I’ve spent so long deliberating this list; Joe and I always discuss what our favourite places are and they’re forever changing and shifting positions in my mind. I think I’ve locked it down here…and I’m pretty happy with it. I have loved my Asian travels too much to put into words; the continent is so diverse, so multicultural, so beautiful and can be so so foreign to what us Westerners are used to. You truly get immersed into the culture here and small problems simply melt away, how can they not when you’re lounging on some of the most stunning beaches in the entire world, exploring ancient temples or wandering through exhilarating cities?
So add these destinations to your itinerary if you’ve not already planned them in, they’re my personal favourites.
10. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is often seen as either a stopover, a backpacker’s, budget, boozy holiday or a sleazy, dirty destination. I couldn’t disagree more with any of that, I LOVE Bangkok. By avoiding the typical hot spots I was able to experience a side to Bangkok that I didn’t know existed; it’s a metropolis, it’s multicultural, it’s truly an exciting place to be. Yes Bangkok is extremely busy which can be a little intimidating after stepping off a 17 hour plane ride, however the thrilling hustle and bustle here is absolutely nothing in comparison to places like Ho Chi Minh City or Jakarta.
Bangkok offer solace for everyone, no matter what it is you’re looking for and I love that, thanks to the Thai locals, it’s possibly one of the friendliest capital cities I’ve ever been to. Don’t dwell on other people’s preconceptions, explore Bangkok for yourself and make up your own mind- it truly has the potential to be fantastic.
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9. Hoi An, Vietnam
If you’re an avid reader of this blog (and I hope that you are) then you’ll undoubtedly be aware of my dislike for Vietnam. Well Hoi An well and truly captured my heart-Vietnam or no Vietnam, I adore this quaint, crumbling place. Wandering through the labyrinth of endless yellow alleyways, browsing the crafts in local boutiques and cycling along the beautiful river were my highlights of our time here. Vegan? You’re in luck, the food here is absolutely delicious and you can read more here.
Hoi An-you’re truly a Vietnamese saving Grace!
To read more on Hoi An, click here!
8. Singapore, Singapore
Singapore is like no other city I’ve ever been to; Bangkok, New York, London, Paris, Milan, Madrid simply cannot compare. It’s concrete towers sprout luscious greens, it’s Eco friendly, it’s incredibly futuristic yet so old Wordly, it’s just incredible. The monumental Marina Bay Sands towers above, whilst Little India is bursting with aromatic spices. Visit alien-like, almost radioactive looking super trees and step back in time in China town.
Singapore is money well spent and at least one day must be spent here. It’s a stark comparison to other Asian capitals and can feel like a breath of fresh air (not only because the air is actually clean here). Not usually on the typical backpackers pancake trail, save up a few more pennies and get here; I promise that you won’t regret it.
Need convincing? Click here!
7. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is a little like Bangkok’s cooler, more hip relative. It’s fun, it’s quirky and it’s a great place to be. Wet your taste buds at some of the backpacker-chic rooftop bars, check out local delights at the Night Bazaar or save some animals at a nearby sanctuary. Sample local coffee in the endless hipster coffee shops, gaze in awe at the incredible temples, climb a mountain, engage with a hill tribe, or relax under palm trees in the park with a fresh coconut- there is so much to do here I found it difficult to fit everything in…and I was here for 2 whole weeks!
Check out more here!
6, Koh Rong, Cambodia
For now, Koh Rong is a backpacker’s paradise; hostels and cheap bars line up along the shore-front, there’s bar crawls, all-night beach parties and weed is in abundance. Having said that, Koh Rong is also so much more than that. The beaches are untouched and are absolutely incredible. The atmosphere is buzzing and its one of the friendliest places I’ve ever been to; the small size of the secluded Koh Touch village makes strangers seem like family, you’ll pass them a million times with a smile on your stay. The clear waters make for brilliant snorkelling opportunities and don’t miss the chance bio-luminescent plankton-or water fairies as I prefer to think of them, it really is a once in a lifetime.
I got food poisoning on this island and spent two whole days in bed in agony…and it’s still in my top 10, that’s how good Koh Rong is.
Wanna see more? Click here.
5, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Cold, drizzly, green…it’s as if you’re in completely different country whilst in the Cameron Highlands. A brilliant break to the sweaty, humid, burning Malaysia, Cameron Highlands act like the country’s lungs and truly are a breath of fresh air. I think this place reminded me of home in Yorkshire a little, which is possibly why I loved it so much; the rambling hills, the luscious fields, the bottomless mugs of tea…and of course the never ending rain.
Interested? Read more here!
4, Nong Khiew, Laos
If you’re a lover of secluded villages, mountain hikes, river boats and delicious local cuisine then Nong Khiew is for you. My firm favourite destination in Laos, I was surprised at the amount of people I talked to who didn’t even bother to visit here, or hadn’t heard of it. An hour’s boat ride North of Backpacker favourite Luang Prabang, Nong Khiew is two halves of a small village, separated by an enormous river and protected by limescale giants. Nong Khiew is the perfect place to try real Laos food (try some sticky rice, it’s fantastic) kick back in a hammock and watch local children play in the dusty streets or climb to the top of the World.
Not heard enough? Click here!
3, Pai, Thailand
Pai and I had a love affiar like no other; it was the perfect place for me. Endless, healthy vegan street food, a brilliant night market, quirky boutiques, rigorous hikes and plenty of places to test out our new found scooter skills. Pai is the ultimate backpacker’s paradise and I loved every minute of it, I was ready to move there and never leave from the second I got off the bus. I still cannot describe exactly what it was that I enjoyed so much, it was just a feeling, a je ne sais pas. Anyway, if you’re travelling I’m pretty certain you’ll visit Pai and I’m 100% certain you’re going to fall in love with it like I and every other backpacker does.
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2, Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi, put simply is Heaven on Earth. I had no idea how beautiful this place would be and when I saw the; pure white sands, the clear blue Sea and the secluded beaches where we were completely alone- I was honestly knocked for six. Those of you who know me (or have read my many posts on the matter) you’ll know that I am not a beach lover, so thankfully Langkawi provides a huge repertoire of activities to fill your days. Drive up to D’coconut Hill Resort for the most breathtaking views or go even higher on the cable cars and Guniness Book of Record holder suspension bridge.
Check out more here!
1. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Bali is the dreamiest, most beautiful place I have ever lay my eyes on. Bali is somewhere I’ve always dreamt of going so was absolutely terrified that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations-honestly, it completely surpassed them. It’s as if Ubud was built specifically with me in mind; the focus on healthy, organic, vegan food, the trails through rice paddies, the boutique coffee shops and concept restaurants and the plentiful yoga studios. I was really content here, nothing mattered it was like my Neverland. If I could have stayed there forever then I definitely would have, no questions asked.
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Disagree with any of my choices? What are your favourite places in Asia? Could you recommend me better places to visit? Let me know in the comments section or contact me here.
Much love from wherever I am,