10 Best Asian Destinations for Every Kind of Traveler
From mythological architecture to movie-like lagoons and secret beaches, the biggest continent in the world shows you the real picture of an unforgettable adventure. Traverse into its vast highlands, take a plunge in its turquoise beaches, or dive into its exquisite cuisine, the Asia Pacific has everything for any type of traveler.
Its real beauty: its well-preserved culture and history. Anywhere you go in Asia, you’d find an opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich community. A place where the past meets the future, Asia proudly carries its roots as it marches to the future. Be it a visit to some of the best Asian destinations or a quick trip to its remote islands, our travel guide will help you get around this crazy rich continent–pun intended.
How to Take Your Asian Trip to the Next Level
- Plan, Plan, Plan!
An Asian trip can be life-changing only if you give yourself enough time to explore each country’s culture. Like aged wine, the best Asian destinations have grown into a close-knit community that proudly waves their flags and traditions. By fully diving into their unique customs, you can get the best out of your trip to Asia. Who knows? You might even find a new friend!
Considering factors like time and location, it pays to plan your visit by choosing countries based on two factors: travel priorities and proximity. Asia is a magical continent that gives you the best of both worlds. Be it a trip to nature or a cultural exploration, the countries that lie on this side of the Pacific won’t disappoint. This gives you all the more reasons to choose your country wisely by first assessing your priorities as a traveler. Then, map out your chosen travel routes and create a timeline so you can book your flights accordingly.
- Mind the Weather
Unlike other continents, Asia has two main seasons: dry and wet. It’s a huge waste to travel during the rainy season if you plan to explore Asia’s best beaches, so do your research to know the best time to go. By creating a timetable, you can make the most out of your Asian trip without bringing an umbrella everywhere you go.
- Beware of Scams and Pickpockets
Travel in groups or travel solo, exploring Asia on a budget is never impossible. But just like in other touristy spots, there can also be pickpockets roaming around its crowded streets. If you’re lucky enough, you can even be the target of travel scammers out there.
So as much as the locals are friendly and accommodating, don’t let your guards down when you’re traveling to an unknown city. It’s also wise to carry a belt bag when you’re in hot “pickpocket” zones.
- Take Advantage of Public Transport
Anyone who traveled to Asia has surely spotted buses, jeepneys, and tuk-tuks (non-metered shared taxis) at one point in their trip. In general, traveling by bus is the cheapest way to get around Asian cities. They’re not the fanciest buses, we dare say, but the fare rates are quite impressive. A 4 or 5-hour trip only costs around $5 to $10, and you can also find alternative forms of transport that can take you from alley to alley.
- Pack Light
As cliche as it sounds, packing light is the best advice any seasoned traveler can give you. By packing light, you leave enough room for souvenir items as you travel to the best Asian destinations. Even better, traveling light gives you optimum comfort and flexibility. And this good old advice makes more sense in Asia, where you can easily spot laundry shops that offer the best rates. Just leave your soiled clothes to these shops, get them back the next day, and your OOTDs are as good as new.
- Book Budget-Based Asian Hotels
Your budget keeps the dice rolling, especially when you’re out exploring unknown cities. Fortunately, Asian hotels offer you a wide range of flexibility when it comes to accommodation costs. Be it a stay in small huts or the most luxurious five-star Asian hotels, you can create new, adventures in this huge continent without going over the budget.
You can do so by searching for Asian hotels and comparing prices (and deals). As they always say, the early bird always catches the worm, and this can’t be more true when you’re planning out a trip.
The Best Asian Destinations
If the best things in life are free, the next best is quite expensive, just like the Maldives. Tucked away from civilization, Maldives is a living paradise. Its crystal-clear water, lavish landscape, and mirage-like beaches are a dream come true for travelers.
Most of its islands are uninhabited, which adds up to its exquisite beauty. Here, you can just leave all the noise behind and just fully dive into nature–and we mean that, literally. On top of that, you can also book an overnight stay that stands above its cerulean waters!
✈ Must-See Spots: Utheemu, Maradhoo, Veligandu Island, Banana Reef, Alimatha Island
＄Travel Costs: Like sparkling diamonds, Maldives’ 1,200 islands shine the brightest out of all the luxury beaches in the Indian Ocean. But if there’s anything that could discourage travelers from exploring the country, it’s its travel costing. Even for a backpacker, travel costs can start at around $70 per day. Dine somewhere a bit fancy and your travel costs can hike up to $300 to $600 per day. So if you’re exploring Asia on a budget, Maldives isn’t the best country to visit. But if you’re prepared to splurge, this country proves it is worth every penny by giving you a once-in-a-lifetime island hopping experience.
Our next stop: Indonesia. One of the most-visited landmarks in this country is Bali, but you can also explore other travel spots such as Tanah Lot, Denpasar, and Jakarta. The country is rich in culture and natural seascapes, but if you want to fully dive into nature, a visit to Bali should be a part of your wish list.
Bali and Maldives both portray nature in its best image, but they offer different traveling experiences. Unlike the isolated Maldives, Bali is popular for its strong sense of community. It’s easy to meet locals and travelers here, especially if you visit Ubud, which is home to the country’s world-renowned rice terraces. You can also visit yoga gyms and beauty spas to cap off your Asian trip.
Giving you the best of both worlds, Bali is where you can see the most scenic beaches, lush forestries, breathtaking mountains, and sacred temples, making it one of the best Asian destinations for any type of traveler.
✈ Must-See Spots: Ubud, Dieng Plateau, Bangka Belitung Island, Borobudur Temple, Komodo National Park
＄ Travel Costs: A top travel destination for backpackers, Bali is a beautiful city that gives you a wide range of travel options. Low-budget trips can go as low as $25 per day, while mid-range hotels and food hubs can only cost you around $70 per day. For a luxurious Bali trip, prepare to spend $300 a day.
A parade of adventures, a trip to the heart of nature, and a journey back to the simple joys of life–that’s what the Philippines is all about. A tropical country that overflows with natural wonders, the Philippines is one of the best Asian destinations because of its great sea and landscapes. Anywhere you go in its main regions, you’d see great tourist hubs that can equal the beauty of its neighboring countries.
Just like Bali and Maldives, the Philippines is known for its luscious islands. You can find great opportunities to engage in water activities here, thanks to its well-developed beach resorts. The most popular beach areas lie in Palawan, Bohol, and Aklan, but you can also spot less-touristy spaces in some of its remote regions. If you’re planning a short stay in the Philippines, don’t forget to book a ticket to Coron or El Nido. The beaches in these areas are matchless!
＄Travel Costs: Travel costs greatly vary depending on the level of luxury you want to experience. But overall, if dining in fancy restaurants or sleeping in 5-star hotels isn’t in your books, you can explore this country for only around $40 to $50 a day. Food and public transport are especially cheap, so don’t think twice about trying out its street food and local eateries.
An Asian trip can’t be complete without a short visit to Thailand. Giving tourists a glimpse of the past and the future, this country is rich in natural and cultural heritage. The historical sites in Bangkok, the 500+ temples in Chiang Mai, and the unparalleled sand and seascapes in Phuket all create a complete traveling experience.
But aside from these already famous travel destinations, Thai also offers you the chance to engage in active sports. Here, you can watch (and even learn) Muay Thai in many of its gym classes. Extend your stay and you’d still have time to visit Krabi and its many scenic islands.
✈ Must-See Spots: Phuket, Bangkok, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Maya Bay, Chiang May
＄Travel Costs: Be it traveling luxuriously or exploring Asia on a budget, Thailand got you covered. For backpackers, the typical daily costing starts at $25, but if your pockets are open for a more extravagant trip, prepare to spend about $150 per day. You can also find plenty of mid-range Asian hotels and restaurants in the country.
Fast forward to the future and you’d see Japan, a country that flaunts electrifying cities and natural landscapes. From Tokyo’s sparkling lights to Kyoto’s historical sites, Japan is a bucket-list-worthy travel destination because of its diverse landmarks. Marvel around its insanely-crowded cities or find peace in its temples and lush countrysides–you don’t even have to choose because you can have it all.
All biases aside, there’s so much culture, history, and technology in this country waiting to be explored. The most amazing part of Japan, of course, is its people. It’s hard to find a community as disciplined as Japan, which explains why it is one of the most progressive countries in Asia. And we haven’t even started with its eclectic food scene, yet. Here, you can find culinary highlights in Michelin-starred restaurants and local food hubs. If food is one of your main priorities, don’t forget to drop by Osaka. The restaurants here will surely give you a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic adventure.
✈ Must-See Spots: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hakone, Nara
＄Travel Costs: Frankly speaking, if you’re exploring Asia on a budget, Japan isn’t the most ideal travel destination. Perhaps one of the most luxurious countries in the world, Japan doesn’t have a lot of cheap Asian hotels. You can cut your travel costs by eating cheap, staying in shared hostels, and purchasing a rail pass, but your daily travel expenses can still hike up to $100. Eat out in mid-range restaurants and your costing can climb to over $200 per day. But if budget is no issue, Japan is a beautiful country that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to making a lasting impression on travelers.
The face of luxury, Singapore’s shopping hubs and museums are all glitz and glamour, but the country proves that its beauty is not just skin-deep. Housing the most luxurious Asian hotels and the most intricate tourist attractions, Singapore is a product of great workmanship. The Marina Bay Sands, the Gardens by the Bay, and the Singapore Flyer are all testimony of Singapore’s close attention to details.
And while the country isn’t a beach destination, you can get a piece of nature by visiting Sentosa Island and Singapore Zoo, which is named as one of the world’s best rainforest zoo. To end your trip on the right note, a trip down to Orchard Road can satisfy your need for those last-minute splurges.
✈ Must-See Spots: Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa Island, Singapore Zoo, Universal Studios Singapore
＄Travel Costs: Just like Japan, Singapore is not big on cheap Asian hotels and restaurants. But if you are backpacking and you don’t mind sharing beds in a hostel, your travel expenditure can go as low as $60 per day. The cost of a luxurious trip, on the other hand, can start at around $360 a day.
Deep in the Southeast Asian continent lies the mysterious and mythical China. For years, this country has been one of the best Asian destinations because of its rich history and culture. Portraying a picture of palaces and Chinese emperors, China has successfully maintained its reputation by preserving its earliest landmarks.
From the Forbidden City and the Imperial Palace of Beijing to the Leshan Giant Buddha of Sichuan, China is all about celebrating the past as it courageously embraces the future. But perhaps the grandest and the most-visited spot in the country is the Great Wall of China, a 6,000-kilometer stretch that flaunts watchtowers and battlements. This, among all other world-renowned tourist destinations, makes China a must-visit if you plan to take on an Asian trip.
✈ Must-See Spots: Great Wall of China in the Huairou District, the Forbidden City and the Imperial Palace in Beijing, Li River, the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, the Summer Palace in Beijing
＄Travel Costs: A great travel destination even if you’re exploring Asia on a budget, China is a beautiful country that allows you to travel cheaply. Here, you can easily spot inexpensive (and flavorful) street food, along with a wide range of accommodation types that can suit any budget. A backpacker can spend as low as $30 per day, while a luxurious trip can start at $200 a day.
India’s geography explains why it offers variety to every traveler. Depending on your travel routes, meeting locals who speak different languages is always a huge possibility when you visit this part of Asia. As diverse as its language and culture, India offers you traveling options at different ends of the spectrum. Enjoy a serene get-away on a picturesque lake, hustle in its crowded metropolises, or soak yourself in a rare cultural trip–everything is possible when you’re in India.
One of the most popular Indian destinations is Agra, which is home to the iconic Taj Mahal. But aside from this spectacular 17th-century mausoleum, there are also other cultural and natural landmarks that make this country a complete standout. The heritage sites in Delhi, the enchanting temples in Varanasi, the White Salt Desert in the Kutch Region, and the majestic trekking sites in Leh-Ladakh spell B-E-A-U-T-Y in different ways. With all these sites (and more) in one country, spending a week in India is not enough to explore its immeasurable wonders.
✈ Must-See Spots: Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Meghalaya, Rajasthan
＄Travel Costs: From cheap Asian hotels to reasonably-priced local restaurants, India is one of the best Asian destinations for travelers on a budget. Backpackers can spend less than $30 per day, while mid-range travelers usually allocate around $40 per day on average.
You don’t have to be a K-pop fan to get drawn to the exquisite beauty of South Korea. For one, its top tourist attraction, Seoul, hits the sweet spot between traditional and innovative. Despite its tall skyscrapers, the city proudly boasts its cultural heritage through its ancient villages, shrines, and temples. A place where the past and the present collide, Seoul proves the world that it has what it takes to dazzle every traveler.
If you happen to stop by South Korea during spring, don’t forget to book a trip to Nami Island, a picture-perfect island where you can see a great assortment of blooms and greenery. Another top must-see spot in the country is Jeju Island, which is popular for its hiking trails, volcanic landscapes, and lakes. Between the two, Jeju Island offers a wider range of activities, thanks to its natural landscape.
✈ Must-See Spots: Seoul, Jeju Island, Nami Island, Busan, Gyeongju
＄Travel Costs: Considering that you skip fancy Korean restaurants and sleep in shared hostels, traveling expenses in South Korea can start at around $85 per day. It’s not the cheapest Asian country and your expenses can double or even triple if you aren’t backpacking.
Spoiling tourists with unrivaled attractions, Taiwan is one of the best Asian destinations because of its simplicity and its great cultural heritage. Think of etherial springs, spellbinding museums, and enchanting national parks and mountainous regions, and you’d find yourself wandering in Taiwan’s borders.
Our favorites: the Yushan National Park that showcases IG-worthy peaks, the Taroko Gorge that bridges you to the gorgeous Eternal Spring Shrine, and the Penghu Islands that features serene beaches. In case you’d like to take on a cultural trip, Taiwan also won’t disappoint. Here, you’d see a variety of museums and shrines that greatly represent Taiwan’s history. If you’re nearing the end of your trip, don’t forget to drop by Taipei’s night markets. From souvenir shops to delish street food, Taipei has everything that can make your trip extra memorable.
✈ Must-See Spots: Yushan National Park, Taroko Gorge, Penghu, Taipei, Sun Moon Lake
＄Travel Costs: Taiwan is a relatively small country that goes low in food and transportation costing. If there’s anything that can take a toll on your budget, it’s accommodation. Private rooms in hostels can cost around $50 per night. But if you don’t mind staying in dorm rooms, the room rates can go as low as $10 per night. Overall, if you’re going to strictly stick to your budget, your expenses can be at around $30 per day. Travel like a local or your daily expenses can hike up to $160 a day. That’s quite a huge difference, if you ask us.
The best Asian destinations all showcase a unique character. When you’re mapping our your Asian trip, always remember your top consideration: YOU. By setting your travel priorities, you can easily pick out the Asian countries that speak to you as a traveler.