The most beautiful places in Asia are plentiful. In fact, this vast continent is home to 48 countries, each with its own natural wonders and spectacular cultural sights. If you are planning a trip to Asia, you’ll want to visit its most beautiful destinations and the following list is a good starting point for uncovering the diverse beauty of this continent. So, if you’re searching for the most beautiful places in Asia, here are 10 that are simply unmissable!
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
One of the best-known sights in South East Asia, Angkor Wat is the largest temple complex on earth. Situated in northeastern Cambodia, this 12th-century temple is an immaculate example of Khmer architecture. Furthermore, this national symbol is important in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Initially dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu, the complex was later converted into a Buddhist temple. Today, watching the sunset over this incredible ‘temple-mountain’ is among the most sought-after travel experiences in Asia!
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Around 200 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands are one of the most beautiful places in Asia. Like an endless carpet of emerald-green tea plantations, this scenic area is famed for its cool climate, hiking trails and delicious strawberry farms. Furthermore, filled with idyllic landscapes, the tranquil Cameron Highlands are the ideal destination for travellers looking for a laid-back escape in the heart of rural Malaysia.
Protected by UNESCO, this former capital was once home to more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries. Stretching across an ancient plain of more than 100 square kilometres, visitors must prepare themselves for an awe-inspiring sight! Around 3,500 structures remain today, many of which date back 1,000 years. Interspersed by trees and small hills, the result is a landscape like no other. Head to an elevated vantage point or, better yet, take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the plain to see one of the most beautiful sights in Asia!
An island in the Sulu Sea, exotic Palawan is known as the Philippines’ ‘Last Ecological Frontier’. With immense biodiversity and out-of-this-world landscapes, Palawan is a real-life paradise. White sand beaches, lapped by turquoise waters, come as standard here. Plus, an otherworldly underground river and countless diving and snorkelling spots only add to the appeal. One of the most beautiful places in Asia, Palawan is just as stunning as the photos suggest!
Situated in central Java, Borobudur is one of Indonesia’s top sights. This 7th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple is the oldest of its kind. Furthermore, its unique tiered platform design makes it a joy to explore. Early morning excursions are popular, allowing visitors to watch the sunrise from this incredible architectural marvel. Still a place of pilgrimage today, you could easily spend an entire day admiring its extensive ensemble of Buddhist reliefs.
Immortalised in the poetry of Lord Byron, among others, Samarkand is perhaps one of the best known and popular of Uzbekistan’s Silk Road cities. With a fantastical array of mosques, madrasas and mausoleums, it is an architectural treasure and one of the most beautiful places in Asia. The focal point is Registan Square, a three-sided plaza featuring impressive architecture from the 15th and 17th centuries. Historically, it was once the cultural centre of the city, a place of education, worship and gathering.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto, Japan
Around 30 minutes from the centre of Kyoto lies an incredible spectacle of nature. This protected forest of bamboo trees is one of the most beautiful places in Asia and a must-visit for travellers to Japan. Soaring bamboo trees create a magical canopy of leaves that sway in the gentle breeze. Indeed, weaving throughout the forest on the wooden walking paths, you can lose yourself in the hypnotizing sound of bamboo trees whistling in the wind.
Gyeongju National Park, South Korea
For lovers of both the great outdoors and culture, Gyeongju National Park offers much to enjoy. Covering an area of over 135 square kilometres, the park is home to many relics of the Silla dynasty and numerous examples of Joseon architecture. Furthermore, the mountainous terrain makes for memorable hiking trails and incredible hilltop views as you explore what could be described as an outdoor museum of South Korean heritage.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Known as the ‘City of Gold’, Luang Prabang is surely one of the most beautiful places in Asia. This ancient capital is famed for its gilded temples and elaborate royal palaces. Unlike many major cities in Asia, Luang Prabang has retained its elegant appearance and its historic centre remains largely intact, home to French colonial-era architecture. Of course, you cannot travel to Luang Prabang without witnessing the daily alms ceremony. Every morning at sunrise, monks from the local monasteries take to the streets to collect alms from the community. This centuries-old tradition is just one of the many reasons why Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful cities in Asia.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
A bucket-list favourite, Ha Long Bay is perhaps the most famous natural attraction in Vietnam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an otherworldly landscape of limestone karsts suspended in the misty waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. 1,600 islands and islets conspire to create a magical landscape, full of unique and surprising natural phenomena. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular ways to experience Ha Long Bay is onboard one of the traditional cruise boats that navigate this mythical place.
As you can see, Asia is home to an array of magnificent sights and beautiful destinations. Where will you go first?
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