Between their amazing cuisines, exotic cultures, and unmatched natural beauty, the countries of East and Southeast Asia have something for every traveler – and budget.
Vacationers can explore modern metropolises like Tokyo and Seoul, sunbathe in Bali or Boracay, or backpack through lush rainforests and ancient temples just outside Siem Reap and Bangkok.
Which one will you choose? Here are our picks for the 10 cities in Asia that every traveler should see.
Present-day Japan’s mix of ancient tradition and modern innovation is never more evident than in the country’s capital, Tokyo. It manages to embody every aspect of Japanese culture at once, from the richest cultural elements to the oddest clichés – and wow, is it a sight to behold.
And you’ve never seen a major city that’s so clean, so safe, so orderly. But there are still plenty of opportunities to cut loose and enjoy yourself, including stuffing your face with the world’s best (duh) sushi.
Speaking of food, Tokyo’s many restaurants have accumulated more Michelin stars than any city in the world. In fact, other locations – including Paris, NYC, London, and San Francisco – don’t even come close.
From beautiful beaches to the region’s famous Balinese massages, Bali is perhaps the ultimate destination for rest and relaxation. Or maybe you’d rather enjoy some world class surfing and explore the local rainforests.
Hey, why not both? Either way, Bali doesn’t disappoint. Especially when you’re staying in a luxury villa like this one.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City – also known as Saigon – is almost like traveling to another planet. The streets are swarmed with thousands of motorbikes and lined with hundreds of street vendors, creating a kind of symphony of chaos that has to be seen to be believed.
Add in the incredible food and even better Vietnamese coffee, and HCMC is a city of sensory overload – but in the best possible way. And like much of Southeast Asia, it can be seen and enjoyed on a very modest budget.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is one of the most famous attractions in all of Asia, and its ancient temples and ruins just so happen to sit right outside the sprawling city of Siem Reap.
Despite Cambodia’s rocky history, modern day Siem Reap is a vibrant place, bursting with culture, history, and some very friendly locals. Sure, it’s still quite rugged and raw compared to somewhere like Tokyo, but that’s part of the charm. And there’s plenty to see, do, and experience, whether its relaxation or adventure you seek.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is on par with some of the biggest financial hubs in the world, which makes for a bustling city filled with endless creature comforts, to be enjoyed by both Chinese businessmen and foreign tourists alike. In fact, HK caters to Westerners better than most major cities in the region.
And whether you’re ordering a bespoke suit from one of the city’s famous tailors or enjoying a family trip to Hong Kong Disneyland, it’s a place that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. And fortunately, flights to and from HK are cheap, whether you’re traveling from the US or another country in Asia.
Taiwan is technically a part of China, but there are plenty of differences that make it unique from the mainland or Hong Kong.
The city is an interesting blend of modern amenities and traditional culture, where you can find high-end restaurants and local markets almost right next to each other, which makes for a fun vacation – and some very, very good eating.
And while it’s not as cheap as Bangkok or Siem Reap, for instance, Taipei is still doable on a more modest budget than Tokyo or Hong Kong.
There are few cities in the world that offer as much as Bangkok. The city’s food, martial arts, culture, nightlife, and shopping all rank among the best in the world, which is why it’s able to attract everyone from digital nomads to professional fighters to backpackers to retirees by the thousands.
One of the best things about Bangkok is how affordable it is, with plenty of value-priced accommodation – like this one-bedroom apartment – spread throughout every nook and cranny of the city.
If your idea of a perfect vacation includes relaxing on a picturesque beach with a drink in hand, Boracay may be just the place.
While the Philippines has thousands of islands, none are quite as popular as Boracay, which has attracted acclaim, awards, and tourists from around the world for its incredibly white beaches with stunningly blue waters.
Every inch of this tiny island’s coastline is worthy of a postcard – and the parties aren’t bad either.
Seoul, South Korea
South Korea’s economic growth has been explosive over the past few decades, and it’s all the more obvious in the capital city of Seoul, with its towering skyscrapers and ultramodern amenities. Yet the city is still amazingly affordable, especially compared to neighboring Japan.
And vacationers will be happy to hear that Koreans party just as hard as they work, epitomized by Seoul’s amazing culinary scene and nightlife. Korean BBQ, K-Pop, and copious amounts of alcohol are the recipe for an unforgettable night, for sure.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is a country that features a unique blend of cultures, and it’s never more evident than in Kuala Lumpur, a city that’s made up of roughly 45% Malay Muslims, 45% Chinese Buddhists, and 10% Indian Hindus.
And for tourists, that means some really, really good food. While Thai and Japanese cuisine, for instance, is obviously amazing, Kuala Lumpur offers an entire spectrum of different options for foodies to choose from. And they’re scattered around a very modern and interesting city, that serves as one of the biggest airline hubs in the region.
Unique Cities and Unique Experiences
So, have you made a decision yet? Will you start with a beach vacation in Bali or Boracay, eat until you burst in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, or shop ‘til you drop in Taiwan and Hong Kong?
Fortunately, it’s so easy to catch a flight from one city in the region to another, you could even hit two or three in a fairly short trip.
And the best part about all ten cities is how distinctly unique they all are.
In fact, unique travel experiences are something we at Tripz.com really value. That’s why we make it a point to connect travelers and hosts directly, giving them the experience to create that connection that’s been slowly disappearing from today’s vacation rental industry.
If you love new and rewarding travel stories as much as we do, make sure to give our properties a look. Your next vacation rental is just waiting to be discovered!