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Temples, Tea, Cities and Sea: 10 Reasons to Love Asia!

1st April 2015

Asia... there’s nowhere else quite like it. Dramatically beautiful, industriously modern and culturally vibrant, here the old meets new, east meets west and around every corner, a colourful tapestry of flavours, sights and smells overpowers the senses. Ancient temples stand beside neon-lit skyscrapers, street vendors swish their pans outside Michelin-starred restaurants, and towering snow-capped peaks peter out to shimmering coastlines punctuated by lush, green islands ripe for discovery. The bustle of the city or the peace of a deserted beach – both can be found. Asia is a land of contradictions, but that’s exactly why it’s so enthralling. Here are 10 reasons to love Asia!

asia city

The cities...

The frenetic buzz of Asia comes to a peak in its cities, where skyscrapers dominate the skyline and life plays out in an around-the-clock flurry of action on the ground below. Most of the metropolises will leave you dizzy with options. There are world-class eateries to try, gleaming shopping malls to browse and all kinds of flashy big city sights and cosmopolitan delights sure to tempt. From Singapore and Hong Kong to Shanghai and Tokyo, colourful night markets, futuristic gardens and ancient temples are just the beginning.

asia temple

The culture...

A wide range of religions and ethnicities shape the colourful culture of Asia, and together, they play out in a fascinating meeting of values, beliefs and traditions. Beautiful temples, golden pagodas, cliff top monasteries, giant Buddha statues and intricate mosques offer an insightful glimpse, but really, it’s the everyday sights that truly tell the tales of Asian life. From the food to the textiles and the way locals greet you in the street, the best way to soak up the atmosphere is to simply wander. But also don’t miss a more definitive look in the museums and galleries, and the performances and festivals on show.

asia beach

The beaches...

It’s no deep, dark secret that Asia flaunts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and while Phuket and Bali are the most obvious sunny lures, they certainly aren’t the only windswept shores hailing squeaky white sands and warm, clear blue waters. Even in the peak of winter most coastal hotspots revel in what feels like a wonderful, perpetual summer. Away from the usual mainstays, lush Langkawi  in Malaysia is increasingly gaining popularity while Danang, in central Vietnam, is a surprising yet highly touted newcomer to the Asia beach holiday scene.

asia food

The food...

The long culinary history of Asia comes alive with each and every flavour-packed chopstick load. From pungent Thai red curry to fragrant herbs rolled in rice paper and fresh sashimi straight from the sea, incredible taste sensations abound everywhere from street side vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants. Rice, soy, fish sauce, coconut milk, miso, noodles, ginger and lime are just a few of the staples – plus plenty of tea – but never underestimate the palate-pleasing power of a perfectly balanced dish. Also, watch out for little specks of red – powerful hits of chilli can crop up when you least expect it!

asia history

The history...

This was the stomping ground for some the earliest civilizations in the world, including the Javans, the Angkor and the Champa. Traces of their early existence and the roots of civilizations to follow can still be found today, including famous ruins, ancient relics and beautiful structures. But it’s not all about what’s ancient in Asia. Modern history has left its mark here too, from the Great Wall of China to a number of towering skyscrapers that have, at some point or another, claimed the crown as the world’s tallest structure.

shopping asia

The shopping...

There’s no doubt about it: Asia is a haven for shopaholics. From authentic local goods to electronics and beautiful luxury designer items, there’s something to suit every taste and budget. While the neon-lit cities tout gleaming shopping malls and many famous shopping streets that go on and on for as far as the eye can see, don’t miss the bustle of a local market for a taste of the local shopping style. From night markets to floating markets, bring your best bartering skills but beware: there are so many great bargains that even then, you could still wind up maxing out that credit card.

asia landscape

The landscapes....

You don’t have to climb to the top of snow-capped Mount Everest to experience the true heights of Asia’s offerings in the natural beauty department. Beyond the beaches and the mountains, there are volcanoes, tumbling waterfalls, deserts, sand dunes, lakes and jungles to explore. Glide down the winding backwaters of Vietnam’s Mekong River, pedal your way through rice paddies in the heart of Bali, or kick back on a beach between snorkelling sessions along Thailand's stunning coastline. From Halong Bay to Mt Fuji and the remote stretches of Yangtze Gorge, the list of natural wonders goes on!

asia money

The affordability...

It’s easy to get a lot of bang for your baht, dong, ringgit or dollar in Asia, with a consistently favourable exchange rate and highly affordable local prices. There’s nowhere cheaper to indulge in a little extravagance and luxury – here it won’t cost you an arm, or a leg! Those with a tight grip on their hip pocket will quickly find that their budget can truly be stretched farther than ever before. So whether you're looking to splurge or save, Asia is always affordable.

asia wildlife

The wildlife...

Forget zoos. In Asia, you can spot rare and exotic wildlife right where they belong – in the wild. Just a few of the animal-spotting highlights include pandas, elephants, tigers, elephants, leopards, gibbons and a myriad of delicate butterflies and birdlife. Take a day trip from Bali to Komodo Island to see rare Komodo dragons, hang out with orang-utans in Malaysian Borneo or catch sight of Irrawaddy dolphins diving in and out of the Irrawaddy River waters. Animal-lovers will be in their element.

asia people

The people...

Wherever you go and whatever you do, it’s always the people you meet along the way that makes a holiday truly memorable and special for all the right reasons. In Asia, this comes easy. The locals are some of the humblest and friendliest people on the planet!

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