10 Places in Asia To See Before You Die
Asia has become more and more attractive for people from the West to travel to or backpack in. It’s relatively cheap to get around and the cultures are so different from back home that travelers are simply stunned by amazement. There is an endless number of amazing places to see in Asia but these following top 10 are my personal favorite places I have traveled to so far.
South Korea’s capital is not only a vibrant and colorful megacity, but offers its visitors also a great insight in the country’s history and culture. My favorite places in Seoul are the two palaces Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, as well as the vibrant shopping district of Myeong-dong and Dongdaemun.
If you’re looking for an even broader overview, go and check out the Namsan Tower, which stands 236 meters high over the city and marks its highest point.
Buy: Korean beauty proucts, tea, soju
HK is one of the most popular destinations in Asia – well deserved. If you are looking for a place with a fascinating history of Asian and colonial influences and modernity galore, make sure you put Hong Kong on your travel bucket list. Visit the 香港歷史博物館: Hong Kong Museum of History, the Ladies’ Market, where you can buy souvenirs and electronics galore, take the old tram up to Victoria Peak with a view of the entire city. Don’t forget to take the cable car to the Tian Tan Buddha! Try Cantonese dim sum at the many restaurants in downtown!
Buy: Electronics, chopsticks, tea
China’s capital is on the travel bucket list of many people due their dream to see the Great Wall of China. However, Beijing has much more to offer than the wall and the astonishing Forbidden City. One of my favorite places in Beijing are the Hutongs, an area made up of traditional courtyard residences and narrow alleys. Make sure to visit Nan Luo Gu Xiang Street where you should try “Old Beijing Tea” (老北京茶汤), a tea flavored pudding that was eaten in ancient China. Don’t leave until you stopped by Beijing’s oldest and biggest Peking Duck restaurant and you tried their specialty! Check out my vlog about the restaurant!
Buy: tea, old Beijing paper cuts, Peking Opera masks
Laos’ old capital Luang Prabang gives you a great insight in the country’s history as well as its people’s modern lives. It’s French colonial influences are visible all over town, especially with the number of French bakeries offering the most delicious croissants in Asia. Make sure to stop by some of Luang Prabang’s many temples to understand the county’s strong buddhist roots. Wake up early to experience the traditional alms giving ceremony where the monks collect the food for the day form the locals. Take a cruise along the Mekong to the famous Pak Ou Buddha Caves.
Buy: Lao lemongrass tea, spices, handwoven scarves
A pulsating megacity with lots of history and modern entertainment. Make sure to visit the Grand Palace und Wat Prakaew, a temple complex next to the king’s home. The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) is one of the most spectacular temples to see during dawn. Don’t forget to take a bus to the city’s outskirts to take part in the bustling floating markets where you can buy fresh fruits or souvenirs from vendors on boats.
Buy: hippie Thai pants and bags, silk scarves
Famous for its Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an is so much more than just the home of the thousands of unique statues protecting Qin Shi Huang’s Tomb. The city was the origin of the famous Silk Road and brought millions of tradesmen into the Middle Kingdom, most of them from the Middle East, establishing the largest Muslim community in China. The great mosque is one of the buildings established by the Chinese Arabic population. Xi’an’s food street also reminds you a lot of a Turkish bazaar with specialties from the Middle East.
Buy: Terracotta Warrior replicas, glazed pottery, traditional paintings
One of my favorite cities in Korea: Busan! It’s the second largest city, after Seoul, and located right at the beach and a 3-hour ferry ride from Japan! You can enjoy the most delicious raw seafood dishes right here or just hang at the beach. If you want to spot Korean celebrities, come to the annual Busan Film Festival. One of my favorite temples, Haedong Yonggungsa, is located right here. It’s a beautiful complex along the coastline. Clim the Busan tower for a panorama view of the city.
Buy: dinnerware, Busan’s preferred soju / Cheonnyeonyaksok (천년약속)
So far the only city in Japan I’ve been to and I was absolutely impressed. Fukuoka is a coastal city 3 hours form Busan by ferry. The food is very unique, with Japanese food stalls (called Yantai) offering local specialties such as ramen. Be sure to check out the City Museum to indulge in the city’s history and get to know its most famous festival Yamakasa. Check out Kushida Shrine, from the shinto belief, an indigenious religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to connect with nature and its elements. If you want to get the full Japan experience, go and rent a kimono!
Buy: Hakatatoorimon candy, mochi
One of my favorite places in China is the autonomous region of Xishuangbanna with its capital city of Jinghong. Home to a large number of Chinese minorities, this area couldn’t be more different from the rest of China. Be sure to visit a minority village to experience their culture first hand. Search for elephants in the local wild elephant reserve where you can take cable car up the rainforest and spot wild elephants in their natural habitat. Don’t forget to check out local temples which remind of Thai or Lao architecture.
Buy: Pu’er tea
Bonus: Koh Phi Phi
My favorite islands in Thailand: Koh Phi Phi. This island is the exact spot where the 2000 movie “The Beach” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. The island was hit by the 2004 tsunami but returned to be a tropical paradise for locals and tourists alike. Full moon parties and beach restaurants offering the freshest fish are normal here. Ride the famous Thai long tail boats and be sure to go snorkeling and see the most colorful fish you could ever imagine!
Buy: Buddha statues, incense sticks, hammock
Which one is your favorite?
What would you add to the list?
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