Forget about Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul or other so-called popular destinations! If you want to have a unique vacation experience of your life. Here are 10 cities you should definitely try!
Chiang Rai, Thailand
Can you control yourself and not say ‘wow’ to the sight of Wat Rong Khun?! Most visitors might choose from Bangkok, Phuket or Chiang Mai when it comes to visiting Thailand. But just look at the majestic White Temple, I personally feel that this alone is totally worth the visit. Otherwise, you can still hang out in the Night Bazaar and Saturday Night Walking Street.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Once a major trading port between the 15th and 19th Centuries, Hoi An is recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO, who described it as a ‘reflection of indigenous and foreign influences that were combined to produce a unique heritage site.’ Life in Hoi An is slower than Hanoi but it has an old world charm ― the Old Town with its Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient tea houses.
Batanes, The Philippines
Located north of Manila, it takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there from the capital. Composed of three islands, namely Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat, Batanes will amazed visitors with its natural landscapes and heritage. The best way to get around is by car and you can relax under the sun, visit century-old churches and World War II memorials, and experience Ivatan (native people of Batanes) culture.
As the first permanent capital of Japan (710 A.D.) and the birthplace of sake, Nara is filled with history and heritage. Less than an hour from Kyoto and Osaka, the city is home to the country’s oldest and largest temples such as Todaiji Temple, Horyuji Temple and Toshodaiji Temple. One place I personally would like to recommend is Nara-koen Park. Aside from its relaxing scenery, it is populated by semi-wild deer that roam through the park. These Bambis love to eat and are quite aggressive, they don’t quit easily, so safeguard belongings that you don’t them to chew on!!
Ratu Boko, Indonesia
Ratu Boko Palace is an archaeological site on a plateau south of Lara Jonggrang Prambanan temple complex in Yogyakarta Indonesia. The site holds a great mystery and unclear history that remains unsolved but archaeologists speculated that Rakai Panangkaran, ruler of the Saliendra Dynasty, built the palace during 760-780. Consisted of temples, square stone structures, audience hall), miniature temples, kaputren and bathing place, Ratu Boko offers a memorable cultural experience and is a great viewing point of the sunset.
An ancient city located in the Mandalay Region, Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to 13th centuries. During the kingdom’s height, there were over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries on the Bagan plains, and today, over 2200 structures still exist in this temple town. Visitors can climb up the temples to enjoy the sunset or ride on a hot air balloon and take in the majestic view of the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
The capital of the state of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, is located on the coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. There is plenty to do in this city whether your interest is in culture, history, shopping, nature, beaches, sports or music. Kota Kinabalu is home to the Sabah State Museum, Atkinson Clock Tower, Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary, The Green Connection Aquarium, Crocker Range Park and the annual KK Jazz Festival, just to name a few.
Vijayanagar, ‘City of Victory’, had 500 thousand inhabitants at the peak of its glory during 1440-1540, which made it the second largest city in the world after Beijing and almost twice the size of Paris. Now surrounding the modern-day town of Hampi, the city ruins includes numerous temples and sacred site, mostly built in traditional Hindu architectural style. Recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, Vijayanagar is a historical trip down India’s glorious past.
Unlike the other Asian Tigers, Taipei is a cosmopolitan city that embodies tradition, history, natural beauty, food, arts, and technology. Famous landmarks include one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taipei 101 tower, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Palace Museum and Taipei Fine Arts Museum etc. Visitors can also enjoy a feast and savour the best of Taiwanese street food such as oyster omelette and deep-fried chicken breast at Shilin, Raohe and Linjiang Night Market.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The ruins of Angkor Wat is probably the most well-known tourist attraction in Cambodia, but don’t miss out on the capital city of Phnom Penh. Once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, it was considered one of the most beautiful French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. Though the glamour might have faded a bit, it is still charming with its mix of traditional Cambodian, French colonial and New Khmer architecture such as Wat Phnom, the Royal Palace with the Silver Pagoda, National Museum, the Art Deco market Phsar Thom Thmei, Hotel Le Royal and Preah Suramarit National Theatre.