I have been fortunate to visit many destinations in Asia, and what sticks out? Here are the best cities in Asia I’ve seen so far.
I have always loved travelling, but my love for Asia, the continent, has been a recent discovery. Often, I feel right at home when travelling the mighty continent of Asia. Who can blame me? While I haven’t been to every destination in Asia, some of the countries I have seen include East Asia and South-East Asia, and Nepal in Central Asia. What I have seen has left me wanting to come back to see more destinations in Asia.
The culture, the food, the history and eye-catching tourist attractions in Asia are the primary reason I keep coming back for more. A few of the destinations in Asia I mention here are personal favourites. A few are common destinations where tourism booms, and others are more unheralded.
Asia travel has something for everyone, whether you are looking to explore the great outdoors, immerse yourself in new cultures or take in awe-inspiring sights.
Therefore, from a personal point of view, let’s discuss several destinations in Asia which I have cherished the most in my travels.
A Traveller’s Tale: The Best Destinations in Asia I’ve Seen Thus far
While I am sure I have a number one destination on the continent, this list of destinations in Asia is in no particular order. So let’s get into it.
Kyoto in Japan
Kyoto in Japan is a traveller’s dream come true. It is a city that can perfectly blend the old with the new. As you walk through the streets of Kyoto, you will be able to see traditional temples and shrines juxtaposed against sleek and modern skyscrapers.
What I love about Kyoto is that it has something for everyone. Suppose you are looking to enjoy a shopping experience in Kyoto. In that case, you can find high-end stores selling designer brands and local shops selling traditional Japanese goods.
The food in Kyoto is also incredible. You will be spoilt for choice in Kyoto, from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. I would highly recommend trying the local cuisine in Kyoto as it is truly a delightful experience.
Then we need to discuss the tourist attractions in Kyoto. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto, and it is easy to see why. The shrine is covered in thousands of torii gates, making for a breathtaking sight. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you can take a day trip to Arashiyama.
Let’s not forget about the Temples and Shrines in Kyoto, a history lesson within a modern city, with its spectacular sights and splendid designs. Notable temples you must check out are the Kinkaku-Ji temple, Kiyomizu-Dera and Heian Shrine, and a few famous attractions in Kyoto.
Nijo castle should also be on your list of places to see in Kyoto. It is one of the most famous castles in Japan, enriched in tradition as you wander the gardens and enter inside the castle and learn about hundreds of years of history.
Muju-Gun in South Korea
Muju-Guns is a beautiful county with stunning mountain scenery located in the North Jeolla Province of South Korea.
Muju county is well known for its stunning landscapes and tourist attractions. The Deogyusan National Park and Muju Resort gather many enthusiasts skiers to the Region in the winter months, especially travellers from Seoul who enjoy a weekend escape to the snow.
Deogyusan National Park is a must-visit when you are in Muju-Gun. It offers stunning hiking trails with incredible views of the mountains. The Muju Resort is also a great place to visit, especially if you want to enjoy some winter sports.
The food in Muju-Gun is also worth mentioning. It offers a variety of dishes that are sure to tantalise your taste buds. Try the local specialty, usually home-cooked by locals who will dazzle you with famous Korean cuisines.
If you’re looking for one of the most picturesque destinations in Asia, you don’t need to look any further than Muju-Gun, South Korea.
Kuching in Malaysia
Kuching is undoubtedly one of my favourite cities in Malaysia, and another smaller city mentioned later in the article.
In the Sarawak state of Borneo, Malaysia, Kuching is a lovely city that has a unique fascination with cats. The name came from the Malay word for cat, “kucing”. You will find many stray cats roaming the streets of Kuching, and there is even a cat museum in the city.
Kuching is also rich in history. You can learn about the city’s past at the Sarawak Museum, one of the oldest museums in Borneo, which gives in-depth details of its history.
Suppose you are looking for a few attractions to visit in Kuching. In that case, you need to check out the Kuching Cat Museum, Fort Margherita, Kuching Cultural Village and the Bako National Park.
The hotspot for tourists happens along the Sarawak River at the Kuching Waterfront in the evenings. Often there is plenty of entertainment, river cruises and food stalls to sit down and enjoy beautiful food under the night sky.
Vientiane In Laos
What can I say about Vientiane? For one, my favourite part of the city is that it lacks the chaos of other Southeast Asian Cities, making your Vientiane Capital and generally peaceful experience.
Vientiane also has a lot of French colonial architecture, resulting from when Laos was once part of the French Indochina.
The city is also home to many Buddhist temples, including That Luang and Wat Si Saket, two of Vientiane’s most popular tourist attractions.
You’ll love Vientiane for its laid-back nature. You can enjoy a coffee in many cafes, relax with a reasonably-priced massage, and stroll the quiet streets to your next attraction. There is also a good nightlife scene with many bars and nightclubs to enjoy, especially a few rooftop bars that overlook the Mekong.
Some of the best places to eat in Vientiane are at the Night Market, where you can find a variety of food stalls selling everything from Lao BBQ to French crepes. Not to mention a great shopping experience finding various goods at a fair price.
Shopping in Vientiane is also a great experience, as one would expect in Southeast Asia. You can find many markets and shops selling everything from handicrafts to souvenirs. Also, you’ll find a few modern-day shopping Malls, with the best being the Vientiane Center Lao and Talat Sao Shopping mall, the latter directly down the main road and looking towards the Patuxay Monument.
Overall, Vientiane is a great city to relax in and enjoy the slow pace of life while still being able to experience some of the best that Laos has to offer.
Nagarkot in Nepal
Another gorgeous mountain scenery; however, you are looking into the mighty Himalayan Mountains this time.
Nagarkot is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, where you can stay in mountain view hotels and chill. Usually, tourists who come to Nagarkot have generally concluded a multi-day hike in the area and wish to kick their feet up with a beer, heating and local Nepalese cuisine.
Things to do in Nagarkot include visiting the Nagarkot Fort, which was built in the 17th century and used as a military outpost. Nowadays, it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset over the Himalayas. You can enjoy stunning views of Mt. Everest on a clear day from here too, but you need to be lucky. I wasn’t on my visit, yet the views remained incredible.
During my time in Nagarkot, the accommodation I stayed in was The Hotel Himalayan Villa, a beautiful mountain view hotel that I can highly recommend for the hotel’s facilities. The staff are lovely, and the food was some of the best I had in Nepal. The Hotel Himalayan Villa also had an outdoor deck that looked directly at the mountains.
Overall, Nagarkot is a great place to relax for a few days, enjoy the mountain scenery and get away from it.
Singapore City in Singapore
What can I say about Singapore? It has everything a tourist desires and a whole lot more. The only catch is that it comes at a price.
Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in Asia. However, it is worth every penny. From the moment you arrive at Singapore Changi Airport, which has been voted the best airport globally, you know you are somewhere special and a wonderful holiday experience awaits.
In Singapore, attractions include visiting the world-famous Marina Bay Sands, an iconic hotel with a rooftop infinity pool that offers stunning views of the city skyline.
You can also visit Orchard Road, a shopping haven for luxury brands and more affordable stores. Here you can find anything from designer clothes to electronics and souvenirs.
The Gardens by the Bay is also a must-see, a vast nature park featuring gardens, walking trails, and two massive conservatories, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest.
Suppose you’re looking for something more cultural. In that case, Chinatown and Little India are great places to visit where you can learn about the history and culture of these communities in Singapore.
The city is spotless, with no piece of rubbish on the ground anywhere. You’ll appreciate the cleanliness of the Country, especially while walking the Marina and along the gorgeous city river of Singapore River, which in turn leads to Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay.
The other must-see destination in Singapore is Sentosa Island, a resort island with beaches, hotels, theme parks, etc.
Overall, Singapore is a fantastic city that has something for everyone. It’s safe, clean and incredibly efficient. You can’t go wrong with a visit to Singapore.
Koh Samui in Thailand
Koh Samui is the love island of Thailand in every way. I spent over a week on my tenth wedding anniversary with my darling wife.
Koh Samui is an idyllic island paradise with white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and palm trees. It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Things to do on Koh Samui include visiting the Big Buddha Temple, one of the most famous temples in Thailand and exploring the picturesque Ang Thong Marine National Park and a trip to another famous temple, Wat Plae Laim.
Another unique attraction that will cause a giggle is the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, Hin Ta Hin Yai. The coastal attraction is two large rocks that have been eroded over time to resemble male and female genitalia.
Of course, you can’t come to Koh Samui without spending some time at the beach, and there are plenty of beaches to choose from on the Island. Famous beaches include Chaweng Beach, the busiest and most developed beach on the island. Lamai Beach is a bit more laid-back and quieter than Chaweng, Bophut Beach, with its Fisherman’s Village full of boutique shops, restaurants, and Maenam Beach.
Koh Samui is a beautiful island that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax or explore or enjoy romance, you’ll have a fantastic time in paradise.
Dalat in Vietnam
Dalat is a welcome sight when you visit this vibrant city in South Central Vietnam, surrounded by beautiful natural and gorgeous waterfalls. It is undoubtedly my favourite city in Vietnam.
Dalat is well-known for its beautiful flowers, so it’s no surprise that one of the best things to do here is to visit the Dalat Flower Gardens.
The gardens are stunning, with a wide variety of different flowers and plants. You can also buy some souvenir flower seeds to take home with you.
Other popular tourist attractions in Dalat include the Crazy House, a unique building that Vietnamese architect Nguyen Xuan Phat designed. The house is full of odd shapes and angles and is worth visiting.
If you’re looking for something more active, you can go hiking or biking in the nearby countryside. Dalat is also home to several lakes and waterfalls, including Elephant Waterfalls, Paradise Lake and Datanla Falls.
Dalat is a city that will surprise and delight you. With its beautiful flowers, unique architecture, and stunning natural scenery, it’s worth visiting when travelling to the vibrancy of Vietnam.
Seoul in South Korea
Seoul may be my number city globally, just edging Kyoto. Still, there are sentimental reasons attached for South Korea being my favourite country, and that’s because it is where my wife is from, so we visit Seoul often.
Seoul is a bustling metropolis with a population of over ten million people. But, despite its size, it’s an immaculate and safe city.
The food in Seoul is excellent, and you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for when seeking delicious Korean food. From street food to fine dining, there’s something for everyone. And, of course, you can’t forget to divulge in a little Korena BBQ or bulgogi.
Some of the best things to do in Seoul include visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, a truly magnificent palace with buildings and gardens. It’s the largest and most beautiful palace in all of Korea. You can also visit Changdeokgung Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Seoul N Tower is another must-see; it’s a beautiful tower with an observatory deck that offers stunning views.
And, finally, you can’t come to Seoul without going shopping. The city is full of markets and malls selling everything from clothes to electronics. You can find pretty much anything you’re looking for in Seoul.
Famous shopping strips in Seoul include Myeongdong, Lotte Outlets, Namdaemun Market, and Dongdaemun Market.
If you’re travelling to Seoul with kids, as I have done on numerous occasions, a few theme parks are a must-visit. Lotte World is a vast indoor and outdoor theme park with rides, an ice rink, a folk museum, etc. Seoul Land is another great option. It’s smaller than Lotte World but still has plenty of rides and attractions.
Seoul is an incredible city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to shop, eat, or explore, you’ll have a great time in Seoul.
Miri in Malaysia
I loved Miri. I loved Borneo.
Miri is a great place to start your exploration of Borneo, as it’s the gateway to some of the most incredible national parks in Malaysia. The National Parks in Miri include Niah National Park, Loagan Bunut National Park, and Lambir Hills National Park.
Miri is also home to the world’s oldest rainforest, Gunung Mulu National Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s easy to see why.
Miri is a small city, but it’s full of character. The food is fantastic, and many things to see and do. Some things to do in Miri include visiting the Miri City Fan, walking through the Tua Pek Kong temple, or going on a jungle safari.
Coco Cabana is a great place to visit in Miri. It’s right on the beach and has its infinity pool. The breakfast buffet is also incredible.
There are plenty of flights from Miri to other cities in Malaysia, so you can easily explore more of this amazing Country. I know I’ll be back a second time.
The Conclusion of my favourite Destinations in Asia
These are just some reasons I love Asia and keep going back for more to visit these fabulous destinations in Asia. To think of some of the places in Asia I left out, like Bali, Hong Kong Macau and Shenzhen. Yet there is more to see and more to write about in this great continent, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
What are some of your favourite places in Asia? Let me know in the comments below.