Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Asia
Don’t worry—there aren’t any crocodiles cruising the waters at this popular Boracay island. Instead you’ll find schools of colorful fish and vibrant, healthy corals, that make this one of the best places to go snorkeling and swimming in Boracay. The waters here can be crystal clear—particularly in the peak season—and it’s a happening stop on island hopping tours that explore the Boracay coast.
It isn’t just snorkelers who flock here, however, as Crocodile Island is also one of the best spots to go scuba diving in Boracay. The wall here begins at 15 feet and it’s a relatively shallow dive, which makes it a good spot for intro divers or those who have just become certified. Watch as schools of silvery fish go flitting in front of your face, and corals waves in the gentle currents and spring up out of the reef. There’s even the chance of spotting a turtle at it lazily swims on by, before climbing aboard your Boracay boat and exploring the rest of the coast.
Previously known as MBC Dramia, Yongin MBC Daejanggeum Park is owned by Munhwa Broadcasting Company (MBC) and Yongin Municipal Office. This outdoor historical film set covers a vast area. It opened to tourists and the general public to visit in 2011.
Fans of Korean drama are in for a treat, as series such as Jumong, Dong Yi, Queen Seondeok, Goryeo, and many more dramas, documentaries, and films were shot here. The park features permanent sets that consist of ancient buildings and villages, with architecture imitating that from the Korean Three Kingdoms era. In fact, Daejanggeum Park was created based on historical records and so accurately reflects the buildings, villages, and culture of ancient times.
There are of course plenty of photo opportunities here, with a number of different sets to explore. There’s also a coffee shop and snack bar onsite.
In the town of Ciater, north of Bandung, West Java, warm steamy waters rise from the earth, heated by the Tangkuban Perahu volcano nearby. A number of resorts and spas channel these hot springs into natural bathing pools, some with attractions such as waterfalls, and all offer admission to guests who would like to spend the day lounging.
Situated in the heart of the old city, the Charminar is the most famous building in Hyderabad and a symbol of the city around the world. This monument was built at the close of the 16th century to celebrate the end of a plague—possibly cholera—that had devastated the region. A small mosque sits on the top floor of the building.
Bangkok’s glittering Grand Palace is one of the most popular attractions in the Thai capital. Built in 1782, this sprawling 54-acre (21.8-hectare) complex served as the royal court and administrative seat of Thailand for 150 years. Today, while it continues to host royal Thai functions, the palace also impresses swathes of visitors with its intricate golden-spired architecture and cultural history.
Laoshan Scenic Area, one of China’s first national parks, has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. The hills and slopes surrounding the 3,280-foot (1,000-meter) peak of Mount Lao were once hope to eight temples, nine palaces and six dozen convents.
While many of the park’s architectural treasures have been lost to time, it’s still possible to visit the Taoist Taiqing Palace, the park’s oldest, built in 140 BC. Natural wonders add to the appeal, including the majestic Chaoyin waterfall and numerous striking sea views.
The mineral waters originating within the scenic area are famous throughout China as well; they’re a main ingredient in China’s famous Tsingtao beer.
The Mutianyu Great Wall was fully restored in the 1980s as an alternative to the increasingly popular Badaling section of the Great Wall of China. The Mutianyu section is farther away from Beijing (about an hour and a half by car) than more popular sections, but it's also significantly less busy and features some fun, modern amusements, such as a cable car, chairlift, and toboggan. The long, flat segment—the longest fully restored section open to travelers—winds along heavily forested hilltops with 23 ancient watchtowers dotting the landscape.
Known for its picturesque alpine scenery, interesting rock formations, and plentiful outdoor activities, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of the most popular attractions in Mongolia. Located about 43 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of Ulaanbaatar, it’s also one of the most accessible national parks in the country.
By far Mongolia’s most recognizable landmark and one of the world’s largest equestrian statues, the 131-foot-tall (40-meter-tall) Genghis Khan Statue Complex (Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex) towers over the surrounding landscape. Ride the elevator up inside the horse, learn about the Mongols at the museum, shop for souvenirs, or enjoy a snack at the café.
When the Tianjin Eye was completed in 2008, it officially became the first and only observation wheel in the world to be built over a bridge. The 394-foot (120-meter) tall wheel straddles the Hai River above the Yongle Bridge, offering stellar views (on clear days or nights) of this city of some 7.5 million people.
The wheel features 48 passenger pods, each with an eight person capacity. One rotation around the wheel takes about 30 minutes. The best time to ride is at night, when the wheel is illuminated in colorful neon lights, visible from around Tianjin.
More Things to Do in Asia
The Tsingtao Beer Museum was built in 2003 and commemorates some 100 years of German brewing history and heritage in China. Visitors to this top attraction can wander the halls of the two-story structure and learn about the traditions developed and perfected here, thanks to photo galleries and exhibits where brewing tools from the trade are on display. And while an up close look at the nation’s deep roots in hop history makes this place worth a stop, it’s cold and crisp samples straight from the production line that make a tour of the oldest working brewery worth a visit.
Nusa Dua’s answer to Ubud’s art museums, Museum Pasifika, which opened in 2006, is dedicated to the art of Asia Pacific. Balinese artists and expatriates working on the island are well-represented, but galleries showcase art and sculptures from Papua, Vanuatu, Polynesia, historical Indo-China, and beyond.
Tucked into Kandy’s historical Royal Palace complex, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of Sri Lanka’s top attractions. The 18th-century Buddhist temple, part of what was once Kandy’s royal court, is revered for housing a tooth reputed to have belonged to Buddha himself, with pilgrims and tourists flocking to it as a result.
With colossal domes covered in gold leaf, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque symbolizes the wealth of Brunei. Adorned with Italian marble, English chandeliers, and Arabian carpets, the lavish mosque—named after the 28th sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men in the world—is visible from almost everywhere in Bandar Seri Begawan.
The Yulong River, also known as the Little Li River, is the largest tributary of the Li River, and it runs 26 miles (43 kilometers) across Yangshuo county. The river flows past limestone karsts, bamboo forests, rice paddies, ancient villages, and stone bridges. Floating down the river, or hiking or biking next to it, provides up-close views.
Nowhere is the tension between North and South Korea more palpable than in the no-man's-land known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. As a divided nation, only 2.5 miles (4 km) separate the North from the South at what is the most heavily armed border on earth. The 150-mile (241-km) zone has served as a buffer since the 1953 cease-fire agreement between the United Nations and North Korea that put the Korean War on hold.
A huge, 15th-century fortress overlooking the “blue city” of Jodhpur 410 feet (125 meters) below, Mehrangarh (Mehran Fort) is owned by the Jodhpur royal family to this day. The citadel is enclosed by thick, imposing walls and contains a museum, courthouses, gardens, and several magnificent palaces with vast courtyards and elaborate architecture.
One of a cluster of islands that stud Nha Trang Bay, Hon Mun island is the epicenter of the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area. Spanning 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of protected ocean, the zone is home to colorful coral and marine life. Visit to snorkel one of Vietnam’s favorite underwater spots.
Shah-i-Zinda, one of Samarkand’s most popular sites, is a street of tombs containing some of the most spectacular tile work in the world. Established over a millennia ago, temples, mausoleums, and other religious structures have been added over the centuries – mostly between the 14th and 19th centuries – making it a fascinating study in architectural style.
The innermost shrine (and the holiest structure) comprises a complex of quiet rooms believed to be the tomb of Qusam ibn-Abbas, cousin of the Prophet Mohammed who brought Islam to the region in the 7th century. The Shodi Mulk Oko Mausoleum, one of the most beautiful tombs in the Shah-i-Zinda complex, is covered in majolica and terracotta that needed little restoration when the rest of the complex was aggressively restored in 2005.
In the year 642, Zenko-ji Temple was founded when one of the earliest Buddhist statues in Japan, brought over from the Korean Peninsula, was enshrined at the site. Today, the temple is one of the most important Buddhist sites in the country, as well as Japan’s third largest wooden structure, with the entire town of Nagano built up around it.
The structure as it stands today dates back to 1707 and contains a large hall displaying a variety of Buddhist statuary, a main alter and an underground passage beneath the alter where visitors can pass in complete darkness, feeling for a single key on the wall -- the key to paradise -- that’s believed to grand salvation to any who touch it.
Behind the main temple, a newer pagoda houses the Zenko-ji History Museum with its collection of statues of the Buddha and his disciples.
While visiting the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, it’s almost impossible to miss the Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo), an impressive, opulent structure. With a floor that’s covered with five tons of silver, a Baccarat-crystal Buddha perched on a gilded pedestal (known as the Emerald Buddha) and a life-sized solid-gold Buddha that weighs almost 200 pounds (90 kg) and is covered with 9,584 diamonds (the largest is 25 carats), a visit to the Silver Pagoda is one that is not easily forgotten. Though they’re hard to get a peek at (they’re covered up for protection), see if you can get a look at one of the more than 5,000 silver tiles that were inlaid during King Norodom Sihanouk's pre-Khmer Rouge reign and are the reason for the temple’s nickname.
Though the temple’s true name is Wat Preah Keo Morokat, which means Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the moniker The Silver Pagoda the more common name. Built between 1892 and 1902 under King Norodom, it’s an interesting structure—it’s actually separated from the Royal Palace by a walled walkway, but it’s still located on palace grounds, in the larger complex. Unlike most pagodas, no monks live here—instead, it’s the pagoda where the King meets with monks to listen to their sermons and where some Royal ceremonies are performed. Be sure to check out the gorgeous Ramayana frescoes that are painted on the walls and see the Buddha relic from Sri Lanka, which is housed in a small gold and silver stupa in front of the life-sized gold Buddha.
Located on the island of Hokkaido, Asahiyama Zoo is the northernmost zoo in Japan. Known for its innovative enclosures, which are designed to resemble natural habitats and to showcase natural animal behavior, Asahiyama Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the Asahikawa region and draws millions of visitors a year.
Located near Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi is the most easily accessible and developed of the Fuji Five Lakes. A popular day trip from Tokyo, Lake Kawaguchi offers plenty of natural beauty, access to Mt. Fuji and a variety of outdoor activities, as well as proximity to hot springs, museums, and other tourist attractions and amenities.
Once the official residence of the Nawab family, this stately red structure was built in the mid-to-late 1800s. This stunning palace was damaged and abandoned after a tornado hit in 1888. Khwaja Abdul Gani and his son worked tirelessly to resurrect and reconstruct the structures that were deemed too dangerous to inhabit, which resulted in the birth of what is today, designated as a national museum.
Widely recognized as one of the most significant architectural icons in the nation, the palace is divided into two parts known as the eastern and western sides. Its unique octagonal dome serves as the apex of the palace and is considered to be the structure’s most significant feature. Locals say it was designed to look like the bud of a lotus flower. Travelers will find an incredible collection of photos of the palace’s 23 rooms taken in its hay day on display, as well as family portraits and other Nawab artifacts.