Asia is a continent of contrasts. An incredibly tapestry of imposing landscapes and madcap cities, adventure lurks around every corner. Yet there is also serenity here. Miles and miles of pristine white beaches combine with the spiritual side of Asia to provide something totally intoxicating.
A holiday in Asia acts as the perfect relaxing antidote to the rigours of daily life, then throws you down an exhilarating roller-coaster of a trip that’ll leave even the most travel-hardy overwhelmed.
With such a sensory overload, it is vital to plan properly. Where should you head first in such a diverse and enthralling continent? Well, we’ve got some advice on that, as we detail three of the most incredible holiday spots on the entire continent.
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The land of the rising sun’s duality is no better exemplified than in the cultural capital of Kyoto. New meets old in an ancient city with a modern flavour, in which visitors can enjoy a morning spent browsing the technological marvels of modern Japan in downtown shopping to rival anything in Asia. Stroll to the dimly lamp-lit cobbled streets of Gion amongst wooden ryokans, golden temples and perhaps even get a glimpse of the elusive Geisha.
Try a climb through the inspiring, seemingly endless vermillion gates to the Fushimi Inari shrine. Yet even these play second fiddle to the majestic bamboo forests which are so revered in this city. Kyoto combines the very best of traditional and modern Asia, providing an experience that will leave you craving more.
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Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s (and possibly one of Asia’s) best-kept secrets. Although word is starting to get out. The entire place is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, which may give you some idea of just how charming it is.
Taking a walk down the streets of this traditional fishing village provides an insight into more than just Vietnamese culture – Japanese and Chinese influence is everywhere, creating a diverse portfolio of entertainment and cuisine too.
Fishing is still a major trade here, but a glimpse into the workshops on a narrow side-street shows that leather crafting has become the prized jewel. Or, of course, you can enjoy the nearby delights of some of South-East Asia’s best beaches stretching down the east Vietnamese coast.
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Build a city to embody the energy of modern Asia, and you’d probably come up with something that looks a lot like Bangkok. But then, Bangkok has something of its own that nowhere else could truly capture. A city best summed up by the classic Thai phrase ‘Same-same, but different’, this is frenetic Asia at its best, but with its own distinct feel.
Bangkok has the same world-class food scene you’ll find all over Thailand, and the same hundreds upon hundreds of breathtaking temples you’ll see across the continent. But Bangkok is set apart by its edgy character. Be careful though, as Thailand has the highest rate of car and motorcycle accidents in the world – a testament to the hustle and bustle on the streets.
As well as its continued dependence on the river, and the wonderful fusion of cultures that feel… well, same same, but different, this is a city that will likely enchant and possibly scare you, but one that you definitely cannot forget.