Continuing on with our series for the top 100 Places to Visit in Asia, here is part two. Just like part one, all locations are recommended and described by professional travel experts. If you enjoy our series, be sure to share!
11. Siargao, Philippines
Text and photo from Sabrina of Just One Way Ticket. Siargao in the Philippines is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever visit. It was the first place where I considered to buy a piece land and stay put. The island is well known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”, but even if you’re not into surfing, there are plenty of other natural attractions on the island to keep you busy, such as endless perfect white beaches without the crowds, enchanting lagoons, caves and bizarre rock formations. Siargao is a truly a tropical paradise.
12. Luang Probang, Laos
Text and photo from Travel Dave UK. Luang Prabang is a perfect stop off destination if you happen to be travelling along the Mekong Delta around Laos. The city has loads to offer. First off, climb to the top of Mount Phusi to catch an incredible overview of the city and surrounding Mekong river. If you get your timing spot on you can enjoy one of the most amazing sunset spots you can find in South East Asia.
If you don’t mind an early wake up, giving of the alms occurs around the main square of Luang Prabang. If you book in advance you can even be a part of the offering of morning Breakfast to the local practicing monks, otherwise you can overlook others taking part in the ceremony. If you have some spare time, be sure to check out Kuang Si Waterfall, which has 5 different levels of waterfalls, each one being more epic than the next.Last tip, enjoy the unique blend of cuisine in Luang Prabang, for sure try a street food style baguette with a fruit shake, you won’t be left disappointed.
13. Mt. Kinabalu, Malaysia
Text from Becki Enright of Borders of Adventure. Adventure seekers visiting Borneo won’t miss the largest mountain on the island that peaks at 4,000 metres above sea level. Mt. Kinabalu is a World Heritage site and I took on the challenge to reach its summit via the two-day hike option, although many people race through it in one. The first day consists of a mid-level steep six-hour climb through the dense green forest area marked by ochre soil and stone steps to a teahouse nestled in the hills. Here dozens of fellow climbers attempt slumber amidst the excitement of the 2am wake up call where a twinkling line of head torch dots move slowly up the mountain for the 6am sunrise.
You need a decent amount of stamina and experience to take on this climb, which mixes a short climbs with granite sledges complete with rope pulls and mountain ledge shelf walking. You are certainly put through your paces to conquer the highest point of the Malay Archipelago.
14. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China
Text and photo from Jarryd of Nomadasaurus. China’s Hunan province is home to one of the most sensational and unique landscapes on the planet: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, otherwise known as the Avatar Mountains. This sprawling park is made up of captivating sandstone pinnacles, some reaching up to 300m high, and adorned with tufts of forests on the top. The place is so beautiful it was used as the inspiration for James Cameron’s blockbuster movie, Avatar, hence the nickname.
The only downside to this massive attraction is that it has gained the popularity of the domestic tourism market, meaning the park is crawling with people. But by getting there early and hiking off the beaten path it is easy to find a spot all to yourself
15. Komodo island, Indonesia
Text and photo from Nat and Rob of Love and Road. Komodo Island is a surreal place. There is so much beauty there that you will be overwhelmed. Famous for being home of the Komodo Dragon, the biggest reptile in the world, the National Komodo Park and the all the islands that compound it are a truly wonderland from the top of the mountains to the bottom of sea. Amazing trekking routes, first class diving, bat watching, and swimming in a Pink beach are some the awesome things you can experience in Komodo Islands.
To visit the park is not that simple, it takes time to plan a perfect trip to Komodo Islands, but it’s worthy. The National Park is one of those places you visit and you will never forget. Getting close to a Komodo Dragon is life time experience, to understand their way of living and how to protect them make the experience even more rewarding
16.The Gobi desert, Mongolia
Text and photo from Jessica of How Dare She. You can get a taste of the Gobi Desert in two days, or get enveloped by it for months– no matter how long you go, you’ll want more. Just South of the coldest capital in the world is the vast Gobi Desert where you will find anything from massive sand dunes, to flat never-ending desert, to cliffs formed by an ancient sea and even an ice gorge. Go gir hunting and you will be surprised by how eager locals are to take you in (and offer you a cup of warm camel milk tea). Also, baby goats. Case closed.
Text and photo from Lina of Divergent Travelers. Tibet is one of the ultimate adventure destinations in Asia. The elusiveness of access due to intermittent rule changes by China make entry to this country rewarding. Once you arrive you quickly realize that the hassle of entry was worth it as the process leaves your mind and is quickly replaced by stunning palaces and buddhist monuments, outdoor scenes you’ve only ever seen in magazines and a chance to traverse the sacred side of the Himalaya mountain range. For the adventurous, an overland trip to the Tibetan base camp of Everest will take you through three mountain passes over 5,000 meters before you arrive at Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the World.
18. Seoul, South Korea
Text from Sarah of Girls that Scuba. This Asian city really has it all, yet you won’t feel that energy unless you get well and truly stuck in! Seoul is famous for its fried chicken and really eating mounds of it is the number one thing to do when you are there. Go to ANY restaurant, I can almost guarantee it won’t disappoint. Once you are over your food coma hike up to the Seoul tower instead of getting public transport up. The hike is easy and scenic and you won’t come across many people along route. When it comes to lights out head over to Itaewon into the bustling bar scene and get lost within the laughter dancing and drinking. Seoul is more than just another Asian city, it really does have SOUL!
19. Bandar Seri Bagawan, Brunei
Text from Nick and Dariece of Goats on the Road. If you’re visiting Borneo, and are travelling by land, you’ll find yourself passing through the small country of Brunei. At first glance, the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan might not seem like a place to linger, but we recommend giving it a couple of days! The Sultan of Brunei is one of the richest people in the world, and a visit to his palace and the Royal Regalia Building to see all of the gifts he’s received from various leaders around the world, is definitely worth a visit.
Our two favourite, must-do’s are visiting the ornate Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque with its golden domes and marble minarets, and the floating village of Kampong Ayer. Hire a boat to take you through the stilted water village and see how 10% of Brunei’s population is living.
Make sure to check out Bandar Seri Begawan, it deserves a couple of days!
20. Hang En Cave, Vietnam
Text and photo from James of Escaping Abroad. If you’re ready to have a truly unforgettable adventure in Asia that’s off the beaten path try camping in the world’s third largest cave. You’ll have to hike through the virgin jungle in Central Vietnam to get there, braving the wrath of bloodsucking leaches and sweltering humidity with your gear on your back.
For your effort you’ll be rewarded with lunch in a small, remote farm village, a swim in the cave’s beach, a few glasses of home made rice wine, and a night’s sleep inside the cave. It’s also affordable, Hang En Cave’s 2 day 1 night camping adventure will set you back less than $300 USD.