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10 Best Places to Visit in Asia

10 Best Places to Visit in Asia

Published In: General Created Date: 2017-01-17 Hits: 1045

Explore a destination in Asia to see the top hotels and top things to do, as well as photos and tips from U.S. News Travel.

#1 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Bali

Shangri-La, Elysium, Arcadia, Utopia and Bali are all synonymous with "heaven." The only difference between them is that you can actually visit Bali. Many travelers have never been to this Indonesian island. Yet, the word "Bali" conjures daydreams of the most fantastical landscape: towering volcanoes wrapped in a deep green canopy, sandy shores that fade into turquoise waters and curving coastlines crowned with staggered pagodas. And believe it or not, Bali rarely disappoints.

You'll be amazed at how many different types of visitors revel in this paradise. The ordinary traveler simply stays at the palatial oceanfront resort and indulges in luxurious spa treatments, decadent cuisine and lazy sunbathing. But the historian will find his or her delights at the island's many temples while the adventurer will discover new paths up an active volcano in Kintamani. Plus, the town of Kuta boasts more riotous pleasures for those inclined to late nights. Bali is a dream come true, so wake up and book your ticket.

#2 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Tokyo

"Animated" is perhaps the best word to describe Tokyo. Crazy about its anime, Japan's mega city is constantly buzzing with movement—feet clack down sidewalks, cars zoom along streets, subway trains hum below ground, ships cruise in and out. And yet bright lights and loud signs beg you to pause, to break your motion for just one second to pray (oops, we mean pay) at the altar of consumerism. This is a city that feeds on motion and progress.

But when you want to stop in Tokyo, the city will certainly make it worth your while. The tech savvy locales may whizz past the monuments and urban parks daily (except during the cherry blossom season when everyone floods the green space), but, we assure you, the museums and historical sites are world-class. Here, there are photos to be taken, sushi to be eaten, and a lot of shopping to be done. So what are you waiting for? You better get a move on.

Hong Kong
#3 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Hong Kong

To outsiders, Hong Kong can raise a lot of questions: "Is it part of China or not?" "Is it one island or two?" "Do they speak English or Mandarin? Or both?" And foreigners have a good reason to ask them. This territory, made of multiple islands, returned to China's possession in 1997 after more than a hundred years of British occupation. Upon its reunification with China, Hong Kong added certain stipulations that provide a unique degree of autonomy. For instance, the official currency remains the Hong Kong dollar (HKD); English and Chinese are the official languages; and the tiny nation has an independent judiciary system. In short, China and Hong Kong observe a "one country, two systems" policy that can have many foreigners scratching their heads. But don't question it. Just accept it and enjoy everything this territory has to offer.

Hong Kong distinguishes itself from its Chinese brethren like Shanghai and Beijing with its vibrant, multifaceted culture and stunning cityscape. This British-Chinese hybrid astounds visitors with its striking juxtaposition of dense skyscrapers and lush landscapes. From sandy beaches to rugby pitches, there's more fresh air than most travelers suspect. And, of course, as a world-class metropolis, Hong Kong boasts numerous urban diversions, such as culinary hot spots and museums. After visiting Hong Kong, the only question you might be asking is: "Why didn't I get here sooner?"

Seoul - South Korea
#4 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Seoul

The blue and red yin and yang emblazoned on South Korea's flag represent balance — an ideal that was thrown off-kilter during the Korean War. But after the 1953 armistice, a modern Seoul bloomed anew. Today, the city is characterized by stunning architecture, vibrant culture and a thriving economy — all testaments to Seoul's resilience.

Seoul may seem like its blazing into the future, but South Koreans still hold fast to their rich heritage. Tucked between vast shopping districts and lively nightlife zones are relics of Seoul's history, windows into an old Seoul before the towers of concrete and steel. Gyeongbok Palace — the oldest and largest of five Joseon Dynasty palaces in the city — sits on manicured grounds just minutes from downtown. Nearby, Bukchon Village's wooden, one-story homes sit in sharp contrast to the surrounding high-rises. Miraculously, Seoul's past and present do not clash; rather, they play off one another. This harmonious blend of old and new is the key to Seoul's allure and a central tenet of the city's identity.

Note: Because of ongoing tensions between North and South Korea, check the U.S. State Department's website for the most recent travel advisories.

#5 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Singapore

Immaculate, efficient Singapore is a miraculous sight, particularly for travelers familiar with modern Asian metropolises. The city maintains a remarkable balance of green space and skyscrapers, in addition to sustaining substantial ethnic enclaves like Little India and Chinatown. This motley group of cultures has brought to this former British colony something special – a common mindset. Singaporeans are determined and patriotic; they are proud of what they have achieved (just look at Marina Bay and you might get jealous).

But while their skyline accumulates monumental peaks and troughs, Singaporeans have not forgotten about their past or the importance of their natural surroundings. Museums stand tall and welcome amateur historians to explore their vast interiors. Plus, on an island (also named "Singapore"), large wetland preserves quietly rest in stark contrast to Singapore's modern achievements. This tiny nation with its massive city embodies a cosmopolitan aggregation in a manner that few others can. So leave your chewing gum at home (as it's illegal to import or sell), and hop on a flight to the pristine Singapore.

Phuket - ThaiLand
#6 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why go :

Phuket's green hills, wide beaches and cerulean waters comprise a paradise that few Asian destinations can rival. Lodging here is affordable – if you know where to look. If you're not concerned about price, head to Surin and Bang Tao; if you're on a tight budget, stay in Kamala or Laguna.

#7 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Bangkok

Travelers have a hard time putting a pin in Bangkok's personality. Most first-timers see this city as one caught between the past and the present. Ancient temples and modern shopping malls comprise Thailand's capital, and Buddhist monks and regulars of Patpong (Bangkok's red light district) share the city's streets. The contrast can result in an exhilarating yet chaotic setting.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed here: Bangkok's dynamic environment requires a lot of energy, and consistently hot weather and persistent crowds take their toll on unprepared visitors. Yes, the city seems to boil over with everything from humidity to humanity, but it's this exotic over-abundance that charms travelers. Here, you'll find the world's largest open-air market, a world-class aquarium housed in an eight-level shopping mall, a 150-foot golden Buddha statue, and so much more. It's a city of vast surprises, so savor its delightful incongruity. 

#8 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why go: Part cool to the core, part kitschy, Manila is a culture hub filled with museums, malls, parks and iconic landmarks like San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral. Buzzing weekend markets sell tasty Filipino street food, flavorful noodles, handmade art and jewelry, and decadent sweets.

#9 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why go:
Framed by the towering Himalaya Mountains, Nepal's vibrant and colorful capital city beckons to adventurers. You can hike or camp on the nearby mountains, explore the temples and stroll through the lively Durbar Square. Don't forget to see the famous Boudhanath Stupa, a unique UNESCO World Heritage site.

#10 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Why Go to Kyoto

Cherry blossom petals caught on a breeze, the burble of a water fountain permeating the silence of a peaceful rock garden, a pair of elegantly dressed geisha flitting between wooden tea houses ... Kyoto is the Japan of the past, the Japan of your imagination. Standing as Japan's capital from A.D. 794 to 1868, Kyoto has thrived as a hub for Japanese culture, art and education. Given the city's respect for its history, it's not surprising that millions of people visit Kyoto each year for a snapshot of imperial Japan. But no matter where you point your lens, modern-day Japan is sure to make it into the frame. Centuries-old Shinto shrines and pagodas share the city with the headquarters of companies like Nintendo and electronics manufacturer Kyocera. Kyoto's blend of ancient and contemporary makes it a vibrant city that certainly isn't stuck in the past. But if it's the past you seek, Kyoto will bring your imaginings to life.

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