What are the best cities in Asia?
For starters I have to say that of course, as with many things, this is all rather personal. My favorite might be your worst… 🙂 Asia might not be first on your mind when you think about a city trip (unless you live in Asia probably) as it is further to fly but I do think there are plenty of cities worth a trip.
I share my ten favorites cities from the last couple of years. Really high on my list are Shanghai and Tokyo. I hope to visit those rather soon!
Hong Kong – Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of those cities that are a must see.. It has that bizarre mix of ultra modern and very traditional. You’ll find amazing markets with the weirdest ingredients and sky scrapers like you’ve never seen before. You need at least a few days to get a good feel of the city. I once stayed there for four days for work and it is one of the cities I definitely want to go back to.
Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
Before we arrived in Kuala Lumpur I didn’t have a clear picture in my mind of what it would be like. In a lot of cases I find the capitals of certain countries rather disappointing. They can be loud and noisy and mostly filled with honking cars. In that sense Kuala Lumpur is not much different but I loved the atmosphere here. It’s large and impressive but again here you can find that mix between modern and traditional. One of the reasons I love Asian cities! Don’t forget to visit the Jalan Petaling. We once had the best satay ever there.
Bangkok – Thailand
Of course Bangkok cannot miss in this list of favorite cities in Asia. Here you will find the best street food ever, the most beautiful temples, beautiful parcs you can wander in for days or look at the Thai going about their daily business. I’ve been to Bangkok four times now and I never get bored of this colorful city. Soon I will share more on Bangkok. It’s of course perfect as a starting point of a trip through Thailand.
Hanoi – Vietnam
The two most famous cities in Vietnam are without a doubt Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (formerly known as Saigon) but my favorite is Hanoi. It’s a mad house with scooters and cars but you will find the best street food here too. On every corner of every street there is a man of woman selling his or hers specialty. And if you’re tired of eating Vietnamese (why??) you can even get pretty Western style food here. Although I can’t imagine why you would.
Chiang Mai – Thailand
Of the cities in the north Chiang Mai is the most visited. It’s perfect as a starting point to explore the Northern part of Thailand and the mountain tribes. But don’t forget Chiang Mai and visit it during one of the Thai festivals. We were there during Loy Krathong but even without the festival it is worth spending a few days here. The food is as delicious as anywhere in Thailand, although the kitchen in the north is slightly different from that in Bangkok.Tetebatu – Indonesia
You can wonder if Tetebatu is technically a city. Probably not but you don’t go here for the city itself but rather for the surroundings. Endless rice fields, small villages and the most beautiful sights. We found it one of our highlands when we toured the Sunda Islands. Tetebatu is located on the island of Lombok.
Luang Prabang – Laos
Sadly our trip through beautiful Laos was not a big succes because the itinerary from travel company Djoser was bad. Really bad. And I didn’t pay enough attention to the itinerary when booking due to the fact that it was a last minute decision to change the destination. But a good exception was beautiful Luang Prabang. Very popular among back packers so there are plenty of cheap hotels to choose from. Do visit all the markets here. Well anywhere in Asia really. The best markets in the world you’ll definitely find here. The night market is fun to walk around but very touristic. I am more a fan of the food markets during the day.
Petra – Jordan
It’s funny really that a country like Jordan doesn’t fall in Asia in my mind. It is Asia but it feels very different. It’s a beautiful country to visit and in the Middle East it is relatively safe. An absolute must see is beautiful Petra. Of course it is no longer a city in the actual term but an ancient city. I am not one to spend hours walking along ruins but Petra was an exception. I loved it. It is hot so bring enough water. You can easily spend a day here so take your time. If you don’t feel like walking back through the heat you can always ‘rent a donkey’ or a camel to take you back to the entrance.
Maybe the weirdest city in this list. But Dubai has it all. From the best shopping malls to the best falafel. From girls that walk around the shopping mall half naked to women hiding beneath their traditional clothing. From a skating ring in the mall to the most expensive hotel in the world. It’s such a bizarre city that it took me a day to find my bearing. I was a bit confused when I arrived there. Plus I was travelling alone at the time and it felt weird going out of the hotel on my own. You do get used to it pretty quickly but make sure you take your time.
Malacca – Malaysia
Not that we can be very proud of our history with Indonesia but Malacca is one city where you can find a lot of history of the Dutch in Indonesia. Worth visiting. Not only for the history but the city itself is beautiful. Nice temples, great markets and enough to see and do for a few days.
What is your favorite city in Asia?
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