Asia is a large continent full of unique and exotic cultures. Many of the countries and people who live in them are very different then what is customary in western Europe and the US. For the most part Asia is untouched by expanding global market. Most of the countries are comprised of small towns and villages with a few cities scattered here and there. Many people do not own televisions or cell phones. It is almost like a dream, going back in time to a simpler place. The people here are not necessarily as shallow and vein as some urban city dwellers. Taking time to backpack around Asia means finally getting that relaxation you have been missing. The other side to Asia is the vibrant cultures. Here you will be able to experience customs and habits perhaps not similar to your own. This is a great place for self growth and reflection. Without the pressures of the everyday you will be able to fully immerse yourself into the lifestyle of some of the most serene people on the planet. Learn a new religion or food dish. Enjoy music and productions you have never experienced before. Backpack Asia and experience something different.
Asia travel tips
- Bring a few phrase books and customs books for the countries you are going to.
- Pack an umbrella, especially if heading to Thailand.
- Leave the valuables and family heirlooms at home.
Places to go in Asia
The top cities that you can’t leave Asia without seeing are Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila, Bali, Langkawi, and Phuket. These varied and unique cultures all have similar mannerisms and common respect that you will find common among the Asian nations. The city of Beijing and Hong Kong will leave you speechless. Beijing in particular is so large and amazing; it is really unlike any other city. Hong Kong in Chinese means fragrant harbor. It is also the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Tokyo is the capital city of Japan. With over twelve million people this city is the largest metropolitan area in the world. The greater outer city limits has over 35 million residents. Bangkok, Thailand’s capital and most populated city, is also one of the most cosmopolitan in Asia. It is the commercial, cultural, educational, and spiritual center of the country. Manila is a gorgeous city in the Philippines. Before WWII this city was considered to be the most beautiful in Asia and is now coming back from the destruction. Bali is a tranquil island known as the Island of the Gods. This paradise is a little more aboriginous then other cities, yet is still an incredible tourist spot. Langkawi lies just south of Thailand. This constellation of 99 islands is part of the Malaysian Peninsula. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. Most of the cities are on long stretches of gorgeous beaches. These cities and islands are fairly easy to get to, especially the larger cities. In smaller areas the people tend to be very friendly and helpful, which will make your trip all the more enjoyable.
What to see in Asia
Beijing recently hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. This brought the city into the world’s view and drew a lot of attention to it. Viewers around the world were able to catch glimpses of Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest square, and National Stadium. The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and a variety of parks make this city a pleasure to visit. It is easy to backpack through Beijing as hostels are cheap and the city is easy to get around. when you get over to Hong Kong take a guided tour of the city. The night tours are especially nice for seeing the architecture of the city. You will want to see Kowloon Walled City Park, Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Po Lin Monastery and the Tien Tan Buddha Statue, and Hong Kong Museum of Arts when visiting. Backpackers coming to Asia can also enjoy Disney Land Hong Kong and resort. Either stay here or at one of the less expensive B&B’s, depending on your budget. If you have the option this is a good city to splurge a little. Bangkok is a perfect example of old world meets new world. See some modern day novelties among some of the oldest structures in the world. Manila and Bali are quite close. In Manila go to Rizal Park, the historic Manila Hotel where General Douglas MacArthur once held residence, Intramuros, and Malacañang Palace. Then take a boat ride over to Bali and soak up the sun on an incredible beach. One of the best parts about Bali is that it is not overcrowded by urban dwellers. This place has less luxuries then other destinations so it really takes a special kind of tourist to enjoy it. This also makes it perfect for backpackers. Small villages with rustic accommodations and local cuisine, what could be better? Langkawi and Phuket are also easy to get to each other. Though less known then the other destinations on this list, both are beautiful and worth the trip. Phuket offers great accommodations to travelers plus great and friendly hospitality. There is only one airport on the island of Phuket. And there are beaches everywhere. With less tourists then a place like Hong Kong or Tokyo there is room to spread out and enjoy yourself.
How to get there
The easiest ways to get around is to pick a course of direction. Japan to Taiwan to the Philippines is an easy route made accessible by boats and ferries. From there hop a flight to China and make your way through the country to Nepal and Thailand. It may be easier to choose the islands or mainland. Though if you have the time then definitely get in as much as you can. Every country is so unique and different that it just does not do it justice to only see one or two. There are many flights from the US into major cities in Asia. You will most likely have a stopover somewhere, unless coming from the west coast. Once in a major city like Beijing or Bangkok it will be a lot easier to get around to the smaller, less metropolitan areas. Especially if you choose to go off the beaten path and travel around the countrysides (which are incredible) of some of these countries it is easier and cheaper to have a point of reference. Also keep in mind that depending on where you go and how you choose to get around can vary the cost of your trip tremendously. Flying out of larger cities can save money since the cost of flying out of smaller cities and villages takes more effort and is more costly. AirAsia is a good airline to check out rates on. StudentUniverse.com will also help you in your hostels and flights.