Asia houses the majority of the world’s population and most of its cities have over 10 million people. Whether you are interested in the exciting food scenes, bargain shopping, non-stop nightlife, rich historical and cultural attractions chances of finding something you like is easy if you know where to go.
We’ve been to many of these cities but here are Travelmath’s 5 best Asian cities to visit now:
Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) is located 38 miles from the city center and is served by almost 70 airlines. It has been voted the World’s No. 1 in Airport Service Quality for the 10th consecutive year.
This mega city of 10 million people enjoys super fast Internet, lots of eateries in every neighborhood and a variety of shopping venues.
The top 5 attractions in Seoul are:
- The Royal Palaces. If you have to pick one we suggest Changdeokgung Palace and The Secret Garden.
- Kimchi making at Seoul Kimchi Academy House or Bucheon Kimchi Theme Park.
- Hanok (Korean traditional house) stay in Bukchon Hanok Village.
- Myeong-dong district, the shopping district of Seoul with lots of shops, cafés and food stalls.
- Namdaemun Market is the oldest traditional market in Korea. It has almost 10,000 wholesale and retail shops offering rock-bottom prices. There are plenty of street food vendors and souvenir shops.
For free maps and guides check out Visit Seoul.
Most international flights fly into Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. The old Shanghai Hongqiao Airport is mainly used for domestic flights. This enormous city of almost 15 million people has many of the world’s tallest buildings and is served by a newer subway system. Though densely populated it is easy to get around the city using the subway.
The top 5 attractions in Shanghai are:
- The Bund with restored historical buildings, views of Huangpu River and Pudong skyscrapers.
- Shanghai Museum with a large collection ancient Chinese calligraphy, pottery and jade.
- Shikumen architectural style neighborhoods in Xintiandi and Tianzifang. Shikumen is a combination of western and Shanghainese architecture from the 1870s to the 1920s. These are row houses, mainly two floors, with narrow alleys, wooden doors with stone arches and gate frames.
- Shanghai World Financial Center with the world’s highest outdoor observation deck offering views of the city.
- “Marriage market” at the People’s Park off West Nanjing Road on Saturday and Sunday (from 12 to 5 pm). You will find matchmakers, grandparents and parents with photos and descriptions of unwed men or women they represent posted on umbrellas, polls, walls and walkways.
Three: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a best example of an Asian city with a fusion of two worlds – the east and the west. Located southeast of Mainland China, Hong Kong is two hours from Shanghai and 14 hours 19 minutes from San Francisco.
This former British colony of over 7 million people is an important financial center in Asia and is still one of the important port of calls for cruise ships and commercial ships.
The top 5 attractions in Hong Kong are:
- Dim sum is where little delicacies are served on bamboo steamers or plates with a pot of tea for brunch in Hong Kong.
- Victoria Harbour Cruise and A Symphony of Lights in the evening at the harbor. Every night at 8 pm the city offers a free 13-minute lights and laser beam show.
- The Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong Island. It offers the best views of the city including the Victoria Harbour.
- Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street is where you can find bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs.
- Lantau Island and the historic Tai O fishing village is where you can explore the other side of Hong Kong without the hustle and bustle.
Four: Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia. Though the most populous city in Malaysia, the city has only 1.6 million people. Kuala Lumpur is 53 minutes from Singapore and three hours 37 minutes from Hong Kong.
It has three main ethnic groups that speak three different languages. And English is widely spoken in Kuala Lumpur. Unlike Shanghai and Seoul, most cab drivers in Kuala Lumpur speak English.
The top 5 attractions in Kuala Lumpur are:
- Petronas Towers has the world’s highest double-decked bridge known as The Skybridge. It has an observation deck that offers panoramic view of the city. It also houses a music hall and thousands of shops, restaurants and cafés.
- Batu Caves is located six miles from the city center. A flight of 272 steps will take you to the Hindu temple and shrine. You’ll find monkeys roaming freely inside the caves.
- Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square) will give you a glimpse into Kuala Lumpur’s colonial days. The colonial buildings, fountain, St. Mary’s Anglican Church and Tudor-style Royal Selangor Club. The Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is located in the area.
- Central Market is the center of Malaysian culture, heritage and arts and crafts. It was built in 1888 as an open wet market with addition of a permanent structure in the 1930s. These were converted into a cultural center with unique Malaysian shops, galleries and food court.
- Night markets in Kuala Lumpur. Night markets are available usually once a week in various locations throughout the city. Some vendors move from place to place. Check with your hotel or the tourist information center for available night markets in Kuala Lumpur during your visit. Here is a list of places: Chow Kit, Taman Connaught, Bandar Baru Sentul.
Jakarta was listed by Travel and Leisure magazine as one of the best places to visit in 2015. This under-rated city offers top-notch hospitality in restaurants, malls and hotels.
The top 5 attractions in Jakarta are:
- The National Monument (MONAS) located in Jakarta city center is an important landmark of Indonesia. The top floor offers 360 degrees views of the city and the bottom floor houses The National History Museum with dioramas representing the history of Indonesia.
- Sunda Kelapa Harbor is Jakarta’s old town with a fleet of functioning old cargo ships and fishing boats.
- Café Batavia is located in a 200-year old building in Fatahillah Square in Jakarta’s old town.
- Indonesian unique food like gado gado, nasi goreng (fried rice), tempeh (fermented hard soy) and ikan bakar (baked fish).
- Jalan Surabaya has antique shops, souvenirs, traditional Indonesian arts and crafts including puppets and masks.
To read more about these cities please check the following articles: