Did you know that more than 2,300 languages are spoken across the continent of Asia?
This is just one aspect of Asia’s culture that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Add tantalizing food, breathtaking scenery and low costs, and you have the recipe for the perfect Asia vacation.
But Asia is also the largest continent on the planet. Deciding exactly where to visit in Asia can be difficult. Every country has its pros and cons, but we’re here to help you with that decision.
Let’s take a look at seven Asian travel destinations and create the vacation of a lifetime.
Thailand is first on this list because it’s an easy place for first-time visitors to Asia. English is widely spoken in the tourism sector, and Thailand offers something for everyone. Art lovers will swoon at the intricately designed temples, and party people can get their fill at a Full Moon party.
And if you travel for food, there’s no better place than Thailand.
Start your trip with a few days in Bangkok. After that, you can head north to Chiang Mai and take in the lush mountain scenery. Or you can head south to one or more of the islands dotting the Gulf of Thailand.
Tip: Thailand is hot, but your knees and shoulders must be covered when visiting the temples. Carry a few sarongs in your bag at all times.
This island nation in the East China Sea is one of the most underrated destinations in the world. With glittery Taipei in the north, ultra-modern Kaohsiung in the south, and rugged mountains throughout, Taiwan is a feast for all your senses.
Taiwan also boasts one of the best public transport systems in the world. Taipei and Kaohsiung have convenient metro systems, and a high-speed rail connects the two cities.
Don’t miss Taipei 101. It was the world’s tallest building until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai took the title in 2009. In Kaohsiung, visit the old walled city of Zuoying and the Dragon and Tiger Temples at Lotus Pond.
Tip: Baseball is wildly popular in Taiwan. Try to catch a game if you can.
3. Hong Kong
If your Asian vacation ideas include a high-energy, non-stop city, Hong Kong is the place for you. With soaring modern skyscrapers overlooking cobblestone streets, Hong Kong has a personality all its own.
Hong Kong is more expensive than other Asian travel destinations, but the experience is worth it. Be sure to check out the view from Victoria Peak and visit the adjacent garden.
Take a cruise on a junk boat in Kowloon Bay in the evening. The sight of Hong Kong at night is dazzling.
Don’t skimp on the food. Dim sum may have originated in mainland China, but Hong Kong made it famous. Try Tim Ho Wan for Michelin star dim sum at a great price.
Tip: Have a cocktail at Ozone at the Ritz Carlton. This rooftop bar sits at 1500 feet and is the highest cocktail bar in the world.
Cambodia should be on your radar if you can give up amenities in exchange for adventure. The Mekong River, intriguing history, and ancient temples make Cambodia a top Asian destination.
Angkor Wat in Sien Ream, the largest religious structure in the world, can’t be missed. Hire a tuk-tuk driver for a day or two and explore the 400-acre complex at your leisure.
If you liked the beaches in Thailand but not the crowds, head south to Sihanoukville. The area is less developed but just as beautiful as Thailand.
The capital city of Phnom Pehn presents an interesting contrast. Cambodia is still a developing nation. You’ll see that in the trendy microbreweries and traditional markets in the capital.
Tip: If you visit between November and March, consider taking a boat between Phnom Pehn and Siem Reap. You can choose from an eight-hour ferry or a three-day cruise.
Glamorous Singapore is one of the best vacation ideas in Asia. Singapore has the luxury of Dubai in a sultry, tropical setting. It’s more expensive than other cities in the region, but Singapore brings new meaning to “urban jungle.”
Visit the Gardens by the Bay for a nature reprieve surrounded by skyscrapers. Then get a glimpse of the old Singapore with a trip to Chinatown for a serving of their famous chicken rice. Orchard Road has three miles of boutiques and malls if you love shopping.
And no trip to Singapore is complete without a stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hel, if only for their infinity pool.
Tip: Plan some extra time at the airport! Changi Airport is an experience all on its own.
6. The Philippines
Is a hammock, a cold drink, and a white sand beach what you had in mind for your vacation to Asia? Look no further than the Philippines. Skip the hustle and bustle of Manila and head straight to one of the country’s more than 7,000 islands.
As a tourist, travel between the smaller islands can be challenging, but the solitude might be worth it. Alternatively, you can go to one of the country’s more popular islands and still feel like you’re a world away.
Palawan boasts crystalline waters and mind-bending cliff views. Boracay is one of the country’s most popular islands and has the nightlife to prove it. And Siargao is the place to be for great surfing.
Tip: If you’re a SCUBA diver or would like to learn how you’ll love the Philippines. It’s one of the top wreck diving destinations and is home to whale sharks.
We saved the best for last. India might not be everyone’s cup of chai, but if you want to go entirely outside your comfort zone, India fits the bill.
If you want an easy start, head to Goa. This former Portuguese colony in the Indian Ocean is now a vibrant beach destination.
For a glimpse into India’s history, visit Delhi. Here you’ll find Raj Ghat, the final resting place of Mahatma Gandhi. You’ll also see the India Gate war memorial, the Lotus Temple, the Red Fort, and many museums.
From Delhi, it’s easy to get to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Arrange a private driver and guide before you go to avoid getting caught in the fray at the train station.
Tip: Always book first-class or executive seats when traveling by train in India. If you don’t you might find you don’t have a seat at all.
Start Planning Your Asia Vacation Today
Are you ready to dust off your passport and hit the skies? Consider these destinations and plan your Asia vacation as soon as possible. Asia always delivers, whether it’s a modern city or a deserted beach.
Browse some of our other travel content for more tips and inspiration, and leave a comment to let us know where you’re going this year.