Asia is the largest continent in the world, covering roughly 30 per cent of the Earth’s total land area. Under its momentous umbrella are 48 countries – all unique in culture, landscapes and things to do. But how do you choose where to go when planning a trip to the east?
To help steer you in the right direction, here are a few of our favourite places within Asia and what you can expect to do, eat and experience whilst there!
Highlights in Asia
The land of the rising sun is as diverse as it is breath-taking. In Japan, ancient traditions meld perfectly with futuristic advancements to create one of the most eclectic travelling experiences one can ever hope to have.
Tokyo remains as the country’s most frequented destination – and with good reason! Where else in the world can you eat dinner alongside dancing robots? That’s right, in the energetic suburb of Shinjuku, diners can enjoy dinner and drinks whilst dancing robots put on a performance like no other. The fun doesn’t stop there. Just a short metro ride away, visitors can immerse themselves in the wonderful and wacky world of Harajuku.
While Japan is synonymous with all things out-of-this-world, the country is also famous for its fascinating ancient culture. In Kyoto, while extremely hard to spot, visitors can sometimes catch a glimpse of working Geishas – a tradition that is still celebrated today. The area is also home to some of Japan’s most famous landscapes such as the mountainside orange Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
In Japan, there’s no such thing as a boring day – there’s always something going on that is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Boasting lush rice paddies, gold-tipped temples and sprawling sandy beaches, there’s good reason why Indonesia is the second most frequented international destination by Australians (Australian Bureau of Statistics data).
Without a doubt, Bali is one of the country’s most popular places to visit. Here, holiday-makers can experience a little bit of everything such as:
- Temple hopping around the area’s stunning shrines including Pura Tanah Lot, Ulun Danu Beratan and Pura Tirta Empul.
- Getting to know local wildlife at Ubud Monkey Forest and Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.
- Trekking through local rice paddy fields and learning about such a crucial part of Balinese culture.
However, Indonesia is much more than Bali. The country is also home to less touristy areas too – ones that offer a little more relaxation yet still an awesome amount of adventure.
Just take Sumatra for example. The island is a wildlife lover’s dream, and one of the only places left in the world where you can see wild orangutans. Sumatra’s Gunung Leuser National Park gives visitors a rare opportunity to spot these critically endangered apes in a UNESCO-protected environment. Tigers, rhinos and elephants roam these parts too!
Select tour groups take intrepid travellers closer to the action, offering the chance to trek into lush forests and stay overnight in a remote jungle spot in hopes of spotting these magnificent creatures. Experiences like this don’t reveal themselves everyday, and in Indonesia, it’d be a shame to miss out.
There are so many reasons why a visit to Singapore should be high on your travel bucket list. Here are three of our favourite:
- Cleanliness and efficiency: Wander the streets of Singapore and prepare to be amazed at just how clean your surroundings are. Thanks to a chewing gum ban and strict littering laws, the city-state continues to uphold its impeccably tidy reputation and unspoilt surroundings. However, as a place 697 square kilometres in size, wandering can sometimes take its toll. That’s where the efficient and effective MRT public transport system comes in. Whether you want to visit Marina Bay Sands or Chinatown, the zippy trains can take you there in a matter of minutes!
- Jaw-dropping architecture: The most prominent feature of the Singapore skyline? Undoubtedly, Marina Bay Sands. This luxury hotel resort soars 57 levels above the heart of Singapore and is held up by three momentous pillars which span a 12,000 square metre area. It’s so big, it could fit at least four A380 planes side by side! Up top, you’ll find the observation deck which offers panoramic views of Singapore, while lower levels boast an array of shops and restaurants.
- Fantastic street food: Singapore’s incredible cuisine draws inspiration from flavours of China, India and Malaysia to create one mouth-watering food scene. Local must-try delicacies include Hainanese chicken rice (a rice and meat-based dish with chilli dipping sauce), fried carrot cake which isn’t sweet (think eggs, radishes and rice flour), and char kway teow (a stir-fried flat noodle dish).
The aforementioned reasons are just the tip of the iceberg – there’s so much more to see and enjoy in Singapore!
Nestled between India and China, Nepal has the best of both worlds and stands proud as a melting pot of amazing culture, history and charm. Home to a great chunk of the Himalayan mountains, Nepal is any intrepid trekker’s dream. If you’re looking to reach new heights and experience world-class hiking routes for yourself, the capital of Kathmandu, should be your starting point. This colourful city paves the way to Mount Everest – the tallest mountain in the world!
However, the capital is more than just a place where hikers come to congregate. This bustling city is also home to a plethora of sacred Hindu temples, including the Pashupatinath Temple. This complex is regarded as one of the most sacred Shiva temples in Nepal, and is considered a masterpiece of Hindu architecture.
As well as partaking in a little temple-hopping and mountain-climbing, Nepal is a haven for wildlife-spotting. In the heart of the jungle, south of Nepal’s soaring mountains, visitors can experience subtropical landscapes and join an array of animal-orientated trips that delve deep into these lush parts. The Chitwan National Park and Bardiya National Park are two of the most accessible, offering the chance to get up close to an incredible variety of wildlife. Take a ride on an elephant’s back or hop onboard a 4×4 safari in search of the elusive Bengal tiger.
If you’re looking to plan a holiday with a difference, Asia is a great place to consider. Get in touch with the team at Active Travel to find out how we can help.