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With so many exciting destinations in Asia, deciding where to go can be the stuff of which nervous breakdowns are made.

 

Don't despair! Use this list of top 10 Asia tourist destinations in Asia to get ideas for the perfect trip.

Consider planning your trip around one of these top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia.

 

Elephants in Thailand - Photo by Greg Rodgers
Elephants in Thailand.Photo by Greg Rodgers

1.  Chiang Mai, Thailand

Many travelers prefer Thailand's pleasant northern capital over the hectic pace of life in Bangkok. Most of the tourist action happens within Chiang Mai's Old City, where orange-robed monks from the many temples smile as they pass.

From cultural festivals and sprawling night markets to mountain trekking and numerous temples -- Chiang Mai attracts over a million visitors annually who can't wait to come back.

 

 

 

Kek Lok Si Temple - Photo by Alexandra Krajanova / Used with Permission
The famous Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang, Malaysia.Photo by Alexandra Krajanova / Used with Permission

2.  Penang, Malaysia

Known as the "Pearl of the Orient," Penang is a place to relax, eat to the brink of misery, and appreciate Malaysia in a new way. Malaysians are quite proud of their large island.

A legacy of colonization in Penang has produced what is arguably some of the best cuisine in all of Southeast Asia.Penang hawker food combines the best of Malay with influences from Chinese and Indian immigrants to produce mouthwatering creations.

Superb eating is not the only indulgence on the island. Home to nesting sea turtles, the Penang National Park is Malaysia's youngest national park.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Singapore Skyline - Photo by chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons
Photo by chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

3.  Singapore

Notoriously expensive and needlessly shunned bybudget travelers, tiny Singapore is a modern-yet-green city/country well worth a visit for the food, mega-mall shopping, and unique blend of cultures.

Yes,Singapore costs far more than neighboring Malaysia or the rest of Southeast Asia, however, the city has a pleasant vibe, lively Indian and Chinese culture, speaks good English, and is pleasant enough just to stroll. You could spend months living in Singapore and still discover hidden places and eateries the guidebooks have missed!

 

 

Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sabah - Image © Borneo Travel / Used with Permission
The canopy walk at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sabah, Borneo.Image ©Borneo Travel/ Used with Permission

4.  Malaysian Borneo

Sabah, one of two states belonging toMalaysian Borneo, is a natural paradise. Plentiful rainforest,endangered orangutans, and indigenous cultures are certainly worth grabbing acheap flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Sabah is the perfect balance between wild and developed.Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is a happening tourist city in the shadow of towering Mount Kinabalu. When you've had enough shopping and cheap seafood, trade the concrete for East Sabah, where there are plenty of opportunities to experience Southeast Asia at its wildest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
koh phi phi thailand - Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com
Koh Phi Phi Island in Thailand.Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com

5.  Islands in Thailand

Some too small to merit a dot on a map, the islands in Thailand are among the world's most beautiful. Imagine white sand and blue water, cheap diving, and your choice of isolated tranquility or savage nightlife -- all for far less than thecostof a trip to Hawaii.

The diversity of the Thai islands is amazing. Phuket and Koh Samuiare developed, tourist hot spots with vibrant nightlife, while tiny Koh Lipebarely maintains electricity. Beautiful Koh Lantais the perfect compromise.

 

 

Angkor Wat Cambodia - Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com
One of the Angkor Temples in Cambodia.Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com

6.  Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap is the gateway for exploring one of Southeast Asia's most fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Angkor Wat. Over 900 years old, the temples of Angkor are scattered across 600 square miles of jungle. The jungle is slowly reclaiming the ancient temples as vines strangle ruins and break apart bricks.

The picturesque Angkor temples frequently serve as movie sets and bring to life the inner-archaeologist in over one million visitors each year.

 

 

 

 

Beijing China - Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com
Standing guard at Tiananmen Square - Beijing, China.Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com

7.  Beijing, China

Crowded, polluted, dreadfully appealing -- love it or hate it, Beijing is the pounding heart of China. Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City make navigating Beijing's urban sprawl well worth the effort.

Give Beijing a chance; rather than fleeing from the madness, stick around long enough to become a part of it. Wandering the busy streets can actually become quite addictive!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kintamani - Bali, Indonesia - Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com
The Kintamani region in North Bali, Indonesia.Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com

8.  Bali, Indonesia

Bali, with its miles of beaches and volcanic landscapes, is nothing short of magic. Once only a destination for honeymooners and surfers, Bali is now one of the top destinations in Asia.

Most of the action culminates in South Baliat hedonistic Kuta Beach. Travelers in search of more than a hangover head for Ubud -- the peaceful cultural center of Bali -- or even opt to climb a volcano in the Kintamani Region.

Excellent beaches, a welcoming Hindu culture, and beautiful scenery make Bali the busiest island in Indonesia.
 
 
 
 
Tokyo Japan - © Photo by About.com Guide Shizuko Mishima
A view of Tokyo from the World Trade Center Building.© Photo by About.com Guide Shizuko Mishima

9.  Tokyo, Japan

Perhaps not the cheapest of places to visit in Asia, bustling Tokyo is the world's largest metropolitan economy, even exceeding New York City. Urban marvels, talking toilets, and an aloof culture begging to be understood await as soon as you exit the airport.

 

 
 

 

Jodhpur - Rajasthan, India - Photo by Greg Rodgers
The old fort in Jodhpur - Rajasthan, India.Photo by Greg Rodgers

10.  Rajasthan India

While Goa gets a lot of attention because of the beaches, intrepid travelers head west into India's desert state of Rajasthan. Rich with history, stories of romance, camels, and impressive forts, Rajasthan is an unforgettable destination.

If the sun and tourists become too much, consider heading north to the Himalayas with a visit to Manalior the home of the Dalai Lama.

 

(By Greg Rodgers, Asia Travel Expert)


 

 

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