East Asia is definitely the corner of the world we’ve explored the most.
During our time here, we’ve discovered some amazing places and amazing things to do – we especially love activities that you wouldn’t necessarily think of doing straight away. We’re glad we did them and here are some we would recommend:
Monkey Beach, Penang, Malaysia
Here’s a bold statement: This is the best beach I’ve ever been to in my life.
And I have been to a lot of beautiful, tropical beaches.
It’s also known as Teluk Duyung, and it can be found in Penang National Park in the northwest corner of Penang Island. It’s about an hour’s trek from the entrance, but it’s well worth the journey.
The stunning white sands and epic clear blue waters will blow you away. We went on a quiet day during the week, so nobody else was there apart from us and a lot of monkeys.
A little advice: don’t leave belongings on the beach or a monkey may steal your sun cream, run up a tree, and then squirt it all over you from above.
A Scooter Adventure in Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan is probably the most popular place on this list, but we couldn’t overlook it.
This place is absolutely stunning! It’s an ancient temple town with many different temples to explore. The area is perfect for an adventure, which was its greatest appeal.
You can see it from a variety of unique hot air balloon, or a designated horse and carriage tour. However, we would recommend the freedom of touring it yourself with rented scooter.
Renting a Villa in Thailand
If you’re with a group of friends, skip the hotel and rent out a villa instead.
This option is discussed enough in Thailand travel resources, but it’s cheap, private, and way more fun.
Luxury villas are located everywhere on the coast of Thailand. A few might be uneasy renting to foreigners, or they might say you can’t drink or play music too loudly. Plenty won’t have any of these annoying restrictions, so just keep looking.
This breathtaking natural landscape was the inspiration for the Avatar movie.
It’s hidden away in a small town in mainland China, and it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. We could have spent all day walking around and taking pictures. It’s also crawling with wild monkeys who will pose nicely for the camera if you offer the, some food in return.
Sliding Down the Great Wall of China
Of course, the Great Wall of China is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Asia, if not the world.
But did you know that when you’re finished walking the wall you can slide down it in a toboggan? It’s loads of fun and way better than the cable carts most people are using.
Thap Ba Spa, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Our journey from the top of Vietnam to the bottom was long. We saw and did so many amazing things, but we also needed a bit of a break before it was over.
Thap Ba Spa was the perfect resting point in the middle of our trip. It offered luxurious spa treatments, swimming pools and hot springs. More impressively, it was a mud bath spa. This was such a unique (and kind of weird) experience, and it’s definitely one I would heavily recommend.
The Killing Fields Museum, Phnom Penh
It does feel strange to recommend something so increbally sad.
While we don’t really visit museums, this one was truly eye-opening and really made us think. An audio tour will guide you through, and please listen to every word. It’s something I would encourage you to do because it makes you realize how lucky you are. It really made me appreciate my life and all the opportunities I’ve had around the world.
Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Just a short boat trip away from Sihanoukville, this place has beautiful clean beaches, perfectly white sands, and stunning waters.
You couldn’t imagine a better setting for an oceanside stroll – but make sure you learn from Simon’s mistakes. He forgot sun cream, enjoyed a two hour walk, and returned looking like a lobster.
Drinking by Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
Hong Kong has one of the most breathtaking skylines we’ve ever seen, so why not enjoy it up close and personal? The local bars are unbelievably expensive, and none of them can beat the view from the river. Buy some beers, a bottle of wine, or whatever you want at a convenience store for half the cost. Head to the side of the water where they show the light shows. Enjoy the atmosphere and stunning views. That’s the best bar there is in Hong Kong.
There are so many recommendations for Asia travelers scattered around the internet, but we’ve found that many of our favorites don’t get enough credit. These places are either amazing, fun or just truly stunning. We hope we’ve given you a few more ideas.
And we’re sure there are plenty more underrated places around here! What have we missed? Let us know below.