Discover The 18 Best Asian Countries to Visit in 2024

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Are you looking for a unique and exciting travel experience?

Asia is the perfect destination for first-time travelers, with its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine.

From bustling cities to serene beaches, there’s something in Asia for everyone.

best Asian countries to visit

Whether it’s exploring ancient temples in Thailand, tasting flavorful street food in Vietnam, or witnessing the beauty of India’s Taj Mahal, these are just some of the many amazing experiences that await you when visiting Asian countries.

Here we’ll introduce 18 of the best countries to visit across Asia!

So get ready to explore this vast continent full of wonders and surprises!

18 Best Asian Countries to Visit

Asia is a continent full of adventure and beauty, with countries that offer something for everyone.

From ancient temples to vibrant cities, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and experience the culture.

Here we’ll introduce 18 of the best Asian countries to visit!

1. Thailand

Things to do in Koh samui Feature photo

Thailand is one of the most popular countries to visit in Asia (it is also our favorite Asian destination to visit with our kids). With its tropical climate, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder why.

From the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to the picturesque islands of the south, Thailand offers something for everyone.

Whether you want to explore bustling city markets or take a relaxing boat ride, Thailand is the perfect spot for your next holiday.

Best Places to Visit in Thailand for First-Timers

Koh Phi Phi Miss Tourist

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to Thailand:

  • Bangkok: Experience the city’s vibrant nightlife and explore its ancient temples.
  • Ayutthaya: Witness the ruins of the once-great kingdom of Siam.
  • Phuket: Lounge on some of Thailand’s best beaches and take in the stunning scenery.
  • Koh Phi Phi: Go on a boat tour to explore the stunning islands of this archipelago.
  • Chiang Mai: Explore the city’s ancient temples and go on an adventurous trek through the mountains.
  • Koh Samui: With its white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and lush tropical rainforests, it’s the perfect place for a holiday.

2. Japan

3 Days in Kyoto | Kyoto Itinerary

Japan is one of the most popular destinations in Asia, and it’s easy to see why.

From its bustling cities such as Tokyo and Osaka to its beautiful natural scenery like Mount Fuji or Miyajima Island, Japan has something for everyone.

The country is also renowned for its blend of traditional and modern culture, from ancient temples and samurai castles to its cutting-edge technology.

And for foodies, Japan is a paradise with its array of sushi and ramen restaurants as well as unique delights like takoyaki (octopus balls).

Best Places to Visit in Japan for First-Timers

Ginkaku-ji Temple Kyoto

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to Japan:

  • Tokyo: Explore the city’s hidden alleyways and indulge in its unique cuisine.
  • Kyoto: Wander the city’s many temples and markets, and take in its traditional culture.
  • Osaka: Get a taste of Japan’s nightlife and visit the iconic Osaka Castle.
  • Miyajima: Visit one of Japan’s most sacred shrines, Itsukushima Shrine, located on an island in the Inland Sea.
  • Hakone: Take a walk around this beautiful lakeside town or soak in a natural hot spring.
  • Hiroshima: Visit the Atomic Bomb Memorial Park and learn about Japan’s complex history.
  • Nara: Admire the giant Buddha statue and explore its many shrines, temples, and parks.

3. Vietnam

Best time to visit Vietnam - Hoi An old Town Vietnam

Vietnam is a great country to explore if you’re looking for an adventure in Asia.

From the breathtaking mountain scenery of Sapa to the historical monuments of Hue and Hoi An, Vietnam has something for everyone.

Foodies will love trying out all the delicious local dishes, while history buffs can explore the many ancient sites.

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam for First-Timers

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to Vietnam:

  • Hanoi: Experience the bustling city life and take a walk around the Old Quarter.
  • Sapa: Hike up the mountains and explore this stunning region.
  • Ha Long Bay: Take a cruise around the world-famous bay and admire its limestone formations.
  • Hue: Explore the ancient royal city and visit some of its imperial tombs.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Enjoy the vibrant nightlife and shop in its bustling markets.
  • Mui Ne: Relax on its beautiful beaches or go sandboarding in the impressive red sand dunes.
  • Nha Trang: Visit some of the world’s best beaches and explore its many attractions.
  • Hoi An: Wander the ancient city and visit its many temples, churches, and markets.

4. Cambodia

Things to See in Cambodia - Angkor Wat Temples with Kids

Cambodia is a beautiful country to explore and offers stunning temples, breathtaking beaches, and lush jungles.

As one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has something for everyone.

History buffs will love exploring its ancient temples, while nature lovers can marvel at its jungle-clad mountains.

Best Places to Visit in Cambodia for First-Timers

otres beach in cambodia

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to Cambodia:

  • Siem Reap: Get lost among the incredible ruins of Angkor Wat and explore its many temples.
  • Battambang: Learn about Cambodian history at Battambang Museum and take in its local culture.
  • Kampot: Take a boat ride down the river and explore its many caves.
  • Sihanoukville or Otres Beach: Lounge on some of Cambodia’s best beaches and go diving to explore its coral reefs.
  • Koh Rong Islands: Head out on an island-hopping adventure and marvel at its stunning landscape.
  • Phnom Penh: Explore the capital city and get a taste of its bustling nightlife.

5. China

China Temple of Heaven

China is an absolute must-visit for any traveler looking to explore the Far East.

From its bustling cities to its breathtaking mountain ranges, it’s a destination that offers something for everyone.

In the cities, you can wander through temples and markets, marvel at skyscrapers and take part in all the nightlife activities on offer.

Whereas, in the countryside, you can explore ancient towns and villages, hike through lush forests or take a cruise along the powerful Yangtze River.

And when it comes to food, China offers an overwhelming variety of delicious dishes both traditional and modern.

Be sure to try out Peking Duck if you get a chance!

Best Places to Visit in China for First-Timers

China Forbidden City

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to China:

  • Beijing: See the iconic Forbidden City and take a walk on the Great Wall of China.
  • Xi’an: Explore the city’s famous Muslim Quarter and visit the Terracotta Warriors.
  • Guilin: Take a cruise down Li River and marvel at its stunning scenery.
  • Shanghai: Enjoy the vibrant city life and explore its many attractions.
  • Huangshan: Trek up one of China’s most beautiful mountains and enjoy the stunning views.
  • Chengdu: Visit the world-famous Giant Panda Breeding Centre and take a walk around People’s Park.
  • Hong Kong: Shop in its bustling markets and take a ride on the famous Star Ferry.

6. India

Jama Masjid New Delhi India

India is an amazing country to explore if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Asia.

With its vibrant culture, stunning scenery, and friendly people, India is a place like no other.

You can explore bustling cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, or take a spiritual journey to the sacred sites of Varanasi.

Best Places to Visit in India for First-Timers

Palolem Beach in Goa India with Kids

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to India:

  • Delhi: Explore the city’s many attractions such as the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Qutub Minar.
  • Agra: Visit the Taj Mahal and learn about India’s rich history.
  • Jaipur: Explore the Pink City and admire its many monuments and temples.
  • Varanasi: Take a spiritual journey to the banks of the Ganges River.
  • Udaipur: Visit the iconic City Palace and explore some of India’s most beautiful lakes.
  • Goa: Enjoy its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and delicious cuisine. Find the best places to visit in Goa with your family here.
  • Kerala: Take a backwater cruise and explore its lush forests and spice plantations.
  • Rajasthan: Admire the stunning forts and palaces of the Golden Triangle.
  • Mumbai: Explore its many attractions such as Gateway of India and Marine Drive.

7. Indonesia

Lombok with a baby or toddler

Indonesia is one of the most diverse countries in Asia and it’s quickly becoming a top destination for travelers.

From its turquoise beaches to its towering volcanoes, Indonesia offers something for everyone.

Plus, with over 17,000 islands there’s plenty of opportunity to explore and experience new cultures.

When in Indonesia, be sure to check out some of its natural wonders such as Borobudur Temple and Ijen Crater.

You can also take part in the country’s unique cuisine which includes dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice) and gado-gado (vegetable salad).

Best Places to Visit in Indonesia for First-Timers

Bali

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to Indonesia:

  • Bali: Enjoy its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and incredible surfing spots.
  • Yogyakarta: Visit some of Indonesia’s most famous temples such as Borobudur and Prambanan.
  • Lombok: Admire the stunning landscape of Mount Rinjani and visit Gili Islands.
  • Raja Ampat: Take a cruise around Raja Ampat’s stunning islands and explore its many caves.
  • Sumatra: Admire the incredible wildlife at Bukit Lawang and take a stroll around Lake Toba.

8. Jordan

Jordania Petra Spain

Jordan is an exciting country to visit in Asia, and it has a lot to offer visitors.

From the ancient city of Petra and majestic desert landscapes to the vibrant culture of Amman, Jordan is a unique destination that will leave you with lasting memories.

Some of the must-see sights include Wadi Rum, Jerash, and Mount Nebo—all of which offer breathtaking views and a deep dive into the country’s history.

Best Places to Visit in Jordan for First-Timers

Here is a list of the best places to visit on your first trip to Jordan:

  • Petra: Explore the ancient Nabataean city, carved directly into rose-hued sandstone.
  • Wadi Rum: Take a jeep tour of the stunning desert landscape, and visit some of its hidden gems.
  • Dead Sea: Float in the saltiest body of water in the world, and take advantage of its restorative benefits.
  • Aqaba: Relax on one of Jordan’s best beaches while admiring the Gulf of Aqaba.
  • Mount Nebo: Visit this religious site, and marvel at its views of the Holy Land.
  • Jerash: Admire the intricate Roman architecture, and explore its many ruins.

9. The Philippines

Sumilon island beach near Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

A visit to the Philippines is sure to be an unforgettable experience. For those looking for some winter sun, the Philippines is one of the best destinations in January that delivers!

The islands are home to some of the friendliest people in the world, and their love for life and hospitality will win you over.

From pristine beaches, stunning coral reefs, and countless waterfalls, there’s plenty of natural beauty here waiting to be explored.

The country is also home to some of the best nightlife in Asia, and you can find a great range of bars and clubs for all kinds of music.

If you’re looking for an adventure, The Philippines offers plenty of opportunities for adrenaline-seekers.

Bungee jumping, white water rafting, mountain climbing, and scuba diving are all available here.

And don’t forget to try out the local delicacies like sticky rice and adobo!

Best Places to Visit in the Philippines for First-Timers

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in the Philippines:

  • Boracay Island: This paradise island offers crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches.
  • Cebu City: Explore the bustling city, full of colorful markets and delicious cuisine.
  • Palawan: Take a boat ride to explore its hidden lagoons and limestone cliffs.
  • Manila: Admire the Spanish-style architecture, and explore the city’s vibrant nightlife.
  • Hundred Islands National Park: Take a dip in one of the stunning natural pools, and marvel at its crystal clear waters.
  • Siargao Island: Surround yourself with tropical beauty while exploring its many beaches, lagoons, and hidden coves.
  • Banaue Rice Terraces: Admire the majestic 2000-year-old terraces, and learn more about the history of this region.

10. South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

From the energetic cities of Seoul and Busan, to Jeju Island’s stunning natural beauty, South Korea has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for an urban experience then be sure to visit some of its fascinating museums, bustling night markets, and trendy cafes.

But if you want a more laid-back holiday then head outside the city and explore the country’s amazing landscapes, with its stunning national parks and beaches.

Korea is also renowned for its delicious cuisine, which includes a wide variety of dishes including bulgogi (barbecued beef), bibimbap (rice dish), and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes).

And if you’re looking for a more traditional experience, then be sure to check out the country’s many Buddhist temples and cultural sites.

Best Places to Visit in South Korea for First-Timers:

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in South Korea:

  • Seoul: There are plenty of things to do in Seoul, such as admiring its ancient palaces and temples.
  • Jeju Island: Enjoy the island’s stunning natural beauty, with its rugged coastline, lava tubes, and mountains.
  • Busan: Relax on one of its beaches or explore its vibrant nightlife.
  • Gyeongju: Marvel at the vast array of ruins from the Silla Dynasty.
  • Haeinsa Temple: Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and learn more about the history of Buddhism in Korea.
  • Nami Island: Enjoy a pleasant stroll around this beautiful island, home to lush forests and running streams.
  • Andong: Explore its quaint traditional villages or visit the Hahoe Folk Village.
  • Jirisan National Park: Take a hike through its majestic mountains, and marvel at its stunning waterfalls.
  • Gwangalli Beach: Soak up the sun on one of Busan’s most popular beaches.
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace: Admire the grandeur of this impressive palace from the Joseon Dynasty.

11. Malaysia

Top Things to do in Melaka, Malacca, Malaysia

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia has something for everyone.

The country is full of diverse cultures, ranging from Chinese and Indian influences to Malay and British colonial heritage.

And its varied landscapes range from lush rainforests to beautiful beaches, making it an ideal destination for those looking for a mix of urban and natural experiences.

Malaysia is known for its delicious food, which includes a variety of dishes from different cultures.

Indulge in some spicy Indian curries, savor the flavors of Chinese dim sum, or try out some local specialties like nasi lemak (coconut rice) and satay (grilled meat skewers).

Best Places to Visit in Malaysia for First-Timers

Kuala Lumpur day tours to Batu Caves

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in Malaysia:

  • Kuala Lumpur: Explore the city’s many skyscrapers and luxurious malls.
  • Penang Island: Marvel at its British colonial heritage, with its gorgeous street art and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Perhentian Islands: Relax on its pristine beaches and explore the surrounding coral reefs.
  • Langkawi: Enjoy a scenic cable car ride up to Gunung Mat Chincang for some incredible views.
  • Kuching: Take a stroll around Sarawak’s vibrant capital city, with its colonial buildings and street markets.
  • Cameron Highlands: Explore its lush tea plantations, picturesque hills, and quaint villages.
  • Tioman Island: Relax on one of its beautiful beaches or explore the surrounding coral reefs.

12. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

Sri Lanka is often dubbed as the pearl of the Indian Ocean, and for good reason!

It’s full of stunning natural beauty, with its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and dramatic mountain ranges.

Plus, it offers a unique mix of cultures ranging from Hinduism to Buddhism which can be seen in the country’s ancient temples and villages.

Sri Lanka is also renowned for its delicious cuisine, which includes a variety of dishes from curries to rice and sambol (chili paste).

And if you’re looking for a more traditional experience, then be sure to check out the country’s many Buddhist sites such as Sigiriya Rock Fortress or Anuradhapura.

Best Places to Visit in Sri Lanka for First-Timers

sri lanka

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in Sri Lanka:

  • Colombo: Explore its vibrant city life, with its numerous street markets and luxury malls.
  • Kandy: Take a stroll around the city’s beautiful lake, and check out the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
  • Ella: Hike up to Ella Rock and take in the stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys.
  • Hikkaduwa: Relax on one of its golden beaches or explore its vibrant nightlife.
  • Arugam Bay: Surf some of the best waves in Asia or go on a safari to spot some of Sri Lanka’s incredible wildlife.
  • Polonnaruwa: Admire its ancient ruins, including the historic Gal Viharaya and Nissanka Latha Mandapaya Complex.
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress: Climb up this impressive rock fortress and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Dambulla Cave Temple: Check out the impressive cave temple, which is home to some of Sri Lanka’s most ancient Buddhist artwork.

13. Maldives

Maldives beach with a toddler

The Maldives is an archipelago of over a thousand small islands located in the Indian Ocean.

It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, with its crystal-clear waters, tropical climate, and lush vegetation.

Plus, it offers some of the best beaches in the world, making it a perfect destination for those looking to relax and enjoy some sun.

The Maldives is also renowned for its luxurious resorts, which offer everything from overwater bungalows to spas and private beaches.

And if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, there are plenty of activities like snorkeling and diving to explore the country’s vibrant coral reefs and exotic marine life.

Best Places to Visit in the Maldives for First-Timers:

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in the Maldives:

  • Male City: Explore its vibrant city life, with its colorful markets and stunning views.
  • Hulhumale Beach: Relax on one of its gorgeous white-sand beaches or go for a swim in its turquoise waters.
  • Kuramathi Island: Marvel at its lush vegetation and stunning sunsets.
  • Gan Island: Check out the beautiful beaches and exotic wildlife, or take a boat ride to see some of its breathtaking coral formations.
  • Ari Atoll: Snorkel or dive to explore its vibrant coral reefs and exotic marine life.
  • Baa Atoll: Visit the unique UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, home to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems.
  • Vaadhoo Island: Catch a glimpse of the famous “sea of stars” phenomenon at night.

14. Singapore

Singapore with a toddler

Singapore is a vibrant city-state located in Southeast Asia. It’s known for its modern architecture, lush gardens, and bustling nightlife.

Plus, it offers a mix of cultures which makes it an interesting destination to explore.

The country is also renowned for its delicious cuisine and the variety of food stalls dotted all over the city.

And if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, there are plenty of activities like zip-lining and rock climbing to explore the city’s many parks and gardens.

Best Places to Visit in Singapore for First-Timers

universal studios singapore

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in Singapore:

  • Universal Studios: Visit world-famous movie sets and attractions.
  • Chinatown: Stop by for some delicious local dishes, explore its colorful markets, or check out some of its ancient temples.
  • Sentosa Island: Relax on its beautiful beaches or go for a walk in the rainforest.
  • Gardens by the Bay: Take a stroll through its stunning gardens and admire the city’s skyline.
  • Buddha Tooth Relic Temple: Explore this vibrant temple and learn about Buddha’s teachings.
  • There are also plenty of beautiful islands near Singapore that are worth visiting as well.

15. Nepal

nepal

Nepal is a small landlocked country located in the Himalayas.

It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, with the snow-capped mountains of the Annapurna range and Mount Everest providing a breathtaking backdrop.

Plus, it offers plenty of opportunities to explore its unique culture and traditions.

The country is also renowned for its adventure activities.

From trekking to whitewater rafting, there are plenty of ways to explore Nepal’s stunning landscapes and learn about the local culture.

Best Places to Visit in Nepal for First-Timers

Manaslu Trek Nepal

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in Nepal:

  • Kathmandu Valley: Explore its ancient palaces, vibrant markets, and bustling streets.
  • Pokhara: Take a day trip to admire the stunning views of Phewa Lake or go hiking in the nearby hills.
  • Chitwan National Park: Go on a safari to spot tigers, rhinos, and elephants.
  • Annapurna Circuit: Take a trek to explore the stunning Himalayan scenery.
  • Nagarkot: Admire the views of the snow-capped mountains and catch a glimpse of Mount Everest in the distance.
  • Lumbini: Visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
  • Dhulikhel: Explore its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and local handicrafts.
  • Phoksundo Lake: Take a day trip to marvel at its turquoise waters and lush greenery.

16. Laos

Affordable Travel Destinations - Laos

Laos is a small landlocked country located in Southeast Asia.

It’s known for its incredible natural beauty, with lush jungles and majestic mountains providing a breathtaking backdrop.

Plus, it offers plenty of opportunities to explore its unique culture and traditions.

The country is also renowned for its adventure activities, such as mountain biking and kayaking.

Plus, you can take a cruise on the Mekong River to admire its stunning scenery and learn about the local culture and customs of the river communities.

Best Places to Visit in Laos for First-Timers:

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in Laos:

  • Vang Vieng: Go tubing down the Nam Song River and explore its towering limestone cliffs.
  • Luang Prabang: Take a stroll through its ancient temples, visit the traditional night markets, or take a boat ride to admire its stunning scenery.
  • Tham Kong Lo Cave: Explore this 7-kilometer-long cave and marvel at its stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Kuang Si Falls: Take a day trip to admire its cascading waterfalls and turquoise pools.
  • Tad Fane Waterfall: Visit this stunning two-tiered waterfall for breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle.

17. United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a small country located in the Middle East.

It’s known for its stunning skyline, with towering skyscrapers and modern architecture providing a breathtaking backdrop.

Plus, it offers plenty of opportunities to explore its unique culture and traditions.

The country is also renowned for its adventure activities, such as dune bashing and camel riding.

Plus, you can take a cruise on Dubai Creek to admire its stunning skyline and learn about the local culture and customs.

Best Places to Visit in U.A.E for First-Timers

Things to do in Dubai for 3 Days - Dubai 4WD

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in the United Arab Emirates:

  • Dubai: Explore its bustling souks and towering skyscrapers, or take a cruise down Dubai Creek for breathtaking views.
  • Sharjah: Visit its traditional mosques, explore the stunning Sharjah Heritage District, or go shopping in the city’s vibrant markets.
  • Fujairah: Take a boat ride to admire its stunning coastline, explore traditional fishing villages, or go snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.
  • Abu Dhabi: Admire the grand Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or visit its beautiful beaches.
  • Ras Al Khaimah: Take a day trip to marvel at its stunning desert scenery and heritage sites.

18. Turkey

Turkey Advice and Turkey Tips

Turkey is a large country located in both Asia and Europe.

It’s known for its amazing natural beauty, with stunning coastlines, snow-capped mountains, and rolling hills providing a breathtaking backdrop.

Plus, it offers plenty of opportunities to explore its unique culture and traditions.

The country is also renowned for its adventure activities, such as paragliding and hot air balloon rides.

Plus, you can take a cruise on the Bosphorus to admire its stunning scenery and learn about the local culture and customs of Istanbul’s historic city center.

Best Places to Visit in Turkey for First-Timers

Turkey

Here are some ideas of places to visit while you’re in Turkey:

  • Istanbul: Visit its iconic Blue Mosque, explore the bustling Grand Bazaar, or go shopping in the city’s vibrant markets.
  • Cappadocia: Take a hot air balloon ride to admire its surreal rock formations, explore its ancient underground cities, or visit its traditional villages.
  • Ephesus: Marvel at its impressive ruins or take a boat ride down the Küçük Menderes River to admire its stunning scenery.
  • Pamukkale: Take a day trip to marvel at its natural hot springs and travertines.
  • Fethiye: Explore its ancient Lycian tombs or take a boat ride to admire its stunning coastline.

Final Thoughts On The Best Places To Visit In Asia

No matter where you go in Asia, there’s always something new to explore.

From vibrant cities and stunning nature reserves to traditional villages and cultural monuments – all of the countries on this list offer a unique experience.

So take some time to plan your trip to Asia and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Check out the best Asian airlines list to help you decide on which airline is best for your trip to Asia.

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Jolene Ejmont

Originally from South Africa, now living in Australia, Jolene is a wife and a mother to three beautiful daughters. Together with her family, she is embarking on a journey towards changing her current stress-filled life to one focusing on her dreams and her passion for travel. She wants to share her stories in the hope to inspire you to chase your own dreams!