Seoul, South Korea

Adding Seoul to your East Asia travel itinerary has probably already crossed your mind, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Many travelers choose to fly from Tokyo to Seoul, as flights are quick and quite affordable. While there, explore the metropolis that is Korea’s capital and the historic temples alongside charming night markets. Seoul is the perfect place to try some enticing cuisine as well, with options ranging from street stalls to fine dining. 

Jeju, South Korea

Sometimes referred to as the “Hawaii of Korea,” Jeju Island is quickly becoming a must-see site for foreigners visiting Korea. It’s less than an hour’s flight from Busan, but you can travel there via bus, train, ferry, or car as well. While there, hike the highest mountain of Korea, Mount Hallasan, or explore the Jeongbang Waterfall.

Hanoi, Vietnam

With the scent of Vietnamese street food mixing with French colonial architecture, Hanoi is both a stunning tourist destination and a fascinating historical site. Boasting over 1,000 years of history, the capital of Vietnam’s architecture is incredible. It’s also known for its café and art scene. On top of all that, you can take a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay, from Hanoi.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok appeals due to its bustling city-life, cultural heritage sites and incredible food. Among the skyscrapers, explore temples like Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew, or stroll through the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Bangkok is also known for its nightlife. A visit to a rooftop bar is a must while you are there. 

Phuket, Thailand

If you’ve had enough of metropolises, take a trip to Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island and home to incredible beaches. Phuket is distinct from the rest of Thailand, with many Chinese shrines and restaurants. Phuket’s southern beaches, like the bustling Patong Beach, are often more crowded, while the beaches in the north are quieter.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is both a neon metropolis and a cultural center. During the day, you can explore places such as the National Palace Museum and the Longshan Temple, then in the evening, check out the Shilin Night Market or look at Taipei 101, formerly the tallest building in the world, as it lights up in the night sky.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap is Cambodia’s second largest city and a popular destination for backpackers and international residents. It is particularly known for being the home to Angkor, the ancient center of the Khmer Kingdom. One of the most important archaeological sites of Asia, bask in the sacred energy of the ancient temples and check out the thriving food scene as well.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Located in the north of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world and is recommended to visit during the summer months for the lush greenery when the weather is warm. Ulaanbaatar has gone through tremendous changes even in the last 20 years, and the city is a collision of old and new. Visit Gandan Monastery, the city’s largest Buddhist monastery that survived the communist era, or take a day trip to go see the Genghis Khan Statue Complex. 

Singapore, The Republic of Singapore

Singapore is one of Asia’s most visited cities. Being the most religiously diverse country in the world, it’s also a true melting pot of cultures. The city is incredibly modern, with an eclectic food scene. Check out iconic landmarks such as the Merlion or Marina Bay Sands to really experience the futuristic ambiance of the city.

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second largest city and a sacred site, full of rich history and old-world charm. Most well known as a pilgrimage destination for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy’s altitude sits at 500 meters above sea level and is comfortably cool even during the summer months. Along with exploring the many gorgeous temples, see the fragrant orchids at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya.

Beijing, China

An Asian destination list wouldn’t be complete without Beijing. It has many famous sites, from the Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven, as well as the Great Wall, one of the seven wonders of the world. Along with visiting the extensive list of cultural sites, check out the 798 Art Zone, and fill yourself up with Peking duck.

Guilin, China

Guilin isn’t as well-known as Beijing, but it is still worth the trip. With a name that translates to “forest of sweet osmanthus,” it is famous for its outstanding landscape and hills full of limestone karst formations. Explore the Guilin Lijiang National Park or Elephant Trunk Hill to bask in some of China’s most delightful natural offerings. 

Jaipur, India

Jaipur, known as the pink city, was the first planned city of India. The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur’s rosy architecture and traditional gems and jewelry are enough to make anyone feel like royalty. Explore the city’s symbolic sites such as the Amber Palace and Hawa Mahal and be transported to India’s ornate past.