Given its vast expansive size and incomparable diversity of landscape, you can spend a whole lifetime traveling around Asia’s mammoth array of sights ranging from sanctified religious centers and awe-inspiring cultural attractions to mysterious natural wonders and under the radar treasures. In fact, compiling the list of most stunning sights in Asia is almost an impossible task. But this collation of 20 locations would serve as a launching pad to get you set for an epic exploration of the world’s largest continent.
1. Spiti Valley, India
A mosaic of snow-capped mountains, turquoise-green lakes, whitewashed homes, and sanctified monasteries, Spiti Valley in India’s northeastern state, Himachal Pradesh, is one of the most treasured natural gems in South Asia. At an altitude of about 12,500 feet above the sea level, this wonderland of incredible biodiversity lies on a land between India and Tibet.
2. Dead Sea
Bordering Israel and Jordan, Dead Sea – some 1200 feet deep – is the world’s deepest hypersaline lake. An extraordinary combination of striking scenery, spellbinding history, and most of all, the immense therapeutic properties this lake holds, makes it a favorite tourist stopover in Southwest Asia. Due to its high salt content, you cannot swim but only drift atop its water.
3. Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Visit this magnificent place to explore Philippine’s slice of coastal bliss. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is the focal point of this 22,200-hectare-park containing spectacular caves, limestone landscape, and remarkable rock formations. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it stretches for more than eight kilometers and holds the distinction of being the world’s longest passable underground river.
An archipelago of more than 1100 islands in the Indian Ocean forms one of the Asia’s most dazzling natural sights! Lauded for its mix of crystal clear waters sheltering plenty of marine riches, pristine sandy beaches, luxurious resorts, and stupefying over-the-water-bungalows, Maldives is a magnet for honeymooners, water sport enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a classic laid-back vacation.
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
Almost everything that relates to Luang Prabang is stupendous – be its UNESCO protected shrines, tranquil monasteries, awe-inspiring collection of museums and galleries or phenomenal natural sights by way of Tat Kuang Si Waterfall and Mount Phou Si.
6. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
All of the islands in Thailand are incredibly attractive, but Phi Phi Islands that sit 40 kilometers away from Phuket and Krabi are more mesmeric than you imagine. It is an iconic tropical haven endowed with azure waters, beautiful beaches, enigmatic rock and cave formations, and abundance of unique plant and wildlife species.
7. Tanah Lot, Bali
On a rocky island just off Bali’s southwest coast lies this exquisite sea temple, tracing its origin back to 15th century. This highly venerated shrine is perched atop an outcrop that stands majestically amid relentlessly rolling waves. It’s believed to be safeguarded by poisonous sea snakes present in the caves beneath the temple. Luring millions of people every year, Tanah Lot especially stands out for its killer sunset views.
8. Sagano Bamboo Grove, Japan
Nestled in Arashiyama and just outside of Kyoto, this is one of the planet’s most breathtaking woodlands. Hire a bike or stroll along the windy trails to marvel at this grove endlessly packed with towering bamboo stalks. Take in the stream of pleasant air, experience its distinct pleasant sounds that come with the gentle breeze and rustling of bamboo leaves, and delight in the soothing game of light and shadow as a result of the sunrays filtering through this bamboo forest.
9. Baekdu Mountains, North Korea
Located right on North Korea – China border, this volcanic mountain encompasses several acres of unspoiled wilderness. Being considered as the base for the Korean ancestral origin, Mount Baekdu is one of the region’s most revered sites. It is mainly noteworthy for its beautiful 70 meter high waterfall and a huge crater lake, namely, Heaven Lake, which is the result of a massive volcanic eruption.
10. Langkawi, Malaysia
A tropical haven over 30 kilometers off the northwestern Malaysia’s mainland coast, Langkawi is one of the Southeast Asia’s hidden surprises. Come and discover its picture postcard mountainous greenery punctuated with pristine coastlines, hemmed in by tranquil, turquoise waters.
11. Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia
Angkor is more than a 400 square kilometers of alluring Khmer architectural magnificence in Siem Reap’s Northern Province. Built between 9th and 15th centuries, this ancient city is a conglomeration of several Hindu shrines, Buddhist monasteries, ancient ruins and mindblowing sculptural adornments. Its main attraction is the legendary Angkor Wat, which is not only one of the Asia’s most imposing temple complexes but also the world’s largest religious monuments.
12. Bagan, Myanmar
This is yet another attraction in Southeast Asia that would instill a stupefying wonder in people who are fascinated about ancient temple history and archeology. Placed in Myanmar’s Mandalay region, the temple town of Bagan on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River is an inspiring 70 square kilometers of area, bursting with temples, pagodas, and other religious elements built from 9th to 13th century.
13. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic sights in the country. Zigzagging up and down through mountains, deserts, and grasslands, it stretches for more than 21,100 kilometers starting from the east to the west of the country. It holds a very long and exemplary history of over 2,000 years ago and stands as a mighty representation of China’s great power.
14. Sa Pa, Vietnam
Famous for its towering mountain ranges, exceptional cascading rice paddy fields, and intriguing ethnic diversity, Sa Pa in Lào Cai Province is one of the Asia’s most charismatic hill stations. Rising over 4900 feet above the sea level, it has a lot to offer its visitors; no matter they’re seeking a tranquil retreat or an action-packed vacation. A must do is to explore its miles of trekking trails along its quaint villages.
15. Sigirya, Sri Lanka
Sigirya, hidden away in a dense forest, is one of the Sri Lanka’s remarkable architectural feats. Situated in Matale District and close to Dambulla, this ancient fortress – perched on a 600 feet rock – once served as the kingdom of Kasyapa, from 477 AD to 495 AD. It now remains as a great illustration of ancient urban planning system. Its lush landscape, along with a spellbinding collection of frescoes, graffiti, and several other historical features, attracts people from all over the world.
16. Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Spanning over two countries, the world’s fifth largest desert embraces parts of the Southern Mongolia and Northern China. Its vast size with profound desolation and quietude will give you a feel of another world. But unlike a typical desert, Gobi Desert is not just remarkable for its enormous sand dunes but equally appealing for its lush vegetation and huge steppes. You’ll also find here plenty of camel herders.
17. Petra, Jordan
Those who wish to go back in time should definitely consider a visit to this Red Rose City. Petra is one of the Asia’s most distinguished archeological sites. Dating back to 3rd century BC, it once served as the dazzling capital of the Nabataean Empire. Encircled by mountains peppered with intricate passages, this UNESCO World Heritage Site will leave you in awe, mainly thanks to its red sandstone landscape and ingenious façade carved into the rock.
18. Sheik Zayed Mosque, UAE
A trip to this sprawling all-white structure is totally worth in its own right. Located in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, it is erected using the finest materials brought from different parts of the world. It is not only visited for its astonishing tranquility and architectural excellence that blends traditional Islamic architecture with contemporary styles, but also for its pricey displays like gold chandeliers embellished with Austrian Swarovski crystals and meticulously woven carpet which is the largest of its kind in the world.
19. Jeju Island, South Korea
Korea’s largest island has a mythical landscape of verdant greenery, beautiful rocks, strong winds, splendid beaches, and unique culture. With an active volcano (Mount Hallasan) in its center, it’s the destination of choice for discriminating adventurists, water sport enthusiasts, and nature lovers.
20. Tiger’s Nest Temple, Bhutan
Clinging to a cliff more than 10,000 feet meters above the sea level, Tiger’s Nest is Bhutan’s most sacred place. It is locally known as Paro Taktsang. Strewn with interesting legends, this small monastery beckons hikers, sightseers and photographers, with its remarkably peaceful and picturesque trails.
So start your expedition to revel in some of the most captivating sights in the colossal Asia!