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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Places to Visit in Asia

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

From megametropolises to remote islands, Asia's top travel spots offer a healthy dose of adventure, ancient history and culture. After considering local prices, accessibility and the variety of attractions in each destination, along with traveler feedback, U.S. News ranked the best places to visit in Asia. Contribute to next year's list by casting your vote below.

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Gold Badge #1 Hong Kong

Gold Badge #1 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

This former British colony offers an easy introduction to China. The city blends both cultures to create a hub that is eastern at heart but with roots deeply influenced by the west. You'll see this in the city's capitalist culture, which is illustrated by its towering skyscrapers, numerous street markets and thousands of dining options. For unmatched natural beauty, head to Hong Kong's outlying islands. Read More »

Hong Kong Skyline View 15 photos
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Gold Badge #2 Maldives

Gold Badge #2 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

This far-flung destination, miles from civilization in the Indian Ocean, is made up of about 1,200 islands, many of which offer unparalleled white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and coral reefs that prompt extensive exploration. And what's the best way to experience this slice of paradise? In one of its many overwater bungalows, of course. Read More »

Prime Real Estate View 29 photos
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Gold Badge #3 Tokyo

Gold Badge #3 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

No dilly-dallying here – Tokyo is as fast-paced as cities come (it's on of the largest cities in the world, after all). With millions upon millions of residents to its name, novice Tokyo visitors may have a hard time keeping up with the city's flashing lights and insanely crowded streets. But travelers should accept the challenge and enjoy Tokyo's exhilarating energy and unrivaled shopping scene, not to mention the world's best sushi.  Read More »

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Gold Badge #4 Phuket

Gold Badge #4 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Phuket's elongated beaches and cerulean waters embody a paradise that few Asian destinations can rival. It's here where you'll find those beautiful Thai beaches docked with traditional, wooden long-tail boats and lush, limestone rock formations. Beaching it and boat tours are the most popular things to do here, but there are also various religious sites worth a visit. What's more, lodging here is relatively affordable. Read More »

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Gold Badge #5 Bali

Gold Badge #5 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Bali's natural beauty is so profound, travelers have been known to refer to the destination as "heaven on earth." Here, lush rainforests, picturesque mountain ranges, sweeping valleys and scenic beaches all sit side by side. There are also a handful of serene temples, and you can't miss out on a trip to Ubud, Bali's cultural capital and the home of the region's famous rice fields. Read More »

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Sunrise View 38 photos
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#6 Chiang Mai

#6 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

After you've gotten your fill of Phuket, Chiang Mai is the next go-to destination in Thailand. Chiang Mai definitely has a bustle to it, but the destination also offers a much-needed reprieve thanks to its surrounding mountains. Things to do here include tours of breathtaking temples, adventures in the rainforest and a visit to the Elephant Nature Park.

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#7 Singapore

#7 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Singapore is unique in that it's a melting pot of Asian cultures. This fusion has led to prosperity that takes form in the city's colorful neighborhoods, eclectic culinary scene and overall modernity. After shopping and chowing down in Little India or Chinatown, head downtown to take in the skyscrapers from either Merlion Park, the Singapore Flyer or the sky-high Gardens by the Bay. Read More »

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#8 Kyoto

#8 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

History lovers will revel in the sites of Kyoto. The city, which used to be the country's capital during imperial times, is awash with ancient religious sites, including the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which dates back to the eighth century. In addition to shrines and temples, be sure to pencil in time to stroll the famous Philosopher's Walk, and treat yourself to kaiseki, which are multicourse meals native to Kyoto. Read More »

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#9 Bangkok

#9 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Thailand's capital is filled to the brim with eye-catching Hindu sites, nonstop nightlife and incredible Thai cuisine. Find your chi at sacred sites such as Wat Arun or hit up the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the world's biggest street markets. While here, grab grub from street stalls as much as possible; Bangkok is considered the street food capital of the world. Read More »

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#10 Taipei

#10 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Known for its delectable night markets and historical attractions, Taiwan's capital is a must-see for all those traveling to Asia. Can't-miss attractions here include a ride to the top of the ultramodern Taipei 101 tower, the National Palace, where you'll find artifacts from the Forbidden City, and the tasty Shilin Night Market.

Taipei Taiwan
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#11 Seoul

#11 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

South Korea's capital does an incredible job of blending the ancient with the modern. Between all the busy streets and towering skyscrapers lie ancient temples, shrines and villages waiting to be explored. Be sure to take in both sides of Seoul during your trip all while saving time for its incredible green spaces as well as the fascinating Demilitarized Zone at the North Korea-South Korea border. Read More »

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion View 21 photos
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#12 Guilin and Lijiang River National Park

#12 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

This national park is so loved and respected, its image is featured on China's paper currency. Guilin and Lijiang River National Park is located in the Guangxi region of China, northwest of Hong Kong. The Lijiang River runs about 52 miles from Guilin to Yangshuo, passing towering green karsts (eroded limestone) along the way. The best way to take in the scenery is by boat –  though it's a long ride. 

Guilin and Lijian River National Park
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#13 Railay Beach

#13 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

If you only had time to go to one beach in Thailand, make it Railay Beach. Located in the Krabi province, Railay features glistening white sands and is surrounded by leafy, limestone rock formations that jut out beautifully from the sea. As if the beach couldn't get more alluring, you're only able to reach it by boat. Daytrips from the nearby Ao Nang Beach are popular tours among travelers. 

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#14 Hanoi

#14 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Hanoi is perfect for first-time Vietnam travelers. The country's capital offers plenty in the way of history, culture, shopping, dining and natural splendor. Start your day off with a Vietnamese coffee then head to Hanoi's Old Quarter for a visit to Dong Xuan, the city's largest market. After that, visit one of the city's many temples, including the ancient Temple of Literature.

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#15 Ho Chi Minh City

#15 in Best Places to Visit in Asia

Ho Chi Minh City is equal parts overwhelming and exhilarating. Here, mopeds whiz by at all hours of the day, cafes take up entire sidewalks and street food vendors serve up delectable local fare despite the year-round heat and humidity. The best thing to do? Take this all in with gusto by walking through and embracing the unique chaos. 

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