It should come as no surprise that there’s so much to explore in Asia – after all, it takes up nearly ⅓ of the land on Earth. A tapestry of cultures, landscapes and flavours (OMG the flavours) that never ceases to amaze – there’s something here for every traveller’s soul.
Whether you’re climbing the Great Wall, exploring the sprawling reaches of Angkor Wat or relishing a bowl of authentic ramen, there’s only one guarantee when it comes to travelling in Asia – you’re in for an experience as diverse as the continent itself.
Sounds pretty good right?
Buckle up and join me on a jaunt around Asia with this guide. I’ll be talking about where you need to go, how much it will cost you and even a few tips and tricks I learned along my adventures over the years.
Travelling in Asia is best in the spring and summer when you’ll have warm weather at the beaches, but it’s not quite as cold in locations at higher elevations. Here are a few pointers for specific attractions.
Stay in this Southeast Asian town in Cambodia for excellent food, shopping and great nightlife. Most importantly it’s the jumping-off point for the spectacular Angkor Wat temple complex. Stay at The Cyclo d’Angkor Boutique Hotel.
There’s no way you’re going to visit Beijing without visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Forbidden City.
Dip into The Great Wall of China but don’t miss Beijing’s contemporary charms either – contemporary destinations. Haidilao Hot Pot offers freshly made noodles in a lively setting that’s open 24 hours.
Visiting the Phi Phi Islands has been on every Thailand backpacker’s bucket list since the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach” was filmed on Ko Phi Phi Don. Stay at Phi Phi The Beach Resort to access the beaches and snorkelling around the six islands.
If you want to know how to plan a trip to Asia like a pro, add Rajasthan to your travel plans.
Stay in gorgeous mediaeval forts, castles, or The Raj Palace in this underrated Indian state home to Jaipur.
Asia Visitor Guide: What to Do During Your Asia Trip
Top Things to Do
Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat is always special, but head there before sunrise and you’re in for a treat. You can grab a taxi or take a guided tour from Siem Reap. Either way, you’ll see the brilliant shades of orange and red light up behind the sprawling monument as they have for over 900 years.
Explore Koh Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Most famous for tourists wanting to see “The Beach”, Koh Phi Phi Don is a magical place – particularly if you go beyond the most popular spots.
Bring your hiking shoes. Hunting temples in Chiang Mai is a must, which you can do on your own or on a guided tour. HIke up Doi Suthep mountain to see the 14th-century Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or to Wat Pha Lat in Doi Suthep–Pui National Park in Chiang Mai.
Great Wall of China, China
This UNESCO site near Beijing, spanning an incredible 13,000 miles, is a bucket list location for many. The best way to visit The Great Wall of China is to stay in Beijing and schedule a guided tour of the Juyongguan section, which offers incredible views and fewer tourists.
Check Out the Nightlife in Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo has it all. Go clubbing in Roppongi at V2TOKYO if that’s your thing, eat at the Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho, or visit Ben Fiddich, where world-famous mixologist Hiroyasu Kayama will make you the best craft cocktail you’ve ever had.
Tour the Temples of Rajasthan, India
You can (and should!) spend weeks touring the temples of Rajasthan, but I’ll tell you a few of my favourites. Start in Jaipur with Galtaji Temple, Birla Mandir, and Amber Palace (there are a few temples on site) before making your way to the Brahma Temple in Pushkar.
Eat Your Way Around Seoul, South Korea
Seoul should be at the very top of your list if you’re a foodie. Don’t believe me? Head to the Myeongdong market and eat everything you can.
I loved the perfectly fried meat dumplings (Myeongdong) and stuffed pancakes (Hotteok), but dakbal (chicken feet) are very popular, too.
Discover Paradise in Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat is the closest thing to unspoiled paradise you can get to with (relatively) little effort. With its vibrant underwater world, it’s one of the best diving destinations on the planet and a must during your Indonesia trip.
Beyond this, grab the opportunity to explore the limestone karst, trek through lush jungle and spend time on the gorgeous beaches. Add climbing to the viewpoint on Wayag Island to the top of your list – the panorama of emerald islands poking out of the turquoise sea is up there with the best.
Suggested Asia Itineraries
Beach Hopping in Southeast Asia
Ho Coc Beach, Vietnam – Phú Quốc, Vietnam – Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia – Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand – Railay Beach Thailand – Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Sandboarding in Mũi Né, Vietnam – Caving in Hang Sơn Đoòng, Vietnam – Rock Climbing in Vang Vieng, Laos – Hiking from Luang Prabang to Ban Hadkhor, Laos – Hiking and Sightseeing in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Set off on the ultimate Asia road trip for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies.
Beijing to Hong Kong
10 – 14 Days
Beijing – The Great Wall of China – Shanghai – Hong Kong
See the most amazing cities and UNESCO sites in China.
Tokyo to Osaka
Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka
Discover Japan’s big-hitters on a seven-day tour.
Indochina Encompassed: Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos
Railay Beach isn’t in every Asia travel guidebook, but it soon will be.
You’ll need to hire a boat to get here, but the idyllic blue waters flanked by dramatic limestone cliffs make it a dream come true for a day at the beach.
The Andaman Islands, Thailand
The Andaman Islands offer incredible remote island vibes off the coast of Myanmar, with Havelock Island being the most famous. Scuba dive, snorkel, or swim at Elephant Beach, or you can kayak through mangroves on this epic guided tour.
Want to know how to travel Asia with another off-the-radar gem? Visit Sihanoukville (Kampong Som, Cambodia).
Sihanoukville is a port city with amazing sites like Wat Leu Temple, the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls, and tranquil beaches like those on Bamboo Island.
Multi-Day Boat Ride Along the Mekong River, Vietnam
Looking for a fun multi-day trip from Vietnam? Hop aboard this guided tour, where you’ll float down the Mekong River over two days.
See the daily life of locals at Cai Rang Floating Market and experience the food and culture of Vietnam.
How to See the Best of Asia for Free
There are plenty of free things to see and do when you travel Asia.
Attractions like the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of China, and daily activities like markets, parks, and beaches when travelling Asia are often free.
In addition, I suggest taking a free Tokyo nightlife tour or a guided walk through Bangkok for a small donation as a great way to see the local culture on your trips to Asia.
Dishes to Try in Asia
Satay – Delicious skewers of chicken, beef, and sometimes pork found in Indonesia.
Takoyaki – Battered octopus cooked on a takoyaki pan to lightly crisp the exterior.
Mandu – South Korean meat dumplings served fried, steamed, or boiled.
Bey Dom Neib – Sweet mango sticky rice popular in Cambodia.