Asia travel is all about discovery – from vibrant cultures to natural wonders, the revelations never end. From the world’s highest mountain to the world’s largest cave, Asia is home to nature’s most imaginative, awe-inspiring creations. When you plan your Asia travel, it’s usually really hard to pick where to go, so we’ve got some fantastic ideas for an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.
Living Bridges, Cherrapunji, India
These bridges were grown (not built!) for a practical reason: to help villagers cross the rivers in the Meghalaya region in north east India. This area is one of the wettest places on Earth, which leads to problems from June to September. The current becomes more aggressive and people are incapable of crossing it. They needed a solution, and they found one!
The rubber tree roots were directed towards the opposite sides of the river with the help of hollowed out betel nut trunks, and eventually became the bridges that we can see there today. The bridges get stronger as time goes on. The most notable of these bridges is the Umshiang Double-Decker Bridge. Travel to Meghalaya, dubbed as the ‘Abode of Clouds’ to see these natural wonders. This is Asia travel at its most wondrous.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay, meaning “descending dragon”, is one of the top travel spots in Vietnam and it’s not hard to see why. Travel to this UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gulf of Tonkin to see its incredible limestone pillars, scattered islands, and rock formations. The islands are particularly special because they are uninhabited, and therefore, well, not ruined by humans. And there are about 1,600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars to admire.
Some of the top sites found in Halong Bay are the Lan Ha Bay, the Ho Chi Minh Monument, and the Cat Co Cave. Here you can take a guided tour of the area on a junk boat, a ship to specific islands like the Tuan Chau Island, or an entire boating trip around the bay.
Valley Of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India
Located in the West Himalayas, this national park in the Garhwal region is known for its gorgeous meadows of flowers. This national park, a core zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, was actually unknown to the world until 1931. It is in the higher ranges of the Himalayas, so it is protected by the mountains. During colder months it is buried under ice, but in the warmer parts of the year it is booming with beautiful flowers.
There are both waterfalls and small streams around the valley, which is a great place to take a nice walk. You may even spot some unusual flora and endangered and/or fascinating species like the snow leopard and blue sheep here. The Valley of Flowers is situated in an almost dreamlike location in Chamoli district, and is a world heritage site that travel lovers should see.
Valley of Flowers is located about 300 kms North of Rishikesh, near Badrinath. Travel by road till Govindghat where the trek to Valley of Flowers starts.
Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Philippines
Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park features one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, jaw-dropping limestone karst landscapes, pristine natural beauty, and intact old-growth forests and distinctive wildlife. It is located in the south-western part of the Philippine Archipelago on the mid western coast of Palawan, about 76 km NW of Puerto Princesa and 360 km SW of Manila.
This protected area of the Philippines was named one of the new seven wonders of nature in 2012, and this is no surprise. This national park does not only have a beautiful limestone landscape, but also has an underground river. There was a second floor found to this river in 2010, which means there are waterfalls here as well. It contains some of the most important forests in Asia, and has one of the most astonishing cave systems in the world.
Named for a traditional Japanese cooking pot, this circular crater lake is surrounded by three mountains in the Zao Mountain Range. Although in many pictures the lake appears to have green water, the color changes depending on the sunlight – giving it a second nickname, “Goshikiko” (lake of five colors). No animals of any kind live in it, due to the acidic temperature of the water.
There is a special viewing deck set out near the Zao Mountain Peak Restaurant, where people can drive up to and overlook this beautiful site. Travel lovers can take the Zao Echo Line, and it leads to close to one of Mount Zao’s secondary peaks, Kattadake. From Kattadake, you can see the stunning Okama Crater.
Gokyo Lakes Trek, Nepal
These lakes are the highest freshwater lake system in the world at about 5,000 metres. This region is for people who want to visit the region that Mount Everest is in, but do not want the high altitude or the toll that it takes on the body.
Some things that you do not want to miss in this area are standing at the shores of the six glacier-fed lakes, hiking the Ngozumpa Glacier (largest in the Himalayas!), and climbing Gokyo Ri to see Everest from a spectacular view. Gokyo Lakes Trek is a great place to spend time, because it is near Mount Everest but is not overcrowded with people. A truly worthy Asia travel experience!
Mount Everest, Nepal
It’s hard to put into words the majesty of Mt Everest. It is located on the border of Nepal with China and Tibet, and it is over 60 million years old. There are 18 different climbing routes, and it takes about 40 days to climb the mountain. Sagarmatha National Park, a part of the Himalayan ecological zone, was added to the list of UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in 1979. and contains three of the world’s seven highest mountains – Sagarmatha or Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu. It is also home to several other prominent peaks most of which are above 6,000 meters.
Its Tibetan name, Chomolungma, means “Goddess Mother of the World”, showcasing how much the local people value this mountain. The actual height of the mountain is something that people have argued over for years, but most people say that it is about 29,028 feet tall. This the ultimate Asia travel bucket list destination!
Thi Lo Su Waterfall, Thailand
This is said to the largest and biggest waterfall in Thailand and the sixth largest in the world. It has a height of 820 feet, which is larger than Niagara Falls. It has three waterfalls that diverge together.
There is a small fee that you pay to get in, and then you get to walk a stone pathway to the waterfall. There are viewing platforms to get an amazing look at the gorgeous scene, and you can continue going up to each level. Swimming is allowed at the first level, which is a great way to spend the time there with a group. Thi Lo Su is located in the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
Tubbataha Reef is recognised as one of the most remarkable coral reefs on our planet. You can only travel to by a liveaboard boat because of the underwater nature reserve’s isolated location. This coral reef sits at the center of the Sulu sea, and hosts a wide variety of marine life: dolphins, sharks, turtles, and whales to name just a few.
Scuba divers can go there during three months of the year (March-June). Many endangered sea species live in this reef, and it is an excellent place for travel and diving lovers. This 97,030-hectare nature park is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Palawan and is located 150km southeast of Puerto Princesa City, at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity.
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
This is the world’s largest cave, and it was only discovered in 1990. The name means “mountain river cave” due to its location near a river. This cave was created by river water eroding the limestone, which became a large tunnel that now has caverns big enough to fit an entire city street into it! It is near the border between Vietnam and Laos, in the Quang Binh province, and has just recently opened up to travel lovers. It is still a relatively new natural wonder to see, but is an incredible sight for your Asia travel list.
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