Want to travel to Asia but don’t know where to go? Here are the best cities to add to your Asia bucket list.
With amazing natural landmarks, stunning landscapes, beautiful cities, breathtaking temples, and friendly people, Asia is a continent full of diversity and beauty that every traveler would like to experience.
And the fact that it’s one of the cheapest continents to travel in makes it a perfect destination for many travelers especially those on a budget.
Traveling to Asia especially in South East Asia means that you get to see immense amazing beauty, beautiful temples and incredible Unesco World Heritage sites for a low budget.
In fact, here are some of the cheapest countries in Asia you can visit to enjoy what Asia has to offer even on a shoestring budget.
But with all the breathtaking beauty and beautiful cities in Asia, it can be hard to choose what to add to your Asia Bucket list.
So in this post, I’ll be showing you all the best cities in Asia that you need to visit at least once.
Best cities to add to your Asia bucket list
1. Bali, Indonesia
Known for its forested mountains and beautiful long beaches, Bali is like the capital of Asia for tourists who want to unwind, relax and soak in all the amazing beauty.
Filled with a number of activities to do, Bali is a popular tourist destination for all kinds of travelers.
Whether it’s laying on the beach all day, awakening your spiritual side by participating in yoga and other spiritual lessons, going island hopping, exploring rice terraces, immersing yourself in the culture and history by visiting major temples, soaking in the hot springs, or visiting Bali’s beautiful waterfalls, there are a lot of things to do in this slice of Heaven.
Some of the best places to visit while in Bali include the Besakih Temple which is one of the most important temples in the area and probably the most photographed, Nusa Dua to enjoy a relaxed moment at the beach, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces to be blown away by the amazing beauty, Ulun Danu Bratan Temple and Mount Batur for outdoor lovers and hikers.
2. Cappadocia, Turkey
Located in Eastern Turkey approximately 9 hours away from Istanbul, Cappadocia is easily referred to as one of the most magical places in Asia.
If you hang around Instagram, you’ve probably seen pictures of hot air balloons flying over the beautiful distinctive fairy chimneys creating a magical sight that can only be appreciated in full when physically seen.
And it’s not only the cluster of tall cone-shaped rock formations that make Cappadocia one of the best places in Turkey but also the impressive cave hotels that you can only find in this Asian city.
Whether it’s going for a hot air balloon flight over the fairy chimneys in Monks Valley, exploring the numerous caves or becoming Instagram famous by taking incredible photos at the Sultan Caves suites, there are a number of things to enjoy in Cappadocia.
Some of the places to visit in Cappadocia include the rock castle at Uchisar to get the best views over the area since its the highest point in Cappadocia, Gerome Open Air Museum to see the catholic churches that are carved inside a mountain, Cavusin to explore more caves, and Derinkuyu to see the largest underground city in the Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is truly one of the best cities in Asia to watch amazing sunsets and take incredible hikes while learning more about Turkey’s culture and history. It’s definitely worth adding to your Asia bucket list.
3. Phuket, Thailand
Located in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is the biggest and most popular island in Thailand.
If you want to explore some of the top-notch beaches in the country, then head to Phuket and you’ll be welcomed by almost 30 beaches to choose from.
It’s not just laying on beaches and surfing all day long, Phuket also has a number of vibrant towns that the young and old will enjoy alike.
Want to treat yourself to amazing seafood, Phuket offers a variety of cheap and freshly cooked seafood that will bring a foodie out of any kind of traveler.
Whether it is hopping from one beach to another, participating in all kinds of water sports, signing up for a cooking class, going for a Thai massage, or chasing waterfalls, there are a number of things to do that make Phuket a bucket list destination in Asia.
On top of that, there are some other places you shouldn’t miss visiting like the Big Buddha which is a popular landmark in Thailand, Wat Chalong which is the most popular Buddist temple on the island and the Phuket elephant sanctuary.
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dotted with skyscrapers that occupy the skyline, Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and one of the best cities to visit in Asia.
Forget the small cities of Asia, this bustling and industrial city of Malaysia is full of life that can be seen in the number of possible things to do there.
Though it’s the Petronas Twin Tower that makes Kuala Lumpur famous, this under-rated city of Asia has more to offer to all types of travelers.
Whether it is spending a sunny afternoon at the Sunway Lagoon, have your mind blown away by visiting the Museum of Illusions or climb the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tv Tower for the most spectacular views over the city, you’ll be glad you visited this city.
Some of the other places to visit in Kuala Lumpur include the China town to see the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the National Mosque, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, and the impressive Thean Hou Temple.
Read more: Cheapest countries to visit in Asia
5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Want to see some of the popular temples in Asia, then head to Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Siem Reap might not be one of the most beautiful cities per se, but the immense concentration of temples, with Angkor Wat being the main one has made it a really popular destination.
It is actually one of the most visited places in Cambodia and it’s not surprising at all!
Though vising Angkor Wat is the highlight of a trip to Siem Reap, there are other things to do in this city.
These range from touring the Lotus farm to get an in-depth understanding of how luxurious fabrics from lotus flowers are made, spending an evening of fun at the Angkor Night Market to having an amazing time at Cambodia’s lauded circus at Phare Ponleu Selpak.
While you explore Siem Reap, some other places you shouldn’t miss include the entire Angkor Wat complex, the Angkor National Museum, Land mine Museum and Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre if you love butterflies – it’s actually the largest Butterfly Centre in the whole of South-East Asia.
6. Tokyo, Japan
If you want to escape to a big city in Asia, Tokyo which is Japan’s capital is the ultimate city Asia bucket list.
Though it’s a big megapolis city with millions of people, you can still find your way in this capital.
What even makes Tokyo a bit different from other Asian cities is that you can expect to have a little bit of everything.
From strolling around skyscraper buildings, immersing yourself in the traditions of Japan by visiting temples to indulging yourself in the local Japanese cuisine.
Yes, you can still learn about the culture and traditions even in the busiest city in Japan.
There is definitely a number of things to do in Tokyo but the ones you shouldn’t miss include visiting temples like Meiji Shrine, Kanda-Miojin Shrine, Senso-Ji Buddist Temple, visiting the Tokyo Tower for panoramic views over the city and exploring Asakusa area for the greatest shopping experience in Tokyo.
7. Hoi An, Vietnam
Located in central Vietnam in Quang Nam province, Hoi An is Unesco world Heritage center that is commonly known for its well preserved ancient town.
A stroll in the Ancient town will take you back in time as you discover the history and culture of Vietnam that lies in this little fishing place.
From the yellow-painted buildings to the lanterns that are dotted around the town, this little town has not changed much since the old days and that’s what makes it charming.
While in the ancient town, make sure to visit the museums of Hoi An, explore the ancient tombs of Japanese traders which have increasingly become a popular tourist attraction.
On top of visiting the ancient town, there are a number of things to do in Hoi An which include exploring the riverside at dusk – which is arguably the most beautiful place in Hoi An, visiting Ba Mu Temple, exploring the Japanese bridge or joining the Lantern festival if you visit at the right time – the festival happens on the 14th day of each Lunar month.
8. Cebu, Philippines
Receiving over 2 million foreign travelers a year, Cebu has increasingly become a popular destination over the years.
From gorgeous sand beaches, hidden waterfalls, swirling mountains and hills to untouched nature, Cebu is the perfect bucket list destination in Asia.
One of the things that makes Cebu a popular destination in the Philippines is the Kawasan Falls in Badian which is a three-tiered cascade that is blessed with turquoise water.
If you want to escape the crowds while still enjoying top-notch beaches, then head to Bantayan Island. This small fishing village is not yet overrun by tourists but it’s beautiful beaches and lagoons are perfect for singles and couples alike.
Other than escaping to beaches and participating in water sports, other things to do in Cebu include; visiting Grandeur of the Temple of Leah which is regarded as the Taj Mahal of Cebu, hiking the Osmena Peak which is the highest point in Cebu treating you to breathtaking views, climbing the 81 steps of the Cebu Taoist Temple, and indulging yourself in Cebu’s history by visiting the Spanish Artifacts at Fort San Pedro.
9. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is the Capital of South Korea and the largest metropolitan city in the country.
It is a diverse Asian city that boasts itself with modern and insanely sky-high buildings for city lovers, big palaces and temples for spiritual and history lovers and also beautiful mountains for hikers.
The diversity of the city makes it a perfect Asia bucket list destination for all kinds of travelers.
One of the best things to do in Seoul is to go up the N Seoul Tower where you’re guaranteed to get the best views over the city.
To immerse yourself in South Korea’s history and traditions, you can visit palaces and temples like Jogyesa Temple, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbukgung Palace, and the Gwanghwamun square.
Since it’s a city for all types of travelers, hikers can also satisfy their wanderlust by hiking the old city walls for amazing views over Seoul or even embark on a more serious trail by hiking Bukhansan mountain.
10. Agra, India
Home to the famous Taj Mahal, Agra is one of the best cities in Asia that you should add to your bucket list.
Since the mausoleum of the Taj Mahal is the top tourist attraction, travelers are able to have an up-close look at one of the New wonders of the world and get to know the history of this white marble masterpiece.
However, traveling to Agra is not just about visiting the majestic Taj Mahal, there are a number of things to do and see in this Indian city of Agra.
One of those things is to visit the Red fort also known as the Agra fort. It is the second famous building in the city after the Taj Mahal.
Other places to visit in Agra include the Akbar’s Tomb in Sikandra, Yamuna River to fully understand the way of life of the locals, The Tomb of Itimad Ud Daulah. You can also explore the bazaars of the Old City for a more local feel.
And while exploring Agra, you can check out some of these best places North India that are worth visiting.
11. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and the biggest city in the country that is full of vibrant life and at the same time popular for its ornate shrines.
Whether it’s the noisy sound of hooking tuk-tuks during the rush hour, the many street food stalls, the never-ending chaos, Bangkok may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when you get past all that, you’ll enjoy this Thailand’s capital.
Bangkok is literally the capital of street food, so while you’re there, make sure that you don’t miss out on the street food tasting spree.
If you’ve seen floating food markets in photos before, you’ll be able to see them while in Bangkok.
Some of the other places to visit to get the best of your Bangkok trip include the Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha, Wat Traimit temple, and the Golden Mount Temple.
And if you want to take a break from the busy life of Bangkok, you can go for a boat ride in Chao Phraya River or even relax from a Thai massage.
12. Bagan, Myanmar
Enlisted as a Unesco World Heritage site, Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar that is mostly famous for Pagodas and impressive temples.
Even though Myanmar had been closed off from tourists in the past years, it has now become a popular destination in Asia receiving over 3.5 million foreign travelers per year and Bagan is the ultimate stop.
Aside from exploring the immense number of temples and Pagodas in Bagan, there are a number of things to.
From watching a magical sunrise/sunset over Bagan to taking a hot air balloon ride over the same, there is nothing more magical than that!
And if you’re interested in learning more about Buddism in Myanmar, you can visit a monk Monastery and they will give you all the information about the belief.
I agree, exploring Bagan can be exhausting, hopping from one temple to another. So when that happens, relax your mind by taking a sunset boat cruise on the Irrawaddy River.
13. Beijing, China
Beijing might be the world’s populous city with skyline buildings and immense technology, but this bustling Chinese capital is also full of ancient palaces and sites that attract tourists when coupled together.
The city is also home to the country’s major tourist attraction, the Great wall of china which also one of the major landmarks in China.
From diving into Chinese history & culture to appreciating the incredible city life, there is so much to do in Beijing.
Some of the things to do include; visiting Tiananmen Square where the modern-day People’s republic of china was formed, exploring the Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City complex, visiting the Summer Place which is regarded as the most beautiful place in the country.
Other places to visit in Beijing include; The Temple of Heaven, Beijing capital Museum, National Museum of China, Beihai Park and so many others.
14. Luang Prabang, Laos
Consisting of over 33 temples, Luang Prabang is a charming city in northern Laos that was enlisted as a Unesco World Heritage site because of its interesting culture and traditions.
Just like many of the Asian cities, Luang Prabang is blessed with a number of temples but the prominent ones not to miss include; the Buddha’s Footprint Temple, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Hua Xiang, and Wat Mahathat.
And to cool off from exploring all the temples, head to Kuang Si Waterfall which is the most visited attraction in Luang Prabang. It is a three-tier turquoise waterfall that is perfect for a dip and it’s absolutely possible to swim in all the spots.
Whilst exploring Luang Prabang, other attractions to visit include the Royal Palace Museum, Pak Ou Caves, a hike to the top of Mount Phousi and if you visit in the dry season, you can walk across the Bamboo bridge.
15. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei may not be one of those Asian cities that immediately come to mind when you think of traveling to Asia, but this Taiwan capital has proved to be a great gem that is worthing adding to your Asia bucket list.
From skyscrapers, nature, history to everything in between, Taipei has a lot to offer to all kinds of travelers.
The first thing you should do while in Taipei is to take in the city views from Taipei 101 which is one of the tallest buildings in the world and the most iconic structure in the country. And what’s even more exciting is riding the world’s fastest elevator as you go up.
In addition to taking in a bird’s view over Taipei from Taipei 101, some of the incredible things to do include; exploring the Chinese history and culture by visiting the National Palace Museum, hiking up the Elephant mountain for amazing city views, relaxing your mind from the Thermal waters at Beitou Hot Springs or spending some time exploring the many temples in the city.
16. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is the most popular and most culturally significant city in this part of the country.
With a mix of culture, amazing nature, great food, incredible landscapes, it’s not hard to see why Chiang Mai is one of the best cities to visit in Asia.
One of its unique features is the Sticky waterfalls which draws a lot of adventure travelers. Unlike other waterfalls, this one is actually “sticky” like the name suggests which means that you can easily climb it with slipping.
It’s not just waterfalls in Chiang Mai, you can paddle across the river with a Bamboo raft, explore the numerous temples (like Wat Phra Sing, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man or Wat Saen Fang), visit Doi Inthanon National Park, and if you visit in November, be sure to celebrate Loy Krathong with the locals.
Chiang Mai is also a hub of museums, so if you’re a traveler that is on a cultural journey, you can explore a number of them. The most common ones are The National Museum of Chiang Mai, Lanna Folk Art Museum, Chiang Mai Cultural and Artistic Center, and the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders to see a unique collection of insects.
17. Bohol, Philippines
Commonly known for the Chocolate Hills, Bohol is one of the popular destinations in the Philippines that is worth visiting on your Asian trip.
From incredibly beautiful waterfalls, cave pools, to island hopping, Bohol is filled with so much adventure that travelers will enjoy.
Some of the incredible things to do in Bohol include; diving in one of the many waterfalls with the most beautiful being Dimiao “Twin Falls”, Can-Umantad Falls, Pangas waterfall, and Camugao Falls, gazing at the beautiful Cadapdapan Rice Terraces, visiting the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary to see the famous Tarsier, or lazying it out on Bohol’s beautiful beaches like Panglao Beach, and Alona Beach.
And to crown your Bohol trip style, make sure that you walk on the Hanging Bamboo bridges that cross Sipatan River.
18. Mumbai, India
Mumbai is one of those Asian cities you’d love to hate. Being the largest and most populous in the country, some travelers are always wary about visiting it due to its chaotic nature.
But if you’re able to look beyond the chaos and noise, you’ll end up loving this cosmopolitan city of India.
From visiting the famous building of Mumbai Taj, catching an amazing sunset at the Gateway of India, delving into India’s history by visiting the Elephanta Island to visiting the Prince of Wales Museum, there is so much to in Mumbai.
Some of the other places to visit in Mumbai include; Haji Ali Dargah Mosque, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and Global Vipassana Pagoda. On top of these, don’t forget to try out India’s famous street food.
Related post: 10 best ways to survive in India as a tourist
19. Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is not different from other Asian cities.
Great food, interesting history, immense culture, and busy streets are some of the things you can expect to experience in the city of Hanoi.
Some of the things that make Hanoi worth traveling to include; visiting the Old Quarter to experience the city like a local, exploring the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minch, wandering around Hoan Kiem Lake, and visiting the Hanoi Opera House which is the most beautiful building in the city
If you’re traveling on a budget, (even if you’re not actually), join a free walking tour of the city to get to know everything about this Vietnamese capital.
20. Kandy, Sri Lanka
Enlisted as a Unesco World Heritage site, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s capital of culture.
It is a popular city in Sri Lanka especially since it’s a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and also home to the beautiful Tooth Relic Temple.
Some of the best things to add to your Sri Lanka itinerary include strolling the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, visiting the Historic Three-Temple loop of Kandy, and visiting the Embekke Devalaya Temple which has carved wooden pillars.
Other points of interest not to miss in Kandy are the Big Buddha, Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, Gadaladeniya Temple and Lankathilake Vihara.
There you have it, folks. If you were looking for cities to add to your Asia bucket list, I hope that this post gave you a number of options to consider.
Have you been to any other cities in Asia that are worth being on this list, you can drop your recommendations in the comment section.
More bucket list posts to inspire your wanderlust
- Most Romantic Places to visit in the world
- Bucket list places to visit in Paris
- Bucket list places to visit in Europe
- Best places to visit in North India
- Most Romantic Places to visit in Europe
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