Asia is home to some of the most glamorous and beautiful cities in the world. There are so many Eastern countries with immersive cultures, delicious delicacies, and breathtaking sceneries. Choosing where to travel on your next vacation can be difficult with so many options available. We narrowed down the list of travel destinations, and here is our curated list of the top six best cities to visit in Asia:
1. Seoul, South Korea
Whether it’s time travelling back to the traditions of Buddhist temples or fast-forwarding to the technological future, Seoul offers travellers the best of both worlds on a budget. It’s one of the best cities to visit in Asia if you love shopping and nightlife culture.
If you want to get away from the new world, old Seoul is only a stone’s throw away where you can spend hours getting lost amongst the five palaces from the Joseon Dynasty. The best time to explore this city of old meets new is between the months of March to May to avoid both the cold and humid seasons.
2. Hong Kong
Get lost in the hustle and bustle of this metropolitan wonder. Hong Kong’s colonial history breeds a fusion of east meets west. Indulge in the finest drinks and cuisine atop the Ozone terrace (Ritz Carlton Hong Kong) during the day and scale Victoria Peak to witness the breathtaking skyline and laser show at night. Infamous for the late Anthony Bourdain’s final released episode of Parts Unknown, Hong Kong’s street food scene is a must-try for either the avid foodie or the hungry traveller – you will not be disappointed.
The city is also home to many of the most renowned luxury brands such as Chanel and Hermes near the financial core. Come sunset, Central Hong Kong is home to the legendary nightlife strip known as Lan Kwai Fong. Here you will find expats and locals alike gathered on the streets with top 40 music blaring from the lineup of clubs LKF has to offer.
The beauty of Hong Kong, and much like many metropolitan cities in Asia, is the ease of accessibility of its public transit (MTR). Wherever you need to go, this easy-to-use and lightning quick train system can get you from point A to B with minimal wait times for the next train.
Home of “Crazy Rich Asians”, Singapore’s beauty, cleanliness, and architecture is as beautiful as portrayed in the hit romantic comedy directed by Jon Chu. The lavish Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes an ultra-luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and Skypark. Long described as the playground for the rich, Singapore offers more than just high-end luxury shopping, hotels, and fine-dining.
The Gardens by the Bay is home to both stunning green space and the Supertree Grove – a cluster of iconic, futuristic tree-shaped architecture. However, perhaps you do wish to indulge in retail therapy. Look no further than Orchard Road. Home to world-class style and high fashion, there is no shortage of high-end stores at every twist and turn. This neighbourhood boasts 22 malls and six department stores. Friendly reminder, chewing gum is still illegal in Singapore.
4. Bangkok, Thailand
If you like the idea of getting mileage for your dollar, look no further than touring around Bangkok in Thailand. Touted as the world’s most visited city, Bangkok has unbeatable street food, temples, and night markets. Furthermore, you can feel its strong sense of identity throughout all your interactions with the city as Bangkok is the only Southeast Asian nation to retain its independence through the period of Western colonisation.
Iconic monuments such as the towering Wat Arun and Wat Pho greet you while adventures along the various unique floating markets await you. Similar to Seoul, Bangkok offers a ying and yang of contrasting worlds with its massing shopping complexes on one side and historical temples on the other.
5. Shanghai, China
Enter China’s largest and richest city. Shanghai’s electric energy makes it one of the best cities to visit in Asia. Perhaps the most eye-popping proof as to the city’s exploding growth and business hub is the contrast between old and new Shanghai, accented by the Bund skyline. It is not uncommon to see half-demolished lane houses adjacent to mammoth skyscrapers and abandoned industrial warehouses transformed into art spaces.
Much like Hong Kong, Shanghai offers a blend of eastern and western culture highlighted by its dynamic yet diverse nightlife. Rooftop bars such as TOPS, on level 13 of the exclusive Banyan Tree Hotel, are aplenty thanks to the electrifying skyline overseeing the Huangpu River. If glitz and glam and a sense of where “anything is possible” is what you are looking for, then look no further than Shanghai. As a bonus, Shanghai is a very bicycle-friendly city and you can join the many cyclists in your daily commute.
6. Tokyo, Japan
Home to tech, the largest fish market, and eccentric museums, Tokyo is steeped with culture and limitless attractions to explore. From the Kite Museum to the Love Doll Museum, there is a wide range of strange and intrigue for you to choose from when it comes to the arts. How do you get around the city you ask? By way of the world’s busiest train station, of course. Over a billion passengers use the Tokyo trains each year.
Fashion in Tokyo also offers a unique experience compared to North America. Cosplay (Costume Play) is common amongst the younger audience, featuring popular anime, movie, and comic book characters. For more upscale fashion, head over to the Ginza district (the Beverly Hills of Tokyo). For fireworks lovers, the Sumida River Fireworks Festival on July 27 is a must-see. The attraction draws around a million viewers each year to witness almost 20,000 fireworks.