Underrated Travel Destinations in Asia

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7/24/20234 min read

1. Introduction

Asia, the world's largest continent, is a treasure trove of diverse cultures, landscapes and history. While well-known destinations such as Tokyo, Bali and Bangkok often grab the headlines, there are also lesser known places that offer a unique travel experience. These simple destinations boast of untamed beauty, rich traditions and warm hospitality, making them perfect for intrepid travelers seeking authenticity.

person holding map chart with yellow and green map
person holding map chart with yellow and green map

2. Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon

Hidden away in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is a kingdom that has remained largely untouched by the rapid modernization seen in many Asian countries. Because of its stunning monasteries, colorful festivals and picturesque landscapes, Bhutan is often referred to as the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Trekking enthusiasts will enjoy the pristine wilderness, while the sight of the country's gross national prosperity will leave you feeling at peace.

3. Luang Prabang, Laos - Where Time Stands Still

Situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage City that exudes old-world charm. The mix of traditional Lao architecture and French colonial influence creates a mesmerizing atmosphere. You'll feel like you've stepped back in time as you stroll its quiet streets, visit ancient temples and witness the daily alms-giving ceremony.

4. Yogyakarta, Indonesia - A Cultural Paradise

Yogyakarta, located in the heart of Java, Indonesia, is a city rich in culture and history. It is the only surviving royal city in Indonesia whose centerpiece is the Sultan's palace. From the magnificent Borobudur and Prambanan temples to its vibrant arts scene and traditional batik workshops, Yogyakarta offers a glimpse into Indonesia's rich heritage.

5. Uzbekistan - Crossroads of the Silk Road

Uzbekistan, the land of turquoise domes and ancient cities, is a true gem for history enthusiasts. Situated along the ancient Silk Road, the country boasts stunning architecture, such as the Desert Square in Samarkand and the walled city of Khiva. Be immersed in the tales of traders and explorers as you travel through this captivating land.

6. Gyeongju, South Korea - A Walk Through History

For history lovers, Gyeongju is a must visit place in South Korea. Gyeongju, once the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom, is now an open-air museum filled with historical relics, tombs and temples. The serene Bowmun Lake and beautiful cherry blossoms add to the charm of the city, making it a perfect blend of nature and history.

7. Nagarkot, Nepal - Himalayan Serenity

If you seek peace amidst the towering Himalayas, Nagarkot in Nepal is the place for you. Located at a short distance from Kathmandu, this hill destination offers mesmerizing views of sunrise and sunset over the snow-capped peaks. Walking tours in the surrounding villages will introduce you to the warm hospitality and rich culture of the Nepalese people.

8. Taitung, Taiwan - Abode of Nature

Taitung, located on the beautiful east coast of Taiwan, is a paradise for nature lovers. With its lush landscapes, stunning beaches and indigenous culture, the region provides an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Don't miss the mesmerizing sight of hot air balloons rising over the Luye Highlands during the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival.

9. Vientiane, Laos - A mix of tradition and modernity

The capital of Laos, Vientiane, strikes a harmonious balance between tradition and modernity. Explore gilded temples and Buddhist monuments standing alongside contemporary structures. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere and savor delicious Laotian cuisine and take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Mekong River.

10. Mawlynnong, India - Cleanest Village in Asia

Located in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, Mawlynnong holds the title of cleanest village in Asia. Known for its impeccable cleanliness and eco-friendly practices, a visit to Mawlynnong is a lesson in sustainable living. Explore the Living Roots Bridge and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding Khasi Hills.

11. Kampot, Cambodia - Riverside Attractions

Kampot, a sleepy city in Cambodia, offers a relaxing riverside feel that's hard to compete with. The town is famous for its pepper plantations, and visiting one of the farms is a must. Explore the nearby Bokor Hill Station for a glimpse into its colonial past and be mesmerized by the stunning landscapes that surround the region.

12. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - Islamic Heritage

Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, is a city of beautiful mosques and Islamic architecture. The grand Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque with its golden dome and marble minarets is worth a visit. Discover the rich Islamic heritage while visiting the city's cultural sites and enjoying the serene atmosphere.

13. Palawan, Philippines - Tropical paradise

Palawan, an archipelagic province of the Philippines, is a paradise for beach lovers and nature lovers. Its crystal-clear waters, limestone cliffs and lush jungle make for a stunning backdrop for island hopping, snorkeling and diving adventures. El Nido and Coron are famous for their picturesque landscapes, which make Palawan's tropical dream come true.

14. Chengdu, China - Land of the Giant Panda

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is not only famous for its spicy cuisine, but is also the hometown of the adorable giant panda. A visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding provides a close-up view of these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. Chengdu's teahouse culture and bustling streets add to its charm.

Conclusion

Asia is a continent full of diversity and cultural richness, and its lesser-known destinations offer the chance to embrace the essence of this vast and captivating region. From the tranquility of Bhutan to the tropical wonders of Palawan, each place on this list promises an unforgettable experience. So, the next time you plan your trip, consider going offbeat to explore these underrated travel destinations in Asia.

FAQ

Q: Is Bhutan safe for travellers?

Answer: Yes, Bhutan is known for its safety and friendly environment, which makes it an ideal destination for travelers.

Q: What is the best time to visit Yogyakarta?

A: The best time to visit Yogyakarta is during the dry season, from May to October.

Q: Can I see cherry blossoms in Gyeongju?

Answer: Yes, Gyeongju's cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, usually late March to early April.

Q: Is tracking possible in Nagarkot?

Answer: Yes, Nagarkot offers various trekking trails which are suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers.

Q: How do I reach Mawlynnong?

A: Mawlynnong can be reached by road from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.