5 Alternative Asian Destinations to Check Out for 201517 January, 2015
Asia is a real favourite for backpackers of all nationalities, with its wealth of fascinating countries, delicious food and stunning natural scenery making it an obvious choice. Countries such as Thailand and India are the most popular, but there’s still plenty to discover in Asia if you prefer to stay away from the gap year backpackers and explore some more off the beaten track destinations. Forget Full Moon Parties, here’s our guide to some of Asia’s best alternative destinations.
Wait, isn’t Thailand expensive and overrun with other backpackers? Well, yes, but not if you look in the right places! Stay away from the luxury resorts and party havens such as Phuket and make your way to the country’s north, where you’ll find much cheaper prices and less touristy destinations such as Chiang Mai.
Cambodia is still something of a hidden gem, but with attractions such as Angkor Wat piquing the interest of travellers all over the world, it won’t stay that way for long. Now is the perfect time to visit! It’s one of the most affordable destinations in Asia, but as it’s also one of the poorest you’ll need to have patience and an open mind when it comes to public transport.
The country isn’t best known for its food, but Phnom Penh especially is a great place to sample some delicious Asian street food. Tuck in at a local market and you can enjoy your food on one of the rugs laid down in a square. Angkor Wat might be the most famous Cambodian attraction and is well worth a visit, but the country also houses some fantastic beaches at Sihanoukville, or to the nearby island of Koh Rong. Here you’re likely to have a tropical paradise all to yourself!
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar has only just reopened for visitors after a few turbulent decades under a corrupt dictatorship. Whilst the political situation here is far from stable, Myanmar is a safe travel destination and is set to become the next big thing in coming years. Visit now before the masses catch on! One of the highlights of this fascinating country is Bagan, home to the highest concentration of Buddhist temple ruins on the planet! One of the most iconic images of Bagan is its hot air balloons, with their bright colours contrasting against the morning skies or setting sun. A ride on one of these is definitely something to add to your bucket list!
Pakistan might not seem like the sort of place you’d visit willingly, but there’s a surprising amount to see and do here and it’s perfectly safe providing you stick to the right places! Getting around Pakistan is can be an adventure in itself – why not go for a rickshaw ride?
From the fascinating capital of Islamabad to the famous Khyber Pass and impressive Karakoram mountain range, there really is something for everyone in this beautiful country untouched by tourism.
Definitely one for the thrill-seekers, Nepal is one of the best (and safest) places to visit if mountain climbing is your thing. Home to eight of the world’s ten highest peaks, Nepal offers remote routes for you to enjoy the solitude and plenty of teahouses and lodges to keep you refreshed. Alternatively, the vibrant and calm city of Kathmandu is a great choice for the less active traveller.