20 RAVEL PLACES IN ASIA FOR 2015By Lisa Crawford
Every year seems to mean a new bucket list. Many New Yorkers can’t wait to plan their next vacation once winter is gone and spring has arrived. And there are so many different places to visit in Asia. Here are the 20 travel places that we suggest you add to your list.
1. Jeju, South Korea- Ever since the 2002 FIFA World cup, Jeju has been getting a lot more attention. This volcanic island has been going through a lot of changes in the past ten years, which makes it an ideal stop on your 2015 travels. A couple of “must see” spots are the Cheonjeyeon and Cheonjiyeon waterfalls, Mount Halla, Hyeobje cave, and Hyeongje Island. And due to Jeju’s great climate, this tourist destination is ideal for the early spring months.
2. Boracay Island, Philippines- This award winning island may be small, but tourists are lining up to enjoy the sun and relaxation that Boracay has to offer. S.C.U.B.A. diving, windsurfing, snorkeling and cliff diving are just a few of the adventures that visitors take part in on the Island. If you are planning on going right after the New Year, The well- known Ati-Atihan Festival takes place in the second week in January. The festival consists of parades, tribal dancing, and cultural music. Boracay really is a place to see!
3. Shanghai, China- China’s largest city is also its most cosmopolitan, which many New Yorkers love. The modern and futuristic feel of Shanghai is what attracts visitors the most. But that shouldn’t discount
the time honored historic district. Puxi, or “West Bank” is both residential and cultural, which is a great way to see how the Shanghainese live! And of course, there is always the hustled city feel of the Pudong where you will find the World Financial Center and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which are both worth a visit in 2015!
4. Jakarta, Indonesia – The capital of Indonesia is the country’s economic and political center with so much to do and see. If you only have time for a few of its landmarks and theme parks, we suggest Gelangang Bung Karno Stadium, the Presidential Palace and Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy world). Even just staying around the residential part of Jakarta and hanging with the locals will be an enjoyable vacation. Visitors say that Jakarta’s people are some of the nicest most hospitable in the world.
5. Taipei, Taiwan- The city known for its many festivals, Taipei really is a must see this year. Affordable food and drink are a big draw to Taipei and you will want to make sure to leave room for snacks from the various street food vendors. Another fun adventure in Taipei is the Maokong Gondola rides that take you way up above for an aerial view of the gorgeous city. Temples and concert halls will surely keep you busy, so make sure to leave time for all of the excitement that Taipei has to offer!
6. Hong Kong, China- The breathtaking Hong Kong is definitely worth a visit in 2015. With so much to do, you will be in awe of all of the options. Theme parks, mountain climbing, shopping and dining are all a part of the British-Chinese hybrid city of Hong Kong. The skyscrapers make the cityscape one of the most beautiful in the world, so make sure to bring your camera. You are sure to make some amazing memories in Hong Kong.
7. The Maldives- With winter now over, many New Yorkers are looking for a tropical paradise to escape to and the Maldives is just that. The crystal blue waters are so clear that you will forget about all of your worries of 2014. It’s time to celebrate a new year with the one you love. The Maldives also offers excursions like snorkeling through one of their 3,000 coral reefs, night fishing and of course eating some of the best seafood in the world. It’s time to book your trip to the Maldives!
8. Beijing, China- There is so much to say about the wonderment of Beijing, and we could go on and on. This is why so many people visit China’s capital city. While it is the second largest city in China only lagging a little bit behind Shanghai, there are so many amazing things to do and see that many New Yorkers place Beijing at the top of their bucket list for 2015. From the Forbidden City, to Tiananmen Square and The Great Wall, you will feel like you are walking through a history book. Not to mention the amazing restaurants and shopping. Beijing will leave every type of traveler with a smile on their face.
9. Kep, Cambodia- The tiniest Cambodian province may not yet be a household name, but we know it is on its way to being a top travel spot. The understated beauty of Kep is all a part of its charm. Many of the attractions are based in nature and will be ideal for the outdoorsman in your life. Rabbit Island, The Butterfly Farm and Kep Beach are all great for a day of getting to know the province. Due to the French establishment in 1908, you can see a great amount of French architecture, which only adds to its uniqueness.
10. Bali, Indonesia – Island living is at its best in Bali. And that is why it has been called “The World’s Best Island.” The climate is perfect for a spring getaway. One of the coolest things to do is stay in a glass bottom hut where you can see all of the colorful fish and wildlife that call Bali home. But if you are more of a “stay on land” kind of traveler, have no fear, Bali also offers a variety of land museums and sights to see. It really has it all!
1 1. Kyoto, Japan- Known as one of the most beautiful cities in Japan, Kyoto was actually the capital city for over a millennium! The rich and cultural heritage of the city is its main draw, but there are also a variety of things to do for all types of tourists. Sentō Imperial Palace and Shugakuin Imperial Villa are two popular sites to see. And the cherry blossoms around the city are definitely worth taking a look at. The Setsubun Festival at the Yoshida Shrine is also a great reason to visit the city (in February).
1 2. Singapore- The island off of Southeast Asia is one of the busiest ports in the world. Due to this, Singapore has a
large amount of things to do at its fingertips. Some of the stand out attractions include Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park. Dining and shopping are also known as Singapore’s national pastime, so make sure to bring both your appetite and your wallet!
1 3. Bangkok, Thailand- Talk about variety! Whether you are a shopping fanatic or a lover of the ancient temples, Bangkok will have something to offer you. Wat Arun, one of the well-known ancient temples is a “do not miss.” Many guests say that “Bangkok is the perfect mix of old world meets new technology and amenities.” We couldn’t agree more!
1 4. Seoul, South Korea- Although Seoul has some alluring historical sites; travelers are also impressed with the flourishing nightlife that South Korea’s capital city has to offer. Guests are able to enjoy exciting restaurants and shopping in the metropolitan area, while only being a short visit away from some of Seoul’s most celebrated palaces.
1 5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The French colonial architecture of Vietnam’s largest city is one of the biggest draws for travelers to this area. To photograph the buildings alone will make the trip well worth it. Another great aspect of Ho Chi Minh City are the variety of destinations: both the Mekong Delta and Ben Thanh Market top the “to do” list of many of Ho Chi Minh City’s regular visitors.
16. Bagan, Myanmar- Located in the Mandalay area of Burma, Bagan has some of the most beautiful religious architecture in the world. The famous temples Gawdawpalin Temple and Dhammayangyi Temple cause visitors to come to Bagan every year. The Bagan Archaeological Zone is also a main draw for many tourists. But be sure to come to Bagan with the right type of clothing as it can be quite a dry climate and very unlike our weather here in New York.
17. Chiang Rai, Thailand- This stunning city in Thailand should surely be on your list for 2015. There are a number of attractions to visit in Chiang Rai. Doi Tung Royal Villa, Doi Tung Zoo and Boomerang Adventure Park are just a few of the fun and exciting places to see in Chiang Rai. If you want to get a sense of the neighborhood flair, join in on the Saturday Night Walking Street just north of downtown, where locals display their crafts, food and local dances. All of this Thai culture is right at your fingertips in Chiang Rai!
18. Sri Lanka- Yala National Park, Adam’s Peak, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and The National Museum of Colombo are just a few of the sites to see in Sri Lanka. Located in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of South Asia, this island has been called “the finest island in the whole world” by its founder, Marco Polo. The temperature and surroundings have made Sri Lanka perfect for a beach holiday. So when you are freezing during the winter and thinking of a place to escape, consider Sri Lanka.
19. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia- The capital and most populated city in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur has plenty to offer its visitors. The tropical rainforest climate is a big draw to Kuala Lumpur especially for those interested in its vegetation. Batu Caves is one of Kuala Lumpur’s natural beauties. The city also hosts many cultural festivals such as the Thaipusam procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Another area of excitement for many travelers is the retail therapy you can engage in in Kuala Lumpur. All in all, you are sure to have a great time!
20. Nepal – When you think about the natural beauty of Asia, you should automatically think about Nepal. It has been coined “one of the most beautifully pristine places in the world” and for good reason. Sites like Kathmandu and Dunbar Square keep tourists coming back. Nepal is definitely one to be put on your bucket list for 2015 and beyond.