5 unmissable stops for your next trip to Asia
Planning a trip to explore the wonders of Asia? The Asian continent is full of impressive places, but if it’s your first visit, there are some truly unique destinations that you can’t miss. And, of course, don’t leave without trying their traditional dishes! China, Japan, Vietnam … Oriental food culture is full of surprises: prepare your taste buds for a flavour-packed journey.
The Great Wall, China
At nearly 9,000 km long and with its construction starting in the 5th century BC to protect the northern border from attacks by nomadic tribes, the Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world. You can visit several sections without too much trouble. Some of the best ones are where the wall meets the sea at Shanhaiguan or runs through the desert in Gansu province, although most famous are the sections near Beijing. Depending on how fit you are and how much you like walking, you can explore some other sections. But the one thing that’s for sure is that whatever section you choose, you’ll have a truly unforgettable experience. And, of course, take advantage of this stop on your route through Asia to taste some of the most traditional Chinese dishes, such as the renowned spring rolls and special fried rice.
Kyoto, the city of geishas, seems the ideal setting for a fairytale. Its impressive temples and shrines, including the Golden Pavilion and Ryoan-ji and Kiyomizu-dera temples, are some of the most acclaimed monuments in Japan. Don’t miss the Philosopher’s Path, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove or a stroll through the traditional district of Gion in search of geishas and maikos. Take advantage of your time in Kyoto to surprise yourself with Japanese delicacies by sampling dishes like the celebrated yakisoba.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Watching the huge ships hoisting their sails among the colossal rocks that emerge from Halong Bay is quite the spectacle. This is, without doubt, one of the most famous bays in the world. Exploring it, whether for a few hours or a few days, is one of the best memories you can take away with you from Vietnam, one of the most impressive countries in Asia. And once here, surprise yourself with light bites like the famous nem rolls. Wrapped in a fine rice dough, with different fillings depending on the area, this is probably the most popular recipe in this Southeast Asian country.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is unlike the other big cities of the Asian giant, which makes it one of the most remarkable cities in China. This former British colony, which enjoys a high level of independence within China, is quite westernised. In fact, you’ll see how the towering skyscrapers stand alongside temples and areas where ancient traditions remain intact. Observing its incredible skyline while strolling along the Avenue of Stars, climbing up to the Victoria Peak viewpoint at sunset, seeking out a bargain in the street markets or trying your luck in the Macau casinos are just a few activities you can do to get the most out of this city. And all that before considering its culinary offering, which includes the celebrated dim sum: traditional Chinese dumplings of varying types, such as sia long pao and hakao.
Tokyo is a limitless city. Its temples, skyscrapers, traditions and cutting-edge technology all have such a powerful presence that the visitor feels as if they’ve journeyed into the future. Watch the sunset behind Tokyo from Odaiba Island, visit Meiji Shrine or Sensō-ji Temple, climb the Tokyo Tower, eat the best sushi and taste endless varieties of gyoza near Tsukiji Market. Be amazed by the eccentric shops that line Takeshita Street, cross the famous Shibuya Crossing or tour the Ginza, Akihabara or Shinjuku districts. In this city, boredom is never an option!
What did you think about this trip through the most incredible—and edible—corners of Asia? Start your oriental immersion from home today by sampling some of the most irresistible Asian dishes. Which is your favourite?