Once the travel bug bites, it is hard to shake. There is an entire world of captivating destinations to check off your travel bucket list, including vacation spots in our own backyard. While Europe may be first to come to mind when you think of destinations with rich history + culture, it is just a sliver of the options out there. It’s continental buddy, Asia, is full of travel destinations whose histories go back millenniums. Whether it’s food, history, culture, or scenery that attracts you to travel, one of the regions of Asia is sure to speak to you.
When we think about the continent, some of the first countries to come to find reside in this region of Asia. Political biggies like China, Korea, and Japan are encompassed here. In these countries, you can experience some of the perks of the most innovative cities in the world as well as man-made wonders like the Great Wall of China. Top urban areas to visit include Seoul, Hong Kong, Osaka, and Shang Hai. If the Olympics tickle your fancy, check out Pyeongchang and Beijing have been home to recent games while Tokyo is up next in 2020 (Beijing is up again in 2022). For those interested in some of the regions best attractions, be sure to check out Fushimi Inari Taisha (Kyoto), Kenting National Park (Taiwan), the Forbidden City (Beijing), and Mount Fuji (Japan).
Like all regions of Asia, South Asia is a unique area full of its own culture. Geographically, a large portion of this region is taken up by India. Due in part to its extended English occupation, India is home to a unique mix of language, architecture, and culture. Sights like the Taj Mahal, the Ganges, and the Golden Temple. While Agra may give you Aladdin vibes, other cities like New Dehli + Mumbai will offer metropolitan vibes contrasted with small markets + local flavor. Outside of Indian, there are plenty of other great tourists destinations in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, and Nepal. Cities of interest in this region are Kathmandu, Islamabad, and Kabul. Like the rest of Asia, this region has beautiful beaches, especially in the Maldives.
Tourism to Southeast Asia is booming. Thailand is probably the top destination in my circles. It’s cities (and beaches) are plastered all over Instagram with travelers frequenting Bangkok, Phuket, and Krabi Province. Another country FULL of gorgeous destinations is Malaysia – the beaches + temples there are a sight to see. If it is water views you want, look no further than Bali (Indonesia), Halong Bay (Vietnam), and Luang Prabang (Laos). Other top Southeast Asia destinations include Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, and the Philippines. While millennials are flocking to all the regions of Asia, this one seems to be the most popular.
This area is more commonly known as the Middle East. Though commonly associated with war + social unrest, many parts of the Middle East are not just safe, but tourist havens. This is one of the regions of Asia that is rich in religious history for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Jesuelum is one of the biggest religious meccas along with Babylon, Mecca, Bethlehem, and Jordan. Religion aside, there are beautiful sites to see and culture to experience in the Middle East. Dubai + Abu Dhabi – some of the regions safest cities – feature amazing skylines + metropolitan flare. Along with Turkey, Cyprus will give you some great Mediterranean views + is just a hop, skip, and jump from Southern Europe.
This region, home of the many -stans, is often overlooked for its waterfront cousins. Central Asia is home to the notorious Silk Road. No city is more evocative for the Silk Road than Samarkand – the architecture + tile work here are next level. Other top locations in the region are Khiva, Bukhara, Almaty, and Astana. This region may not be at the top of my list, but there are still plenty of sights to be seen.
No matter what regions of Asia you decide to visit, you are sure to take in beautiful sights, unique cultures, and rich history. With the next several world sporting events on the continent, travel to Asia is sure to see an uptick. I can’t wait to make my way to some of these beaches + soak in the culture for myself.