Off the beaten track
Unpopular doesn’t mean uninteresting. Put these unconventional getaways in Asia on your travel bucket list asap!
The dreamy Belitung Island (meaning “sea slug” in the local language) is exactly what its name suggests – a lazy paradise lined with exotic, serene beaches. A must-visit: A short 10 minutes from the city is the Kaolin Lake (pictured), with its celeste blue rocks and white sandstone, which might trick you into thinking you’re near the Poles if not for the tropical weather.
NEXT: Lucknow, India →
Lucknow looks like a city straight out of a travel magazine, and even so, the pictures do it no justice. Known for its culture and commerce, this enchanting city is a brilliant mishmash of modernity and rawness. And what’s a trip to India without visiting one of the famed seven wonders of the world? Lucknow is also one of the most accessible cities from which to get to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
NEXT: Busan, South Korea →
If you only first heard of Busan because of the hit movie “Train to Busan”, we don’t blame you – it’s often eclipsed by its much more popular Seoul sister. That said, this underrated port city where verdant nature blends seamlessly into modern skyscrapers is a beach paradise as much as it is an urban oasis – some call it a Los Angeles-Miami hybrid – and every bit worth the visit.
NEXT: Bolaven Plateau, Laos →
Formed from an ancient volcano, the Bolaven Plateau is known for being one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces – think dramatic waterfalls, lush jungles and blankets of green. Adrenaline junkie? Zipline past waterfalls and over cliffs and trek through challenging terrains. You’ll be wide-eyed in wonder, but still, grab a cuppa – the rich volcanic soil makes this region yields some of the best coffee beans.
NEXT: Sapa, Vietnam →
Sapa‘s relatively far-flung location makes it mostly uncrowded, but those who’s been swear it’s worth it. Visit the rice terraces – a major part of the villagers’ livelihoods – the splendid mountainous vistas make Sapa a great trekking spot. Get a taste of local life with the native ethnic minorities, too!
NEXT: Harbin, China →
At its coldest last year, Harbin’s temperatures dropped to as low as -47.8 degree Celsius. But that hasn’t stopped tons of tourists from descending upon this city for the world’s biggest winter festival, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival (pictured). It’s practically an ice world, and the sculptures are even prettier when they’re colorfully lit at night!
NEXT: Kathmandu, Nepal →
The capital city of Nepal, this bustling metropolis might appear intimidating at first – motorcycles weaving in and out through unceasing traffic, busy pedestrians on the street with no time to stop… But at the heart of the city is a precious purity that you can only fully take in in person – wonderfully preserved temples adorned with marigolds, humble roadside eateries, and curious kids at play are all part beauty of the city.
NEXT: Okinawa, Japan →
This southernmost prefecture of Japan is an island independent of the mainland, which might explain its relatively low profile amongst tourists. This peaceful island chain boasts pristine beaches and rainbow-hued coral reefs, while on land, there’s everything a city cat would love, from shopping strips to hipster cafes and more.
NEXT: Pai, Thailand →
The life is Pai is slow and yet revitalizing. Spend a lazy day at one of the many romantic spots – point a finger at practically any direction and there’s it – or take it up several notches jumping into waterfalls and hiking up canyons. We’re not morning people, but even we say start your day before the crack of dawn – specifically, you’ll want to get up early anyway to get to the Yoonlai Mist Sea to catch the morning sunrise.
NEXT: Belitung Island, Indonesia →
By Pinky Chng, March 2017
Like this? Read more travel stories here,