Museum which houses more than 80 life-size wax models of celebrities from around the world. You can also engage yourself with any one of the eight immersive digital-experience games available. Head straight to the Trickeye Museum after that to enjoy multidimensional illusions and augmented realities. You can also go and shop at Ewha Women’s Shopping Street or stop for a quick bite at Tosokchon, which arguably serves the best chicken broth in the country.
9. Kyoto: This city in Japan, which literally translates to “Capital City”, was the capital of the Imperial Rule in Japan for a long time. Today, it attracts tourists from around the world for its marvellous shrines, temples, and museums. The Fushimi Inari-Taisha, a shrine dedicated to Inari, the God of Rice in the Shinto culture, is a major attraction. You can also spend some time at Kiyomizu-Dera Temple and the Heian Shrine or go for a thrill ride in the famous Shinkansen train. You can make a trip to Mount Fuji, an active volcano and the tallest mountain in Japan. You can also spend a day rediscovering solitude and peace inside the pristine gardens in some of the most prominent temples at Kyoto.
10. Jaipur: This Indian city is known for its imposing forts and majestic palaces. You would love the open markets and the modern cafes. JantarMantar, an observatory, which was built by Sawai Man Singh, a local Rajput ruler and a scholar in the eighteenth century is a major draw. Take a tour to some of the city’s best-known palaces such as the City Palace, the Nahargarh Fort, the Amer Fort, and the otherworldly Jal Mahal. You can also go for a jeep safari through the meandering roads through the wild. Try not to miss the hot air balloon safari. Find some time to attend one of the wonderful puppetry shows. You can also take one of the cycling trails to get a closer view of the city and its life.
Many believe that travelling has healing and therapeutic powers. But, if you really want to find out if the belief is accurate, simply take a flight to one of these places and discover the wonders that await.