24 Unique Places to Add to Your Asia Bucket List

Asia is typically a destination on the top of people's bucket lists! But, it's usually the basics like Tokyo, Bangkok, and the Great Wall of China. Those are all amazing destinations don't get me wrong, but there is so much more to see in Asia besides the typical tourist destinations. I've made a list of 24 unique places in Asia that either I've personally visited or is on my bucket list. Hopefully you'll add some of these to your bucket list too!

1. Bagan, Myanmar

One of the most fairytale-like places in the world is Bagan. The area contains 3500+ temples and pagodas and recently became an UNESCO World Heritage site! IN a lot of photos you'll also see these amazing temples surrounded by hot air balloons. So if you want to take those photos, or experience the temples from above in a balloon, make sure to go during balloon season from October to mid-April.

Average hostel dorm price: $7-10/person

Average daily spending: $10-25 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

2. Ban Gioc Detian Falls, Vietnam

This is the largest waterfall in Asia, and it's actually the name of two separate waterfalls that combine into one on the Vietnam and China border. It's usually visited from the Vietnamese side, since you can easily visit from the capital city: Hanoi.

3. Busan, South Korea

A beautiful, quaint city on the southern coast of South Korea. It's the perfect combination of city life and modern amenities with beautiful nature scenes and coastal views. Make sure to visit the Igidae Coastal Walk, Haeundae Beach, and Gamcheon Culture Village (pictured below)! Read more on Busan here.

Average hostel dorm price: $6-15/person

Average daily spending: $25-40 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

4. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is one of the most famous cities in Thailand for elephant sanctuaries! It's a city filled with ancient charm and jungle views. Aside from the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, make sure to to check out the Tha Pae Gate, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Doi Suthep National Park, and Wat Phra Doi Suthep. I've been to Chiang Mai twice and stayed in different hostels both times (near Tha Pae Gate), but next time I'm definitely going to check out the Chai Lai Orchid hotel where you stay at an elephant sanctuary and retreat! Sounds amazing.

Average hostel dorm price: $3-8/person

Average daily spending: $10-25 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

5. Chocolate Hills, Philippines

These amazing dome-shaped hills in Bohol turn brown in the winter (hence the name!) and are surrounded by green, lush forest. There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers. It is often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world! (Not just Southeast Asia). It truly is such an amazing sight to see.

6. Ha Giang, Vietnam

Sa Pa used to be one of the top destinations for backpackers in Vietnam to motorbike through gorgeous rice terraces... but Ha Giang has quickly taken over that spot for backpackers interested in an authentic experience, since Sa Pa has gotten more touristy. The beauty of Ha Giang is the combination of incredible nature views with few crowds. It's really popular to rent a motorbike for a couple of days and drive around the area to explore. If you're interested in having someone set up a motorbike route for you where you stay in the homes of Vietnamese people in the countrysides along the way, you can send a WhatsApp message to Lan Anh at +84 96 373 1515. It's 600,000 VND (About $25 USD) to rent a motorbike for 4 days, 3 days of lodging, and all meals covered. It's a great deal and even better experience!

Average hostel dorm price: $1-4/person

Average daily spending: $10-25 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

7. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

This UNESCO World Heritage Site in North Vietnam is famous for its thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests. The total area is around 1,553 km2 (About 600 sq mi), which includes about 1,960–2,000 islets. The evolution of the karst islets in this bay has taken over 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate. You can take a cruise through the famous bay, or even just go on a hike with an awesome viewpoint. Either way, you'll be blown away.

Average hostel dorm price: $3-9/person

Average daily spending: $10-25 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

8. Jaipur, India

This city is popularly known as the Pink City of India, and is the capital of Rajasthan. This city is filled with architectural wonders and houses some of the country's most ornate royal palaces. Make sure to see Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amer Fort, and Jantar Mantar.

Average hostel dorm price: $1-5/person

Average daily spending: $7-15 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

9. Jeju Island, South Korea

This awesome island in South Korea is known for its beach resorts, volcanic landscape of craters, and cavelike lava tubes- it's often compared to Hawaii! When you visit make sure you don't miss Hallasan Mountain (a dormant volcano), a crater lake at the 1,950m summit, and Gwaneumsa Temple. South Korea is known around the world as the leader in skin care and skin treatments, and this island is where a lot of the natural ingredients are found to create some of their best skincare products!

Average hostel dorm price: $12-20/person

Average daily spending: $25-40 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

10. Kelingkling Beach, Indonesia

This is an icon for Nusa Penida, a small island just off the coast of Bali, Indonesia. It is nicknamed as the "T-Rex" beach because of the unique shape of the cliff formation. You can even go down the cliff and enjoy a day at the beach with extremely white sand and turquoise waters. It's so unique and definitely a natural wonder!

11. Krabi, Thailand

The Krabi area offers some of the best beaches in the country. The most famous beach, Railay beach, offers panoramic views of cliffs overlooking the coastal line with bright blue water and white sand. It truly is a picture-perfect area, and amazing way to spend some time when traveling Thailand.

Average hostel dorm price: $3-12/person

Average daily spending: $15-30 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

12. Kuang Si Falls, Laos

This is the main attraction in Luang Prabang, or arguably even all of Laos. It's a three-tiered waterfall with smaller turquoise pools at the bottom that are overflowing into one another, and a 60 meter-high waterfall at the top. If you go during the wet season, it truly is one of the most magnificent things you'll ever see. Definitely my top choice for a natural wonder of Southeast Asia!

13. Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Mirissa is a beautiful, beachy town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It truly was my favorite place I visited in all of Sri Lanka! They have restaurants lining the sands, so it truly is a gorgeous place to just hang out and relax on the beach all day, then enjoy the sunset with a nice meal right on the sand. Pretty much beach, eat, sleep, repeat. Who doesn't love that?

Average hostel dorm price: $5-15/person

Average daily spending: $10-20 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

14. Mount Bromo, Indonesia

This is an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia and one of the most visited places in the country for hikers and backpackers. Although it's a popular spot for hiking to see magnificent sunrise views and views of the volcano crater, it's still one of the most active volcanoes in the world and there are areas that are blocked off from tourists due to its imminent danger.

15. Mount Everest, Nepal

Now I'm sure you've heard of this one because it's the tallest mountain in the entire world... but is it on your bucket list? It should be! Even though only a handful of highly trained hikers have made it to the top of Everest, practically anyone can make the 3-day trek to Everest's base called Base Camp. It should be added to any hiker's bucket list- it's definitely on mine!

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16. Namo Beach, Indonesia

There is another beach in Indonesia called "Pink Beach," but it is not even close to being as pink as Namo Beach. The pink sand is caused by the Foraminifera, a microorganism that produces the pink/red color pigment in the coral reef. The broken coral reef pieces then wash up on this beach and affect the sand color- making it bright pink! On top of the awesome sand, the water is crystal clear and the snorkeling is great.

17. Oslob, Cebu Island, Philippines

Swimming with whale sharks is the main attraction of Oslob- a city located on the South East part of Cebu island. There's not much else to do other than swim with whale sharks, but trust me, this experience is worth the trip out there. It is hands down my favorite experience I've ever had. You paddle out in these small row boats only about 2 minutes from shore, and the guide just tells you to jump in. You can't see anything below you and you're thinking there's no way these gentle giants are this close to shore... but THEY ARE. Once you're under water swimming amongst these beautiful creatures, you are just mesmerized. It was truly a magical experience I can't recommend enough.

Swimming with whale sharks experience: Roughly $21.50 for transportation & swimming experience

Average hostel dorm price: $5-10/person

Average daily spending: $15-25 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

18. Padar Island, Indonesia

This uniquely shaped island is a part of Komodo Island National Park. It is formed by rolling hills that stretch out and make almost an "X" shape with the island. When you climb to the top of the highest hill, you can see panoramic view of this natural wonder and the beautiful, blue sea encompassing it. I highly recommend going for a sunrise hike because watching the sun come up with this background is mesmerizing.

19. Rinca Island, Indonesia

There are 2 islands in Indonesia where you can see Komodo dragons in their wild habitat: Komodo Island and Rinca Island. Although Komodo Island is more well-known, it's a lot more touristy in my opinion. I felt that Rinca Island was a lot more natural and we saw a lot more Komodo dragons roaming around. It is such a crazy experience to see these creatures in their natural habitat- they are massive and extremely dangerous, so it's really an awesome bucket list item to get up close & personal with them.

20. Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Borneo is the world's third largest island, and is actually divided into 3 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. It's the only place in the world (besides Sumatra, Indonesia) to see orangutans in the rainforest, and their rainforest is one of the oldest in the world (roughly 130 million years old). When visiting Sabah on the Malaysian side of the island, make sure to check out Mount Kinabalu, Danum Valley, Proboscis monkeys on the Kinabatangan River, and go Island hopping in Kota Kinabalu (great diving on Sipidan Island). Don't forget to visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center to see some wild orangutans!

21. Siem Reap, Cambodia

The main reason why you should visit Siem Reap is to visit the ancient archeological site of Angkor. This archeological site consists of numerous famous temples & structures including Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom, and Bayan Temple. These are truly some of the most impressive man-made wonders of the world! While visiting Siem Reap you should also see Michrey Floating Village, Pub Street, and the lotus fields.

Average hostel dorm price: $2-8/person

Average daily spending: $10-20 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

22. Yangshuo, China

This town is surrounded by karst formations, the Li River, and lush green views everywhere you go! You can easily rent motorbikes and drive around for days finding new lookout points, off-road trails, and riverside hangout spots. Read my blog to learn more.

Average private hotel room price: $10-15

Average daily spending: $12-25 on food/transportation (depending on your traveling style)

23. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

Otherwise known as the Avatar Mountains, which are quartz-sandstone pillars reaching 1,080 meters high. They were the inspiration behind the Hallelujah mountains in the Avatar movie. The views are absolutely incredible everywhere you look. Read my blog to learn more.

24. Zhangye Danxia Geopark, China

Otherwise known as the Rainbow Mountains. Layers of different colored sandstone and minerals were pressed together over 24 million years and then buckled up by tectonic plates, creating beautiful "rainbow" striped mountain formations. Read my blog to learn more.

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