From beautiful cities to remote islands, the top East Asia travel destinations provide a healthy dose of ancient history, adrenaline-charged adventures and paradisiacal happiness. The combination of vivid cultures, white sandy beaches, amazing cuisine and steamy jungles will leave you wanting for more. If you are thinking of making your first trip to the region, here are some of the best places you should definitely visit.
Indonesia may have more than 13,000 islands, but Bali is everyone’s favorite. This sweet spot is just 1.2 miles from the east of Java. Most travelers usually land at Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai International Airport having come from other Indonesian cities such as Jakarta or Surabaya, or from other big cities in the region such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Bali is world-renowned for its charming culture, hospitable locals and pristine beaches that appeal to divers, swimmers, surfers, and holidaymakers. Despite many tourists frequenting the beach, Bali still has something for everyone. There is a level of peace and calmness you just won’t find anywhere else. Perhaps this is the reason most international visitors who come to the country head straight for the shores of Bali before sampling other destinations.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
When the morning sun spreads its rays over the overgrown temples and the famous ruins of Angkor Wat, a simple and innocuous Siem Reap sunrise becomes a great event. The ancient structures are housed in one of biggest religious complexes on the plant. This complex, together with the Angkor Thom royal city that was built in the 12th century, is considered as the main reason why people come to visit Siem Reap.
You will get an intriguing lesson in national history and culture at the Cambodian Cultural Village, and a lesson in bargaining prices at the Angkor Night Market – a bonanza of food vendors, bars, and malls.
Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
If the Garden of Eden were under the sea, there is a fair chance it would have a striking resemblance to the Tubbataha Reef, a marine formation that is on the island of Palawan. To get here, hire a dive operator in Puerto Princesa or other neighboring areas. There are several airlines which provide daily flights Manila to Puerto Princesa.
Divers always keep returning to Tubbataha’s coral walls, home to thousands of marine species such as manta rays, lionfish, hawksbill tortoises and moray eels. Above the waters, Tubbataha acts as a stopover for migratory terns and frigate birds. The area is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites because it is home to many species of marine animals that are on the endangered list.
Thailand’s capital city was recently voted as one of the greatest places in the world by readers of the Travel + Leisure Magazine, an accolade only reserved for the very top travel destinations. Often christened as the “City of Angels”, it is home to many must-see sites such as the Grand Palace, and the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew, an architectural wonder of glistening gold and mosaic-encrusted pillars.
During the weekends, Chatuchak market, Asia’s biggest outdoor bazaar is a great place to shop and mingle with locals as you get acquainted with everyday Thai life.