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Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities in Asia

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Natasha Weiss

Asia is one of the most beautiful continents in the world, full of beautiful sights and differing cultures. There are so many things to see and do; it’s no wonder millions of people choose this region as their vacation destination every year. If you’re planning a trip to Asia, it’s best to create an itinerary beforehand to avoid missing out on any of the hidden gems. If you’re ready to experience the wonder Asia offers, you’ll want to check out our list of the 10 most beautiful cities in Asia.

1. Cebu City, Philippines

Cebu City is one of the Philippines’ largest cities and has many fun things to do and destinations to explore. This port city dating back to 1521, was famously home to Ferdinand Magellan and still retains much of its Spanish historical heritage. Thanks to the coastal railway, travel into and around Cebu City is easy for visitors, making exploring the city a breeze. Thanks to its location next to the sea, there are many water activities, including snorkeling, whale and shark tours, and boating. For those preferring to stay on land, you can take a historical walking tour, where you visit many of the stunning structures that have survived the centuries. Shopping is another popular option, and there are many delicious restaurants serving local fare you won’t want to miss! You can use this 7-day Philippines itinerary to kickstart your planning.

2. Krabi Town, Thailand

Krabi Town is one of Thailand’s most beautiful and exciting cities, boasting tons of fun in a small area. With incredible beaches, a bustling nightlife, miles of forests, and beautiful local landmarks to explore, there’s truly something for everyone in Krabi Town. For those who enjoy exploring historical landmarks, check out the unique cave temple located at Wat Tham Sua. Here you can spend the day exploring the caves, which are full of relics and icons, as you immerse yourself in the centuries of history that surround you. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you won’t want to miss the “footprint of Buddha,” which boasts incredible views spanning 360 degrees if you can make it up the 1,237 steps! For those who enjoy the nightlife, spend time walking the streets and eating from the many delicious food stands with incredible local delicacies. There’s also tons of shopping, so you’ll want to plan your Thailand itinerary to be at least a week if not more.

3. Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal, is known as the “City of Temples” thanks to the vast number of religious structures located throughout the city. This centuries-old city has many historical and cultural landmarks for visitors to explore, nestles among the colorful and often chaotic streets. Be sure to stop by Durbar Square, where over fifty temples create a serene and spiritual ambiance, and Hanuman Dhoka, where you’ll walk among palaces and courtyards full of stunning artistry and beautiful foliage. Kathmandu lies within a valley surrounded by the majestic Himalayas, making it an excellent destination for those who enjoy the unsurpassed scenic beauty and bustling city life. The cuisine is exquisite, with a mix of five-star restaurants and local fare, giving you a taste of the region from recipes passed down for generations. You’ll want to spend a few days wandering through this historic and culturally-rich city, so plan accordingly!

4. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh is one of Asia’s most unique cities, thanks to its colonial architecture. Known as the “Paris of the East,” Phnom Penh is home to many grand boulevards featuring French colonial architecture that will make you swear you boarded a plane and flew to Paris. The city is also home to the breathtaking Cambodian Royal Palace, with its intricate features and exquisite design. Due to its prime location nestled between the banks of the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap rivers, Phnom Penh is a bustling destination, recovering from the tragedies of its past. Visitors enjoy dining at the cozy cafes, delicious restaurants, and hip bars while shopping and sightseeing along the historic boulevards, so be sure to check them out during your visit to Cambodia

5. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam, is the county’s second-largest city and is a must-see destination on your Asian vacation. As the country’s capital, Hanoi is a bustling metropolis, combining colonialistic architecture with traditional Vietnamese structures. As you walk along the busy streets, you’ll marvel at the ancient pagodas and temples, many dating back thousands of years. History lovers will want to check out the One-Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, some of the most popular attractions due to their beauty and historical significance. There are also tons of museums that highlight the country’s heritage, culture, and history. For a bit of quiet away from the bustling streets, stop into one of the quaint cafes, or visit the street markets full of locally made souvenirs and handicrafts for a bit of fun.

6. Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan, is widely considered one of Japan’s most beautiful cities thanks to its stunning views, cultural landmarks, and historical sights. Kyoto is home to calming gardens, grand palaces, and over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. You won’t want to miss visiting the Ryoanji and Kinkakuji Temples and the Imperial Palace. Be sure to take time to explore Gion, Kyoto’s historic district full of traditional inns and geishas. Although it’s beautiful year-round, planning your trip to Japan during cherry blossom season makes for an extra magical experience.

7. Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China, is an iconic city known worldwide for its energy and beauty. Located at the junction of the East China Sea and the Yangtze Estuary, Shanghai is full of towering skyscrapers and architecturally stunning buildings. As you explore the city, you’ll see Buddhist temples situated next to modern facilities, showcasing how Shanghai has masterfully combined the old and new to create an atmosphere all its own. The city has a bustling nightlife and world-renowned cuisine while boasting some of the best shopping not only in the region but the world. If you have a passion for art, Shanghai is your new go-to destination, with its thriving cultural and art scene, with a uniqueness that stands apart from the surrounding areas. You’ll want to afford yourself plenty of time to explore the many attractions located within this unforgettable city.

8. Andong, South Korea

Andong, South Korea, is considered the most Korean place in all of Korea, making it an excellent destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in Korean culture. Many choose to stay at the Hahoe Village, known for its incredible culture and history, and you can take tours of the area that are informative and fun. The architecture within the city is unique, with many of the structures containing thatched roofs instead of commonly seen tiles. Be sure to stop by the market where you can shop for souvenirs and authentic goods made by the locals. The next time to visit is hands down in the spring when you can see thousands of flowering cherry blossoms lining the landscape, but many also enjoy staying in the fall during the Andong mask Festival. Andong has many interesting sights, including temples, forests, cliffs, and the Woljeonggyo Bridge, a favorite among travelers. Andong is truly a relaxing and intriguing vacation destination!

9. Singapore

Singapore is a city-state located in Southeast Asia on the Malay peninsula’s southern tip. Although relatively small compared to many other Asian cities, there are tons to do within its borders. Despite its small size, Singapore is currently one of the world’s most densely populated cities, housing skyscrapers, shopping malls, and many different neighborhoods. Even though there are many buildings made to house a large number of residents, Singapore manages to have an impressive amount of open, natural spaces, including its Botanical Gardens, that are the perfect place to relax and unwind. The city/state is very proud of its rich multicultural heritage, with a combination of Indian, Chinese, and Malay influences displayed around every turn. There is also an incredible amount of delicious cuisine, thanks to Singaporeans’ love of food, so be sure to stop at one of the food stands or local eateries for a taste sensation you won’t soon forget! When planning your Singapore vacation, be sure to leave ample time to enjoy everything this small but exciting city offers.

10. Kep, Cambodia

Kep, Cambodia, is the perfect seaside destination for those who enjoy lounging in the sand while eating delicious food. Created as a resort for the French aristocracy in the 1900s, it is home to beautiful villas nestled along the jungle’s edge. Located near Kep National Park, the city is the perfect vacation destination for hiking, swimming, and relaxing; you won’t want to miss out on all that Kep has to offer.

When planning your next Asian vacation, be sure to give yourself enough time to explore the cities you visit and immerse yourself in their culture. This list of the 10 most beautiful cities in Asia will help you plan your trip so you can make memories you’ll treasure forever.

Natasha Weiss

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