With so much to see, do and taste in Asia, where do you even begin? We shortlist ten spectacular yet essential Asian cities everyone should visit before the bucket kicks over. 1. Tokyo, Japan Weird and wonderful Tokyo fuses together tradition with futuristic. One day you’re soaking up Japanese culture at the Meiji Shrine or watching a Sumo game, and the next you’re on the neon-lit Shibuya crossing, navigating your way through izakayas [Japanese pubs], conveyor belt sushi restaurants and convenience stores. Many venture to Tokyo for tales to tell the office, and they don’t get much more interesting than maids dancing over your lunch in Akihabara, cradling snakes over coffee in Harajuku, or getting a full on samurai makeover in Shinjuku. The Japanese are obsessed with karaoke, and in Roppongi you’ll enjoy the music and dodgy singing till the sun comes up.

2. Beijing, China Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, but probably the most famous is the Great Wall of China, one of the most impressive architectural feats in history. While it stretches from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, it is Beijing that tourists flock to see and climb the wall from, thanks to the section’s well preserved walls, stunning scenery and facilities. Since the Beijing Summer Olympics a decade ago, tourism has increased dramatically, with travellers the world over arriving to sample Beijing delights, including the stadium itself and of course, succulent Peking duck.  

3. Hanoi, Vietnam Despite its tragic history, Hanoi is fast developing to become an Asian super-city, with world-class attractions, nightlife and food. There aren’t many foodies out there who haven’t been won over with Vietnam’s culinary delights, such as refreshing goi con spring rolls, warm pho noodle broths, and banh mi, the greatest sandwiches ever. Vietnamese coffee is rich and strong with sweet condensed milk added, which can be varied with egg or yoghurt. When your stomachs are full, you can enjoy city sights such as the Hoan Kiem Lake, watch the ancient art form of water puppetry, or have the perfect outfit tailor-made before your flight home.

4. Seoul, South Korea Think K-Pop and that will give you a rough idea of what to expect in Seoul. The city is full of fashionistas with trendy haircuts, expressive style and sassy moves. Myenongdong is the commercial hub, lined with clothes stores, malls, and more cosmetics than you could ever get your head around. Here you’ll find popular Korean face masks containing snail slime, honey or collagen in a variety of cute animal-face styles. There is plenty to fascinate history buffs too, including the National Museum of Korea, Bukchon Hanok Village and day tours to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – the region separating North Korea from South Korea.

5. Bangkok, Thailand Hollywood movies tend to highlight its wild side and while that may be the case in places such as backpacker central Khao San Road, there is much more to Bangkok than meets The Hangover Part II. The city is home to the Wat Pho, a huge golden reclining Buddha, and The Grand Palace, a stunning former royal residence. The MBK Center is Bangkok’s legendary mall to haggle at, or you can check out a Thai boxing match at the Rajadamnern Stadium. When sightseeing and shopping are complete, there is nothing like checking into a glorious Thai spa, or at least getting a cheeky street foot massage. 

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Wat Pho, Bangkok 🇹🇭 #recliningbuddha

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6. Taipei, Taiwan Taipei is most famous for shopping, food and tea, with a blend of Chinese, Japanese and Western hipster influences thrown in equal measure. Eating out is so affordable and easy that many studio apartments don’t have kitchens, so be sure to join the locals at one of the busy night markets such as Shilin or Tonghua to tuck into oyster omelettes, stinky tofu and beef noodles, washed down with Taiwan’s famous bubble tea. Shopping is vast and varied, and you’ll see crowds everywhere, from outlet centres to boutique malls like the Taipei 101 building, which doubles up as an observatory.

7. Delhi, India Delhi is a melting pot of colour and contrasts, where travellers come to explore wonders in history, culture, food and architecture. Old Delhi is full of bustling backstreet bazaars where you can pick up incredible materials and local crafts, and it is home to the Red Fort, which sits along the Yamuna River. New Delhi is a modern metropolis of government headquarters, historic sites and museums such as the National Museum featuring Indian art. Then there’s Gurgaon, a district packed with towering skyscrapers, five-star hotels and designer boutiques. You can’t leave India without trying the food – choose from a huge array of curries, tandoori chicken, and a traditional Indian afternoon tea.  

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О, Индия, что ты делаешь. В первый час своего пребывания я потеряла паспорт, далее следовали переживания , страх, потеря почвы под ногами и прочие игры беспокойного ума. Но нашёлся добрый индус, который ездил всю ночь на пролёт со мной в поисках паспорта, оплачивая такси и рассказывая всевозможные шутеечки. Паспорт мы не нашли, но успокоить и даже развеселить меня ему удалось😹 Потом не меняя планов я все же решила поехать в Санаранпур праздновать Наваратри✨ Было волшебно, но так как вопрос с доками не был решён я отправилась в Дели в российское консульство, где мне неожиданно решили вернуть найденный паспорт ( в ДЕЛИ, господибоже, НАШИ ПАСПОРТ И РЕШИЛИ ВЕРНУТЬ😹) я в шоке была👀 К чему я это, ребят, не надо смотреть фильмы и сериалы, что бы кино происходило с вами😅 Не самая глубокая мысль, но она лишь о том, чтобы ЖИТЬ эту жизнь, а не смотреть, как живет ее кто-то🤘🏼любовь❤️

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8. Manila, Philippines Manila is an emerging tourist hot spot, thanks to great prices, amazing food and warm locals. Poblacion is the up-and-coming hipster neighbourhood, centred around the Z Hostel’s famous rooftop, and from there night markets, cafés and restaurants circle. Manila has some striking historical sites and stunning cathedrals, including San Agustin Church, Manila Cathedral and Fort Santiago, as well as one of the world’s biggest Chinatowns. We recommend hopping on a bike tour and exploring downtown on two wheels with knowledgeable locals, with a sunset stop at Manila Bay. Ever tried Adobo? It’s a traditional marinated meat and veg dish that is a Filipino obsession. Delicious!  

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Sunset Sessions happening now at the Roofdeck! Come and get your free drink! 🍹

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9. Siem Reap, Cambodia Things have come a long way for Cambodia, which is now firmly on the tourist map. Siem Reap is most famous for Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Surrounded by a beautiful forest, Angkor Wat dominates the Angkor Archaeological Park and showcases the brilliance of Khmer art and engineering. There is plenty to do in and around the city (temples aside), including Siam Reap food tours where you’ll explore the naom banchok noodle stalls of Preah Dak, to local barbeque restaurants and entertainment from the very talented Phare the Cambodian Circus (Cambodia’s answer to Cirque du Soleil) and Angkor Zip lining.

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Angkor Wat✔️ #Cambodia #angkorwat #siemreap #wheresmel #travel #TravelingOurPlanet #unreal #backpackerstory

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10. Hong Kong, China The glitzy city of Hong Kong is often referred to as the business capital of Asia. The city is full of busy professionals in the swankiest establishments that make up a glittering night skyline over Victoria Harbour. Take the Star Ferry, a bargain cruise along the harbour, to soak up these larger-than-life views, or board a tram up to Victoria Peak to see them from above. Love dim sum? You’ll be spoilt for choice in Hong Kong, where dim sum restaurants are unmatchable, from hole-in-the-wall local joints to upscale dim sum restaurants such as Duddell’s in Central. Hong Kong has some wonderful hiking trails for you to walk off those big meals; our favourite is Lamma Island, a short ferry ride from Central Pier 4.