The first time I visited Asia was actually when I moved to live there! I was doing a research project with Cambridge University in Singapore as part of my dissertation and made Singapore my home. That being said, Singapore is only one tiny part of Asia and there’s a heap of the best places in Asia to visit all across the region.
The way I then ‘did Asia’ was picking out a specific destination (a city, a town, a village, a resort area; it didn’t matter). It was the best excuse to visit places and countries nearby, too. For instance, visiting Hong Kong gave me the opportunity to throw in a quick visit to neighbouring Macau.
The point, I’m trying to make here is that a great way to the best places in Asia. Split your trip into manageable chunks (or regions) and get to explore this hugely diverse and incredible area of the world.
Anyway, I don’t want to ramble for too long, but take a look at some of the best places in Asia to visit on your next trip. Have the best time.
Beijing, being the capital city of China, is almost a no-brainer when it comes to deciding where to visit in China. After all, it’s one of the best places in Asia to visit if you want to visit one of its vast cities.
It’s fast-paced, exciting and arguably a lot more cosmopolitan than most other places you’ll visit in China. Well, that and Shanghai, at least.
With a heap of cultural and historical sites, such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, there are enough places to explore to last you months!
Plus, there’s a load of bustling street markets (you’ve got to check out the Panjiayuan Flea Market), Beijing is unquestionable a fun city for all travellers and a fantastic place to begin a trip through China.
2.) Siem Reap, Cambodia
Rich with thousands of years of history and with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, Siem Reap is one of the best places in Asia to visit for sure.
Take some time to tour the temples and ruins of Angkor Wat for a fascinating insight into Cambodian history.
Oh, and when you’re done with this (as well as the other amazing ruins), be sure to make time to eat your weight in delicious Cambodian food (try Fish amok) at the local markets.
3.) Bangkok, Thailand
The capital of Thailand, Bangkok, is a brilliant blend of new and old! It’s one of the best places in Asia to have a mix of shiny and new, and totally ancient spots to explore in and around the city.
Also, visiting the city is a great opportunity to check out Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the world’s largest open-air markets. Also, stand at the base of a 150-foot golden Buddha statue (in Wat Pho), too.
Finally, make sure to take a trip to the nearby ancient Kingdom of Ayutthaya, too. It’s so incredible to see.
4.) Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world and a place I could very happily live in.
Thing is, it’s a bright a shiny city but there’s so much of it that’s also very gritty and very real which, in a lot of ways, reminds me of cities like London (i.e. home… which probably explains why it was so easy to feel at home almost immediately here).
The best part about Hong Kong is that there’s pretty much everything and anything you’d want from a city here; amazing food, fantastic nightlife, old historic temples, right through to fun places like Hong Kong Disneyland, to mention but a few.
Point is, if you’re looking for an exciting city holiday, you’ve come to the right place here.
5.) Kathmandu, Nepal
Famous as a gateway to Mount Everest, there’s a heap of epic and historic things to do in Kathmandu that you can’t miss when in Nepal.
For me, it’s one of the best places in Asia to visit, especially as it can be a gateway to explore the rest of Nepal (like we did), too.
Besides potentially hiking in Nepal, there’s a fair bit to keep you busy once in this dusty and lively city.
For instance, places like the Pashupatinath Temple (a sacred Hindu temple), the busy shopping streets of Thamel and (to step away from the main hubs of activity) heading down Old Freak Street (an important part of the 60s and 70s) hippie trail all make this city totally unique.
6.) Bali, Indonesia
When people think of Bali, people probably think of beaches but there’s so much more to this amazing Indonesian island than that.
7.) Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo is an amazing city in Japan (no matter how much time you spend here, you’ll leave wanting more) but if you’re looking for a more traditional side to Japan, Kyoto is where you should explore.
You see, Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, a fact that becomes very visible once you start to visit the amazing shrines and palaces dotted across the city.
Thanks to the super-fast bullet train, Tokyo is only a few hours away and perfectly combined with a trip to Kyoto, leaving you with a fantastic opportunity to experience old and new Japan.
Not only that, but it’s also one of the best cities in Japan to explore when you arrive.
8.) Bagan, Myanmar
A trip to Bagan is unlike anywhere else you’ll ever see and is one that you have to do, even if that’s all you have time to do in Myanmar. It’s easily one of the best places in Asia to include on a wider trip.
9.) Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
The sights you will experience in Ha Long Bay are pretty epic and probably one of the best places in Asia for some stunning views.
Which, is totally understandable why this beautiful area of Vietnam has deemed it a UNESCO World Heritage site and well worth a visit.
With lush greenery and steep cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters below, this is one amazing place to explore the best places in Vietnam that are totally beautiful.
Travellers can sail through the Bay of Descending Dragons, cruise through the stunning rock formations and islets and generally just soak up the amazing sights in this Vietnamese gem.
Afterwards, take a trip down to some of Vietnam’s cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, too. After all, it’s likely you’ll have flown into one of these when you visit.
10.) Kandy, Sri Lanka
The city of Kandy is the gateway to quite a few UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka and is a fantastic place in itself to start a trip through Sri Lanka.
Kandy was once home to the ancient Kings of Sri Lanka and is the last place that was actually home to said, Ancient Kings.
So, in addition to the stunning array of sights to see here, there’s so much Sri Lankan culture and tradition to be gleaned here – one of which is the traditional Kandy dancing of which you must attend a show when you visit.
Plus, it’s really easy to visit Kandy as part of a wider trip around the best places in Sri Lanka when you’re exploring the country.
11.) Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea and one place that, for me at least, is so amazing to visit. In fact, for the amount of history and culture to explore, I’d say it’s one of the best places in Asia to visit.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to visit some of the other best places in South Korea, too.
It’s a gorgeous country.
12.) El Nido, Philippines
Now, it might be a little bit trickier to get to than the likes of Manila, but you can easily get internal flights to El Nido to explore this area.
Honestly, the tiny islands and bays in this area are totally stunning, making it a perfect place to chill out.