Asia is the largest continent in terms of size and population – a diverse and multicultural melting pot of some of the oldest civilizations on the planet.
The secret to discovering the best places to travel in Asia for those on a tighter schedule or budget, is seeing a bit of everything from the skyscrapers of Hong Kong to the majestic slopes of Mount Fuji and the architectural wonder of Hong Kong. ‘places like Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
1. Mount Fuji, Japan
Although Mount Fuji is an active stratovolcano, it has not erupted since 1708. The magnificent snow-capped mountain is one of Japan’s “three sacred mountains”, which are traditionally considered to hold a special power – Mount Fuji has volcanic power.
If that doesn’t sound disturbing enough, the base of the mountain is also home to Aokigahara. Also known as the ‘Suicide Forest’, this dense forest growing on hardened lava is home to ice caves, a combination that absorbs sound and creates a strange feeling of loneliness.
While many visitors come here to photograph this World Heritage Listed cultural site and well-known symbol of Japan while others arrive for the climbing opportunities. Until the end of the 19th century, women were not allowed to go to the summit (which is still considered a sacred site), so visitors of all ethnicities, genders and ages are now arriving to catch up on time. lost.
To reach the top of the mountain there are four possible routes, and all offer a number of stops along the way in the form of shrines, historical monuments, and even tea rooms.
You can also plan your visit to Japan around spring cherry blossoms, another popular tourist attraction.
2. Dead Sea, Israel
The dark blue waters of the Dead Sea touch the borders of Jordan and Israel. In fact, a lake despite its name, the Dead Sea sits at the lowest land elevation on the planet, over 430 meters below sea level. The Dead Sea is so thick with around 31 percent of salt concentration – almost 10 times saltier than the ocean – that nothing can sink into it, and anyone who enters it will float naturally.
While the coastline around the lake has developed into a thriving spa and resort town, there is also a significant influx of religious tourism to the area. Jericho is located just minutes northwest of the Dead Sea, the city where Jesus is said to have healed blind beggars – and a number of other cities, including the legendary Sodom and Gomorra, as well as Zoar and Admah, are also in this area. The region has some of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.
Although the lake is too salty to support aquatic life, many animals inhabit the surrounding desert – and hikers will encounter anything from hares to foxes and leopards when exploring the nature reserves around the Dead Sea. .
3. Phuket, Thailand
Thailand’s largest island also draws visitors – and for good reason. Phuket has some of the best beaches in the country, with clean, soft, rolling sand and turquoise waters as far as the eye can see.
During the high season (November to February), the beaches of Hat Karon, Kamala and Kata receive a lot of tourists but remain sleepy little villages once the rains come. Magnificent coral reefs line the coastline, providing incredible opportunities for snorkeling and diving, as well as sea kayaking and island hopping.
Between hours in the sun, visitors can walk to the white and gold Wat Chalong, the island’s largest and most important Buddhist temple, or climb a hill to reach the Big Buddha, a 45-meter-tall statue. top covered with Burmese marble.
To a number of unique festivals, the island is also home. The Ghost Festival during the 7th Chinese Lunar Month is dedicated to ancestor worship, and it involves releasing lanterns into the ocean to help guide lost souls – a sight to behold.
The Chinese 9th Lunar Month Vegetarian Festival is another amazing celebration – which, despite the name, is not so much about food as it is cleansing and testing the body, like walking on fire and hanging from hooks.