As regional experts in Asia, we are often approached for advice for where to go for an Asian vacation. The way we would answer that question would be to ask what kind of vacation one is looking for. A tropical beach getaway? An exotic cultural experience? An exhilarating adventure through the wild? It’s impossible to pick one favourite place during our Asian travels, but we know our favourites in every category.
Below we present what we considered the best of Asia destinations in each of the categories.
The most exciting cities were bustling urban centers filled with sprawling skyscrapers, megamalls, endless people, and always something to do.
Winner: Hong Kong
Honourable Mentions: Bangkok, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The top landmarks were world-famous iconic structures that symbolize … and attract millions of visitors from around the world.
Winner: Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Honourable Mention: Taj Mahal, India; Bagan, Myanmar
The best adventures on the road were not only scenic, but are unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in remote and extreme locations.
Winner: Trekking the Himalayas, Nepal
Honourable Mentions: Camel Safari in Jaisalmer, India; Volcano Trekking in Indonesia
The most idyllic beaches had the softest sand, clearest waters, as well as an abundance of marine life and aquatic activities.
Winner: Maafushi, Maldives
Honourable Mentions: Koh Kradan, Thailand; Boracay, Philippines
The best wildlife excursions were those where we observed animals not in captivity, but in their natural habitats in the wild.
Winner: Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Honourable Mentions: Wildlife in Borneo; Snorkeling and Diving in the Maldives
For the most eye-opening experiences, we caught glimpses of people and communities with a completely different way of life, places where it felt like a whole other world.
Winner: Varanasi, India
Honourable Mentions: Sapa, Vietnam; Inle Lake, Myanmar
The best countries for a foodie tour were ones with a deep history of traditional cooking methods, local ingredients, distinct flavours, all combined for the full sensory experience.
Honourable Mentions: Vietnam; Thailand
This is the best answer we can give for what our favourite places were this past year, plus we hope it helps to inspire some awesome future vacations!