The top 15 Best Countries to Visit in Asia

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15 ASIAN COUNTRIES TO SATISFY YOUR WANDERLUST

Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent, covering nearly 30% of the Earth’s land area. With over 4.5 billion people, it accounts for 60% of the global population. Asia’s immense size and diversity make it an incredibly exciting destination for travelers. From bustling modern metropolises to ancient temples, tropical beaches to snow-capped mountains, Asia has something to offer every type of traveler.

If you’re planning a trip to this dynamic continent, these are the 15 best countries to visit in Asia:

1. Japan

Japan is one of Asia’s most developed, safe and easy to navigate countries. The island nation seamlessly blends its long history and traditions with innovation and modernity. Japan boasts cutting-edge technology, pop culture, and world-renowned cuisine alongside centuries-old temples, shrines, palaces and art forms.

Some top things to do in Japan include:

  • Exploring the megacities of Tokyo and Osaka – two of the world’s most exciting urban destinations.
  • Visiting historic sites like the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, Mt FujiImperial Palace and Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.
  • Experiencing Japanese culture at places like Kyoto’s geisha district GionNara Park, and Odaiba.
  • Trying delicious Japanese cuisine like sushi, ramen, teppanyaki and kaiseki.
  • Shopping at world-class department stores and getting the latest Japanese gadgets in Akihabara (Tokyo’s electronics district).
  • Relaxing in the therapeutic hot springs (onsen) of Hakone or Beppu.
  • Skiing and snowboarding in the northern mountains of Hokkaido.

Japan is very safe, with reliable transportation and budget options for lodging and dining. The Japanese people are amongst the friendliest in Asia. Visiting Japan is an incredible experience and a trip of a lifetime.

2. Indonesia

Indonesia is Asia’s largest archipelagic nation, comprising over 17,000 islands. It is renowned for its gorgeous beaches, lively culture, volcanic landscapes, and biodiversity.

Top sights and activities in diverse Indonesia include:

  • Island hopping to places like BaliLombokKomodo and Raja Ampat for stunning beaches, snorkeling, diving, and surfing.
  • Exploring Java’s bustling capital Jakarta and the cultural city of Yogyakarta, with ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples like Borobudur and Prambanan.
  • Trekking to spot endangered orangutans in Sumatra’s Bukit Lawang jungle.
  • Witnessing an active volcano on the islands of Bali or Java.
  • Savoring delicious Indonesian cuisine like nasi goreng, sate, gado gado, and rendang.
  • Learning about Indonesia’s cultures and tribes at places like Tana Toraja (Sulawesi), Komodo and Bali.
  • Shopping for arts, crafts and souvenirs in bustling markets in cities like Yogyakarta and Jakarta.

With friendly locals, affordable costs and stunning natural scenery, Indonesia is an unforgettable travel destination.

3. Thailand

Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destinations, famous for its tropical beaches, grand Buddhist temples, flavorful food, and lively cities.

Top attractions and activities in Thailand include:

  • Partying and island-hopping in islands like Phuket and Koh Samui.
  • Exploring Bangkok’s dazzling Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
  • Hiking in mountainous Chiang Mai to visit hill tribe villages and elephant sanctuaries.
  • Discovering Thailand’s history in ancient capitals like Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
  • Eating incredible Thai cuisine like pad thai, tom yum soup, som tum and curries.
  • Celebrating festivals like Songkran (Thai New Year), Loy Krathong and more.
  • Taking a Thai cooking class in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket.
  • Shopping for bargains at Bangkok’s popular Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Friendly, exotic, affordable and bursting with culture, Thailand is an outstanding choice for any Asia trip.

4. India

India is South Asia’s largest, most diverse, and chaotic nation. As a travel destination, India both thrills and overwhelms the senses like nowhere else on Earth.

Top attractions and activities in energizing India include:

  • Discovering Delhi’s Mughal landmarks like the massive Red Fort and Jama Masjid mosque.
  • Exploring Rajasthan’s royal and romantic cities like JaipurJodhpur and Udaipur.
  • Riding Toy Train to the Himalayan hill station of Darjeeling for tea.
  • Watching the sunset over the Taj Mahal in Agra.
  • Walking the French Quarter and soaking in Tamil culture in Puducherry.
  • Safari seeking tigers and leopards in Ranthambore or Bandhavgarh National Parks.
  • Experiencing the intoxicating energy of spiritual cities like Varanasi and Rishikesh.
  • Eating delicious curries, biryanis, naan breads, masala chai and more.

With its rich heritage, diverse landscapes and mouthwatering cuisine, India offers an epic adventure like no other.

5. Singapore

Singapore is Asia’s cleanest, safest, most orderly and developed country. Though tiny in size, Singapore punches way above its weight class as a world-class travel destination.

Top experiences in Singapore include:

  • Admiring cutting-edge architecture at Marina Bay SandsGardens by the Bay and the downtown skyline.
  • Exploring historic colonial architecture and culture in the Civic District and Chinatown.
  • Shopping on iconic Orchard Road or at futuristic Changi Airport.
  • Enjoying Michelin star cuisine from celebrity chefs.
  • Singing karaoke in lively Clarke Quay.
  • Snapping an Instagram selfie at Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands.
  • Discovering Singapore’s diverse Malay, Indian and Chinese culture in places like Little India and Kampong Glam.
  • Seeing over 40,000 plants from tropical rainforests at the National Orchid Garden.

Thanks to top-notch hotels, dining and transportation, visiting Singapore is an effortless, memory making vacation.

6. China

China is Asia’s largest country and a mesmerizing blend of old and new. Modern cities and rapid development co-exist alongside ancient imperial history, traditions and spectacular scenery.

Top sights and activities in China include:

  • Walking along the Great Wall of China outside Beijing and seeing the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in the capital.
  • Experiencing the neon-lit skyline and fusion food scene in fast-paced Shanghai.
  • Seeing thousands of Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, the former imperial capital.
  • Hiking the fairytale landscapes of Zhangjiajie National Park.
  • Cruising the Li River and seeing rural life in Yangshuo.
  • Eating dim sum and barbecue duck in Hong Kong.
  • Exploring giant pandas, Tibetan culture and spicy cuisine in Sichuan Province.

Boasting rapid bullet trains, convenient apps and mobile payments, visiting China has never been more accessible.

7. South Korea

South Korea blends ancient tradition with ultra-modernity in a dynamic, high-tech society. Cosmopolitan cities and pop culture coexist alongside Buddhist temples, nature and ancient history.

Must-visit attractions include:

  • Touring historic sites like Gyeongbok Palace and the DMZ in Seoul.
  • Hiking scenic mountains and staying in Buddhist temples.
  • Experiencing gaming culture, K-Pop music and Korean BBQ in Seoul.
  • Visiting Jeju Island for beaches, seafood, hikes and the Teddy Bear Museum.
  • Admiring Busan’s beaches, sea temples and lively Jagalchi Fish Market.
  • Enjoying skiing, spas and water parks in Pyeongchang.
  • Shopping at futuristic Dongdaemun and underground Coex Mall in Seoul.
  • Taking a traditional Korean bathhouse (jjimjilbang) experience.

Thanks to excellent infrastructure, safety and English speaking abilities, South Korea is one of Asia’s easiest and most enjoyable countries to explore. The Korean people are exceptionally friendly too.

8. Vietnam

Vietnam packs scenic beauty, delectable cuisine, historic sites and modern vibes into a narrow strip of lush land along the South China Sea.

Top experiences in Vietnam include:

  • Marveling at the Ha Long Bay limestone islands and floating villages.
  • Exploring the bustling Old Quarter, imperial sights and cafe culture of Hanoi.
  • Wandering Ho Chi Minh City‘s French colonial buildings and war remnants.
  • Sampling Vietnam’s delicious pho noodle soups and other street food.
  • Visiting colonial seaside towns like Hoi An and hill stations like Sapa.
  • Taking a cruise in the Mekong Delta and witnessing floating markets.
  • Seeing the Cu Chi Tunnels used in the Vietnam War.
  • Chilling on tropical beaches like Nha Trang and island vibes of Phu Quoc.

Boasting heavenly landscapes, delectable cuisine, vibrant cities and très chic beach resorts, Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most alluring destinations.

9. Taiwan

An island nestled off China’s coast, Taiwan offers a wonderful fusion of Chinese and indigenous heritage with Japanese, colonial and modern influences.

Top experiences in Taiwan include:

  • Exploring Taipei 101, museums and temples in the dynamic capital Taipei.
  • Hiking and hot spring soaking in Taroko Gorge National Park.
  • Cycling lush rural landscapes and eating delicious food in Jiufen and Pingxi.
  • Learning about tea culture in Maokong.
  • Seeing wild monkeys at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.
  • Admiring Ximending’s youthful fashion and Japanese culture.
  • Sunbathing and surfing on golden sand beaches in Kenting National Park and Green Island.

Boasting lovely scenery, super friendly locals and mouthwatering cuisine, Taiwan is an underrated gem of Asia.

10. Sri Lanka

The palm-fringed island nation of Sri Lanka is blessed with culture, history, wildlife and lovely beaches along its coastline.

Top attractions in enchanting Sri Lanka include:

  • Exploring ancient capitals like SigiriyaPolonnaruwa, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
  • Hiking through tea estates in central Kandy to see the Temple of the Tooth.
  • Spotting leopards, elephants and other wildlife at Yala and Udawalawe National Parks.
  • Discovering colonial forts, mosques and churches from Portuguese and Dutch eras in Galle and Colombo.
  • Surfing sandy beaches in laidback Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay.
  • Visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
  • Sampling delicious Sri Lankan cuisine like hoppers, curries, seafood and sambol.

With friendly locals, affordability and outstanding nature, Sri Lanka is unmissable.

11. Philippines

The Philippines is an enticing Southeast Asian nation comprising over 7,000 tropical islands. This island archipelago boasts stunning beaches, lush jungles, coral reefs and diverse cultural experiences.

Top attractions and activities in the Philippines include:

  • Island hopping between paradises like BoracayPalawanCebuBohol and more.
  • Swimming with whale sharks off Cebu.
  • Marveling at volcanic landscapes and indigenous rice terraces in Banaue.
  • Exploring Spanish colonial architecture in Vigan.
  • Wreck diving among WWII shipwrecks around Coron.
  • Kayaking amidst eth mystical Hundred Islands National Park.
  • Hiking to volcanic craters, jungles, waterfalls and more.
  • Sampling Filipino foods like adobo, sinigang, lechon, halo-halo and street food.

The Philippines dazzles with island adventures, underwater treasures, jungles, volcanoes, heritage sites, and friendly locals.

12. Bhutan

The tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a magical realm of peaceful Buddhist culture and pristine nature. It focuses on “Gross National Happiness”.

Top attractions and experiences in Bhutan include:

  • Touring elaborate hilltop Taktshang (“Tiger’s Nest”) Monastery.
  • Witnessing traditional masked dance festivals like tsechus.
  • Hiking peaceful trails dotted with prayer flags and chorten shrines.
  • Meeting local artisans skilled in thangka paintings, textiles and more.
  • Learning about Bhutan’s rich Buddhist heritage and culture.
  • Sampling Bhutan’s spicy national dish Ema Datshi (chilies and cheese).
  • Finding spiritual renewal in sacred valleys like Paro and Thimphu.

Still isolated from the outside world, the mystical Kingdom of Bhutan is like stepping into a living fairy tale.

13. Jordan

Amman, Jordan its Roman ruins in the middle of the ancient citadel park in the center of the city. Sunset on Skyline of Amman and old town of the city with nice view over historic capital of Jordan.

Jordan is a Middle Eastern gem with desert landscapes dotted with crusader castles and carved ancient cities. Popular as an extension to Israel or Egypt tours.

Top attractions and activities in Jordan include:

  • Seeing the stone-carved ancient city of Petra, carved from desert cliffs. A wonder of the world.
  • Floating in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea.
  • Snorkeling colorful coral reefs off the beaches of Aqaba on the Red Sea.
  • Camping under starry night skies in the Wadi Rum desert wilderness.
  • Tasting delicious Middle Eastern cuisine like kebabs, hummus and mezze.
  • Exploring crusader castles like Karak and Shobak.
  • Wandering historic downtown Amman, Jerash and Madaba.

For Indiana Jones landscapes, ancient sites and Arabian adventures, visit magical Jordan.

14. Turkey

Straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey combines dramatic ancient sites, fascinating bazaars, Mediterranean beaches, and delicious cuisine.

Must-see attractions include:

  • Marveling at Byzantine mosaics inside Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.
  • Hot air ballooning over otherworldly Cappadocia valley.
  • Seeing Roman and Hellenistic ruins at Ephesus.
  • Whirling with dervishes at a spiritual Sufi sema ceremony.
  • Soaking in hot springs and pools in Pamukkale.
  • Sailing the Turquoise Coast on a luxury gulet yacht.
  • Bargain hunting in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.
  • Eating delicious kebabs, meze, baklava pastries and Turkish breakfast.

Blending classical sites with natural beauty, vibrant bazaars, nightlife and gastronomy, Turkey is incredibly diverse.

15. Maldives

The Maldives are Asia’s most luxurious beach destination, renowned for overwater bungalows, underwater restaurants and diving. Situated in the Indian Ocean, these low-lying coral atolls feature palm-fringed white sands and crystal clear lagoons.

Activities in paradise include:

  • Relaxing in your overwater villa staring at reef sharks and manta rays swimming below.
  • Exploring vibrant reefs while snorkeling or scuba diving with whale sharks and turtles.
  • Indulging in beachfront massages and water sports like jet skiing.
  • Dining on fresh seafood beneath the stars.
  • Sipping cocktails at oceanfront infinity pools and bars.
  • Taking seaplane rides for aerial views of scattered atolls.
  • Island hopping between luxury resorts by speedboat.

Offering next-level luxury, ocean adventures, and romantic ambience, the Maldives is Asia’s ultimate beach escape.

Travel Tips for Asia

With 50 countries and so much diversity, mastering travel in Asia can be daunting. Here are some key tips for planning a successful Asia trip:

Choosing Destinations Wisely

Asia’s massive size means you can’t see everything in one trip. Choose destinations carefully based on your interests, budget and time. Cluster countries in geographic regions with easy transport connections. Thailand – Cambodia – Vietnam makes a good Southeast Asia route. Japan – South Korea – Taiwan works for Northeast Asia. Opt for India or Sri Lanka for South Asia. Choose reliably safe, tourist-friendly countries for the first Asia trip. Then explore off-the-beaten-path on subsequent journeys.

Book Accommodations Smartly

With so many options, booking lodgings in Asia can be overwhelming. Boutique hotels provide local charm and personal service. Global brands like Hilton assure consistent standards. Homestays and guest

Conclusion

Asia is a vast region that offers immense diversity in landscapes, culture, cuisine, attractions and experiences. From bustling modern megacities to remote Himalayan kingdoms, sandy beaches to volcanic tropical islands, sacred temples to luxury resorts, Asia has something to excite every traveler’s imagination.

The 15 countries highlighted in this article showcase the best of what the diverse Asian continent has to offer visitors. Multi-faceted Japan blends ancient traditions with robotics and neon cityscapes. Indonesia entices with 17,000 tropical islands. In Thailand, you can party on beaches or trek to hill tribes. India overwhelms the senses with its chaotic diversity. Clean and orderly Singapore thrills with futuristic architecture. The neon cityscapes of Shanghai and Hong Kong showcase cutting-edge modern China. South Korea impresses with k-pop culture and technological advances. Vietnam boasts heavenly landscapes and delectable cuisine. Taiwan fuses Chinese and Japanese influences with indigenous allure. Sri Lanka dazzles with beaches, tea estates and wildlife. The Philippines entice with 7,000 islands spanning jungles to urban cityscapes. Bhutan is a magical Himalayan kingdom focused on happiness. Jordan lures with ancient Petra and the Dead Sea. Turkey combines classical sites with vibrant markets and Mediterranean beaches. The Maldives define paradise with overwater bungalows and world-class diving.

These 15 countries provide a sampling of the diversity of destinations, cultures and attractions found across Asia’s 50 nations. First-time visitors seeking a hassle-free introduction may wish to start with Japan, Singapore or South Korea. Return travelers can venture to more off-the-beaten-path destinations in Southeast Asia, the Himalayas or Central Asia.

No matter your interests or budget, Asia offers an abundance of choice. Accommodations range from affordable guest houses to ultra-luxury resorts. Transportation options extend from public buses to private limos. You can dine at Michelin-starred restaurants or grab street food for pennies. Shop for high-tech gadgets or handmade crafts at local markets. Stay connected with widespread WiFi and SIM cards or unplug at a silent Buddhist monastery. Alternate between peaceful islands, remote jungles and fast-paced megacities. Add cultural festivals, world-class hiking and fantastic food into the mix.

For easy travel, stick to established tourist circuits. To go more local, get off the beaten path with a reputable guide. Respect local culture and customs. Travel with an open mind, sense of adventure and patience for the unexpected. Book some activities in advance but leave room for spontaneity. Talk to fellow travelers for insights. Hire private guides for insight into sacred sites. Splurge on photography tours for Instagrammable shots. Consider learning basic language phrases and etiquette. Download useful apps like Google Translate or Maps.me. Use technology but don’t forget to lift your eyes to truly experience your surroundings.

Asia is endlessly fascinating but can be challenging. Arriving prepared will enhance your experience. Read travel blogs. Talk to friends who have visited Asia before. Research visa requirements. Check weather and forecasts. Confirm required vaccinations. Book at least the start of an itinerary to ease into things. Build in buffer days in case you need to slow down. Pack smartly including medications, proper footwear and lightweight clothes. Secure insurance and copies of passport/documentation.

By choosing destinations thoughtfully, making sensible arrangements and taking basic precautions, Asia offers a trip of a lifetime, regardless of your interests or budget. Immersing yourself in its diversity with an open and patient attitude lets you experience the wonders of Asia to the fullest. This massive, complex and magical continent will exceed your expectations and provide epic adventures memories to last a lifetime.

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